1844 Rule Book

The Pioneers’ Rule Book 1844

Toad Lane, Rochdale is widely regarded as the home of the modern worldwide co-operative movement. This is not because it was the first consumer co-operative venture but because its Pioneers (founders) laid down a model of values and principles in their Rules that set out how, and why, to run a co-operative society.

The Rochdale_Pioneers_Rules_1844 became known as the ‘Rochdale Model of Consumer Co-operation’. Co-operatives the world over are now governed by a framework which the International Co-operative Alliance has developed from it.

The Objects of the Rochdale Pioneers

At the outset, the Pioneers had a clear set of what we now would call objectives – in 1844 they called them ‘Objects’.

The objects of the Society were stated in “Law the First” of their rules and were:

The objects and plans of the Society are to form arrangements for the pecuniary benefit, and improvement of the social and domestic condition of its members, by raising a sufficient amount of capital in shares of £1 each, to bring into operation the following plans and arrangements:

  • The establishment of a store for the sale of provisions, clothing, etc.
  • The building, purchasing or erecting of a number of houses, in which those members desiring to assist each other in improving their domestic and social condition may reside.
  • To commence the manufacture of such articles as the Society may determine upon, for the employment of such members as may be without employment or who may be suffering in consequence of repeated reductions in their wages.
  • As a further benefit and security to the members of this Society, the Society shall purchase or rent an estate or estates of land, which shall be cultivated by the members who may be out of employment or whose labour may be badly remunerated.
  • That as soon as practicable the Society shall proceed to arrange the powers of production, distribution, education and government, or in other words, to establish a self-supporting home colony of united interests, or assist other societies in establishing such colonies.
  • That for the promotion of sobriety, a temperance hotel be opened in one of the Society’s houses as soon as convenient.

Many aspects of these objects can be seen directly in the modern-day co-operative movement.

For more information please refer to The Rochdale Principles.