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Blue and purple plaques

Blue plaques celebrate famous people, places and historic events in the borough of Rochdale.

Purple plaques in Rochdale borough celebrate Dame Gracie Fields and mark places of significance in her life.

Butterworth Jewellers blue plaque, St Chad's Parish Church purple plaque and Peterloo Demonstration blue plaque.

Follow our blue and purple plaque trails in Rochdale

There are 2 walks you can do which cover the blue or purple plaques we have in Rochdale:

  • Blue plaque walk around Rochdale town centre - this walk will take you on a journey to discover the rich cultural history of Rochdale town centre. From the Old Duke of Wellington Hotel to the Gothic marvel of the Town Hall, you'll get chance to discover the rich history and influential people behind Rochdale.
  • Purple plaque walk - this walk will take you around Rochdale and allows you to visit every one of the purple plaques to learn more about the life of Dame Gracie Fields.
​​​Blue plaque walk around Rochdale town centre details and map (2.9MB pdf)​​ .​​​Purple plaque​ walk details and map (1.1MB pdf)

Blue and purple plaques in Rochdale borough

Find locations, year and brief information about the blue and purple plaques across the borough of Rochdale.

Blue and purple plaques in Rochdale

Alice Ingham's home
149 Yorkshire Street, Rochdale OL12 0DR
Years marked: 1830-1890
Blue plaque
Alice Ingham was the funder of the Franciscan Missionaries of St Joseph.

Annie and Frank Maskew
Touchstones Rochdale, The Esplanade, Rochdale OL16 1AQ
Year marked: 1954
Blue plaque
Annie and Frank Maskew met here in 1954, then Rochdale Central Library. Their bequest to Rochdale Library Service ensured that the books and culture that brought them together were available for future generations to enjoy through the Rochdale Literatre and Ideas Festival and the Maskew Collection of classic literature and philosophy at Number One Riverside.

Annie and Frank Maskew Blue Plaque.

Baron Street
10 Baron Street, Rochdale OL16 1SB
Year: 1902-1910
Purple plaque
Before it was demolished, 10 Baron Street was Gracie Field's childhood home.

Blue Bell Inn
20 Newgate, Rochdale OL16 1BA
Years marked: 1745-1911
Blue plaque
One of only 4 public houses listed in the 1626 Manor Survey of Rochdale. The Blue Bell (rebuilt in 1745) derives its name from the medieval church bell traditionally painted blue. It's now a grade II listed building.

Bull Brow
Sparrow Hill, Rochdale OL16 1ES
Year marked: 1820
Blue plaque
It's believed the name of this passage comes from cattle brought to the nearby slaughterhouses. This pathway led to the River Roch where bull-baiting was a regular attraction until the fatal event of 8 November 1820, marking the end of this savage pastime in Rochdale.

Bull Brow blue plaque.

Butterworth Jewellers
14 Drake Street, Rochdale OL16 1NT
Year marked: 1896
Blue plaque
Since 1903, this property has been occupied by Butterworth Jewellers, which is the longest established family-run business within the town centre.

Butterworth Jewellers blue plaque.

Blue Bell Inn
20 Newgate, Rochdale OL16 1BA
Years marked: 1745-1911
Blue plaque
One of only 4 public houses listed in the 1626 Manor Survey of Rochdale. The Blue Bell (rebuilt in 1745) derives its name from the medieval church bell traditionally painted blue. It's now a grade II listed building.

Champness Hall
Blue plaque
Drake Street, Rochdale OL16 1PB
Years marked: 1832-1905
This hall bears the name of Thomas Champness, a Methodist minister and pioneer in lay training and community projects. His friend, Charles Heap JP founded the 'Rochdale Mission' which was housed in this building, so named in commemoration of Champness. Regular worship sessions were held in the Art Deco style auditorium, the centre piece of the hall.

Purple plaque
Drake Street, Rochdale OL16 1PB
Year marked: 1947
Gracie Fields marked her return to broadcasting after World War 2 at the Champness Hall when 'Our Working Party' was broadcast live from here in 1947.

Church of St Edmund
Edmund Street, Rochdale OL12 6PL
Years marked: 1870-1873
Blue plaque
The outstanding Freemasonic architecture represents the pinnacle of James Medland and Harry Taylor's architectural skills. The building was founded by notable Rochdale banker, industrialist and Freemason, Albert Hudson Royds. It's now a grade I listed building.

Church steps
Packer Street and Nelson Street, Rochdale OL16 1NJ
Years marked: none
Blue plaque
Possibly dating back to the 12th century, these steps have been the key route linking the town centre to the Church of St Chad for hundreds of years. Mourning relatives would climb these steps and scatter rue and rosemary in 'Gods Acre' (St Chad's Churchyard) as an offering to ease the spirits of their loved ones.

