Rochdale Pioneers Museum

An exterior view of the Rochdale Pioneers Museum showing the new access tower on the left and the original co-op store on the right.
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On 21 December 1844 the Rochdale Pioneers opened their store selling pure food at fair prices and honest weights and measures. The business revolution that started here now involves a billion co-operators as members of 1.4 million co-operative societies across the world. Rochdale is known as the birthplace of the modern co-operative and the museum is housed in the Pioneers' original store at 31 Toad Lane.
Visitors can walk into the original store, laid out as it would have been on the opening night in 1844. There are displays about the Pioneers and the global co-operative movement.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Mon: Closed
Tue: 10 am - 5 pm
Wed: 10 am - 5 pm
Thu: 10 am - 5 pm
Fri: 10 am - 5 pm
Sat: 10 am - 5 pm
Sun: Closed

Admission charges


Collection details

Fine Art, Personalities, Archives, Social History

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
From Shop Floor to Front Line

From Shop Floor to Front Line

  • 31 May 2015 — 31 May 2016 *on now

On the Outbreak of WWI in 1914, there were over 1500 co-operative societies in Great Britain, with 150 thousand employees and 3.1 million members. From Shop Floor to Front Line is an exhibition exploring the impact the war had on co-operative members and employees. Come and discover the stories of those who signed up to fight and those who refused to take up arms for reasons of conscience. Find out how the co-operative movement contributed to the war effort and see how women’s roles in co-operative stores changed.

This exhibition is suitable for all ages, with a variety of interactive activities including dressing up clothes and the opportunity to record a message for a soldier.

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • Family friendly


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Exhibition Photo

WWI Exhibition Tours - Heritage Open Days

  • 10 September 2015 2-2:30pm
  • 12 September 2015 11-11:30am

Join Museum Officer Jonathan Priestley for a special tour of the ‘From Shop Floor to Front Line’ exhibition and discover the stories of co-operative employees who became soldiers and of those who objected for reasons of conscience. Learn how the role of women in co-operative societies changed and find out how the co-operative movement as a whole rallied for the collective war effort.

These tours are part of the national Heritage Open Days initiative. Free, donations welcome. Advance bookings only (15 places maximum).

Please book by calling 01706 524920 or email

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children


Grave Tour

Pioneer Graveyard Promenade - Heritage Open Days

  • 11 September 2015 11am-12pm

Fifteen of the original 28 Rochdale Pioneers are buried in Rochdale Cemetery. Take a stroll around a selection of the graves with Rochdale Pioneers Museum volunteer Ray Jones and find out about the lives of these great individuals whose actions changed the world and are the reason Rochdale is known as the ‘global capital of co-operation’.

Free, donations welcome. Advance bookings only (15 places maximum). Please book by calling 01706 524920 or

Meet at Rochdale Cemetery main entrance on Bury Road. Weather permitting.

Please note this tour may not be suitable for people who are unsteady on their feet. Please wear appropriate footwear for walking in muddy and uneven conditions



WWI Projected - Youth Project Unveiling

  • 12 September 2015 1-4pm

During summer 2015 young people from Rochdale Youth Service have been learning about the experiences of co-operative members and employees during the First World War. In response to the ‘From Shop Floor to Front Line’ exhibition they have created moving short films and animations and have developed new ways to project the completed films. Join us for the launch of these projected pieces and gain a fascinating insight into the past through the eyes of local young people.

Free, drop in. No need to book.

Visit closer to the time for more information.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Rochdale Pioneers Museum
31 Toad Lane
OL12 0NU




01706 524920

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.