On Saturday 27 June the sun shone for the Toad Lane Fun Day, a partnership between the Rochdale Pioneers Museum and St Mary in the Baum Church. The fun day was well attended and included stalls, afternoon tea, Victoria toys and games, crafts, face painting and storytelling. Revd Mark Coleman, Vicar of St Chad’s and St Mary’s in the Baum said “It was brilliant to see people having such a good time, playing games, having faces painted, eating tasty snacks at St Mary’s in the Baum on Saturday. So good to co-operate with the Rochdale Pioneers Museum and to see local residents inspired by the history of this great movement.”
The fun day also included the grand opening of Rochdale Pioneers Museum’s new WWI exhibition ‘From Shop Floor to Front Line’ which has been funded with a £10,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The exhibition explores the impact of the war on co-operative members and employees including the stories of co-operators who signed up to fight and those who refused to take up arms for reasons of conscience. It also reveals how the co-operative movement contributed to the war effort and how women’s roles in co-operative stores changed. Museum Manager Jenny Mabbott said “We are really pleased with the new exhibition and received lots of positive feedback at the opening. The exhibition is on until 14 May 2016 so we hope this will give people lots of time to visit and explore these unique WWI stories.”
The exhibition was opened by Mayor Councillor Surinder Biant who also launched the Rochdale Borough Social Enterprise and Co-operative Forum’s new directory and Community Energy initiative. Mayor Surinder Biant said: “People don’t realise the impact that the co-operative movement has had all over the world, so it is something people should keep up their support for. It is important for Rochdale.” Copies of the directory and a leaflet about the Community Energy initiative are available at the Rochdale Pioneers Museum.
The ‘From Shop Floor to Front Line’ exhibition is suitable for all ages, with a variety of interactive activities including dressing up clothes, a family friendly exhibition trail and the opportunity to record a message for a soldier. The exhibition is part of a wider project which includes the opportunity for young people from Rochdale Youth Service to work with Rowbot Street CIC during the summer holidays to produce a range of short films inspired by the exhibition. Community groups, co-operative groups and local history societies are also invited to book a free workshop which includes a guided tour of the exhibition. If you are interested please contact email@example.com or 01706 524920.