Our History

The Rochdale Pioneers Organisation has a long history laced with tradition and civic pride. The town itself is first mentioned in the Domesday Book fo 1086. Although at that time it was known only as “Recedham Manor.”

Known as a centre of the wool trade in Northern England in the 17th century, ‘remarkable for many wealthy merchants” in the early 18th century, a centre for the textile industry, and boomtown of the Industrial Revolution, Rochdale has a long tradition of being a centre for business. It is only in the later 20th century that our area became more of a residential community.

The history of RPO itself goes back to 1844 with the formation of the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society. This predecessor of our organisation was started by 28 of Rochdale’s local residents in response to the exorbitant prices of basic staples and tampering with essential foodstuffs.

Their creation led to the birth of the cooperative movement and then the Rochdale Principles. These are the guidelines that governed the operation of co-ops for over a century. In fact, they still do to a certain degree, in a modernized form.

They encouraged farmers, merchants, and producers to work together for their mutual benefit and that of the community as a whole. It started with an idea, grew into a small store, and eventually led to a change in the world as a whole.

Those are pretty big shoes to fill, but we know that together we can do it!

Our Organisation’s Growth
Everything changes with time and although our principles and goals have not changed much from our inspiration, we have. Our modern organization was formed by Rochdale business people who wanted to see the business sector of their town returned to the glory of its history.

They knew then as we do now that the best way to encourage the success of your own ventures is to encourage the success of those around you. Together we have grown our membership to include the best and brightest in the area historically known as Lancashire.

Our future lies in the entrepreneurs of tomorrow and we welcome the business people of today.