Historical Timeline


1950 - Bright's Nursery on Whitworth Road opened on January 10. It was, at the time,
           the world's largest privately run nursery
1952 - Cyril Smith elected to Rochdale Council
1952 - Clover Mill destroyed by fire
1954 - Theatre Royal destroyed in a fire in November


1965 - C.W.S. purchased Cassons
1966 - Cyril Smith elected Mayor of Rochdale - received M.B.E.
1968 - The last steam train to make a scheduled trip from York to Manchester passed through Rochdale


1971 - Rakewood Viaduct opened in October. It is 840 feet long and rises 140 feet above the valley bottom
1972 - Cyril Smith became Liberal MP
1978 - Gracie Fields opens shopping precinct in Rochdale
1978 - September 15 Gracie Fields opened the Rochdale Exchange Shopping Centre


1984 - Fire broke out in the Summit Tunnel

1988 - Cyril Smith knighted


1991 - Cyril Smith became Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester
1992 - Cyril Smith stood down from Parliament

April 23, 1999 - A dramatic police chase came to a stop a mile from the Rochdale city centre. Police began pursuing a suspicious car on the M61 near Bolton. The occupants of the car opened fire on the police car and this precipitated a 50 mile chase, during which the occupants of the car fired on a number of passersby, injuring several of them. Armed with a handgun and a Kalishnikov rifle, the fugitives twice changed cars and kidnapped a 27 year-old woman bystander. The chase ended near Rochdale when the driver finally lost control crashing the stolen BMW into a lamp pole.