Oldham Never Ceases to Surprise Me!

I can’t believe the town we’re I live was at the centre the industrial revolution. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise because Oldham is a town full of surprises.

Historically it was at the centre of the global cotton industry, and as part of that was also at the centre of social reform.

During this period workers campaigned for better working conditions and improved social welfare and these issues mobilised women in the town to campaign for the vote.

If like me you were probably introduced to the Suffragette movement at school. But if you only read the couple of paragraphs in the text books like I did then you only got the headlines, the story is far more interesting and inspirational.

It was a campaign that involved women from all over the country from mill workers in the north through to the landed gentry in the south. All with a common cause, to have a say in how the country was run. They wanted the vote and fought very hard to achieve it.

Today something happened that would have been unheard of a century ago. A statue of the local suffragette and campaigner Annie Kenney was unveiled in the front of the Old Town Hall. 

It wasn’t that long ago that the council was looking to put a statue of Winston Churchill on the plinth to celebrate his achievements and as much as he was a great statesman in later life, his brush with Oldham was less than inspiring.

So why do I think Annie Kenney is a better choice? 

Her influence along with Emmeline Pankhurst showed working class people who thought they had no voice that if they joined together they could make a difference.

These women changed our country for the better, they gave women and the down trodden a voice to make a change for the better.

I wish we had people of that spirit around today, I wonder what we could achieve if we did.

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Made in Oldham

Clothes tag

It has been a rotten start to the new year. Loosing lifelong friends is never easy, and add to that loosing the hero’s from your youth its enough to make a person give up but I am from Oldham and that is not an option.

Now according to the rest of the British Isles I come from an insignificant windswept town in the northwest of England but to me it is the best place on the planet.

Many people in the town and central government think that Oldham is a town that has had its day and that hope has all but gone. I have news for you, as a town we may be down but are definitely not out.

People from Oldham are a rare bread, it matters not a jot what colour, religion or belief system you belong to you kick one of us you kick us all.

Winston Churchill started his political career in the town, Anne Kenny the linch pin of the suffrage movement was born here, we are strong and in spite of the current government we will survive.

On this small blue planet that we are a part off we all like to think that our own little part of the world will never ever change, that we are all part of some great master plan which someone has carefully thought out. I have no interest in that belief.

I meet people everyday that make things happen and often not because of financial gain but because they can and have belief that people no matter how insignificant they think they are make a difference.

So even though I have been stopped in my tracks by loosing people who I really cared about I will pick myself up and dust myself off and try to make a difference in the town I call home.

Oldham is a town that over the years has kept me and my family safe,. Its allowed me to raise my family in a place which I think is beautiful, not because of architecture or environment but because the people in this town care, they are passionate about were we live and look out for each other no matter what the world throws at us.

So after this patriotic venting I will leave you with the thought. I live in the town who invented the chip so it can’t be all that bad can it, there are far worse things to be remembered for.