Rochdale Past and Present By William Robertson
William Robertson (1834 - 1924) came to Rochdale in 1860 as a journalist for the Rochdale Observer and fell in love with the town and surrounding area. He devoted much of his time to creating popular histories of the town and its inhabitants. At the heart of the Industrial Revolution, Rochdale had gone through a huge transformation of growth, wealth and politics. On the whole his histories concentrate on life before the upheaval rather than the grind and poverty of factory life that his readers would be all too familiar with.
Rochdale Past and Present is a more robust history than the following volumes concentrating more on the infrastructure of Rochdale and its rapid transformation as the industrial revolution brought new wealth to the town. A new charter of incorporation also brought rapid political change.
Robertson in part financed his books by persuading local businesses to place advertisements and these can be found at the back of the book giving further insight into the character of the town at this time.