Church Steps blue plaque.

County Court (former)
10 Fleece Street, Rochdale OL16 1LY
Year marked: 1875
Blue plaque
Originally designed as a Post Office to house the increasing demands of a growing Rochdale, this building was the County Courts of Rochdale from the 1930s to 1998.

Fashion Corner
57-59 Drake Street, Rochdale OL16 1XL
Year marked: 1922
Blue plaque
In 1922, this building was opened as the drapery emporium of the Rochdale Pioneers - the Fashion Corner of Rochdale. Sold to Rochdale Council in 1983, it became the 'Project House' then 'Poll Tax House'. It was renamed 'Fashion Corner' by the council in 1995 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Co-op.

John Bright's burial place
Wall of the 'Society of Friends' (Quaker's) Burial Ground, George Street and Ball Street, Rochdale OL16 2RR
Years marked: 1811-1889
Blue plaque
John Bright was a 19th century social reformer and politician. He is buried here in this Society of Friends burial ground. He is mainly remembered for his association with Richard Cobden in forming the Anti-Corn Law League.

Kenion Street Music Building
Kenion Street, Rochdale OL16 1SN
Years marked: 1977-1984
Blue plaque
From 1977 onwards, this building saw an endless stream of bands from Manchester, Liverpool and from all over the British Isles pass through its doorways as it became the place for groups to record and to buy and hire their equipment.
Joy Division recorded here from 1978 onwards and had their bass equipment custom built on the ground floor.

Milkstone Road
2 Milkstone Road, Rochdale OL11 1ED
Years marked: none
Purple plaque
Formerly the site of the Schofield's off licence. Bertha and Ada Schofield were close family friends of the Stansfield family and Gracie always visited them on her return visits to Rochdale up to the 1960s.

Molesworth Street
Molesworth Street, Rochdale OL16 2AW
Years marked: 1898-1979
Purple plaque
The site of the famous fish and chip shop where Gracie Fields was born in the upstairs bedroom.

The purple plaque at Molesworth Street.

Regal Cinema (former)
The Regal Moon, The Butts, Rochdale OL16 1HB
Year marked: 1949
Purple plaque
Gracie Fields performed a charity concert here in April 1949 on her return to the town. There is a photographic display of Gracie on the walls inside the pub.

Roch Bridge
Touchstones Rochdale, The Esplanade, Rochdale OL16 1AQ
Years marked: 1910-1926
Blue plaque
The River Roch is bridged for a distance of 445 metres - the widest bridge in Europe. Originally dating from at least the early 17th century. It was first extended from Yorkshire Street to Wellington Bridge in 1904 and again in 1910, 1923 and 1926.

Rochdale Hornets

Roebuck Inn, Yorkshire Street, Rochdale OL16 1BH

Years marked: 1871
Blue plaque
At this place, the directors of Rochdale Wasps, Rochdale United and Rochdale Football Club met to form a senior club to represent the whole town. They called that club Rochdale Hornets.

Rochdale Market
St Chad's garden wall, Church Lane, Rochdale OL16 1QR
Years marked: none
Blue plaque
Rochdale was one of the first towns in Lancashire to obtain Market Charter in 1251.
The market was held in this vicinity until the mid 18th century. Cattle markets continued here 3 times a year until 1887.

Rochdale Remembrance Gardens
The Esplanade, Rochdale OL16 1XA - the plaque is located on the wall to the northern entrance of the memorial gardens.
Year marked: 1947
Blue plaque
These gardens were constructed by the County Borough of Rochdale in compliance with a decision of the towns meeting called by the then Mayor, Councillor Noman Richards Woolfenden JP on 14 April 1947. A fitting Memorial to the gallant fallen of the 1939-1945 war.

Rochdale Remembrance Gardens.

Rochdale Town Hall
Blue plaque
The Esplanade, Rochdale OL16 1AB
Years marked: 1871-1887
Following a disastrous fire in 1883, the tower was rebuilt in 1887 to designs by Alfred Waterhouse. Nationally acclaimed as an outstanding example of Gothic Revival architecture. It's a grade I listed building.

Rochdale Town Hall.

Purple plaque
The Esplanade, Rochdale OL16 1AB
Years marked: 1898-1979
The town hall is a focal point of Gracie Field's many return visits to Rochdale.

The purple plaque on the wall of the town hall.

Site of the old Circus and New Hippodrome Theatre
Newgate, Rochdale OL16 1XA
Year marked: 1910
Purple plaque
Gracie Field's first professional performance took place at the Hippodrome in 1910.

St Chad's Parish Church
Sparrow Hill, Rochdale OL16 1QT
Years marked: 1897-1989
Purple plaque
Gracie Field's parents, Jenny and Fred Stansfield, married here in 1897. Gracie was also baptised as Grace Stansfield here in 1898.

