In Memoriam


                        In Memoriam

                   William Pascoe Watkins

               5 December 1893 - 2 January, 1995

"Look at the beautiful view from this window. When I stop enjoying the
simple things in life,  then I will probably just fade away."

On one of my last visits to Will this was part of his reply  to my question
whether he was happy at the nursing home where he had been living for the
last few years of his life. Well I guess Will finally was unable to enjoy
these things and he died peacefully in his sleep on 2 January 1995 at the
ripe old age of 101. I was sad of course when I heard the news, but I felt
that he had had a long and happy life and that it was what he would have

When I asked Will this question he said he was frustrated by the fact that
there were many things, especially his intellectual pursuits, that he sadly
could no longer enjoy. "What I really need", he told me with a twinkle in
his eye, "is someone to take an interest in making my life worth living".
Will had a wonderful sense of humour and he knew very well that he had that
person in his niece, Jean, a nurse by profession, who had dedicated the
last 20 years to making Will as comfortable as possible as well as nursing
her own aging husband in his last years. Will was eternally grateful to and
proud of his little family in the Cotswolds, just as he remembered fondly
his more extended family in Cornwall, where his ashes have been laid to

Like many elderly people Will had problems remembering the more immediate
past. After one visit, when I was kissing him goodbye he said: "It was very
nice of you to visit, but I was really hoping to see Mary Treacy today".
When Iain Williamson who was visiting with me explained to him that it was
indeed I, his sense of playfulness emerged and he insisted that it could
not be so, because the I there present was far too young.  And I was
flattered that he remembered me, even if he no longer recognised me.

I developed a friendship with Will over the last 12 years I worked at the
International Co-operative Alliance. I visited him regularly over the years
and the visits were always a great pleasure for me. He loved to catch up
with news of the ICA and his many co-operative friends worldwide. He would
also speak for hours about his formative years as a student of
Co-operation, his family background, his time as Director of the Alliance
and especially his years working to build up the German co-operative
movement in Dortmund after the second world war.

Fiercely independent, Will was able to live alone with the help of Jean,
who popped in each day to prepare food and check up on him, until at age 97
he agreed that he would be more comfortable in a nursing home. In the early
years of our friendship, he often invited me to stay over, which I did on a
couple of occasions. He was a wonderful host, even bringing me morning tea
in very English style. And this when he was over ninety years old.  In
between visits we exchanged letters, and his were always interesting, even
when he became frailer and the letters were hard to decipher.  Since 1986 I
kept most of his letters, the last of which was written in February, 1993,
when Will was in his hundredth year.

Will was born in Plymouth on 5th December 1893 into a family of
co-operators, his father being President of the South Devon Co-operative
Society and later becoming first Chairman of the Co-operative Party. Will
attended classes at the local co-op society where he was taught
Co-operation and industrial and social history by his aunt which
supplemented his grammar school education. After graduation he trained to
be a teacher. He joined the co-op at the age of sixteen and later won a
scholarship to study Agricultural Co-ops in Ireland. After his stint in
Ireland, he was hired by Professor Fred Hall as a lecturer at the
Co-operative College and later, in 1929,  was hired by the ICA where he
continued working with Fred Hall as Assistant running the International
School  in Basel of which Hall was principal, till ICA took it over
completely in 1932. Will was eventually also given the responsibility of
editing the ICA Review and here he added to his linguistic skills of French
and German through reading the numerous journals which ICA members sent him
in various languages.

Shortly after the outbreak of the second world war in 1939,  Will left ICA
(he confided in me that he did not always see eye to eye with the then
Secretary General, Henry J. May) and joined the editorial staff of Reynolds
News, a co-operative weekly. After the war he was appointed as Co-operative
Economic Advisor to Sir Cecil Weir, in the German Control Commission The
Hitler regime had destroyed the movement and used it to their own ends and
the structures and democratic  systems  needed to be rebuilt .  Will wrote
the post war German Co-operative Act. He also made many close friends
including the late Dr. Hassleman who corresponded with Will till he died
only a few months before his great friend.

>From 1951 to 1963 Will was the Director of ICA and after his retirement he
remained closely connected with the international movement becoming
Secretary to the committee which reformulated the Co-operative Principles
in 1966 and writing the history of the ICA to mark  the organisations's
75th birthday. Among the many books and papers which Will put his name to
was the famous Co-operative Principles Today and Tomorrow which was
published by the Co-operative Union in 1986 and has been translated into
many languages since then.

