Oldham Historical Research Group


by Irene Beever

So how did it get its name, "IIyrat" which was Anglo-Saxon for a wood, and "Cold ' "speaks for itself? Situated on the north side of Oldham it may have been a bleak exposed place.
Forming the parish Bishop Sumner said that it would enjoy the benefits of the countryside and advantages of a town, it was green fields and country walks. The cottage industry around this time was hat making and weaving.


I was born on Welbeck Street which ran parallel with part of Rochdale Road and just off Booth Hill Lane; it was a small collection of streets which included Aster, Pink, Lily, Emanuel and Godson streets, as kids this area was known as Little Irish town. All the houses were terraced with no bathrooms or central heating there was one shop on Welbeck Street, but on Rochdale Road from the boundary of Oldham and Royton along this road up to Barker Street and then up into the town centre, we didn't need to go into town unless it was something special i.e. to shop at the big Co-op or on the market for clothes or shoes. This because Rochdale road was full of shops and public houses. There were three butchers, greengrocers, newsagents, cobblers, wet fish sellers two that I remember, ladies outfitters on the corner of Rochdale road and Featherstall road, chip shops, plumbing shop and show room, chemist, doctors surgery, confectionary shops, fancy goods, numerous public houses, post office, wool shop, hospital, schools, toffee shops, betting shop, and electrical repair shop and on Featherstall road there was a sub co-op and butchers, cinema which was the Imperial but was known as the Imp, small petrol station and mill also Emanuel Whittaker's. The doctors were Law and Roebuck. Chemist was Jones's as well as prescriptions they sold alternative medications, cosmetics, cordials, toiletries, and other things it was a like an Aladdin's cave inside it was full of large wooden and glass cabinets floor to ceiling and the shelves contained drawers and jars with large words on them and stand up scales for weighing you. Plumbers shop was next-door owned by Brown family I went to school with their son Frank.


Stood on Magdala and Bradford Street. The School was built in the 1880s and an infant department was added in l890s.

Was on Stanford Street. The headmaster was Mr Bracewell.


Is a bold spur around which Oldham is built it rises over 825 feet, as a child it was just grass land from Booth hill Lane over to Royton, Shaw, there were no trees as today at its peak there was a small hill as kids we called the tank hill as the tank regiment trained on a ? Wednesday evening and Sundays during the summer, when they were on we were not allowed on but at times we snuck on, there was also a very deep gully we played in, and a lodge left over from the brickworks, during the summer we played here, had picnics or walked over towards Royton and sat and watched the trains in and out of Roylon station some of the lads would place coins on the tracks and watch the trains go over them, There were also pigsties near to Booth Hill side, and stories of the Knights Templar
Our local Park was Westwood, here as well as the playground, were bowling greens and tennis courts and grassy areas, or we were taken during the holidays to either Werneth park which was a bus ride away, we would catch the 408 bus from outside the hospital or if we walked it we called into see grandma Diskin she was my cousins grandmother, lived near Elevensway pub in a one up one down house as a kid it always seemed dark and dirty but we loved her, even with her one eye and her dog called Michael, it was across from Marmaduke street. So what was a one up one down consisted of in the downstairs room it was living, cooking and dining room, under the stairs there was a sink and a bedroom, the toilet was outside in a communal yard which you got to by going out of your front door. Or we went to Alexandra park with its boating lake wide open spaces, play areas paddling pool, monkey walk, greenhouse and statues, there were two very large stones that generations must have climbed on over the years.

Parish was formed in 1844 it was one of the first churches to be consecrated by the new bishop James Prince Lee, the day after his enthronement in Manchester Cathedral, the consecration took place on 12 February 1848 and the church stood on land donated by Mr A. Crompton of High Crompton.

After my mum finished in the cotton mills in the early 60s she went to work at the hospital as a domestic on the maternity unit, other members of the family also worked as domestics an aunty, cousins. Then in 1967 I started at the same hospital as a cadet and went on to do my nurse training and worked for 37 years. I met my husband there.

Celebrated 175 years in Oldham and continues to work out from its Rochdale Road premises.
Emanuel Whittaker's was founded in 1873, he was a Builder, Justice of the Peace, Alderman and Mayor of Oldham from 1873-74. His father George was a master builder. The buildings that they built were Lyceum as well as many cotton mills in Oldham and surrounding areas, In 1849 they installed the first steam-power driven sawing and woodcutting machinery, Emanuel won his first contract to build a cotton mill in 1853. They came upon hard times during the cotton famine in 1860s, in 1929 the firm was hit by a serious fire as well as The Recession in the 1930's and timber rationing during the Second World War.
Since 1837 the company provided, general construction, regeneration and refurbishment and conversion work to a variety of local authorities and social landlords throughout Oldham and the North West. lt stayed in the family until 2004 it was sold by Emanuel's great grandson Thomas, to the current owners Clive Newton and John Gallagher they had worked for the company from leaving school.
He was born in 1815 in Royton and living on Royton Road, with his parents George born about 1791 in Thornham Lancashire, and his mother Betty bom about 1794 in Royton
1941, 51, 61 censuses find him still living at Royton Road.
He married in 1860 his wife was called Martha (maiden name may have been Swift.)
1871 census He is living on Rochdale Road with his wife Martha and children Maria and Frank.


