A retelling of the story of the Rochdale Pioneers has been published by the Co-operative College.
The Toad Lane Time Travellers, written and drawn by Pippa and Joel Pixley, is designed for Key Stage 1 (aged 5-7), and follows two children as their school trip to the Rochdale Pioneers Museum turns into a time-travelling adventure.
A period costume transports them to Victorian England, where they witness the life of working-class children, from factory conditions and strict lessons to cramped houses and city-wide pollution.
They also find out how shopkeepers were more concerned about their own profit than their customers’ health, adulterating food with cheaper ingredients to make it go further.
Then, on the opening night of the Rochdale Pioneers’ shop on Toad Lane – now the site of the museum – the adventurers learn how the Pioneers wanted to do things differently by working together fairly and honestly.
In 2014, the authors published an illustrated series aimed at teaching 3-5 year olds about co-operation through the story of a honeybee called Harmony. “What I found really interesting about honeybees was the stages they go through and the different jobs they do before they ever become foraging field bees,” said Pippa.
“It reminds me of how children develop through stages and abilities, too. So I wanted to follow Harmony through her development and learning process – something children could identify with.”
The hope is that this new story will provide a new way for 5-7 year olds to learn about the origin of co-operatives. The Toad Lane Time Travellers project was supported by the Co-operative Heritage Trust as well as the Heritage Lottery Fund, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and John Paul Getty Junior Foundation.
Julie Thorpe, school programmes manager at the Co-operative College, said: “The Toad Lane Time Travellers was produced as part of the Heritage Lottery funded project which aimed to make the museum and Co-operative Archive more accessible.
“Pippa Pixley visited Toad Lane and came up with the fascinating idea of the museum as a time machine.
“Copies of the book, which includes classroom activities based on the story, have been distributed to co-operative primary schools where they have been greeted enthusiastically. The story is encouraging more schools to arrange visits to the museum – and, for those too far away, it brings the museum to them.”
In this article
- Co-operative College
- Esme Fairbairn Foundation
- Heritage Lottery Fund
- Joel Pixley
- John Paul Getty
- Julie Thorpe
- Pippa Pixley
- Rochdale Pioneers
- Rochdale Pioneers Museum
- Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers
- Social Issues
- The Co-operative brand
- The Co-operative Group
- The Rochdale Pioneers
- toad lane
- United Kingdom
- North America
- United Kingdom
- Top Stories