• Modernism was the new beautiful in ’60s Oldham

  • Smoking Chimneys were once the new beautiful in Oldham

  • Is the tram the new beautiful?

  • Gauging the beautiful erratic

  • Taking the measure of Oldham

  • Oldham: Home of the tubular bandage

  • History building futures / Futures building history

  • Oldham is pioneer country, it always has been

  • Broadcasting things you just wouldn’t believe about Oldham

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  • Faculty Of Provocation

    The College and Oldham were built on practical technical skills & knowledge, recovering that spirit in new technologies is the future.

  • Jill Booth

    Can anyone decipher morse, intriguing and beguiling

  • Jack Sutton

    I’ve had a go at reading the morse, but the first word isn’t English is it?

  • Jack Sutton

    I’m finding out things here that I could just never have imagined of Oldham: Miss World spinning records in, a lost fossil forest once hailed as a new wonder of the world, Bob Hope and Larry Hagman, wore Failsworth hats. What ever next?

  • Martin Stockley

    I find the images posted here, in particular today’s poster of Union Street from the 1930s with a white line down the pavement, really interesting. The presence of people in this photograph suggest stories of how the street was being used. If we look at that white line we can only imagine that it is there for controlling linear movement of people on the footway. Curiously at the moment this photograph is taken the footway isn’t that busy. So this photograph refers to something we can’t see in it, it references the level of activity at some point in the week, perhaps at shift change, or market day, that existed on Union Street in this era that needed a solution.
    What this image does speak of is a pioneering city Engineer in 1930s Oldham who was experimenting with ways to manage intenssive use of the pavement.

    • Mick Ashworth

      The white line is there to segregate pedestrian traffic. Go up the street to the left of the line and down to the right. In those days Oldham was a thriving community with lots of people living and working in or near the twin centre. so Union Street was busy. It’s normal day in the working week with people just going about their business. A brilliant evocative pic.

  • Faculty of Provocation

    Speaking of Oldham’s Giants. Oldham is thought to have had the largest factory in the world from the 1890′s through to the second world war. It was Platt Bro. Who were textile machine manufacturers, who fitted out Mills throughout the world.

  • Jack Paton

    This is a photograph of workers flooding the streets as they come out of Platt Bro. at shift change.

    • GalleryOldham

      Film of Oldhamers leaving their factories was taken by Mitchell & Kenyon at Platt Brothers and elsewhere in the early 1900s. This link shows another one at Glebe Mill, Hollinwood http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duspZzvrIKo

      • Mick Ashworth

        Brilliant film. Punctures the myth of the downtrodden proletariat somewhat

  • Faculty of Provocation

    Oldham was one of the first industrial mill towns in the world. It was at the fronteer of the industrial revolution. Manchester was predominantly the commercial centre, greater Manchester and in particular Oldham was the first classic industrial mill town.

  • Simon Leeson

    Dirty Money: On Innovative Technology’s Face book site, followers spot money counters from the strangest corners of the works. From Japan to Llandudno, Dubai to Puerto Rico. Even a picture from Chelsea footbal club….They still develop the technology from their global headquarters in Oldham, employing a crack team of mathematicians and an astro physicists. Apparently the technology needed for reading the cosmos, separating the noise from the planets, comes in handy for distinguishing between dirt and image on bank notes and coins.

    from: https://www.facebook.com/InnovativeTechnology

    “Spotted – vertical mounted NV9 USB inside a Biletmatik transport ticket machine, Istanbul.”

  • FACULTYofPROVOCATION

    Annie Kenney was a driving force in the suffragette movement. Together with Christabel Pankhurst, their interrupting of Churchill and Sir Edward Grey at a rally in Manchester at the Free Trade Hall to ask a question about votes for women, is recognised as the turning point in the struggle for women’s suffrage in the UK. When Churchill and Grey refused to answer their questions, they unfolded a votes for women banner and started shouting, they were immediately thrown out. This was the moment that the suffrage movement shifted to militant action.
    Emmeline Pankhurst later wrote in her autobiography that “this was the beginning of a campaign the like of which was never known in England, or for that matter in any other country … we interrupted a great many meetings… and we were violently thrown out and insulted. Often we were painfully bruised and hurt.”

