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Rochdale visitors on a trip back in time

Press release   •   Nov 04, 2013 16:01 GMT

Rochdale town centre has gone back to its roots with the installation of stylish new information boards detailing the area’s impressive heritage.

The boards, situated on Wet Rake Gardens, Drake Street, on Maclure Road and on Toad Lane, tell visitors all about Rochdale’s proud history.

They use original historic photos and visuals to tell the story of these distinctive areas in a move to encourage locals and visitors to find out more about these well-known parts of the town.

The board situated in Maclure Road tells how the Grade II Listed St John the Baptist Church opposite Rochdale railway station was opened in 1830 mainly to cater for the influx of Irish workers who settled in the town to work in its thriving textile industry.

Visitors to Toad Lane will find out about its history as a popular packhorse route from Rochdale market to Whitworth, Bacup and Rawtenstall as well as the Baum’s former life as a hardware shop.

And Drake Street’s history as one of Rochdale’s principal residential areas may come as a surprise to people who know it solely as a shopping street.

The boards, elements of which have been designed to look like the original Victorian tramway poles, are a collaborative project between Rochdale Borough Council, the Pioneers museum and Link4Life’s arts and heritage service based at Touchstones Rochdale.

The Town Centre Map of Rochdale, which has been updated to guide people through the newly transformed town centre, is also contained on the new boards. The map shows all the new developments in Rochdale, highlights the green spaces and provides accurate information on car parking spaces across the town centre.

The old fingerpost signs, which direct pedestrians around the town centre, have also been replaced as part of the upgrade.

The changes complete the transformation of the town centre which has benefited from a series of public realm improvements in recent months including revamped shop fronts for traders on Drake Street and the restoration of the historic ginnels on Bull Brow.

Councillor Cecile Biant, Chair of the Rochdale Township, said: “The huge improvements in the town centre are clear for everyone to see. The historical design of these signs evokes the great heritage tradition in our town and we hope people will enjoy learning more about Rochdale’s past, of which we should all be proud.”

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