Will was a Co-operative Philosopher and a Visionary,  forward looking even
in old age. He was not sentimental about bricks and mortar, never
mentioning his old home again after having moved into the Nursing Home.
When discussing Stanford Hall and its recent problems he maintained that
the college should have been nearer to where the people who should use it
were, despite the fact that he spoke lovingly of the beautiful building and
grounds.  Will felt that enough importance was never given to Co-operative
Education although he conceded that the Swedes, the Swiss and the
Austrian's had come close to giving it its deserved importance at different
times in their development.  He also felt that, apart from a few astute
co-operative managers who understood the meaning of self-service and the
revolution that it would bring, co-op societies in the UK and elsewhere had
not been quick enough to move with the times, which is why they were
lagging behind in the retail sector.

Throughout his life, Will remained faithful to the co-operative ideal as
can seen from this quotation from his last book, Co-operative Principles -
Today and Tomorrow  "Despite world wars and economic depressions, the
collapse of empires and the re-dawning of national boundaries, political
repression and persecution, the Co-operative idea, with all its setbacks ,
has survived to become more relevant than ever ...".

1994 was a black year for co-operators. We lost many great and good people
some in the most tragic way. The  first days of our centennial year were
also filled with sadness. Will's death deprives us of a great pioneer, but
we are thankful that we were able to keep him with us for so long. May he
rest in peace.

Mary Treacy

                       Roy Garratt

                       1931 - 1994

Last year's 150th anniversary celebrations of the Co-operative Movement
were not quite the same without Roy Garratt, who  died aged 63.  As curator
of the Rochdale Pioneers Museum, he devoted most of the last 20 years to
the shop in Th'Owd Lane which was a place of pilgrimage for co-operative
activists from around the world.  In the seventies, under his supervision,
the Toad Lane building - the site of the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers
Society's first store - was lovingly restored and protected, surely his
greatest achievement.

Born in Manchester, he trained as a journalist before joining the
Co-operative Press in 1955, subsequently transferring to the Co-operative
Union's editorial department six years later.  He delighted in describing
the Rochdale Pioneers as the first green consumers, selling pure,
unadulterated food at fair prices and honest weight at a time of widespread
exploitation by private shopkeepers.

His encyclopaedic knowledge of co-operative history went back much farther
than Rochdale.  In his other role as Co-operative Union librarian, he was
equally at home with earlier missionaries of workers' mutual aid, such as
William King and Robert Owen.  Historians regularly consulted his library
and benefited from his scholarship, which he was happy to share with

He was an ardent supporter of the National Museum of Labour History (now,
appropriately, also housed in Greater Manchester) and the Robert Owen
Museum in Newtown, and an active member of learned societies relating to
labour and social history.  His energy was boundless, and he
uncomplainingly travelled seemingly impossible distances by public
transport (he never learned to drive) taking the co-operative message to
anyone who would listen. In mid-winter he would return with snow on his
boots from addressing a Co-operative Women's Guild or WI group to his
gloriously chaotic office where, after rummaging under a pile of books and
bric a brac, he could always find a warming tot of Co-op Brand port or

He was an acclaimed public speaker, combining wisdom and wit to make the
noble achievements of the Rochdale Pioneers alive and relevant to today's
post-Thatcherite conditions which he held in such contempt.  As a result he
was invited to lecture tours in the United States and Japan, two countries
where the co-operative ideal flourishes.

Deeply touching condolences from his many friends in Japan  arrived at the
Co-operative Union, where those who worked with him will possibly best
remember him standing on the Toad Lane cobbles surrounded by a sea of
visitors form Tokyo or Nagasaki, hanging on his words. We shall be
remembering the Rochdale Pioneers - and Roy Garratt for many years to come!

Iain Williamson

                     Olle Lindstrom

Olle Lindstrom  had given a lecture about co-operatives in Eastern and
Central Europe during a seminar on Peace and Security in the Baltic Region,
which was held aboard the M.S. Estonia on that fateful night of 28
September, 1994, when the vessel and most of those on board sank to the
bottom of the Baltic Sea.

The ex-Chairman of the ICA Housing committee drowned, together with some 20
other co-operators, that sad night.

Olle, aged 69, had retired from a lifetime's work at the Swedish Housing
Co-operative Union, devoted to promoting the co-operative idea, but was
still actively working for the movement.

For the past two years he had been working as a consultant for Co-op
Network for Co-operative Development in Eastern and Central Europe. Being
the engine in the re-construction of the housing co-operative movement in
Estonia turned out to be his last big task. The four years after his
retirement as Vice-President of Riksbyggen, he devoted most of his life to
the rebuilding of  his native country, Estonia from which he fled for
Sweden at the age of 16. Ironically he had perished during the same journey
which he had taken taken more than 50 years previously when he fled his
native land in an open boat. How secure he must have felt on that big
liner, remembering how the waves had tossed the small open boat he had
travelled in as a teenager, having no premonition of what was to come.

