Slaney’s Act and The Christian Socialists
A study of how the industrial and provident societies’ Act 1852 was passed.
The first industrial and Provident Societies’ Act was critically important to the development of the Cooperative Movement in England. Before 1852 cooperative societies and associations were denied the full protection of the law and so enjoyed a rather precarious existence.
Between 1850 and 1852 the Christian Socialists together with Robert Slaney, the MP for Shrewsbury, worked tirelessly to remedy the situation. Parliament was persuaded to set up two Select Committees and evidence was presented to these. Meanwhile, the support of co-operators around the country was marshalled.
After a change of government and constant pressure the Act was passed and so paved the way for the rapid and successful growth of cooperative enterprise that followed.
This small book, which gives a clear and concise account of the stages through which success was achieved, should be welcomed by all those with an interest in the history of cooperation and of the Labour Movement in general.