Manchester's Ten  Metropolitan Boroughs





Coat of Arms of Rochdale

Rochdale Coat of Arms

The design consists of a shield and crest with helm and supporters badge.
The whole Arms represents the new Rochdale metropolitan authority, with
symbols of its six old boroughs – Rochdale, Heywood, Middleton, Littleborough,
Milnrow and Wardle – and the local industries and emblems which were
part of their own Arms and traditions.
The shield itself is green with a white wave running down the middle
of which is a roach, signifying the River Roch, surrounded by a gold
border with six red roses, suggesting the boundary of an area drawn
from the six Lancastrian authorities.
Above the shield is a helm (or helmet) decorated with emblems of local
industries – woolpack, fleece, millrind and cotton plants – these stand
for the textile industries (wool and later cotton) and engineering.
The fleece is also the emblem of Milnrow, and the cotton wreath is taken
from the Arms of Middleton.
To the left is a supporting figure of the golden eagle of Rome, a reference
to Roman relics found in the Littleborough area and the road over Blackstone
Edge (also represented in the pavement at the base, set in Pennine Moorland).
The pavement stands in place of a motto or text. The eagle wears a ribbon
at its neck from which hangs a Ram’s Head, the emblem of Wardle. On
the right stands a supporting Falcon, the old emblem of the Heywood
family. From its neck ribbon hangs a black pierced mullet, or spur rowel
taken from the crest of the Assheton family which was incorporated in
the old Arms of Middleton.
The crest wreaths are intended to be of silk, another reference to an
old industry once found in Middleton.

Pioneers Museum

Lane, Rochdale. Telephone: 01706-524 920. Website:

Rochdale Pioneers Museum

Regarded as the starting place of the world-wide Co-operative Movement, this
little shop in Toad Lane first opened for trading in December 1844,
selling just a few basic commodities : butter, sugar, flour, oatmeal
and candles.
The building has been acquired by the Co-operative Union and is now
a permanent museum in honour of those original Rochdale Pioneers who
conceived the idea of a co-operative, and is set in the middle of a
conservation area. Visitors can still see the shop as it was on that
first day of trading, with its simple furnishings and equipment. In
an adjoining room is a permanent exhibition telling the story of the
Rochdale Pioneers from their foundation to their centenary in 1944.

An upper room was used by the Pioneers for education, and is now used
for meetings and exhibitions.


Sited in Rochdale town centre, just behind the modern Rochdale Shopping
Centre and close to the present Norwest Co-operative Society Store.


Tuesday-Saturday from 10.00am-4.00pm, Sunday from 2.00pm-4.00pm. Closed
Mondays except Bank Holidays with half price concessions. Times may
have changed – please check before setting out.

Engine House

Way, Milnrow, Rochdale. Telephone: 01706-881 952.

Ellenroad Engine House, Milnrow, Rochdale

Claimed to be home to the world’s largest working mill steam engine, housed in the old
Ellenroad Cotton Mill which was built in 1892 on the banks of the River
Beal. It drove the machinery which produced cotton yarn using mule spinning,
using a triple expansion steam engine powered from 5 boilers.
The cotton mill was destroyed by fire in 1916, but the engine and boiler
house survived more-or-less intact. Rebuilt in 1919 it reopened as the
Ellenroad Ring Spinning Mill, powered by 3000 horsepower twin engines
– Victoria and Alexandra. The flywheel weighs 85 tons and is 28 feet
in diameter. Forty-four ropes take its power to the four floors of the
This machinery continued in active operation until 1975 when the mill
was electrified, and this last of the great Lancashire mill steam engines
fell silent. In 1985 the Ellenroad Trust was formed as a Registered
Charity, and took over the engine house. Restoration began immediately,
and thanks to their conservation work, all the engines now run in full
working order, and can be seen by the public in full steam on the first
Sunday of every month, as well as on special occasions. Several engines
on display, including the Whitelees Beam Engine.
Of particular interest to industrial archaeologists, historians and
engineers, the Ellenroad engine with its blued steel and polished brass,
provides enjoyment and fascination to non-specialists too.


Situated beside Junction 21 of the M62 Motorway, signposted “Shaw”.
There is a rail station at Milnrow, just a few minutes walk away.

Open 12.00noon -4.00pm. Free parking. Admission charge payable – currently
about �2.50 with half price concessions, but times and prices may have
changed – please check before setting out.



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This page last updated 27 Apr 09.