Rochdale is a large town in Greater Manchester, England, at the foothills of the South Pennines in the dale on the River Roch, 5.3 miles (8.5 km) northwest of Oldham and 9.8 miles (15.8 km) northeast of Manchester. It is the administrative centre of the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, which had a population of 211,699 in 2011.
Previously administered by Lancashire County Council, Rochdale is part of the historic county of Lancashire whilst being administered under the ceremonial county of Greater Manchester. Rochdale’s recorded history begins with an entry in the Domesday Book of 1086 under
“Recedham Manor”. The ancient parish of Rochdale was a division of the hundred of Salford and one of the largest ecclesiastical parishes in England, comprising several townships. By 1251, Rochdale had become important enough to have been granted a Royal charter. Rochdale flourished into a centre of northern England’s woollen trade, and by the early 18th century was described as being “remarkable for many wealthy merchants”.
Rochdale rose to prominence in the 19th century as a mill town and centre for textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution. It was a boomtown of the Industrial Revolution, and amongst the first industrialised towns. The Rochdale Canal—one of the major navigable broad canals of the United Kingdom—was a highway of commerce during this time used for the haulage of cotton, wool and coal to and from the area. The socioeconomic change brought by the success of Rochdale’s textile industry in the 19th century led to its rise to borough status and it remained a dominant settlement in its region. However, during the 20th century Rochdale’s spinning capacity declined towards an eventual halt.