St Chad's Vicarage
Former Rochdale Museum, Sparrow Hill, Rochdale OL16 1QT
Year marked: 1726
Blue plaque
Built for the Reverend Dunster, the design was based on a similar house in London. It's now a grade II listed building.

St Chad's Vicarage.

The Duke of Wellington Hotel
Essence Nightclub, Drake Street, Rochdale OL16 1RE
Year marked: 1750
Blue plaque
Originally a wealthy wool merchant's residence, this building became the Duke of Wellington Hotel in 1810. It was the leading coach house in Rochdale for many years. In front of this hotel, the 'Speaker's Corner' hosted a crowd of 8,000 following the Reform Act of 1832. It's now a grade II listed building.

The Roebuck Public House
Yorkshire Street, Rochdale OL16 1BH
Year marked: 1814
Blue plaque
The first Roebuck Public House was built in 1660 on the Old Market Place and moved in 1783 to the 'New Wall' which is now 5 South Parade.

The Walk
3 South Parade, Rochdale OL16 1LR
Year marked: 1824
Blue plaque
A key part of the urban fabric of Rochdale since the industrial revolution, this narrow ginnel has been a well-used route in the town centre for centuries. The Walk was created by the Vavasour family to obtain easy access from their house, now Lloyds Bank, to the River Roch.

Touchstones Rochdale
The Esplanade, Rochdale OL16 1AQ
Year marked: 1883
Blue plaque
The Rochdale Town Hall fire of 1883 burned the clock tower library and led to the opening of this 'Free Public Library' one year later. The building later expanded to include a Museum and Art Gallery. 3 sandstone panels representing science, art and literature were set into the front elevation. It's now a grade II listed building.

Touchstones Rochdale blue plaque.

Union Flag Inn
Lloyds Bank, 58 Yorkshire Street, Rochdale OL16 1JP
Year marked: 1708
Blue plaque
In 1745 a confrontation between the forces of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the town authorities took place here. Built as a residence, it's a particularly early instance of accomplished classical architecture. Used as a bank since 1930. It's now a grade II listed building.

Wet Rake Gardens
Junction of Drake Street, Oldham Road and Milnrow Road, Rochdale OL16 1PQ
Year marked: 1909
Blue plaque
Marking the top of this historic shopping street, Wet Rake Gardens replaced the Union Foundry, once owned by iron and brass founders John Halstead and Co.

Blue and purple plaques in Middleton

Edgar Wood
Sunny Brow Nursery, Sunny Brow Road, Middleton M24 4BF
Years marked: 1860-1935
Blue plaque
Childhood home of Edgar Wood, a famous architect and artist.

Frederick William Jackson
260-362 Grimshaw Lane, Middleton M24 2QT
Years marked: 1859-1918
Blue plaque
Childhood home of the artist Frederick William Jackson.

Jim Allen
Middleton Library, Long Street, Middleton M24 6DU
Years marked: 1926-1999
Blue plaque
Middleton writer and playwright was self-taught in this and other libraries. "My only regret when I die will be the books I have not read".

Middleton Gardens and Suffield Street
Suffield House, Middleton Gardens, Middleton M24 4EL
Year marked: 1934
Blue plaque
Formerly the location of the Corn Mill Lodge and part of the Gardens of Middle-ton Hall. Established as Central Gardens in 1934 by Middleton Borough Council. Suffield Square was named after the Suffield Family of Gunton, Norfolk, absentee Lord of the Manor of Middleton 1765-1848.

Old Market Place
27 Long Street, Middleton M24 6TE
Year marked: 1791
Blue plaque
Facing this plaque was the Old Market Place. Lord Suffield obtained a Market Charter from George III in 1791 to hold a weekly market and 3 fairs a year. Suffield built warehouses, a market house and shambles at his own expense.

Parish School
Nature's Nursery, Long Street, Middleton M24 6UW
Year marked: 1842
Blue plaque
National school built for St Leonard's Church by Reverend Richard Dunford, later Bishop of Chichester. It was extended in 1892 by Reverend TE Cleworth. Last used as a school in 1979. It's now a grade II listed building.

Parish School blue plaque.

Peter Cowap
The Olde Boar's Head, Long Street, Middleton M24 6UE
Years marked: 1944-1977
Blue plaque
The home of Middleton singer songwriter and guitarist par excellence, Peter Cowap. "Every night's a Saturday night".

Peterloo Demonstration
69 Morton Street, Middleton M24 6AX
Year marked: 1819
Blue plaque
The Middleton contingent congregated here in Barrowfield and marched to St Peter's Field in Manchester led by Sam Bamford. The meeting, popularly known as 'Peterloo Massacre', was in support of the vote for the working classes. 16 Middleton people were injured in the demonstration.

