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 Temperance & the Co-operative Movement

The Objects of the Rochdale Pioneers


At the outset, the Pioneers had a clear set of what we now would call objectives: in 1844 they called them ‘Objects’.

The objects of the society were stated in 'Law the First' of their rules and were:

The objects and plans of the Society are to form arrangements for the pecuniary benefit, and improvement of the social and domestic condition of its members, by raising a sufficient amount of capital in shares of £1 each. This would bring into operation the following plans and arrangements:

  • The establishment of a store for the sale of provisions, clothing, etc.

  • The building, purchasing or erecting of a number of houses, in which those members desiring to assist each other in improving their domestic and social condition may reside.

  • To commence the manufacture of such articles as the Society may determine upon, for the employment of such members as may be without employment or who may be suffering in consequence of repeated reductions in their wages.

  • As a further benefit and security to the members of this Society, the Society shall purchase or rent an estate or estates of land, which shall be cultivated by the members who may be out of employment or whose labour may be badly remunerated.

  • That as soon as practicable the Society shall proceed to arrange the powers of production, distribution, education and government, or in other words, to establish a self-supporting home colony of united interests, or assist other societies in establishing such colonies.

  • That for the promotion of sobriety, a temperance hotel be opened in one of the Society’s houses as soon as convenient.

rochdale objects
1830 beerhouse act

Laissez-faire & the 1830 Beerhouse Act

In 1830, under pressure from vested agricultural interests and in an attempt to reduce gin consumption,  the Government introduced a free trade in Beer with the passing of the Beerhouse Act.

Responsibility for granting of Licences was taken away from Justices and and for a minimal 2 guinea excise licence, almost anone could retail beer and beer outlets proliferated. By 1831 over 30,000 new premises were established.   The virtual removal of controls saw these new supplies met by demand and levels of drunkeness exploded.

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