Long-standing Drake Street business to close

Date published: 12 July 2018

One of Drake Street’s longest-running businesses is to close as its founder is set to retire.

Pennine Photographic and Binocular Centre, set up by Mike Moore, will close its doors for good on Friday (13 July) after over 30 years of trading.

The premises at 74 Drake St caught Mike’s eye during a family visit to Rochdale. He smiled: “My wife, Linda, had gone into Denis Hope’s over the road, and I was sat outside. I saw the building, which was all boarded up and fly-posted, overlooked by Sandiford’s, Yorkshire Bank and Doctor Rock. I thought, if they can do it, so can I. It helps that I really enjoy what I do.”

“The street has obviously changed over the years, but it’s never been any different. It’s always been in ebbs and flows. Then with the arrival of the tram, it changed again. It’s progress for the bigger picture of the town, and the development and heritage of Rochdale. I’m glad for the town, and I just wish I was part of the next step, but I have to stop at some point.”

“I’ve always done well, and I’ve survived. During my first week here, selling reasonably expensive cameras and binoculars, I was told, ‘I don’t think you’ll sell things like that here.’


The plaque awarded to Pennine in recognition of their work


A keen photographer himself, Mike’s interest was sparked by his old family camera, a Kodak ‘box brownie,’ a film camera capable of taking 12 photographs in colour.

“When I was on holiday in Llandudno as a child, I bought a camera in Woolworths for seven shillings and sixpence, which really started it off. I then joined my local camera club, which generated even further interest.

"When I left school, I had an interview to work in the dark rooms of the Daily Mail, and some in camera shops, where I ended up."

Mike was awarded a Town Centre Management plaque in 2012.

Customers have come from all over the country, including Buckingham Palace. He explained: “We had a phone call for a specific set of binoculars which we had in stock, and when they gave us the address, it was for the back door of Buckingham Palace. Apparently, the binoculars were going to Sandringham, which isn’t bad for Rochdale.

“I’ve seen many customers over the years from those starting out young who continue to visit now they’re older and that’s really nice. One girl travelled up from Brighton before after moving there from Rochdale, and another girl whose family bought her a telescope has gone on to work for NASA.”

“I’m looking forward to retiring and spending more time with my family. Linda and I are approaching our 40th wedding anniversary and have two daughters and one grandchild who is four, so it will be lovely to see her grow up.

"My favourite photos I have taken over the years are probably of the children growing up because it’s a memory to look back on in the future.”

“Rochdale is a great place and has been great for us: thank you for all the great custom and friends over the years.”

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