There were several mills where people in this area may have worked including my parents and grandparents.

ANCHOR which was on Daisy Street just off Featherstall Road.
Spindleage in 1915 was 58,944 they were made by Platt's, Engine was Benjamin Goodfellow 720hp, and Architect was J.Stott. lt was built in 1881 by the Anchor Spinning Company, in 1929 it ceased production and taken over by a subsidiary of the Cherokee Cotton Corporation of America and became a warehouse for cotton waste until 1995 and run by S. Frankkenhuis. The mill is still there and the chimney still shows the anchor symbol and date.

BOOTH HILL. On Booth Hill Lane, which ran from Rochdale Road to Godson Street. Built in earlier than 1861, and was occupied by Buckley and Seville it ceased production between 1880 - 84. ln 1902 the Dawson Manufacturing Company took over the mill and in 1920 and 1936 they extended the mill until 1969 when it ceased business and used for engineering until 1993, when it was demolished and now it is a new housing estate. (As children we used to play in the grounds and make dens in the old air raid shelters, there was a large grassy area and this is where in summer we climb over the wall or gates when the mill was closed on Sunday and have picnics.) And yes I would get into trouble as I would climb up the external fire escape to the roof with the boys and if caught by are local bobby it was a clip around the ear hole off him and one at home from my dad.

COLDHURST MILL. The office entrance was on Rochdale Road but the workers went through the mill yard. l915 the Spindleage was 64,820, architect was Joseph Stott, and in 1898 the engine was Buckley and Taylor 800hp. Built by the Coldhurst Cotton Spinning Company in 1886, and extended in 1886, 1914 and again in 1922, lt ceased as a cotton mill in 1962 and 1967-1977 was used as a warehouse for imported cotton goods and then it was demolished to make way for the new hospital, The Royal Oldham.

Was demolished about 1975, stood on Magdala Street. Was built by Joseph Stott limited, the architect was E. Potts, Spindleage in 1889 was 20,000, the engine was built by Platt / Asa Lees, and George Saxon built the 300hp engine.

On Chadderton Way, it is now part of the link road to the motorway.
Spindleage in 1915 was 50,000.Built before 1861 and occupied by numerous tenants, in 1883 it was extended and occupied jointly by George Buckley and Richardson and Wynne. Later on Richardson and Wynne took over the entire mill until 1926 when they ceased production but the building remained standing and empty untill 1939 when it was demolished, it is now part of the link road to the motorway.

lndustry Street now St Philip's Drive a new housing estate.
Spindleage in 1887 was 77,412; engine Benjamin Goodfellow 850 hp.The Architect was E.Potts. The lndustry Cotton Spinning Company built it in 1875 and extended in 1882. Bagley and Wright took over the mill and in 1888 it was again extended. ln 1907 it was purchased by the Royton Ring Mill Limited, who were at the time building a new mill on the opposite side of the road, it was again extended in 1911 and 1917, ceased production in 1927 and demolished in the 1930s. (This site was derelict for a long time before they built the new houses, as this is another area we would play on that was in the late 50s and 60s).

Jones Street, Royton this is now new houses now, prior to this it was multiple occupations when it stopped production in 1977.
Architect was F.W.Dixon, Spindleage by 1915 was 132,744, made by Platt and Howard and Bullough, it had a George Saxon 1700hp engine. The Monarch Mill Limited built it in 1903 and in 1908 they added additional floors. ln 1919 it was re- floated as the Monarch Mill Limited with the Albert Mill Company of Acre being the holding company of all ordinary share capital. ln 1942-3, 1960 and 1969 it again was extended.

Was on Westhulme Street and now part of the hospital. Built by the Northmoor Spinning Company in 1875, the Architect was E.Potts, in 1915 Spindleage ww 79,620, made by Platt's, and it had a Buckley and Taylor engine 1,000hp. Ceased production and was demolished in 1929.

