Co-operative youth project launched at Rochdale Pioneers Museum

Date published: 07 February 2019

A year long youth project exploring the Rochdale borough's hidden co-operative treasure has been launched by the Rochdale Pioneers Museum on Toad Lane.

The project, which offers the chance for people up to the age of 25 to find out more about co-operatives – and how the Rochdale Borough and its people shaped history – was officially launched with a drop-in at the grade-II listed Rochdale Pioneers Shop on 31 January 2019.

The green light for the project was given in December, following a grant from Heritage Lottery Fund.

In 1844, 28 local workers began trading as a co-operative at 31 Toad Lane, selling a simple selection of high-quality goods at honest prices under the name the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers.

Unlike earlier co-operative attempts, this was based on a set of principles that would guide co-operative societies across the world to this day. The Rochdale Principles stipulated that provisions should be of high quality and sold at full weight, that there should be equality of the sexes in membership and that the shop's patrons should receive a dividend of the profits. 

The Pioneers' original store on Toad Lane was rented by them until they moved away in 1867 and is regarded as the home of the co-operative movement. It has also been named as one of Historic England's ten historic industrial sites that shaped the country.

It was later purchased by the movement, and opened as a museum in 1931, telling the story of how the co-operative movement developed through self-help to increase productive employment and overcome poverty. 

The Pioneers Museum is recruiting young people and volunteers and adult mentors to the project.  

To volunteer or find out more, contact Cat Jessop:

  • email:
  • phone: 01706 524 920

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