Oldham suffered under the Lancashire Cotton Famine of 1861-1865 when supplies of raw cotton from the United States were cut off. Oldham suffered huge unemployment as most of its jobs were in the Cotton Industry. By 1863 a committee had been formed and with a loan from central government, land at Swine Clough was purchased and the unemployed cotton workers were brought in to help construct the park, and it was opened in 1865. It was named Alexandra Park to commemorate the marriage of Albert, Prince of Wales, to Alexandra of Denmark.
It had a refreshment room, boating and fishing lakes constructed in 1903, and statues to various "Oldhamers of eminence".
The park gradually fell into disrepair in the 1980's and 1990's, and was largely re-built to its former grandeur in the 2000's.
The Park is now the nicest in the surrounding area with the former boating lake now looking lovely, with a great stone bridge and nice cafe selling food, drinks and ice cream. There are plenty of large fields, the large one just above the lakes, by the bowling greens, is perfect for picnicing, and the other large fields above that are good for sports.
The conservatory and gardens have a wide variety of semi- tropical plants (but watch for wasps/bees in the summer).
The old pavillion has also been restored and now resembles the original Victorian, very Imperial structure, with iron decorations looking like something from the far-east. I used to sit on the stone lions on the pavillion when I was little, so on my last visit I had to have a go, surprisingly I managed to get on and off without hurting myself!
The Oldham war memorial was commissioned by the Oldham war memorial committee in 1919 as a dedication to the brave men who lost their lives in World War I. It was built by Albert Toft and was unveiled on the 28th April 1923 by General Sir Ian Hamilton in front of a 10,000 crowd.
Through a window in the monument is a roll of honour of soldiers who died in a book which is dated.
Oldham’s old town hall was built in 1841 and is a grade II listed building.
Winston Churchill made his acceptance speech from the steps of the Town hall in 1900 when he was elected as a Conservative MP.
The building has stood empty since the mid 1980’s. It is in a bad condition with structural
damage due to neglect but as a graded building it cannot
The Queen Elizabeth hall is a dance venue in the centre of Oldham.
It hold regular tea dances and beer festivals as well as occasional concerts.
The hall holds 1,500 people and has a box office and cloakroom facilities.
Conference and meeting halls are available as well as space for family events.
Hartshead pike serves as a focal point in the Oldham and Ashton landscape, Many people will go for a walk up to the pike or just drive up and sit and look at the view, The pike is visible from miles around with unbroken views across 4 counties and has been a beacon hill through antiquity.
Before the Romans the local tribes lit fires here to celebrate the cycle of the seasons, there were many ancient sites close by, including a stone circle at Buckton Castle, once visible from the pike it is now sadly lost. It is highly probable that the druids worshipped at Hartshead Pike during the Iron Age, and sacrifices may have been held to appease their gods.
During the Roman occupation the area took on a more mundane role and became a beacon site, the trackways became routes for the Romans to navigate quickly between the fort at Buckton, and the Roman road at Limeside. The beacon may have been lit in times of unrest to warn the local garrisons.
After the departure of the Romans much of Oldham was inhabited by the Anglo Saxons. There has been some suggestion that the pike was the site where they held their mote (moot) - to appoint leaders and to create law, and the name Hartshead may come from their habit of marking a meeting place with the skull of a wild animal (although this is pure speculation).
The tower on Hartshead Pike is a well-known local landmark. It overlooks Oldham and Ashton being visible from many surrounding areas. It is a popular destination for afternoon strolls and used to have a refreshment shop inside. Visitors could pay a small charge to climb stairs to enjoy the view from windows high up in the building.
Although the name "Hartshead Pike" is generally used to mean the tower, it was originally the name of the hill itself. The pike is not the highest part of the hill, but, at 940 feet above sea level, its prominent position has meant that, from early times, it has been the site of a beacon or signalling station.
The earliest structure on this spot may have been a stone pillar, erected to commemorate the passing through the area of King Canute, who is also remembered in the names of Knott Hill and Knott Lanes.
A tower had been built on the hill by the eighteenth century as it was re-built in 1751 by a public subscription. However, it was badly damaged by lightning and a hundred years later, all that remained was a ring of stone.
The present tower was built in 1863 by John Eaton, a little south of the earlier structure, to mark the wedding of the Prince of Wales to Princess Alexandra of Denmark. The land on which the tower stands was given to the town by Lord Stamford, who also gave the stone for the tower's construction.
A "time capsule" was buried in a space below the foundation stone. This was a sealed bottle containing local newspapers, Victorian coins, poetry and documents.
