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A knight celebrating the story behind Lincolnshire Co-op will soon stand guard in Lincoln.
It is one of 36 in the Lincoln Knights’ Trail, which runs from Saturday, 20th May until Sunday, 3rd September.
Skellingthorpe-based artist Sian Bristow has covered Lincolnshire Co-op’s knight from head to toe in the rich colours and history of the Society.
One side has jigsaw pieces representing everything from food stores and funeral homes to travel branches and coffee shops.
The other half depicts the Society’s journey from 1861 to the present day, picking out iconic milestones along the way.
Which ones do you recognise?
The beginnings of Lincolnshire Co-op
In 1861, a joiner from Gainsborough called Thomas Parker founded the Lincoln Co-operative Society - what we now know as Lincolnshire Co-op.
The aim was to provide fairly-priced goods to working people who could also share in the profits, provide education to members and support local communities.
Its first store opened at 1 Napoleon Place in Lincoln in September 1861.
Growing little by little
A section of the society’s central store on Silver Street – built from scratch and opened in 1874 – survives today and still bears the traditional beehive and phrase ‘crescit paulatium’ or ‘growing little by little’.
The first branch store was opened in Bracebridge in May 1876 as branch No 1.
Another on the corner of Tealby Street and High Street became branch No 22 when it opened in December 1912. It's in the picture below.
Many more came in the years that followed – and some stores still hold on to their original number. Do you recognise any?
The first pharmacy opened by the Society was in 1928 – today it has 49 pharmacies across its trading area! There are many more Lincolnshire Co-op businesses all tucked into the design.
Do you remember getting your dividend book stamped? There is a stamp hiding somewhere on our knight.
Our Community Champions scheme has helped countless good causes thanks to the hard work of store colleagues and support from shoppers using their dividend cards.
In 2011, Lincolnshire Co-op celebrated its 150th birthday.
A special exhibition opened at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life and a book by former Society director and renowned co-operative and local historian Alan Middleton was published.
A new headstone was erected on the grave of the Society’s founder, Thomas Parker, and the memorial of Duncan McInnes, another key player in its past, was restored.
After taking a selfie with the knight, make sure to take a minute exploring its colourful design. There is lots more to discover!
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