Old Images of Oldham, North West England

Categorised as Greater Manchester
Old photo of the Oldham Suffrage Demonstration on 5th October 1912

Glimpse the past through old images of Oldham, in the Greater Manchester area of North West England, UK.


Maytime Celebrations 1928

See Oldham’s Maytime celebrations in 1928, when the rose queen was crowned, before being processed through the streets along with a long line of adults, children and horses.

Crowning the rose queen at Oldham, Lancashire (1928) – British Pathé on YouTube


Mill Nursery 1951

At a very early hour of the morning, even before the milkman arrives, 30 vans decorated with cartoons would go around the Oldham area picking up the toddlers of parents who worked in the mills.

The children had to be at least 6 months old to use this service, which was started after the mills had problems recruiting women with childcare needs.

Inside, the toddlers were strapped in with safety belts. The babies had built in cribs.

The entire van of toddlers and babies was supervised by one woman. Up front a man drove the van.

At the mill nursery, the staff are dressed in nurse uniforms.

Mill Nursery (1951) – British Pathé on YouTube


Drive Through Oldham 1994

A 1994 home video of a drive through the town centre and beyond shows a variety of locations including the Odeon Cinema on Union Street, Mumps Bridge, Huddersfield Road, and many shops, businesses and homes.

Oldham 1994 – Mike Calverley on YouTube


Oldham Buses 1999

This is a trailer for a transport DVD you can buy from PMPfilms. Although the focus is on the buses, you can also see lots of shops, buildings, and pedestrians.

OLDHAM BUSES JUNE 1999 – DaveSpencer32 on YouTube


Historic Book

Extract from “Historical Sketches of Oldham” by Edwin Butterworth

Published in 1856

Pages 157-159

“The first great effect of the introduction of the
spinning machinery , had been to produce yarn withi
such rapidity and quantity , as to cause an extreme
demand for weavers to convert the articles into cloth ;
and the productive powers of machinery became so
amazing , as totally to disable the hand – loom from main
taining a proportionate pace : the inevitable result was ,
that numerous concerns directed their sole attention to
the production of twist expressly for exportation . This
new system of trade extended rapidly , and in a few
years the cotton manufacturers of the continent began
to compete keenly with the manufacturers of our own
country . Although the number of weavers continued

to increase , the rate of profit , and , consequently , of
wages , was on the decline , owing principally to the
intense competition prevalent in the market .

In the latter end of 1807 , the war was prosecuted
with great vigour , and recruiting for the army , as well
as for the militia of various counties , seemed almost
the briskest business carried on . A public meeting of
the friends of peace , held on Oldham edge , on the 25th
December , 1807 , resolved to petition parliament for a
cessation of hostilities . Such a petition was , however ,
unavailing ; and shortly afterwards , the distressed con
dition of the weavers led to the holding of meetings of
that body , and ultimately to turnouts , in Manchester and
and the surrounding towns , for the purpose of obtain
ing an advance of wages . On the 30th of May , 1808 ,
intelligence reaching Oldham that a serious riot of the
weavers had just occurred at Rochdale , the Oldham
Volunteers speedily assembled , and were on their way
to render assistance to the authorities of the disturbed
locality , when they were suddenly attacked by a large
crowd on the Rochdale road , and severely pelted with
mud and stones . In the course of the day , the
windows of several parties in Oldham , obnoxious to
the populace , were broken . Two days afterwards , on
the 1st of June , a large meeting of weavers and others
was held on Oldham edge , and , at its conclusion , a
strong party of the crowd paraded the streets of the
town , demolished the windows of Mr. Lees , in Church
lane , and terminated their feats for the day , by prevail
ing on several manufacturers , whilst under feelings of
alarm , to subscribe a document , pledging them to an
advance of the prices paid for weaving . In the course

of a few hours , a troop of the Sixth Dragoon Guards ,
and a few companies of the IIerefordshire Militia , were
quartered in the district , and remained for some time .

The employment of females in the hatting trade
occasioned considerable opposition on the part of the

male operatives engaged in that business , in 1809. In
July , a party of the men had an interview with Mr.
Barker , hat manufacturer , for the purpose of expressing
their disapprobation of the injury sustained from the
competition of female operatives . During the inter
view , two of them , named Dalton and Midgley , uttered
intimidating language ; for this they were taken before
the magistrates , convicted in a penalty of £ 20 , and , in
default of payment , committed to two months ‘ impri
sonment in Salford goal . When the expiration of the
period of confinement , the 19th of September , arrived ,
the two offending hatters returned to Oldham in a
chaise , but on its reaching Coppice nook , they were
met by a large body of their fellow workmen , who
instantly took the horses from the carriage , and con
veyed it through the principal streets . A turnout of
the male hatters against all masters who employed
female operatives ensued , but its results were such as
usually attend similar proceedings , being productive of
much injury to all parties , without a solitary advantage .

The levying of a toll on the stalls placed in the
streets , upon the market day , Saturday , and during the
fairs , by the agents of John Lees , Esq . , on the plea of
his being lord of the reputed manor of Oldham , caused
considerable local excitement , and a public meeting of
the inhabitants being held on the subject , at the Spread
Eagle Inn , January 11 , 1810 , Mr. Lees rendered any
further measure unnecessary , by abandoning , without
solicitation , all future claims of that description .”

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