In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Rochdale like this:
Rochdale, parl. and mun. bor. and par., SE. Lancashire, on river Roch and Rochdale Canal, 10 miles NE. of Manchester and 192 from London by rail - par. (including Saddleworth township, West-Riding Yorkshire), 60,626 ac., pop. 153,448; bor., 4172 ac., pop. 68,860; 5 Banks, 3 newspapers. Market-days, Monday and Saturday. Rochdale is a place of great antiquity; there was a Roman station in the vicinity. It was early noted for its woollen mfrs., which in the time of Elizabeth had attained to great prosperity; it is still a seat of the woollen trade, chiefly flannels, but to a greater extent it is a seat of the cotton trade, chiefly calicoes; it has also foundries, machine shops, a paper-mill, &C., and in the neighbourhood are quarries of free-stone and pavement, and extensive collieries. ...
Several of the old streets have of late years been widened out, and the appearance of the town has been much improved. The parish church (St Chad's), of 12th century, situated on an eminence, is approached from the lower part of the town by a flight of 122 steps. There are public baths and a free library. Rochdale is the centre of the co-operative movement, which originated there in 1844. Lord Byron's family were barons of Rochdale, and held the manor for more than 200 years. It was made a parl. bor. in 1832, and a municipal bor. in 1856. It returns 1 member to Parliament.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Rochdale has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Rochdale. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Rochdale and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Rochdale in Lancashire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 20th May 2013
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