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Middleton Co-operative Heritage Trail

Middleton and Tonge Co-operative Society

The Co-operative in Middleton

The Middleton and Tonge Industrial Co-operative Society opened their first store in 1850 in Little Park. The Central Store with its decorative clock was built in 1871 on Long Street, and was probably the most impressive Co-op building in Middleton town centre at the time. The Store, of which only the ground floor remains, was perfectly integrated to the urban landscape in the Victorian times. Like in the other towns and villages of Rochdale Borough where the Co-op societies where successful, the Middleton and Tonge Co-operative Society contributed to the urban development with the construction of purpose-built stores and shops. This information leaflet tells the story of the Co-op society and is illustrated with fantastic historic photographs revealing the beauty of the co-op buildings, most of which are now gone.

Aside from the Co-operative Society, the town of Middleton has a rich history which dates back to the 15th century. Thomas Langley, Samuel Bamford and Edgar Wood are three of the most important figures of the town. Edgar Wood was born in Middleton in 1860 and was the architect of Long Street Methodist Church and many other buildings in Middleton. He too has contributed to give Middleton its special architectural character.


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

Middleton and Tonge Co-operative Society External link Five ways to wellbeing
Middleton Co-operative Heritage trail (2.4Mb pdf) Explore the Five Ways to Wellbeing