In the Middle Ages it started life as a market town when weekly markets were held from 1250 when Edmund de Lacy obtained a grant for a market and an annual fair. At that time the market was held outside the parish church where there was an 'Orator's Corner.'
Rochdale rose to prominence in the 19th century as a mill town and centre for textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution and is the birthplace of the modern Co-operative Movement. The Rochdale Pioneers' shop was the precursor to The Co-operative Group, the largest consumer co-operative in the world.
Peter's grandfather first began selling his produce from his 768 year old farm in 1919 and next month the family would have celebrated their 100th anniversary as Rochdale market traders.
For Peter's fellow traders, who say they have been moved "from pillar to post,” this news of the closure of the ancient market was death knell for their livelihood. The official letter told them they were being given four weeks’ notice to vacate their plots, with the last day of trading on Monday 14 October. The council says it was not contractually obliged to give any notice but wanted to give traders time 'to make alternative arrangements.'
Peter believes that the market is as relevant today as it was in the 1950s when as a teenager he started helping his father and said : “I have the same people coming every week, sometimes twice a week, to buy their eggs. They want fresh produce and don’t want to get everything from supermarkets.”
Fully in step with mean-spirited Austerity Britain and without a shred of reverence for Rochdale's long history a council spokesperson said : “Ultimately we can’t use public money to subsidise the market indefinitely when it is losing money month after month. We will help any trader who wishes to relocate.”
Peter said : "They think they can kick us out as if it means nothing to the town, but it means a lot to the town. But it's people in offices dictating the wishes of the people of Rochdale, so we will have to wait and see."