Oldham: No sex, but it made you <click> didn't it! Location & Transport: 9 miles North West of Manchester, Oldham is within an hour of 3 major airports (Manchester, Leeds/Bradford, Liverpool) and is at the heart of the North West's motorway network, just off the M62 and M60 orbital road. The town has two local line railway stations which connect with Manchester's Victoria station and regular express buses (180-184) link the town to England's second city. While it is a mill town, many of the rural parts of the borough lie within the Peak District National Park, an area of extraordinary and rugged beauty. Famous People: Oldham has given birth to many famous people, and has been the place where many successful people have first made a name for themselves. Winston Churchill was voted to Parliament first by the people of Oldham. Michael Meacher is, for some unknown reason, also Oldham's MP. He was even seen in the town once! Robert Winston developed the first test tube in Oldham. England captains' Michael Atherton and David Platt are Oldham born. Philip Schofield, William Walton and my kids also hail from this great town. Architecture: The municipal buildings are, overall, dreadful concrete constructions from the late sixties and early seventies. The many remaining mills are, overall, less than a hundred years old so lack major historic interest. The towns that now make up the borough invariably have their own (unused) town halls, while the outlying villages such as Uppermill and Greenfield host a variety of spectacular churches. Industry: With a history based on mining and mills, Oldham can certainly claim to have been at the heart of the industrial revolution. Indeed, the world's first cotton mill opened in the eighteenth century in Royton, now a middle class suburb of the town. None of the remaining mills now spin cotton. The buildings are either derelict, warehouses, or broken
down in to units for small businesses. The catalogue industry giants of GUS and Littlewoods are major employers locally. Autolok Car Security is made and distributed in the town! Shopping: The town centre features the interlinked Spindles and Town Square shopping centres, hosting big names like Debenhams (a massive store), Boots, WHSmith, Next, Dixons and HMV. Between all the banks, travel agents and fast food chains lay a large Littlewoods store, a giant TJ Hughes discount department store and a Woolworth visited in 2001 by Victoria Beckham and husband to promote her new single! For a typical half-day shopping trip, drivers will pay around £3 with a choice of two multi storey car parks! The only significant shop missing is, perhaps, Marks and Spencer. Tommyfield Market offers both indoor and outdoor stalls where many a bargain can be found. Retail Parks: The Centre Retail Park, just off the M62 at the end of the A627(M), hosts one of the largest Comet electrical stores in the UK (chart CDs for £9.99), DFS and two other furniture stores, a large JJB sports outlet and its associated gym (25m pool and full range of keep fit equipment ? you know, those places you pay £30 a month to but never actually visit!) and a Carphone Warehouse which doubles conveniently as a Nokia repair centre. A large out of town style Boots (unable to dispense prescriptions but very handy), a Pet superstore and Allied Carpets link in to a giant PC World store (where you can marvel at the over priced accessories on offer and then go down to the local independent computer shop and save 40%). Also, a decent Currys offers competition to the Comet. For eating, there is a KFC (it ran out of chicken on a bank holiday on more than one occasion), McDonalds and Pizza Hut as well as a Halifax cash machine to ensure you have the funds to pay for your food! Drivers can fill up at a competitively priced Total petrol station and there is, as you would expect, free parking. A p
ark and ride bus scheme also operates from here to the town centre. Excitable shoppers can start with a morning here and an afternoon in the hub of it! Riots: 2001 saw the awful site of racially motivated riots in the town. While there are underlying issues of poverty and (self imposed) segregation, as in most towns, the main cause of these riots was infiltration of the town by National Front and British Nationalist Party activists. Although the 2001 general election saw a large BNP protest vote (15 % of the electorate), the 2002 council elections saw the BNP well and truly routed. The streets have been quiet since, as the infiltrators have left the town alone. Ethnic Diversity: While the residents of Oldham have a significant white majority, large Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigrant communities have been settled in the town for decades, originally coming to work in the mills. Sporting Heritage: As home to Oldham Athletic, a former premiership club, the town has the exciting claim to the highest ground in the Football League. While the club's success is confined to surviving in the top flight for three years, losing (unluckily) in FA Cup Semi Final replays to Manchester United and being beaten by Nottingham Forest in a League Cup final, they are currently at the heart of the battle for promotion to Division One. A rugby town too, the Oldham Roughyeds rugby league play outside the town at Rochdale's Spotland stadium! Tourism: This town has spectacularly failed to cash in on its mining and mill heritage. It is, however, well located for exploring the Peak District, including the moors around Saddleworth, a bleak and beautiful landscape tainted by the evil acts of Brady and Hindley. There is only one decent hotel, the Avent, and if you are staying elsewhere in the town, feel free to write your review on this site! The Huddersfield Canal restoration will lead to a growth in pleasure craft passing close to the town
. More of interest to the tourist will be the beautiful outlying villages which retain a rural charm so close to an industrial centre. Housing: A wide range of housing, from cheap terrace properties in the £15,000 - £45,000 range to executive homes priced beyond £250,000 can be found in and around Oldham. A typical middle class 3-bed semi detached house would typically sell for between £75,000 and £125,000. Why would you want to visit Oldham? To be honest, as a decent shopping centre. That is the only reason that leaps to mind! It can make a pleasant change from the purpose built Trafford Centre or Meadowhall and includes both indoor and outdoor stores to give a better environmental mix together with an excellent market. As a tourist attraction, it does little (despite potential), although the outlying area is something really worth seeing! It is a relatively cheap place to live, right at the heart of the motorway network. Do I love the town? Not really. It passes as okay!