Ilkeston history society unveils plaque to celebrate Co-op building

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Members of Ilkeston and District Local History Society have unveiled a special plaque celebrating one of the town’s most iconic buildings.

The group was joined by local dignitaries to officially honour the former home of the Ilkeston Co-operative Society, on South Street on Wednesday, December 6.

Representatives of the Central England Co-operative attended the unveiling, including current president Elaine Dean, right.

Representatives of the Central England Co-operative attended the unveiling, including current president Elaine Dean, right.

President Danny Cornes said: “Everyone in Ilkeston is extremely proud of its historical association with the co-operative and we were proud to be able to permanently honour it with the unveiling of this special plaque.”

The Ilkeston Co-operative Society operated a department store, two bedding stores, travel stores, a banqueting suite, two car body shops,and a car retail business it sold to United Co-operatives in 2004.

The group itself then merged with Midlands Co-operative Society in 2006, and the department store closed its doors for the final time in 2013.

The building is now home to a new generation of retailers and businesses, with plans under way to convert the upper floors into apartments.

Central England Co-operative retains extensive links with the area and still operates a Post Office and funeral home in the town, with another just opened in Heanor.

It also recently spent over £500,000 on opening a brand new food store in nearby Horsley Woodhouse.

Elaine Dean, president of the Central England Co-operative, attended the ceremony and said: “I was extremely grateful to be invited along to mark the unveiling of the plaque in Ilkeston.

“As a society we are always proud to celebrate our history and our heritage and we are pleased to be able to honour the role that Ilkeston Co-operative played in the area and the co-operative movement as a whole.”