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The Local Studies Centre at Touchstones Rochdale holds the main Local Studies and Archives collection for Rochdale Borough. This includes a wide range of material relating to the Rochdale area including Castleton, Littleborough, Milnrow, Wardle and Norden.

Local Studies material for Heywood and Middleton is held at Heywood and Middleton Libraries.

Resources held by Local Studies include:

  • Parish Records
  • Census returns
  • Trade Directories
  • Newspapers
  • Photographs
  • A large collection of over 600 maps and plans
  • These include Ordnance Survey maps, estate plans and railway maps.

There is also a large collection of books, pamphlets and articles which cover all aspects of the areas past. A number of these have also been digitised to allow access to the information via the Internet.

You can find out more about the history of the Local Studies Archive and view images online via the Online Collections page. Currently only a selection of the collection can be searched online although this database will continue to grow as more of our collections are digitised and our knowledge about them increases.

Visiting Info

  • Contact us in advance of your visit to be sure we have the archive materials you require on site. Most of our archives are stored elsewhere.
  • We advise you to telephone to pre-book a microfilm reader in advance.
  • Free Internet access is available and pre-booking is essential.
  • It is possible to book a member of the Local Studies Team to undertake some research on your behalf. Prices vary and are available on request.

Touchstones Rochdale has a wide variety of volunteering opportunities and are always looking for people to come and help out.

Opportunities include working in our gallery spaces to welcome visitors in the spaces; helping our education team prepare handling boxes, supporting our programme team to run events and many more opportunities. For those looking to volunteer with a background and qualification working in the Heritage Sector, we do have a placement scheme available in the Arts & Heritage Resource Centre. For more information, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The strength of the collection very much depends on donations that are made.

If you have any material from the past or present day that you would like to consider giving or lending to the Local Studies collection, please get in touch.