He started his co-operative career in the smaller of the two housing
co-operative unions in Sweden and not only helped to make Riksbyggen a
respected and quickly growing actor on the Swedish housing market, but also
reached the highest position within the organisation. He soon became
involved with international work and by the the mid-eighties had become the
chairman of ICA Housing Committee. Under his leadership the Housing
Committee not only expanded its European operation, where most members
come from, but also spread into new continents, taking the  housing co-op
idea into the third world.

Olle Lindstrom was a graduate teacher, which was obvious in the pedagogic
way he presented his ideas and listened to everyone's opinions, managing to
find consensus, even in potential conflicts.

It is with profound sorrow we realise that Olle is  not with us any longer,
but not only we who new him well will remember him. He will be remembered
through the project which he helped develop with the Swedish government and
European Union to reconstruct the Estonian Housing co-operatives. Because
this project will bear his name.

Mats Ahnlund

        Late Dr. Alf Carlsson - A veteran co-operator

On early October, 1994, I went to the Library of the ICA ROAP, New Delhi.
Some of my ex-colleagues had assembled around the readers' table, during
the lunch time. They were looking sad and discussing the disaster which had
occurred in the night of 28th September. The newspapers strewn on the table
had carried the news about the sinking of M.S. Estonia, a ship carrying
among many others, several co-operators from Estonia and other countries to

These co-operators were from eight European countries, participating in an
International Seminar on Co-operation and Peace. A few of them survived the
disaster but most of the others, including Dr. Alf Carlsson of the Swedish
Co-operative Institute, Stockholm, were missing. As Alf was our former
colleague at the ICA ROAP for about three years in the late sixties, it was
natural for his ex-colleagues to be anxious about his well-being and

Alf Carlsson, a Swede, had joined the erstwhile ICA RO and Education
Centre, New Delhi as Director (Education). At that time I was working as
the Deputy Director (Education). So I had the privilege of working with him
as a member of a team of experts who were from different fields and also
from different countries. Between 1966-1968, Dr. Carlsson and myself
travelled  and worked together in India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore and
other countries of South East Asia, on Co-operative educational projects.
As a close colleague and friend, we used to call him by his first name

I remember meeting Alf first in the Bonow House at New Delhi during early
1966. He was very quiet, unassuming and of a short stature. His large head,
broad smile, soft speech and pleasant manners made him quite popular. Being
a studious person, with a serious outlook for the Asian co-operative
movements, he could grasp our problems of development rather quickly. Once,
during the acquaintance period, I casually mentioned to him that he looked
just like we Asians. With his broad smile, Alf kept quiet and on getting a
rather cool response, I also kept quiet and refrained from making any
further personal remarks. On one of the evenings we spent at his house with
his family, to my pleasant surprise, he started discussing about the
philosophy of 'Gita' and went on for a long time conversing about Indian
philosophy. Besides having personal affection for him, I developed a high
respect for Alf.

In 1968, when Alf left for Sweden and became the Director of the Swedish
Co-operative Centre (SCC), he always tried to implement the ideas developed
by him on Asian soil and tried to see that co-operative education was
integrated in all the development projects assisted by the SCC/SIDA.

Later on, I met Alf several times in India, Sweden and Switzerland, where
he was working as Co-operative Development Advisor at the ICA Head Office
in Geneva. He was always informal, courteous and frank with us.

As regards his studies and academic work, Alf was very persevering  and
hard working. After the death of Dr. Moritz Bonow, President of ICA, he
joined hands with other Swedes and produced a fine book about Dr.Bonow's
life and achievements. Quietly Alf worked for his Ph.D. degree at the
Institute of International Education, Stockholm University and earned it in
1992. The subject for his Ph.D. dissertation was 'Co-operatives and the
State : Partners in Development?- A Human Resource Perspective.'

Alas, a man of co-operative qualities, academic achievements and vast
experience in development, Dr. Alf Carlsson suddenly left us. To me, it was
a great personal loss, never to be recovered. To his family, it must be a
big misfortune, befallen so suddenly. By saying it was God's will, we can
console ourselves.

-Dr. Dharm Vir

We also pay tribute to the memory or other co-operators who drowned so
tragically: Knud Ollgaard from Denmark; Aivo Grossfeldt, Kaljo Toome, Taivo
Noormets and Reet Ojamagi from Estonia; Seppo Honkanen from Finland;
Skaidrite Culkstene, Aivars Stauzs, Janis Bernans from Latvia; Vasily
Kovaljov, Andrei Artjuhov from Russia; Rut Hammerstrom, Lennart Pettersson,
Jan-Erik Pettersson, Kenneth Chreisti, Ingvar Oscarsson and Eric
Sigmundsson from Sweden.