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Littleborough Co-operative Heritage Trail

The Villas Residence Rochdale

The Co-operative in Littleborough

The Littleborough Co-operative Society of Industry started just 6 years after the Rochdale Pioneers began their Co-op in Toad Lane. Thirty one men met together in a cottage on Church Street. They were all fullers who took part in the cleansing process of wool at Sladen Mill in Littleborough.

As ordinary working people, the men have very few resources. However with £98, about £3 each, they pooled their funds and bought staple food stuff – flour, candles, tea and sugar. For the first six years these were sold in the evening after the day shift finished from the James Hill’s front room.

From these humble beginnings the Society was able to rent and then buy premises on Industry Street and Church Street. Soon the Co-op dominated the main shopping street, Hare Hill Road with different departments for Boots and Shoes, men’s outfitter, milliner; grocers, cafe and bakery. Residents at that time often remarked that they never needed to leave Littleborough because they could purchase everything in the village.

In addition to seven branches, the Littleborough Society had a painting and decorating department, coal delivery service, and a Dance Hall. They also built rows of small terraced houses, one of which is named Pioneer Street, off Barehill Street. The Littleborough Society was extremely successful and continued until it merged with the Rochdale Pioneers in 1968.

The Trail

The trail start on Church Street in Littleborough town centre. This one hour trail will take you to the Littleborough Co-operative Society of Industry buildings and sites which are part of the of the history of the development of Littleborough town centre. A longer extension to this trail can also be followed either by foot or by car. Buses and trains all stop within easy walking distance of Littleborough Square.


Read how the volunteers of Co-operatives History Group (Rochdale) have been raising the awareness of Co-op Heritage Trails. For more information about the trail or to pick up the leaflet, contact Rochdale Visitor Information Centre on 01706 924928 or online at

Mercure Grange Hotel External link Five ways to wellbeing
Littleborough Co-operative Heritage Trail (3.5Mb pdf)  Explore the Five Ways to Wellbeing