Rochdale Pioneers

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Is the name given to William Cooper, Charles Howarth, and 26 founders of the Co‐operative movement, whose shop opened in Toad Lane in 1844. They had been encouraged by a lecture from George Holyoake on self‐help. It began on a small scale, opened only on Saturday and Monday evenings with the members serving in the shop. The principle was that profits should be redistributed to purchasers by means of a dividend. By 1851 there were 130 similar shops and by 1862 450 co‐operative enterprises. As the volume of business expanded, the original social, political, and educational objectives were pushed into the background by commercial considerations.

Subjects: British History.

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