Greaves collection catalogued

Dorothy GreavesResearchers interested in the Rochdale Pioneers, who developed the set of principles and model which are widely regarded as the basis of today’s global co-operative movement, can benefit from the newly catalogued collection of former Rochdale Pioneers Museum Warden Dorothy Greaves.Benjamin Jordan

The papers, which are held in the National Co-operative Archive, consist of Greaves’ notes and copies of original documents acquired during her research into the Rochdale Pioneers and their relatives.

Greaves was a Warden at the Rochdale Pioneers Museum for a period during the 1980s and later from 1994 until her health failed, and spent much of her spare time over the years researching the 28 ‘Men of Rochdale’. The papers will mainly be of interest to researchers researching the individual 28 Pioneers as Dorothy compiled information from original records after developing a knowledge of “her boys” as individuals, and as people, not just as historical names. Visitors to the Museum loved her descriptions of their characters as well as their lives, and Dorothy traced the families of the Pioneers to the present day, sometimes contacting people to ask if they knew that they were descendants.

Family treeHer research on the Pioneers included a survey of their graves, including finding those that had been lost for generations – once even uncovering a gravestone that had become grassed over. This research was vital to work done by Co-operative Funeralcare in renovating the graves in time for the 150th anniversary celebrations for the Rochdale Pioneers in 1994.

Also included in the collection is correspondence relating to Greaves’ research, as well as papers relating to other areas of the co-operative movement.

The catalogue is now available to browse on the Archives Hub at

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