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History of Rochdale

  • council: Rochdale
  • population: 95,796
  • phone code: 01706
  • postcode area: OL11, OL12, OL16
  • county: Greater Manchester
  • twin Towns: Bielefeld, Germany - Tourcoing, France

Rochdale takes it's name from its position on the River Roche and is probably best known for its Co-op, the beginning of the Co-operative movement, which today still includes the well known national supermarket chain Rochdale is also well known for its textile industries including cotton, silk and wool and is twinned with Bielefeld in Germany and Tourcoing in France. Situated at the foot of the Pennines – also known as “the back-bone of England”.

Its magnificent Town Hall built in 1871 takes pride of place in the centre of Rochdale, its original clock tower destroyed by fire in 1883 and rebuilt in 1887 is also home to a majestic stained glass window, that was supposed to be one of Adolf Hitler's priority acquisitions should he have won the war.

To commemorate the peace between the two counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire the statues of golden lions situated at the front of the hall are decorated with the Lancashire and Yorkshire emblems on them

Standing proud on the Rochdale Town Hall you will find 4 flags dedicated to the memory of those who lost their life during the war.

The town itself hosts a great many shops, with a daily market indoor and outdoor, and boasts two shopping centre's with many well known stores. There are also many specialised stores surrounding on Drake St, Yorkshire St, Cheetham Street and The Walk.

In the evening the town lights up offering many bars, restaurants and night clubs for those who wish to dance the night away. The Borough of Rochdale’s location, the northeast of Greater Manchester and straddling the trans-Pennine M62, makes it convenient for travel in all directions. 

No point in the Borough is more than three miles from a junction of the M66, M62 or the new Manchester Orbital M60, giving access to the extensive system of motorways in the region and to the national road network.


No 31 Toad Lane – originally a warehouse erected about 1790. In 1844 working men decided to form their own Co-operative society to provide a fair trading service for its members also providing social and educational amenities.

The Co-op shop in Toad Lane became so well known that the Pioneers felt no necessity to display their wares in the bay windows. The shutters on the bay windows were taken down for the first time on 21 st December 1844 and trading commenced.

The name Toad Lane is said to derive from the Lancashire pronunciation of “The Old Lane” – “T'Owd Lane – but this has been disputed.


While most medieval towns are known for their castles and churches, those which rose to greatness in the Industrial Revolution have their own halls instead. Although Rochdale never became one of the mightiest industrial centres, it built itself a town hall which represents a striking symbol of Rochdale's nineteenth century growth, it's very own Town Hall dominates the heart of Rochdale Centre. This is a must for any visitor to Rochdale,

The Town Hall offers guided tours open to the public and attracts visitors from all over the world.


‘Something Special for Everyone'

Located close to Rochdale Town Centre approximately 5 minutes from Town Centre, this beautiful building incorporates Local Studies Centre, Art Gallery, Museum, Heritage Gallery, Education Service, Tourist Information Centre, complete with Shop and Café it also holds a regular events programme to suit all ages.

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