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Memories of Dunfermline’s Co-operative shops



The street no longer exists and is now the green space that connects the bus station to the town’s High Street.

It was originally a footpath that was later widened and named South Chapel Street in 1809.

Dunfermline Press:

It was later given the name Randolph Street in 1878 in memory of Sir Thomas Randolph, nephew of King Robert the Bruce and one of his most faithful lieutenants who played a major role in the Battle of Bannockburn and whose body was later laid to rest in Dunfermline Abbey.

The range of shops in the street included groceries, clothing, furniture, chemist, pet shop and jewellers. The overhead walkway connecting the shops on either side of the street can be seen in the forefront of the image.

The second photograph shows the ladies of the Check Office in 1954 whose job it was to meticulously record the figures from every sales check issued by every branch and department of the society.

Most customers did not retain the check receipts that they were given but some did and were prepared to challenge the staff if the figures did not tally.

The dividend payment was quickly spent in the Cooperative stores and further dividend would be accrued on these purchases.

Everyone remembered their Cooperative membership number that they had to recite every time ‘they went for the messages’, even though it’s perhaps over 60 years since they last used it!

Susan Doran remembers working in this department: “I worked in the check office and remember Randolph Street races at dividend time. The crowds were queued up the stairs waiting on the door to the hall to open.”

The next photograph is a view looking at the Coop in Queen Anne Street from Chapel Street.

The final photograph is a view looking down Randolph Street from its junction with Queen Anne Street.

People have fond memories of shopping in this area, articulated here by Lynn Masson: “I’d love, just one more time, to walk down Randolph Street with my mum, holding her hand, going for my first school uniform.

“I loved going in and watching the money being placed in tubes and flying off to the other part of the building and the change coming flying back.

“Mum’s dividend number was 14005. Going into the massive big chemist and then to the tobacco shop for cigarettes – happy days”.

Carol Wyse also recalls the Coop: “I remember it well. Everything was bought in the Coop in those days. Dunfermline was a wonderful place to grow up in.”

Gordon McKissock remembers working in the store complex: “I managed the carpet and furniture side when I was in my early 20s. It was amazing the amount of business that was done then – it was one of the best co-ops in Scotland.”

More photographs like these can be seen in Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries and also at

With thanks to Frank Connelly

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