Papers of Gwen Cherrell Gordon, actress in The Rochdale Pioneers play by James R Gregson

Scope and Content

Consists of records relating to the play The Rochdale Pioneers including a signed programme and a photograph of the cast.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Rochdale Pioneers was a five act play written by James R Gregson. The play was written to salute the centenary of the Rochdale Pioneers. It was produced by The People's Entertainment Society, an independent production company that used professional actors. In 1944 the idea to take a play on the road to celebrate the Rochdal Pioneers came from Co-operative Party MP Alfred Barnes who commissioned his friend James Gregson to write it. Mr Barnes invited the cast to the House of Commons for the first reading of the script which took place during an attack from flying bombs. When the actors asked him where to rehearse the play Barnes advised them to practice on the trains. When the play reached Rochdale, where the tour ended, the actors were invited to visit the graves where the Pioneers were buried to pay tribute to them.

Gwen Cherrell Gordon played the youngest character in the play Jinnie Shaw. Jinnie was a 12 year old child who, in the play, lived next door to Charles Howarth. In the first act her mother dies during child birth leaving Jinnie to look after the family. She does not feature in the rest of the play.

Source: Notes of Gwen Cherrell Gordon.

Access Information

All open materials, can be viewed by previous arrangement, Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm. Contact the Archivist at: National Co-operative Archive Co-operative College Holyoake House Hanover Street Manchester M60 0AS,

Acquisition Information

Donated to the National Co-operative Archive by Gwen Cherrell Gordon, May 2011. Accession Arc/2011/07

Other Finding Aids

No other finding aids exist.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Adam Shaw, Archivist February 2012.

Related Material

The Rochdale Pioneers, by James R Gregson- held at the National Co-operative Archive. Reference no. GB 1499 CSH ROC.

Papers of The People's Entertainment Society- held at the National Co-operative Archive. Reference no. GB 1499 PES.