Site of Middleton Hall
Middleton Arena, LCpl Joel Halliwell VC Way, Middleton M24 1AG
Year marked: 1845
Blue plaque
Home of the Lords of Middleton.

St Leonard's Square
St Leonard's Church, Middleton M24 6DE
Years marked: none
Blue plaque
Once the focal point for the old town which before the Industrial Revolution occupied the ridge towards Rochdale. Nearby street names, High Street and Cheapside, identify the old town. Cottage silk weaving was practised in the surrounding areas.

Middleton also commemorates the buildings designed by architect and artist Edgar Wood.

Blue and purple plaques in Heywood

Charles Howarth
Avon Building, 1 to 14 Kay Street, Heywood
Years marked: 1814-1868
Blue plaque
Social innovator, founder member and later president of the co-operative movement. He died here at 28 Wilton Street in abject poverty. Originator of the ‘co-op dividend’, Howarth applied in all things his passionate belief in a fair deal for the working class.

Tractor Sound Studios
58 Market Street, Heywood OL10 4LY
Years marked: 1968-1976
Blue plaque
Heywood rock group Tractor rehearsed in this building from 1968-1976 onwards. In 1973, Steve Clayton, Jim Milner, Chris Hewitt and Alan Burgess built a recording studio with financial help from legendary music broadcaster John Peel. Other groups who recorded here were Beau/John Trevor and Movement Banned. Tractor went on to found the Deeply Vale music festivals 1976-1979.

Blue and purple plaques in Littleborough and the Pennine villages

Coach House Heritage Centre
Lodge Street, Littleborough OL15 9AE
Years marked: 18th century
Blue plaque
Originally used by stages calling at the Falcon Inn for changes of horses and stabling. It overlooks the square in which an ancient fair was held. The building was restored between 1980-1988 by the Coach House Trust, a group representing local voluntary organisations and commerce.

Enid Stacy
St James' Church, Calderbrook Road, Littleborough OL15 9NW - the plaque is on the wall of the right gatepost.
Years marked: 1868-1903
Blue plaque
Enid Stacy was an international and local speaker and writer on the welfare of working people and women's right to vote. She lived in Calderbrook Vicarage and worshipped at St James with her husband, the Reverend Percy Widdrington.

Enid Stacy blue plaque.

Falcon Inn
18-20 Church Street, Littleborough OL15 8NU
Years marked: early 19th century
Blue plaque
From 1657, the inn and the farm covered land down to the river. The building became a coaching inn in the early 19th century. At this time, the main activities took place in the square at the rear where the ancient cow and sheep fair was held.

Gordon Harvey
Townhouse, junction of Townhouse Road and Carriage Drive, Littleborough OL15 9LE
Years marked: 1858-1922
Blue plaque
Gordon Harvey lived in this townhouse. He was MP for Rochdale from 1906-1918, a political idealist, enlightened mill owner, local benefactor and pioneer environmentalist.

Jessie Fothergill
New England Furniture Shop, Todmorden Road, Littleborough OL15 9EA
Years marked: 1851-1891
Blue plaque
Jessie Fothergill was a novelist who captured the lives of working people in the local cotton mills in the 19th century. She lived for some years in a house nearby.

Royal Oak
Church Street, Littleborough OL15 8AU
Years marked: Late 18th century
Blue plaque
An original posting inn with stables and large land holdings, used by the famous dialect writer Tim Bobbin as the base of his work 'a view of the Lancashire Dialect'. George Stephenson, the railway engineer, is said to have lodged here during the construction of the railway.

Toll House
6 Church Street, Littleborough OL15 8AU
Year marked: 1824
Blue plaque
Summary of tolls on the Blackstone Edge Turnpike Road from the Act of 1735. The toll prices were displayed on a board above the door.

  • Every drove of calves, hogs, sheep or lamb - 5 pennies.
  • Every drove of dren or neat cattle per score - 10 pennies.
  • Every coach drawn by 6 horses or more - 2 shillings.
  • Every horse, mule or ass laden or unladen - 1 penny.
  • Every waggon or carriage with 2 wheels - 1 shilling.

Toll house, Littleborough.

Suggest a blue plaque

Please contact us using the contact details on this page if you have suggestions for further blue plaques and potential funding sources to cover the cost of purchase and installation.

History of blue plaques

The first blue plaque programme started in London in 1866 on the initiative of reformer William Ewart (1798-1869), supported by the Society of Arts.

The first blue plaque commemorated one of Rochdale's most important figures, Lord George Gordon Byron. He was a poet and an important figure for the town as he inherited the Manor of Rochdale in 1808. He was the last Byron to be Lord of the Manor of Rochdale until 1826. The first blue plaque marks Lord Byron's birthplace at 24 Holles Street, Cavendish Square, London.


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