Oldham Historical Research Group

The Long Birth of a Book

Mary Dickinson was bom Mary McAndrew on Boxing Day 1906. She lived and worked, married, had children and became a grandmother all within a couple of miles of her birthplace in the centre of Oldham, Lancashire. She lived to the age of 85 and died on June 26th 1992.

Although her formal education concluded at the age of 12 when she started to work "halftime" in the mill, she retained a lively interest in the world and its doings throughout her life. From time to time she wrote down her memories of childhood and her thoughts about the changes she had seen. These stories were kept in a jumble of paper that might have been lost after her death but for the development of new technology.

Mary's daughter Irene inherited the pile of paper after her mother's death and at around the same time acquired her first computer. Mostly as a means of practicing her keyboard skills she decided to transcribe her mother's stories into word processed documents. It took a couple of years all told but eventually all the handwritten scraps of paper were converted to electronic documents.

From there it was but a small step to putting them together in the form of this book.

Oldham - The Town of Stories

Oldham is a large town in Greater Manchester. It lies amid the Pennines on elevated ground between the rivers Irk and Medlock and 6.9 miles northeast of the city of Manchester.

Oldham rose to prominence during the 19th century as an intemational centre of textile manufacture. It was a boomtown of the Industrial Revolution, and among the first ever industrialised towns. At its zenith, it was the most productive cotton spinning mill town in the world, producing more cotton than France and Gennany combined.

Oldham's textile industry began to fall into decline during the mid-20th century, and its last mill closed in 1998.

Today Oldham is a predominantly residential town, and a centre for further education and the perfonning arts. It is, however, still distinguished architecturally by the surviving cotton mills and other buildings associated with that industry. (Wikipedia)

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