Origins and Development

The Co-operative College, which started in Manchester, returned to its home in Holyoake House, Hanover Street, in 2001 after relocating to Leicestershire, which was home to the College for fifty years. Initially based in Holyoake House, the College had been forced to relocate in 1945 after being in temporary accommodation following damage to Holyoake House during the December 1940 Manchester blitz.

Holyoake House at the beggining of the 20th centuryIt spent the next half century in Stanford Hall, near Loughborough, where it welcomed growing numbers of students from former colonial territories and Commonwealth countries. The College ran residential courses in social/economic subjects for adult learners and a wide range of retail and management courses for co-operative employees. In 1946, Dr Robert Marshall, OBE, MA, became the Principal and Chief Executive Officer and built up the reputation of the College as a national and international institution.

In January 2000, Mervyn Wilson was appointed Chief Executive and Principal and the College underwent a major review of how it could best meet the needs of the co-operative and mutual sector in the 21st century. This review recognised that the contemporary needs of the sector required a responsive and flexible provider, not a large residential facility. Therefore, Stanford Hall was sold and the College returned to its original home.

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