Number One Riverside undergoes transformation to host famous Dippy the Dinosaur

Date published: 23 January 2020

Number One Riverside in Rochdale town centre is currently being transformed ahead of the long-awaited arrival of Dippy the Dinosaur in less than three weeks’ time.

First displayed in the Natural History Museum in London in 1905, the 21m-long plaster-of-Paris cast of a Diplodocus carnegii skeleton, will be at Number One Riverside in Rochdale town centre between 10 February and 28 June 2020.

The famous dinosaur left the museum for the first time in 2017 to embark on a national tour and Rochdale has been selected as one of its stops – the only North West stop on the tour.

Protective flooring and hoarding for Dippy will be created on 1 February, with Dippy himself being constructed over the week of 3-7 February.

Number One has been decorated with extensive dinosaur-themed decals, including interesting facts about the famous dinosaur.


Dippy in situ


A spokesperson for the council said: “Dippy is on his way to Rochdale and he will take pride of place on the ground floor of Number One Riverside for twenty weeks, with an accompanying Dippy exhibition also taking place at Touchstones.

“In order to do justice to this spectacular artefact, we will be transforming Number One Riverside's atrium into a fabulous exhibition space over the coming weeks.”

Known to millions from its usual home in the Natural History Museum, Dippy – which belongs to a group of dinosaurs called sauropods – will be used as the centrepiece of a display that will highlight local natural history and nature collections.


Number One Riverside prepares to host Dippy the Dinosaur


Living between 156 and 145 million years ago, the diplodocus was first described as a new type of dinosaur in 1878.

When railroad workers unearthed the fossilised bones of a diplodocus in Wyoming, USA, in 1898, newspapers billed the discovery as the 'most colossal animal ever on Earth'.

After hearing the reports, Scottish-born millionaire businessman Andrew Carnegie set out to acquire the bones as a centrepiece for his new museum in Pittsburg.

During the reconstruction of the skeleton at the Carnegie Museum, experts discovered subtle differences from the two other diplodocus species known at the time, Diplodocus longus and Diplodocus lacustris. As a result, the new species was named Diplodocus carnegii in honour of its owner.


Number One Riverside prepares to host Dippy the Dinosaur

King Edward VII saw a sketch of the diplodocus while visiting Carnegie at his Scottish castle and remarked how much he'd like a similar specimen for the animal galleries of the Natural History Museum. Carnegie obliged by commissioning a replica cast of his dinosaur.

Dippy is one of 10 replicas of the original Diplodocus carnegii in museums around the world, including Paris, Berlin, Vienna, and Moscow.

The 292-bone skeleton arrived in London in 36 packing cases and was unveiled to the public four months later in a lavish ceremony for 300 people, on Friday 12 May 1905.

Mirroring this success, Dippy on Tour has proved a record breaker, with over 1.5m people visiting the much-loved dinosaur at his tour stops so far; Dorset, Birmingham, Belfast, Glasgow, Newcastle and Cardiff.

Rochdale will be the penultimate stop, before the tour finishes at Norwich Cathedral in October 2020.

Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure, is being brought to Number One Riverside and visitors across the UK by the Natural History Museum in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation, and supported by Dell EMC and Williams & Hill.

An accompanying Dippy exhibition will be hosted at Touchstones Rochdale.

It’s free to see Dippy and visit the Dippy exhibition, but booking is required for schools and groups of 10+ people.

Dippy opens to the public on Monday 10 February.

Opening hours:
Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm
Saturday - Sunday: 9.30am - 5pm
Bank holidays: 10am - 4pm

Do you have a story for us?

Let us know by emailing
All contact will be treated in confidence.

To contact the Rochdale Online news desk, email or visit our news submission page.

To get the latest news on your desktop or mobile, follow Rochdale Online on Twitter and Facebook.

While you are here...

...we have a small favour to ask; would you support Rochdale Online and join other residents making a contribution, from just £3 per month?

Rochdale Online offers completely independent local journalism with free access. If you enjoy the independent news and other free services we offer (event listings and free community websites for example), please consider supporting us financially and help Rochdale Online to continue to provide local engaging content for years to come. Thank you.

Support Rochdale Online