Leaders from the Co-operative Movement followed in the footsteps of the original Pioneers, as they attended the grand re-opening of the refurbished Rochdale Pioneers Museum this morning (Monday 29 October).
Co-operators, Rochdale Council, museum staff and members of the press gathered early in the morning to mark the official re-opening of the Museum, which has recently undergone a two-year £2.3m facelift.
Dame Pauline Green, the President of the International Co-operative Alliance and the four vice presidents; Stanley Charles Muchiri, Ramón Imperial Zúñiga, Li Chunsheng and Felice Scalvini, were some of the first official visitors to the Museum.
Dame Pauline said: "This is a great moment for the Co-operative Movement, this little shop in Rochdale is where the global co-operative movement started.”
She added: “I am sure it will help to inspire today’s and tomorrow’s co-operators and demonstrate how co-operation can help build a better world.”
The Museum, at 31 Toad Lane, incorporates the original Co-operative Society shop and has been updated to include new visitor facilities, learning spaces and displays from the co-operative archive, including the first minute book of the Rochdale Pioneers.
It has also brought in new members of staff to work with schools, colleges and the local community.
Museum Guide, Clare Hirst, who comes from Rochdale explained: “We’ve been waiting for this moment for months, we’re very excited and feel privileged to have seen this museum go through what it’s come through and finally open today.”
“We do think that education is vital, it was a principle written by the Pioneers, and we’d love children and families to be able to come to the Museum and use it as an educational source to learn about their local heritage.”
The Museum received a grant of £1.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Sara Hilton, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said: “The development of the co-operative movement is an important part of our social history – both for local communities and for people across the world.
“By safeguarding the collection and redeveloping the Rochdale Pioneers’ building, this project means that more people will have the opportunity to learn about and be inspired by the wonderful story of the co-operative movement.”
The re-opening of the Museum coincides with Co-operatives United in Manchester, which marks the end of the International Year of Cooperatives. Rochdale expects over 1,000 people from all over the world will make the trip during Co-operatives United to visit the home of the modern Co-operative Movement.
In this article
- British co-operative movement
- Co-operatives United
- Felice Scalvini
- Greater Manchester
- Li Chunsheng
- Pauline Green
- Person Career
- Rochdale Pioneers Museum
- Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers
- Social Issues
- Stanley Charles Muchiri
- The Co-operative brand
- The Co-operative Group
- The museum
- vice presidents
- United Kingdom