Rochdale Travel Guide

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Hollingworth Lake, Rochdale

Matthew J Nelson

ROCHDALE'S past is inextricably linked with the Industrial Revolution, but its origins go back to Roman times.

The valley where Rochdale sits was created by the River Roch (pronounced Roach) which flows off the Pennines and through the town centre. This is the only downhill route out of the town.

The first documented evidence of the town of Rochdale comes from the Domesday Book, which mentions the existence of the manor of Recedham where some 300 people lived.

The 1770s and 1780s saw the advent of the Industrial Revolution and suddenly Rochdale became a major industrial centre, with its landscape dominated by huge mills and its population expanded by people who flocked in from rural areas in search of work.

The men of Toad Lane also made their mark on history, both locally and further afield. In 1844 a group of spinners and artisans established premises here, supplying food and clothing for their members. The experiment was a success and led to the Co-operative Movement that has spread worldwide. A museum in Toad Lane today commemorates their achievements.

No history of Rochdale would be complete without mention of the colourful entertainer Gracie Fields, larger-than-life Liberal MP Cyril Smith who put the town on the political map, and singing star Lisa Stansfield who went on to sell millions of records worldwide.

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