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20 things to know about Rochdale

​​​​Rochdale has a rich heritage. Read the following list of 20 things to know about Rochdale.

  1. Rochdale is recognised as the ‘Birthplace of Co-operation’ following the rules and principles established 175 years ago by the Rochdale Pioneers. These principles still underlie much of the activity of the Co-op today. Find out more about Rochdale's arts and heritage.
  2. The world-famous actress and singer Gracie Fields, who starred in both cinema and in music halls, was born in Rochdale. Other famous faces from the borough include Lisa Stansfield, Bill Oddie, Anna Friel, Steve Coogan, John Virgo, Jimmy Cricket and Julie Goodyear.
  3. Rochdale Town HallThe Grade-I Listed Rochdale Town Hall was finished in 1871 and cost £160,000 (£13 million as of 2014) to build. It is considered one of the finest Victorian Town Halls in Britain. More about the Town Hall.
  4. Our parks are the pride of the borough; from Queen’s Park in Heywood to Truffet Park in Langley and Milnrow Memorial Park. In total, the borough can boast 8 Green Flag Parks with plans in place for even more. More about parks and open spaces.
  5. Rochdale Sixth Form College is outstanding and recently came top of the class after being named the best college in the country for value added performance. Hopwood Hall College is the best performing college in Greater Manchester, according to Government’s national success rates league tables and 85% of our schools are ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’. More about Rochdale Sixth Form College.
  6. John ‘Earthquake’ Milne, credited with developing the seismograph and an early authority on building in earthquakes zones, was raised in Rochdale and later Milnrow.
  7. Milnrow has been described as "the centre of the south Lancashire dialect". John Collier (who wrote under the pseudonym of Tim Bobbin) was an acclaimed 18th-century caricaturist and satirical poet from Milnrow who wrote in a broad Lancashire dialect.
  8. In 2014 Tour de FranceLittleborough hosted a section of Stage 2 of Le Tour de France. It was hailed as a massive success, bringing tens of thousands of people into the town. The Manchester Evening News estimated that it gave a £1million boost to the local economy.
  9. A cotton loom machine from Littleborough weavers Fothergill & Harvey was converted to weave fibreglass after the decline of the cotton industry. It went on to produce the moulds that were used to make the Concorde’s nose cone.
  10. Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival is far more than just your average literature festival – it’s the ideas bit that makes the difference!! 6 days of inspiration covering literature, theatre, drama and visual arts.​ More about the festival.
  11. Rochdale’s golden era came during the 19th century as a centre for textile manufacture. It was a boomtown of the Industrial Revolution, driving massive projects such as the Rochdale Canal – one of the United Kingdom’s most important commerce routes.
  12. Rochdale’s Parish Church, St Chad’s, overlooks Rochdale Town Hall. There has been a church at this location for over 1000 years. The old stocks are still visible. More about Roc​​​hdale's Parish Church.
  13. Rochdale CountrysideThe borough has one of the most diverse landscapes in Greater Manchester – stretching from the suburbs of Manchester City Centre right into the beautiful Pennine hills, past the beautiful Hollingworth Lake (known as the Weighvers’ Seaport during the Victorian Era).
  14. Heywood is quite proudly known as ‘Monkey Town’ and the origins of this name have created a number of local legends. One of the most popular is that Heywood men once had tails – and many bar stools had a hole in them to allow them to sit comfortably. A more likely reason is that the name stemmed from a mispronunciation of local village ‘Heap Bridge’ as ‘Ape Bridge’.
  15. A member of the Heywood family and a resident of Heywood Hall was Peter Heywood, a magistrate who, with a party of men, arrested Guy Fawkes during the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Another member of the family, also called Peter Heywood, was aboard the HMS Bounty when its crew mutinied in 1789.
  16. The southern wing of St Luke's Church, well known throughout the area for its beautiful proportions and ornate carvings, is another suggested to have been one of Hitler's high-priority items for acquisition had he won the war. Although difficult to confirm, it is indeed one of the finest examples of its kind in the whole of England.
  17. The first edition of the Middleton Guardian rolled off the presses on December 1st 1877 and cost just 1p.
  18. The "Flodden Window", in the Grade-I Listed Church of St Leonard, is thought to be the oldest war memorial in the United Kingdom, memorialising the names of the archers of Middleton who fought at the Battle of Flodden Field (1513).
  19. In 1770, Middleton was a village of 20 houses; during the 18th and 19th centuries it grew into a thriving and populous seat of textile manufacture and now has a population of more than 45,000.
  20. Olde Boars HeadThe Grade-II listed Olde Boars Head dates back to the 14th Century and is rumoured to have been visited by Bonny Prince Charlie in 1745.

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