Museums & Galleries
There are museums, galleries, and places of historic interest all across the borough. Many are open all year, others at specific times. Always check the opening times before planning your visit.
Re-opening in 2012 after a full refurbishment, the Pioneer’s Museum is the home of the modern Co-operative movement. The museum is built around the original shop opened by the ‘Rochdale Pioneers’ in 1844.
Rochdale’s main museum and art gallery is Touchstones Rochdale. Based in the town’s original library building this award-winning Arts and Heritage Centre has something for everyone. There are six exhibition spaces, a museum, local studies centre, tourist information centre, gift shop and café.
Although not museums, Rochdale Town Hall and the parish church of St Chads are both open to visitors. The Town Hall is a magnificent Grade 1 Listed Victorian Gothic structure with fine stained glass, ceramics and carvings showing the pride of 19th century Rochdale. On the hill behind the Town Hall is the parish church which showcases many different periods and styles of architecture, with the tower dating from 1190.
Housed in Rochdale’s 1933 fire station The Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum contains a fascinating collection of exhibits, some in recreations of Victorian and World War 2 scenes.
Littleborough Coach House and Heritage Centre is a beautifully restored building in a quiet part of Littleborough town centre. It contains a café, exhibitions, and an information point.
Ellenroad Engine House, in Newhey, houses the world’s only fully working cotton mill engine with its original steam-raising boilers, and tells the story of the area’s textile heyday.
Amongst the attractions in Middleton are The Old Boar's Head Inn, dating back to the late 16th century. This fascinating half-timbered building is still a popular and comfortable pub. Nearby is St Leonard’s Parish Church, a Grade 1 Listed building with a notable history, including the Flodden window, the country’s oldest glass window war memorial. The church also boasts an unusual wooden spire and a rare brass from the English civil war.
These are just a few of the area’s museums and galleries.