The North of England Co-operative Wholesale Industrial and Provident Society was founded in Manchester in 1863, and within a decade had become the Co-operative Wholesale Society or Co-op. By the turn of the century it was acquiring land between Balloon Street and Miller Street to build new headquarters. These included drapery warehouses now known as Block E (1902-3), the Hanover Building (1905 - 07), Federation Building (1913-14) and the Dantzic Building (1937-42). At the end of the 1950s the CIS Tower was added.
A network of tunnels was built in 1929 to connect existing basements under these buildings, for use as staff subways and, during the Second World War, air raid shelters. The 1960s nuclear shelter has now become the staff Sports & Social Club