  • FACULTYofPROVOCATION

    Better than best dressed, Oldham was a pioneer town in the creation of modern democracy. Not only was Oldham central to the suffragist and suffragette movement, (Annie Kenney being the only working class voice in the upper echelons of the sufragette movement), Oldham played a significant role at Peterloo, with 10,000 marching from Oldham, a large contingent of this march were women.

  • FACULTYofPROVOCATION

    Oldham had a pioneering role in the repeal of the corn laws, and other international free trade agreements, and actively supported the abolition of slavery. The borough was not only at the frontier of the industrial revolution, it had a central role in the free trade agreements that shifted control of the British economy and politics from the aristoracy to the industrialists, and step by step towards a freemarket and democracy

  • GalleryOldham

    During WW1 the ‘Oldham Pals’ battalion were redesignated as ‘pioneers’. This regiment (technically the 24th Manchesters) was raised in late 1914 entirely from Oldham men who were encouraged to serve with their pals. In early 1916 these Oldham Pals were converted into a ‘Pioneer Battalion’. Their new job was to carry out engineering work such as trench digging and road repairs. This was not without danger as the men had to fix barbed wire in no mans land and convert captured trenches during the heat of battle. So pause a moment to salute some Oldham Pioneers from almost exactly a century ago…

  • Roger Ivens @OldhamArchives

    ‘Beautiful Oldham. Why not? Shall We Try for It?’ These were the words of Mary Higgs in 1901 that inspired the founding of the Beautiful Oldham Society. The Beautiful Oldham Society aimed to beautify Oldham not only in a very visual way via the planting of trees and flowers and the protection of open spaces, but also in the hearts and minds of its people, particularly children. By working with young children the Beautiful Oldham Society encouraged them to become advocates for a more beautiful Oldham and to take the Beautiful Oldham ethos with them as they grew up

    The Beautiful Oldham movement should be seen as part of a raft of activities undertaken predominantly by women mainly at the centre of Oldham society who established organisations to support mothers and children; the blind and deaf; set up rescue homes for women; fought for universal suffrage. They had been quietly beautifying Oldham for years, not necessarily by the creation of a green Oldham, but by tackling the ugliness of social injustice.

  • OldhamArchives

    ‘Beautiful Oldham. Why not? Shall We Try for It?’ These were the words of Mary Higgs in 1901 that inspired the founding of the Beautiful Oldham Society. The Beautiful Oldham Society aimed to beautify Oldham not only in a very visual way via the planting of trees and flowers and the protection of open spaces, but also in the hearts and minds of its people, particularly children. By working with young children the Beautiful Oldham Society encouraged them to become advocates for a more beautiful Oldham and to take the Beautiful Oldham ethos with them as they grew up

    The Beautiful Oldham movement should be seen as part of a raft of activities undertaken predominantly by women mainly at the centre of Oldham society who established organisations to support mothers and children; the blind and deaf; set up rescue homes for women; fought for universal suffrage. They had been quietly beautifying Oldham for years, not necessarily by the creation of a green Oldham, but by tackling the ugliness of social injustice.

  • OldhamArchives

    ‘Beautiful Oldham. Why not? Shall We Try for It?’ These were the words of Mary Higgs in 1901 that inspired the founding of the Beautiful Oldham Society. The Beautiful Oldham Society aimed to beautify Oldham not only in a very visual way via the planting of trees and flowers and the protection of open spaces, but also in the hearts and minds of its people, particularly children. By working with young children the Beautiful Oldham Society encouraged them to become advocates for a more beautiful Oldham and to take the Beautiful Oldham ethos with them as they grew up

    The Beautiful Oldham movement should be seen as part of a raft of activities undertaken predominantly by women mainly at the centre of Oldham society who established organisations to support mothers and children; the blind and deaf; set up rescue homes for women; fought for universal suffrage. They had been quietly beautifying Oldham for years, not necessarily by the creation of a green Oldham, but by tackling the ugliness of social injustice.

  • FACULTYofPROVOCATION

    Dirty Mill Town? Beautiful Oldham.
    The 1919 film celebrating Oldham features the glorious spectacle of over 300 chimneys as the train emerged from central Manchester. Smoking chimneys were the pride of Oldham, they represented a place that made things from cotton to machinery and then sent them all over the world, a beautiful place because of its innovation and productivity.

