• 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

  • #BEAUTIFULOLDHAM  #BEAUTIFULOLDHAM  #BEAUTIFULOLDHAM

#OLDHAMPIONEERS-55

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  • Guest

    Oldham pioneer Fred Stubbs, week in week out for 30 years wrote a natural history column for the Oldham Chronicle called “nature notes.” He observed and recorded, along with the help of his readers, everything from the many weird and wonderful alien visitors to Oldham like the aforementioned Hoopoe, mysterious cotton plants, insects found with only one antenna to the common fly. He often was called out to take a look at people’s finds, either at home or in the wild. A post might say, I got called to a house in Oldham today to see what seemed to be an Oldham eagle.
    There was a pioneer spirit in how Stubbs brought his fascination for beasties into the everyday lives of Oldhamers.

  • JacksjPaton

    Oldham pioneer Fred Stubbs, week in week out for 30 years wrote a natural history column for the Oldham Chronicle called “nature notes.” He observed and recorded, along with the help of his readers, everything from the many weird and wonderful alien visitors to Oldham like the aforementioned Hoopoe, mysterious cotton plants, insects found with only one antenna to the common fly. He often was called out to take a look at people’s finds, either at home or in the wild. A post might say, I got called to a house in Oldham today to see what seemed to be an Oldham eagle.
    There was a pioneer spirit in how Stubbs brought his fascination for beasties into the everyday lives of Oldhamers.

    • Patricia

      As well as being an excellent bird watcher Stubbs was also a skillful taxidermist. He created many hundreds of very fine mounted bird specimens which are still at Gallery Oldham today. You can see a portrait of Fred Stubbs at his work in the Oldham Stories exhibition at Gallery Oldham.

  • JacksjPaton

    His note on the Hoopoe

  • JacksjPaton

    Stubbs note of the hoopoe

  • JacksjPaton

    James Nield was an unusual pioneer, an unsung hero of Oldham. He was a naturalist, and a successful businessman. He took his extensive knowledge of natural history and used his commercial and entrepreneurial acumen to promote his finds and put oldham on the map. Most significant was the Fossil Forest which he publicized to such an extent that Oldham was hailed as holding one of the wonders of Europe. He took natural phenomenon that was unseen by the public and brought it into their sphere of interest. A naturalist-come-activist, to the extent that he paraded a 20 ton glacial erratic through the streets of Oldham and placed it in Alexandra park.

    • Patricia

      James Nield was recognised by his fellow Oldhamers for his pioneering work in natural history with the gift of a specially made wooden cabinet in which he could store his microscope slide collection. The cabinet bears an inscribed brass plaque and contains hundreds of his meticulously made microscope slides. They were all donated to Gallery Oldham in 2011 by his great great grand-daughter.

      • JacksjPaton

        Thanks patricia. Have you got an image of this?

    • Sue

      James Nield had letters published in Nature about the Fossil Forest. I knew that he was involved in the moving of the boulder but I didn’t know how involved. Do you have a reference I could possibly look at?
      He was an Oldham man through & through. He tried twice to live away from the town (for a year in each case) but he was drawn back both times. After his wife, Mary died in 1885, he became increasingly involved in local politics.

      • JacksjPaton

        Hello Sue, Thanks alot ,Yes ive read a few of these letters, great stuff. It was patricia at gallery oldham that told me that about the erratic , there doesn’t seem to be much written about it anywhere i have researched though! i would love to know more too. I have read that Nield collected a number of fossils from the fossil forest , you don’t happen to know where they could now be? What were his political ideas/motivations , what did he campaign for?I have read about his campaigning for the preservation of the fossil forest.

  • JacksjPaton

    Bill Edwards was born on 1917 into a family of miners, who worked across Oldham’s collieries. It was in these very mines, whilst crawling through coal seams, that Bill first caught a glimpse of the fossilized remains of carboniferous molluscs preserved in coal. This discovery sparked a lifelong passion for natural history and specifically the study of shells, of which he collected over 1000 unique shells from all over the world. He became an important figure in the British Conchological Society. Whilst Bills incredible collection, which he bequeathed to the Borough of Oldham, contains an array of exotic and complex shells, it was said that his most treasured find was a humble carboniferous mollusc fossil from an Oldham colliery.

    • Patricia

      Some of Bill’s shells are on display in the Oldham Stories exhibition at Gallery Oldham.

  • Roger Ivens @OldhamArchives

    Dil-Kush was Oldham’s first curry house. Photo discovered in our photo archives.

  • Roger Ivens @OldhamArchives

    An ad for Oldham’s first curry house the Dil-Khush, Manchester St. Popular with Oldham Council staff.

  • Roger Ivens

    Lung Wah, George St, Oldham’s first Chinese restaurant. 1964 photo from Oldham’s photo archive

  • Roger Ivans

    Was this the first Asian corner-shop in Oldham? A 1975 photo of a shop in Waterloo Street. #OldhamPioneers

  • Roger Ivans

    Asian women in Oldham in 1975. There are very few photos of Asian women in Oldham pre-1980. Can you send us any photos?

  • Roger Ivens

    Was this the first Asian corner-shop in Oldham? A 1975 photo of a shop in Waterloo Street.

  • Roger Ivens

    Asian women in Oldham in 1975. There are very few photos of Asian women in Oldham pre-1980. Can you send us any photos?

  • JacksjPaton

    In 1905 Herbert Horsfall made the miraculous find of a solid gold Viking ring at the bottom of the River Nutbottom. A totem from Oldham’s significant Viking history. It now resides in the permanent collection of the British museum. It makes you wonder what made the marauding vikings settle in Oldham a thousand years ago. It must have been Pioneer country.