Oldham’s probably best known for its time as the boom town of the cotton age when the town boasted the largest number of cotton spindles in the world and was producing eight billion yards of cloth a year at its peak in 1912. The industry went into decline from the mid-1930s onwards. Oldham’s skyline is dotted with mills and towers set against the lovely views towards the Pennine hills.
A visit to the theatre can always be combined with a trip to the villages of Saddleworth up in the Pennine hills where there are plenty of walks for both the experienced walker and people who prefer a gentle stroll. The villages of Saddleworth have plenty of places to eat and drink and an interesting range of shops from craft shops to galleries to boutiques.
There’s plenty of art and heritage in Oldham. There’s a regular programme of exhibitions and events at Gallery Oldham.
Oldham’s town centre has many high street chains such as Boots, Debenhams, Waterstones, TK Maxx, TJ Hughes and a traditional market called Tommyfield – which is one of the largest in the North West, as well as coffee shops like Costa and the award winning Rhode Island Coffee. There’s some interesting independent shops like Vintage 55 on George Street – it sells vintage clothes, accessories, furniture and collectibles, raising money for AgeUK. Just down the street from Vintage 55 is Wino’s, a wine merchant with a fantastic array of hand picked wines – well worth a browse. There’s also plenty of places to eat in Oldham – more information here.
The town’s entertainment scene has been joined by an ODEON cinema, a state-of-the-art restoration of what was once Oldham’s neo-classical town hall – a Grade II listed building – which was named as one of Britain’s top ten endangered buildings in 2009. It’s the first cinema in the town centre in more than 30 years.
Oldham is famous for its rag pudding – there’s a handy recipe here. It’s something of an Oldham delicacy. We’re reliably informed that many of our out-of-town audiences take a trip to Tommyfield Market to stock up on those rag puddings.