Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pioneers Museum

The Rochdale Pioneers Museum opens soon. Refurbed with a visitor centre on the empty plot next door. That comes to 2.3 million GBP in building work. Well if you've come all the way from abroad it would be good to see more than two floors of tiny store.

It was used by the Pioneers as their shop from that historic date on 21st December 1844 until sometime in 1867 when they moved to their new Central Stores up the road. Fortunately for the history of co-operation the building was bought by the Co-Operative Union in 1925 thus saving it from redvelopement. The museum opened with due ceremony on Saturday 11th April 1931. Even then it was talked about as a place of pilgrimage for co-operators from all over the world.

We visited years ago so well overdue another visit to Rochdale. When the the new tram to Rochdale opens in 2014 it will be possible to go from Hardy Lane to the Museum on this modern transport system. Changing at Victoria and maybe a walk involved. But we're not waiting until then we'll be up there next month.

The new website is in place, still a few bits missing, but a vast improvement on the previous. Link.
Illustration dates from M&SE Herald 1909.

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