The Co-operative is a familiar sight on our high streets, lending its name to everything from supermarkets to banks, funeral homes and pharmacies, but did you know that it all started in 19th Century Rochdale, when a group of poor weavers got together to set up a grocery store? The idea soon spread, and co-operators branched out into all kinds of other ventures. Find out more about the long and varied history of co-operation in the UK at a new series of free, monthly lectures covering everything from co-op architecture to Christmas at the Co-op. Other talks will discuss aspects of co-operative life such the Labour-affiliated Co-operative political party, and 20th Century co-op women’s magazines. Kicking off on Thursday 20 September with a talk on 19th Century social reformer and co-operator Robert Owen, lectures will take place in the recently refurbished Rochdale Pioneers Museum – housed in the building where the weavers who became known as the Rochdale Pioneers set up their first co-op store in 1844 – which is widely regarded as the birthplace of the modern-day co-operative movement. If your curiosity’s been piqued, the talks run up until March 2013, and the Museum itself reopens later this year. Advance bookings only – email

Thu 20 Sep then third Thursday of each month, Rochdale Pioneers Museum, 31 Toad Lane, Rochdale, OL12 0NU. Tel: 07855 265402, 6pm, FREE,

Thu 20 Sep
Natalie Bradbury
Published on:
Mon 17 Sep 2012