The Co-operative Society building

The newly built Co-operative Society building in the 1930s
Image reproduced with kind permission of The Regency Society and The James Gray Collection
Co-operative Society building works in progress
Photo by Paul Clarkson
Co-operative Society building works in progress
Photo by Paul Clarkson

The end of an era

The Co-op London Road was opened on the 12th September 1931 and survived the bombs of WWII. It stood for 82 years but is no more. These photographs show the demolition of the store over recent months leaving just the façade.

Hopes for the future

It is another blow to the area of London Road having lost Marks and Spencers, Bellmans and Woolworths over the years but hopefully the new student accommodation along with the re-development of the Open Market may just bring in the trade needed for the area.

Many happy memories

It is very sad to have watched it go and I have many happy memories of shopping there. You’ve only got to walk down Baker Street and look up at what’s left of the building and someone will come up and share a memory with you. People are sad to see such an iconic building go, especially those of an older generation.

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Comments about this page

  • I know progress has to evolve but all the same it is sad to see your childhood memories disappearing in clouds of dust. As a kid in the 40s and 50s my dad had a stall in the Open Market and London Road was a mostly trouble free vibrant happy place to play. As kids we would walk past the Co-op on our way to the Duke of York’s cinema. More often than not we would pop into the store for a good look around. The store was so full of different bits and bobs and of course Santa at Xmas. Fascinating to watch the money exchange equipment, I can’t remember if it was overhead lines or a vacuum system, I think it was the line system with the little capsules flying around in the air. Seems so destructive to a nice old building.

    By Mick Peirson (19/08/2013)
  • I don’t recall much of the interior of the London Road Co-op; during my childhood in the 1950s my mother usually preferred to do her department store shopping in Marks & Spencer, Woolworth’s or Bellmans. But I do recall the long frontage of the Co-Op facing on to the bus stop where we would catch the number 5 bus to Western Road to visit my grandmother who lived in Russell Square; and in later times (1968), when I worked as a conductor on the same service, the Co-Op stop was the convenient point for me to make the early/late shift exchange with my opposite number, so I certainly spent quite a bit of time standing outside the Co-Op and staring up at its imposing facade. As with all familiar landmarks, it’s with regret that I see it’s going.

    By Len Liechti (20/08/2013)
  • When I added the council meeting about this development, they insisted it was to “preserve” the site. Does a single wall count as preservation?From my bedroom window, I watched them demolish the original building, smashing through beautiful art deco tiling. Nothing was saved.

    By Rosie (13/11/2013)
  • There were two Coop stores that figured in my young life, the London Road store was very near where my dad worked at the Open Market. The other was in Whitehawk Road just down the road from where we lived in Bennett Road. I still remember my mum’s dividend number after 63 years, I was around seven when I started doing some shopping in Whitehawk Road.

    By Mick Peirson (20/11/2013)
  • I remember the old Co-op very well. I lived at 32 London Street just off London Road in the mid 50s and we used to play hide and seek in the front part of the store. They used to have island displays then before you arrived at the main entrance. Some years later the store was modernised and the glass frontage was brought up to the edge of the pavement.

    By Bill Timson (05/12/2013)
  • I remember the Co-Op on London Road in the 1970s, we used to have ballroom dancing lessons above it.

    By Amanda T (13/07/2019)

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