    In 1901, a Beautiful Oldham Society was established that first grew to a borough wide series of groups that galvanized local communities into action. Every school child was given a badge and invited to be part of this civic initiative. What is little recognised, is that there was an informal network of societies emerging in tandem, mostly initiatives by women, that mobilized people into getting things done directly to transform Oldham.

    Oldham was at the forefront of the industrial revolution that made Britain the workshop of the world. It was an active participant in the pioneering events that fought for free trade and transfered economic power from the aristocracy to the industrialists, from Peterloo and the repeal of the corn laws to the abolition of slavery. This shift from a pastoral based economy to one centred on making and innovation is reflected in Oldham’s emerging sense of itself. In finding beauty in chimneys, Oldham was embracing modernism and an alternative notion of beauty to the aristocratic and feudal version that had dominated for millenia.

    For Oldham, is embracing modernism the new beautiful?

    Photograph of OldhamCollege Faraday Building in the 1950′s

  • @OldhamArchives

    Alexandra Park: The Unexpected Consequence

    The stance of Oldham
    with regard to the American Civil War was divided, people were not against the abolition of slavery but were suspicious of the motives of the Northern States. Oldham had traditionally obtained its supplies of raw cotton from the Southern States of America with some of the towns mill names reflecting this connection: Shiloh
    and Orleans Mill.

    The British Empire had abolished slavery in 1833 and on the eve of the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861 the Oldham newspapers were outraged that slaves were still labouring in the cotton fields of some American states leading to vehement anti-slavery protestations in the local press.

    Yet Norman Longmate in his book The Hungry Mills records that “At least seven pro-confederate meetings were known to have been held [in Oldham], which yielded three petitions. When one Congregational minister in Oct 1862 urged his fellow townsfolk to support the North the response was so hostile that the Town Hall was packed . . and a motion in praise of the ‘heroic’ Confederacy was carried by an overwhelming majority. The recognition of ‘the sovereignty and independence of the Southern States of America’, the meeting agreed, was ‘the only means of putting a stop to the awful bloodshed, waste of life and property and the horrible civil war, which have so long devastated that suffering land, as well as to relieve the terrible privations and distress of the suffering operatives in the cotton manufactures of England’.”

    So what does all this have to do with Alexandra Park? Oldham was not as badly hit by the cotton famine as other towns in the north, a result of its industrial leaders foreseeing the civil war and stockpiling cotton in the run up to the war. The town therefore escaped the riots that occurred in Ashton and other northern cities although the famine did create a lot of unemployment in the town. As with the Depression of the 1930s public works programmes were developed to ensure the unemployed were gainfully employed. Alexandra Park was part of this public works programme – an unexpected consequence of a civil
    war over 3,000 miles away.

  • @OldhamArchives

    Is Brainy Oldham the new Beautiful
    Oldham?

    Brainy Oldham is an ongoing trend
    in Oldham. In Feb 1839 a meeting passed the resolution ‘That this meeting is of the opinion that it is highly
    desirable that Oldham should at length
    emulate the example of every town of importance in the Kingdom, by establishing a Lyceum or Mechanics’ Institution, having for its object the moral and intellectual improvement of the inhabitants.’

    The Lyceum opened in a house in Queen Street in Apr 1839 but such was the demand to be brainy that a new building was opened in Union Street in 1856. Ever since then the Lyceum has been used for the beautification of the brain in Oldham.

  • @OldhamArchives

    The Old Town Hall – The new Beautiful

    Some in the past have voiced a
    rather disparaging view of Oldham, a town with ‘buildings which no stretch of the imagination could regard as imposing’. Yet this can not be said of Oldham Town Hall which was built with ‘a frontage of stone with a Tetrastyle portico, copied from the Ionic temple of Ceres on the Illyosus, near Athens.’

    Regardless of personal views the
    Town Hall has been a centre of life in Oldham since being built in 1840-1841. It was the site of a pro-confederate meeting in Oct 1862 during the American Civil War. In 1900 it was the site of the election count which returned Winston Churchill as an MP for Oldham. The building was chosen for the great and good of the town to meet Royalty in 1913 and 1921. And even in the 1980s Oldham Anti-Apartheid Group demonstration on the steps of Oldham Town Hall.

    Since it’s closure with the
    opening of the Civic Centre Oldham has been working to incorporate this iconic building into 20th-21st century Oldham and now it is gaining a new
    lease of life, once again becoming a focal point for the town and a centre of
    events – rebuilding Beautiful Oldham.