The Co-operative Heritage Trust is independent from us but has unique links to our history and heritage. It has two distinct parts - Rochdale Pioneers Museum and the National Co-operative Archive. Read more about both below.

View of museum from behind flower bed

The Rochdale Pioneers Museum

On 21 December 1844, 28 working people known as the Rochdale Pioneers opened a co-operative shop. They sold pure food at fair prices and using honest weights and measures. They encouraged local people to become members, to take part in controlling the business and to share in the profits. Now you can step back in time to see the site of the original store and find out what life was like in Victorian Rochdale.


The exhibitions include a range of co-operative artefacts from delivery bikes to banners. There's also a changing programme of exhibitions that explores a range of co-operative themes.


As well as individual visits, the museum also welcomes group tours from around the world, including local history groups and coach tours. For a small charge, the museum's knowledgeable guides can provide groups with an inspiring 30 minute introduction too.

printing co-operative (archive)

The National Co-operative Archive

The National Co-operative Archive is home to an internationally recognised collection of materials related to the history of the co-operative movement. They are located in central Manchester and are open to all.

Visitors to the Archive can be inspired and learn from our collections that cover a wide range of subjects including retail and commerce, women’s history, war, education, social history, film and photographs.

The Collections

The collections hold personal correspondences of individuals who shaped the early co-operative movement and influenced other co‑operators. There are a range of business records produced by retail and wholesale co-ops across the country, including minute books and financial records. 

The photograph collections document the working lives of co-operative employees as well as showing how factories operated at different times. There are also magazines and journals containing advertising for a wide range of products whilst there's also a range of sample food packaging from the 1930s to the present day.

Visiting the Archive

The Archive is open Tuesday-Friday 10-4.30 by appointment. You can contact them in advance at [email protected] or call 0161 214 0861. They also welcome enquiries about all aspects of co-operative history. 

Find out more information about the National Co-operative Archive and Rochdale Pioneers Museum over on The Co-operative Heritage Trust website below. 

The Co-operative Heritage Trust