Oldham Historical Research Group

William Rowbottom's Diary as published in the Oldham Standard


The 'Annals of Oldham' were published in serial form in the Oldham Standard from 1887 to 1889. They were edited by Samuel Andrew and were taken from the diary of William Rowbottom. Amongst the diary pages he found a paper which listed the residents of the central part of Oldham. Evidently this was the result of a thorough canvass which had been made of the entire population when there were fears that the country would be invaded by the French. The object of the exercise was to list those men between the ages of 15 and 60 who could be called up to serve in the militia. It noted those who were already serving in volunteer corps or armed associations, those who were unfit to serve and those who would be incapable of moving themselves if an invasion happened. The dependents of each person were also numbered though not named.

Introducing the list Samuel Andrew wrote:

"This list has not before been published, and it is interesting as showing the state of the public mind, evidently under fear of an invasion from the French. The schedule is without date, but I have arrived at the date by testing the ages of some of the persons mentioned; for instance the Rev. Thomas Fawcett died 1818, aged 74, so that he would be born in 1744, and would be 55 in 1799, which is the age stated in this schedule. Many names of persons appear in this schedule whose descendants still live in Oldham, and I doubt not this list will be referred as marking an epoch in many a family history."

120 years later there will still be those who are able to find family connections in this list. The area covered is that of the very centre of Oldham, around the parish church and along what is now Yorkshire Street. The canvass of the other parts of the town has been lost.

The list can be found on pages 44 and 45

Introduction link
Diary page links
Oldham at that time  - link

William Rowbottom's Diary as published in the Oldham Standard
Transcribed by Mary Pendlbury & Elaine Sykes
Courtesy of Oldham Local Studies & Archives
Not to be reproduced without permission of Oldham Local Studies & Archives

Header photograph © Copyright David Dixon and licensed for re-use under the C.C. Licence.'Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0'

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