Midlothian’s 100 Objects - Gorebridge Co-operative tokens

Gorebridge Co-operative Society tokens. Photo: Gorebridge Local History Society/Scran
Gorebridge Co-operative Society tokens. Photo: Gorebridge Local History Society/Scran

Tesco Clubcard points, the Sainsbury’s Nectar scheme, and myWaitrose rewards - you would think that customer loyalty initiatives were a new phenomenon. But they are not.

These images, from the Scran archive, show tokens used by the Gorebridge Co-operative Society.

Tokens were a common way to save money for shopping.

In the early years of co-operatives metallic coins were used but these were replaced by plastic tokens and gummed paper stamps that could be collected in a store booklet for later redemption.

Various shapes and sizes signified differing values for the tokens, for example 1/- (5p); 6d (2.5p); 2/6 (12.5p); 3d (1.5p) and 1d (.75p). These tokens are made of silver-coloured metal and bear the name of the society printed on them.

The co-operative movement had its roots in the latter half of the 18th century. In May, 1868 the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd was formed. However, many branches remained independent of each other until well into the 20th century.

Photo: Gorebridge Local History Society/Scran