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Smallbridge Co-operative Heritage Trail

Smallbridge, Hurstead and Greengate Co-operative Society

The Co-operative in Smallbridge, Hurstead and Greengate

It is easy to miss the village of Smallbridge. It is a place you may, or may not, notice as you travel along the A58 towards Littleborough. This was not always the situation. By the later 19th century Smallbridge was a thriving, active, busy, working village with a colliery, 12 or more mills, numerous shops spreading along the Halifax Road, and several churches. Local schools came later. Houses were crowded and the streets close to each other; life was a bit rough and ready, but Smallbridge people knew what they wanted. Like many working people in the Borough of Rochdale at the time, they knew about political and social developments that were affecting their life chances. Over time they supported a series of Co-operative Societies and their stores, which flourished for many years alongside the varied small shops along Halifax Road. They had no need of Rochdale. One of these stores, the “Blue Store”, survived until 1968 when it closed before being demolished. It was the longest serving Conservative Co-op store in the Borough.

Like many of Smallbridge houses and streets, few Co-operative buildings withstood the construction of the A58 dual carriageway in the 1970’s. Towards Dearnley, two former Co-op buildings (at Hurstead and on New Road) remain ; there is another on the Wardle Road corner, but this is more difficult to distinguish from its attached buildings. Older residents speak with affection and vivid detail of the parts played by all these stores in improving the lives of their members. A few facts have been uncovered and we hope these will help you to appreciate the strong Co-operative past of this area.

Information

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 vic@link4life.org.

Smallbridge Co-operative Society External link Five ways to wellbeing
Smallbridge Co-operative Heritage trail (1.4Mb pdf) Explore the Five Ways to Wellbeing