There can be little doubt that the Queensbury Industrial Society Limited has played a very important part in the social development of the village, and even today its derivative known fondly as “the co-op” acts not only as a shop but as a meeting centre for the locality.
The Queensbury Co-op can trace its origins back to a public meeting held in the Freedom Hall back in 1855 “to take into consideration the best means of forming a flour society”.
William Foster seems to have persuaded the villagers that a flour mill was not a viable proposition but put forward the formation of a retail shop run on co-operative principles.
By its fiftieth anniversary the Co-op employed 75 people, making it a major provider of work for the village.
‘Divi day’ is still fondly remembered by some local people when members could spend their dividend payments, an event usually coinciding with a sale.
The store in the village, known as Central Stores (almost on the same site footprint as the current co-op) was the main shop but a branch was also established at Mountain, followed by a branch to serve the Beggarington area (situated at the bottom of Oxford Road and still used as a shop).
The Beggarington branch was called by this name until 1902 when it became known as the Ambler Thorn Branch.
It became traditional for the various branches to be represented by children for each branch locality in an annual gala. The children paraded through the streets bearing mugs and marching behind a board giving their branch name.
The gala was held at a field behind the Co-op bakery which was located near Foxhill.
There were all kinds of entertainment provided including clowns, acrobats, bonny baby contests and a concert.
Later in the day the children were given tea and took part in various sporting activities for which prizes were awarded.
In 1960 there was an attempt to interest the Queensbury Society into a merger with societies from Bradford, Denholme, Buttershaw, Wibsey, Clayton, Great Horton, Wilsden and Thornton, but without success, Queensbury even refused to allow a delegation to address the members.
The tide inevitably turned in 1962 when at a special members meeting it was decided to transfer the assets to the Bradford & District Society.
Today following demolition of the former Central Stores, a new building was erected with a sizeable car park, and it recently received an internal revamp.
As Queensbury continues to grow there has often been talk of the need for a bigger supermarket to serve the area, and after many years of trying, Tesco finally won planning permission to build a new store on the old at John Fosters car park on Brighouse Road in 2010.
Hopefully, the Queensbury co-op will remain the hub of Queensbury as it always has been.