Rochdale is a large town in Greater Manchester, England, situated at the foothills of the South Pennines in the dale on the River Roch. It is the administrative centre of the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale. 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 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 socio-economic 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.
Rochdale is the birthplace of the modern Co-operative Movement, to which more than one billion people world-wide belonged in 2012. The Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society was founded in 1844 by 28 local residents as a response to the high cost and frequent adulteration of basic foodstuffs by shopkeepers at the time. The Pioneers were notable for combining the notion of the patronage dividend alongside investing trading surplus for member benefit, especially in education. The Rochdale Principles, the set of ideals which underpinned the society, are still used, in updated form, by the International Co-operative Alliance. The Rochdale Pioneers shop was the precursor to The Co-operative Group, the largest consumer co-operative in the world.
Rochdale has a population of over 211,699 people. Rochdale also forms part of the Greater Manchester metropolitan area which has a population of over 3,712,997 people.