Co-operative Society had their origin at the end of the 18th Century, when great industrial changes were taking place. Until the 18 Century, most of she manufacture was done in the home, under what is known as the Domestic System
but as a result of the Industrial Revolution, the Factory System of manufacture developed, and went to factories to wok for Wages, instead of being their own masters at home. Much social distress and unemployment accompanied the great industrial changes which situations were made worse by the effects of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars which brought in untold hardship after the conclusion of peace in 1815.
According to Whitehead (1980), the idea of co-operation arose during the years of distress. The aim of the early co-operators was to remedy the distress of the working class by obtaining some of the benefits of the machinery and
greater production for the workers. Two methods were attempted in order to do this. To set up workshops owned and controlled by the workers themselves whereby the employees where to subscribe the capital, run the factory under direction of elected foremen and to share in the profits made from the sale of their products. This idea was borrowed from the French at the time of the French Revolution, and in it we see the origin of what is called today