Was on Featherstall Road North, It was a scrap yard and now it's a building suppliers Built by William T.Cocker and Sons between 1861 and 1871, in 1915 the Spindleage was 90,000, Platt's / Asa Lees, Engine in 1890, and J and E Wood, 1300hp. lt was occupied by a number of tenants before it was acquired by Royal Mills Company in 1890 with office block built at this time. In 1900 and again in 1914 it was extended, in 1931 it ceased production and was demolished in stages over the years, on 5th December 1939 when lightning rending the chimney.

lndustry Street, now St Philips Drive Royton.
Built in1908 by Royton Ring Mill Company, was extended in 1912. Architect was P.S.Stott. ln 1915 it was extended, Spindleage was 64,176, 6,400 doubling. Engine was an Urmston and Thompson 1700hp. In the 1930s it was acquired by Lancashire Cotton Corporation, in 1937 the waste shed was extended. In 1964 was acquired by Courtaulds Limited and closed in 1966. It was then taken over by Thomas Hope Limited who were school suppliers from 1969 until the mill was demolished in 1992, except for two storey warehouse, now housing estate.

Was on Granville Street but now part of the new hospital. In 1871 and 1875 Kershaw and Bamford built two mills side by side, the Spindleage in 1915 was 59,318 ring and 221 looms, Platt / Asa Lees. Engine 1875 George Saxon 500hp, power 1925 Hick Hargreaves steam turbine 1,600 hp. The four storey building for spinning and the three storeys for weaving. Was extended in 1900 and again in 1908, was acquired by Willowbank Mill Limited about 1920 making Egyptian yarn and crepe yarn. Another storey was added to the four storey building in 1925 it ceased production in 1959, but in 1961 it was used as a rubber and carpet works. Ceased any production in 1974 and demolished in 1976.
Granville Kershaw was the grandson of Dr Kershaw who founded the cottage hospital for the people of Royton and is now the Hospice which is named after him on Turf Lane and he also had a practice in Waterloo Street in Oldham. I used to cut through these yards to go to school on Stanford Street

There were numerous pubs along Rochdale Road.

341 Rochdale Road. (originally Royton Road)
Stands on the corner of Rochdale Road and Featherstall Road, prior to becoming a public house it was owned and occupied by John Taylor and used as a hat shop. In 1855 it became the British Queen licensee was Ann Holt a year later one James Harrop took over he left in 1864 after being fined 10/- for serving beer on a Sunday moming. 1870 Edward Barlow took it over around this time it may have been rebuilt he renamed it Queen. 1886 it was licensed to J&H Radcliife of Coldhurst by a Richard Husband. 1889 it was leased by Manchester Brewery Company who took over J&H Radcliffes. 1912 it was taken over again by Walker and Homfray of Salford they later purchased the Queens Hotel the next change came in 1949, when Wilson's Brewery took it over.

242 or 282 Rochdale Road.
In 1863 was known as the Royal inn, the best known landlord was James Higgins ex rugby player from 1970 until his death in 1983. Today it is an Indian restaurant; a new pub was built on the next corner called Brookes Tavern which has since closed and now a large house.
Landlords were 1949-53 Jonathan Brown, 53-54 Walter Kennedy, 54-57 John Chadwick, 57-62 James Liston he was known as Jimmy, 62-66 Peter Cummins, 66-70 David Wallace,70-83 James Higgins, 83-87 Jos Whitehead, 87-88 Janice Bentley, 88-89 Kenneth English, 89-93 Walter Walker, 1993 Walter Leach , Christopher Bentley. lt is now a lndian Restaurant.

254 Rochdale Road. 1833 till 1977, demolished l978.There was an earlier licence as recorded by Rowbottom in his diary in 1826 it was granted to a James Garside for a new house near Coldhurst. In 1829 a survey listed Joseph Beswick as both owner and Licensee, it measured 100 square yards with a brewing house and also a hat shop attached, in 1833 John Garside was the resident and gave the address as Edge lane. Between 1850-57, its name was changed by Hannah Garside to Trinity Church lnn as she preferred it due to the opening of the church in 1848. But by 1857 it was the Gapping Goose again. 1889 Oldham Brewery bought the premises from William Cummings as it was in a bad condition and then made necessary repairs.

144 Rochdale Road, 1848 until 1973, demolished the same year. Nathaniel Lees in 1868 was find 20/- for serving beer on a Sunday morning, it was owned by Waterhouse & Co, 1896 it was owned by Wilson's brewery. The longest serving licensee of the pub was Thomas Seymour he did 20 years from 1935 -1955. The last was Cyril Davenport from 1971 until it closed for housing clearance, he moved to the Golden Eagle then.

90 Rochdale Road. First licensed in 1803 and called Joiners Arms.
124 Rochdale Road. Traced back to 1811 when it was called Kings Head, an Abraham Standring is down as the keeper, then in 1805-1808 there is record of a Joseph Standring at an alehouse called the Wheatsheaf, this may be the same building. It's had various names, one of the licensees was a joiner and made traps this is where the name may have come from, in 1827 it is mentioned in Dunn's survey as Trap Inn, 1859 John Bardsley was reprimanded for making a side entrance onto Barker Street by magistrates without permission, 1863 a new door was approved. 1872 one William Mort took over and in 1865 he became chairman of Oldham Brewery, held this position until 1879, 1886 Oldham Brewery bought the premises. After numerous alterations over the years they decided to rebuild the inn which was completed by 1921, It's the only pub still working today.

