Friday, 25 February 2011

Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society, South Wimbledon

As mentioned yesterday, there is nothing left of this sign at all. It promoted the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society (RACS), a consumer co-operative whose origins dated back to 1868. Then called the Royal Arsenal Supply Association, it changed its name four years later to RACS. It offered a whole range of products and services to its members, and paid them a dividend, which depended on how much they had spent in its outlets. From its base in Woolwich, the RACS expanded throughout South London (they opened only one shop north of the Thames, in North Woolwich) and the surrounding counties. At its peak, it had more than half a million members. However by the 1970s, like many co-operative societies, it faced growing competition from supermarkets and experienced a sharp decline in members and revenue. In 1985 it merged with the South Suburban Co-operative Society to form the Co-operative Wholesale Society. To find out more about the RACS, you can check the wikipedia page.
This sign was painted on two occasions at least.

Interest [*]
Royal Arsenal [**]
Co-operative Society

*: 'Divident & Interest' was painted twice.
**: only the 'A' of Arsenal is still visibile. The rest of the word was covered by 'Interest'. To the right of 'Interest' is a 'Y' but I can't connect it with anything else.

As for the big white 'bubble' with a black shade, I don't know what it does there.

Location: Haydon Road / Picture taken on 14/03/2008

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