The pike is still a popular destination for walkers who come to enjoy the wide ranging views, which include the Pennine moors to the east, North Wales to the west and north towards Pendle Hill
The tower on Hartshead Pike is a well-known local landmark. Once you have walked the short path to the top you will be rewarded with some great views of the Pennine moors to the east, North Wales to the west and north towards Pendle Hill. The present tower was built in 1863 by John Eaton, a little south of the earlier structure, to mark the wedding of the Prince of Wales to Princess Alexandra of Denmark. The land on which the tower stands was given to the town by Lord Stamford, who also gave the stone for the tower's construction. The earliest structure on this spot may have been a stone pillar, erected to commemorate the passing through the area of King Canute, who is also remembered in the names of Knott Hill and Knott Lanes.
There was once a little shop inside the tower and you could go inside to explore but sadly vandals put pay to this a long time ago.
We were very lucky to visit here on a bright sunny day and were rewarded with some stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
The Gallery at Oldham is situated in a multifunctional building. On the ground floor there is a tourist information desk which has a lot of informative leaflets about the area on display, a gift shop, library and lifelong learning centre. The upper floors consist of a series of rooms displaying art works. I enjoyed looking at the pictures depicting the local area, especially the panoramic view of Oldham in days gone by which is on display in one of the corridors.
Entry to the gallery is free.
Opening times are;
Monday - Saturday, 10am - 5pm. (Last admission to the galleries 4.30pm).
The Gallery Oldham provides a wide range of exhibitions of local Arts and crafts and activities targeted at different audiences of all ages within Oldham and the surrounding area's.
Also houses works by famous artists such as Lowery and Turner
Talks and tours, art and craft workshops, work with schools and artist residencies are all part of the gallery’s regular activities programme.
Gallery Oldham is open:
Monday - Saturday, 10am - 5pm. (Last admission to the galleries 4.30pm) Admission is free.
Dovestone Reservoir is set amidst the beautiful rolling hills of the Peak District National Park, just a twenty minutes drive from the hustle and bustle of Oldham. This huge expanse of water was created 130 years ago when the need for safe and sufficient drinking water grew with the demands of the growing Industrial population of Manchester. Dovestone reservoir is fed via the Chew reservoir which is situated high up on the Moorlands. The water travels through a mile long underground pipe before it reaches Dovestone reservoir and a neighbouring reservoir called Yeoman Hay. The water is then piped further down the valley to a treatment plant. A paper mill situated below Dovestone Reservoir also makes good use of the water.
As well as providing drinking water for much of Greater Manchester, the Reservoir also provides a great base for leisure activities. There is a small sailing club on the South shore of the reservoir; boating and windsurfing is allowed on the waters. There are also some great walking paths in the area. There is a well maintained, fairly flat path starting from the car park. This will take you around the perimeter of the reservoir. (It takes about an hour to do the full circuit). There are also several waymarked trails which take you high up on the hills, these are a must if you want to take in some of the breathtaking views on offer. This is a fantastic area for birdwatching, walking and generally enjoying the great outdoors. Cycling is allowed on the main shoreline path of the reservoir but walkers have the right of way.
Car parking and toilet facilities are available next to the reservoir. Car parking charge was 60p for 3 hours (February 2011).
Read more: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/a70f8/4c32d/4/#ixzz1EtsaQbAc
Daisy Nook is in the heart of the Medlock Valley sandwiched between Oldham,Ashton and Failsworth,it has an area of roughly 100 acres and has been a designated country park since 1976.The park is centred on the Hollinwood and Fairbottom Branches of Ashton canal and includes 15 acres of woodland owned by the National Trust.
Its landcscape is made up of rivers,woodlands,meadows and a lake set amongst an interesting and historical past which makes it an ideal place to enjoy a variety of walks and pastimes with links to neighbouring countryside.Daisy Nook has managed to maintain a rich mosaic of habitats encouraging a wide diversity of wildlife such as Tawny owls,Woodpeckers,Foxes,Swans,Ducks and Grey Squirrels.There are also many tree species such as oak,beech,hazel,holly and sycamore.The meadows and woodlands harbour a wide range of wildflowers and fungi.
Originally the area was known as the village of Waterhouses until in 1855'Ben Brieley'the famous Lancashire poet wrote his first major peice of works 'A Day Out',it decribed a ramble to a fictional beauty spot which he named 'Daisy Nook'.Crime lake was formed in 1794 as a result of the canal work flooding the valley.Many of the structures remain from the time when the canal system was in use,such as the viaduct and the unique double lock system leading up to Sammy's Basin.
The country park offers many recreational activities like horse riding,picknicking,cycling,birdwatching or strolls along the many footpaths like the History trail which takes you round almost the entire park.
There is a visitors centre which was opened in 1987 and is a focal point for events run by the Oldham countryside service and a base from which the rangers work.Within the centre are interesting exhibitions all year round,activities for children,a souvenier shop and cafe with toilets,there is a picnic area outside the centre,a cycle rack,horse coral and large visitors car park.