230 Rochdale Road. 1853 till 1977 demolished in 1978.
The first licensee was Betty Borrand in 1853; in 1858 she appeared in court after being caught selling beer to five men and one woman on a Sunday morning. The next licensee also got into trouble when in 1869 the authorities found out an adjacent cottage was being let for 2/2d a week. Then in 1869 Betty Borrand's son took over William and he soon received a fine of 5/- for drinking after hours. In 1886 Horatio Ogden.

1 Coldhurst Street. Beerhouse opened in 1838 by Samuel Walker, it stood on the corner of Coldhurst street, purchased by Oldham Brewery in 1878 it was C.P.O in 1973 the licence was later transferred to the Brighton Hotel on Henshaw Street in 1975 and name changed to New Museum,

137 Rochdale Road. 1839 till 1964 when it was demolished, ln 1861 was also called Hatters Call. It was renamed the Royal George. In 1868 the then landlord got into trouble when the police reported that men were going into the beer house dressed as women and there were other irregularities! And prostitutes also favoured the ambience of the Royal George. So they found a new landlord and it reverted back to the Hatters Call. 1886 it became the Royal George again and closed in 1962 and is now grassed land, Landlords from 1950s to late 60s were 1953-54 Charlotte Eccles, 54-55 Reginald Walker, 55-60 Doris Murday, 60-61 Helen Goodier, 61-62 Ellen Crowther.

382 Featherstall Road North, it stood near to the Royal mill not far from the junction of Rochdale Road and Featherstall Road, sometimes I would pass this pub on my way to school. Plans were submitted in 1869 to build the pub it opened later that year calling it Westhulme farm, in l870 Thomas Taylor applied for a full licence but the landlord of the British Queen (Queens} one Edward Barlow didn't like this idea, the magistrates were on Edward's side at first, but after three more attempts Thomas got his full licence in 1874. Thomas Taylor's executors owned the Willow Bank inn as it was known in 1886 about two years later they sold it to Fletcher and Travis. 1896 it was sold to Oldham Brewery. The pub closed in 1976 to widen the road, if you stand facing, the boiler would have stood in front of you. Landlords 1958- Sept Jack Fletcher, 58-62 John Chapple, 62-65 Ron Broadbent,65-69 Joseph Marsden, 69-71 Ken Standring, 71-75 Ronald Lord, 75-76 Melvin Taylor.

1956-1982 licence came from the Gapping Goose, and was named after Arthur H.J.Brook who was the chairman of Oldham Brewery.


Though Platt's was in Wemeth at Hartford works people from Coldhurst area may have worked there. lt was one of the largest engineering companies in the area, textile machinery manufactures, iron founders, Colliery proprietors, at the end of the 19th century they employed over 15,000 men at on time. Founded in 1770, in 1844 they acquired Hartford New Works, Werneth and their headquarters were at Booth House on Featherstall Road Oldham. Oldham premises closed in 1980s.


Based in Hollinwood my aunty Edith worked here up until her death in 1976. lt was established by Sebastian de Ferranti in 1897 at the age ol`23, he picked this area due to the road and rail links and an abundance of labour. lt was one of the many large industrial firms greatest in development in electrical transmissions and lighting; the name became familiar from the Ferranti brand of clocks, radios or televisions which were popular throughout the middle decade of the century. The setting up of the factory brought about economic and social changes over 60 years to the people of surrounding areas. He designed and patented an early generator he also realised that if he wanted to supply electricity, then the best place is to put it near to the source i.e. coal so that you could transmit it on high voltage wires to the customers. The firm also thought about the workers welfare like holding a sports day, they had baseball, netball, cricket and football teams and social events throughout the year.
Ferranti's closed on 1st December 1993.


He was a selfmade man who came to Oldham as a child with his widowed mother, in utter poverty and became leader of the Liberal party in the borough. 1934 Original treasurer of the institution for the blind was Mr William Bodden, J.P, who had a long association with Oldham Town Hall Council, attaining the position of Mayor of Oldham in 1877. Engineering Company made spindles for the cotton mills at the time they were the leading spindle manufactures, but ready to do any kind of work modifying, repairing or improving spinning machinery.
When the mills started to close my dad went to work there until he retired due to ill health in the 70s, before we moved the works cat had kittens and she tried to push them down a pipe, my dad helped to rescue them and brought one home we called her Pinky, due to the fact when we cleaned her up she was snow white with pink nose.
In 1974 Ernest Scragg announced that there would be more work for their subsidiary the former William Bodden's which would benelit from a £5 million deal.

Read 'More Memories of Coldhurst' HERE in an Open Letter from Tom Seville.

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