Saddleworth Museum and Art Gallery is housed in a former textile mill next to the Huddersfield narrow canal. I visited the the museum with Vter Myfanwe, it really is a good place with a lot of information and has exhibitions that feature local archaeology, handicrafts and customs, ranging from the stone age, Romans etc right up to the present day. There are preserved looms and other items of textile machinery retrived and restored from some of the many mills in the area and includes the reconstruction of the rooms of a 19th c weavers cottage,
A shop and Tourist Information Centre provide an opportunity to acquire a souvenir of the visit.
Years ago Park Bridge was a bustling and noisy centre of industry, now beautiful countryside It is difficult to imagine how it once was. Situated at the end of the Medlock Valley between Ashton under Lyne and Oldham it now has a nice visitors centre with displays telling you the history of the are and of the Large ironworks that once produced the Bolts used to build the Eifel tower..
The Lees family began developing iron works at Park Bridge in 1747. They also built housing and other facilities for their workers. The remains of a later rolling mill and cotton mill which were built close to a railway viaduct which has since been demolished, There are still some parts of the Old Iron works left amongst the trees and parts of machines used for bending iron bars etc and dotted around. The visitors centre is situated in the Old Stables and has some interesting items on display with a lot of information about the surrounding countryside and detaild walks, nature trails etc there is a Tea Room.
Entrance is Free
I visited during the weekend while i was working and found that the Tea room is closed untill further notice,
The Huddersfield Narrow Canal cuts through the Saddleworth area of Oldham and down into Ashton Under Lyne. the canal was reopened in May 2001 after a £30 million restoration project that had been funded mainly by the Millenium Commission and English Partnerships.
It had been more than 50 years since the waterway had last been open to 'traffic'. the Canals
played a very important part during the Industrial Revolution allowing cargo to be moved quickly and easily from town to town supplying the new factories and mills with coal and supplies and taking the Cotton and other produce to the markets and to docks for shipping around the world.
After years of neglect the canals have been restored in many places and the Hddersfield Canal has once again been opened it's use changed to that of a major tourist attraction and providing many leisure opportunities for walking and canal boat rides
The Standedge Tunnel above oldham has now been opened to Canal boats allowing passage from huddersfield all the way in to Ashton and Beyond. Canal boat rides can be had in Uppermill , i will find out more details and add them when i can
Daisy Nook is the name of an area of the Medlock Valley between Oldham, Failsworth and Ashton under Lyne.
The River Medlock flows through a steep-sided valley between Oldham and Ashton under Lyne and further on, the area was originally called Waterhouses and only became known as Daisy Nook when local writer and poet Ben Brierley called it Daisy Nook in his book "A Day Out" after that the name caught on.
Daisy Nook began to be a destination for afternoons out during the Victorian period when families would take walks and picnic by the river or take boat rides on Crime Lake. It is still very popular to this day and every year at Easter visitors flock from miles around to the large annual Daisy Nook Fair.
The Canals which go through this area stopped being used in the 1920's but were not filled in and the 1970s the area was developed into a country park with the canals and basins being made into features.
Popular for short walks, fishing, Dog walking and horse riding there are many well sign posted paths and information boards.
Daisy Nook Garden Centre at the bottom of the valley is very popular and has a nice cafe were you can get something to eat or drink after buying all your garden needs.
There is a car park next to the visitors centre were there is also a small cafe and where you can obtain information about the area.
Updated Pictures 07/12/09
Daisy Nook is a fabulous Country Park set in the Medlock Valley between Oldham, Failsworth and Ashton under Lyne. The area was originally called Waterhouses, but local writer and poet Ben Brierley called it Daisy Nook in a popular book "A Day Out" and the name caught on. The Country Park was developed around the River Medlock and the Hollinwood and Fairbottom Branch Canals.
The canals stopped being used around the 1920s, but luckily were not filled in. In the 1970s the area was developed into a country park and the canals and basins were made into a feature for visitors.
There are lovely walks along the canals here, the magnificent 80 ft waterhouse Aqueduct together with fishing lakes, cycle trails and bridle paths attract many visitors to this wonderful place. The area is a magnet for wildlife, providing woodland and wetland habitats for all creatures great and small. Within the Country park we found an information board which gave details of the Medlock Valley Daisy Nook History trail which takes you on a walk around the area to discover lots more about the history of the area.
After my visit I found out you can get a leaflet of the History trail from the John Howarth visitor centre which is situated at the entrance to the Country park. The centre has a cafe selling snacks together with hot and cold drinks and also have a range of informative leaflets, a souvenir shop and toilets. The visitor centre is open at weekends and on weekday afternoons. There are a number of wildlife Events run from the visitor centre including Childrens clubs. Details of these can be obtained by ringing the visitor centre.