Oldham is one of our region’s largest and most diverse towns, benefiting from an increasingly multi-cultural society, a rich industrial and social history, a growing student community and exciting plans in place for the future.


From humble beginnings

Unmentioned in the Domesday Book, which was the written record of the ‘Great Survey’ of settlements in 1086, Oldham started out as a small, somewhat isolated village in the foothills of the Pennines. Its natural geography meant that its soils were too thin and poor to make crop growing viable and so, for centuries, the surrounding land was used for grazing sheep which, in turn, provided the raw material for the area’s first major industrial activity; the weaving of wool.

Although mainly centred in the neighbouring county of Yorkshire, of which some areas of the borough – namely Uppermill, Saddleworth, Delph and Denshaw – used to be part, wool production was a major source of employment in Oldham right up until the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution.

Initially, Oldham played no part in this major economic transformation; the climate, geology and topography of the area all conspiring to restrict its social and commercial growth. In the late 18th Century however, Oldham began to emerge from the shadows, expanding rapidly into a major town and centre for large-scale industry, firstly in hatting (other towns in the North West such as Stockport, Hyde and Denton were also major centres for hat production), and then, of course, in textile manufacture. In fact, the traditional nickname for Oldhamers, and the town’s famous Rugby League team, is ‘Roughyed’, the origins of which come from the rough felt used in the production process of hats.

The town’s first cotton mill, at Lees, was opened in 1778 and, by 1818, there were 19; admittedly not a large number in comparison to other local factory towns like Bolton and Manchester. By the second half of the 19th Century however, Oldham had become the world’s largest manufacturing centre for cotton spinning. In 1871, the town had more cotton spindles than any country in the world apart from the United States and, by 1909, it was spinning more cotton than the whole of France and Germany combined.

Similarly, the town’s population experienced a dramatic increase, from just 12,000 in 1801, to 137,000 in 1901. This unprecedented urban growth carried on throughout the early years of the 20th Century; a time when Oldham accounted for over a quarter of the UK’s total cotton production. By 1928, there were more than 360 mills operating 24 hours a day in the borough, including the world’s largest textile factory – Platt Brothers at Werneth, on the outskirts of the town centre.

Coal mining and engineering also flourished in Oldham, as well as the neighbouring towns of Chadderton, Royton and Middleton, mainly as industries to service and support the ongoing operation of the mills. As with practically every northern mill town, Oldham’s fortunes declined as the UK began to import cheaper yarns from overseas and, by 1964, the town ceased to be largest centre of cotton spinning and today, only a handful of small-scale producers remain.


Town and country

These days, one of the key advantages of living and working in Oldham is that it’s literally minutes away from some of the most peaceful walks and breathtaking scenery to be found anywhere in the North West of England.

Dovestone Reservoir is a particular favourite in the Moxi offices, and many of us can  regularly be found there, taking in the fresh air – and the sights – of a weekend. Other prominent beauty spots and hiking destinations in the area include Black Chew Head (the highest point in Greater Manchester), Yeoman Hey Reservoir and Birchen Clough.


Strong artistic and musical associations

There are many famous ‘Oldhamers’ from all walks of life. Famous actors past and present, some of whom have trod the boards at the town’s iconic (and now, sadly closed) Coliseum Theatre, include Dora Bryan, Lally Bowers, Bernard Cribbins, Siobhan Finneran, Shobna Gulati, Christopher Biggins, Suranne Jones, Anne Kirkbride (that’s Deirdre Barlow to you and I), Barbara Knox (aka Corrie’s Rita Sullivan), Sarah Lancashire, Eric Sykes and Jack Wild.

Other famous faces from Oldham include TV presenters Alan Rothwell, Philip Schofield and Nick Grimshaw, scientist Brian Cox and much-loved comedians Bobby Ball and Tommy Cannon.

The town also has a notable music history; 1970’s rock band Barclay James Harvest came from Oldham, as do 1990’s Madchester band Inspiral Carpets, DJ Carl Cox and, of course, Take That vocalist Mark Owen.


Sporting prowess

The town’s most famous sporting institution is Oldham Athletic Football Club, who have played at Boundary Park since their formation in 1895. Incidentally, the ‘Latics’, who currently play in the National League, are managed by Micky Mellon, who is someone I know very well, as he’s also the Director of Leadership and Culture for our partner, EdStart Schools.

Oldham can also boast a very famous and historically successful Rugby League club, as well as a host of well-known sporting figures both past and present, including former Lancashire and England Cricket captain Michael Atherton, Great Britain Rugby League players Kevin Sinfield, Paul Sculthorpe and Des Foy, Famous footballers such as ex-Manchester United favourites Paul Scholes and David May, and Oldham Athletic legend, Andy Ritchie. Additionally, Manchester United’s new co-owner and the UK’s second richest man, Sir Jim Ratcliffe was born in Failsworth.


Foodie firsts

There are claims that Oldham was the birthplace of the first Chip shop which, in 1858, stood on the site of the town’s thriving Tommyfield Market. Whether or not this is true, in the early years of the 20th century, the town did have the highest concentration of chip shops in the UK, roughly one for every 400 people.

The Lancashire classic that is Rag Pudding – similar in preparation to a Steak and Kidney – was also invented in Oldham, as were black – or parched – peas.

These days, Oldham is a diverse, multi-cultural town with many different cuisines on offer, and a particularly good place to sample an authentic curry, which makes it a must-visit foodie destination that I intend to experience for myself in the very near future!


A regional shopping destination

At the centre of Oldham is its principal shopping centre, The Spindles Town Square, one of the largest indoor retail facilities in the whole of Greater Manchester. Tommyfield Market is also a popular shopping destination for locals, as are the main outdoor retail areas concentrated around Union Street, King Street, High Street, Yorkshire Street and Market Place. What’s more, there are several plans in place to further regenerate the town and make it a regional centre for education and the arts.


A political hotbed

Arguably Great Britain’s most famous Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill began his political career in Oldham, winning the seat for the Conservatives in 1900, and serving as the town’s MP until 1904, when he defected to the Liberal Party. The town also played a key role in the Suffragette movement, when local cotton mill worker Annie Kenney and her fellow activist, Christabel Pankhurst, interrupted a political rally held by Churchill and Sir Edward Grey in 1905 at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall, and unfurled a banner reading ‘Votes for Women’. This incident is widely credited for sparking the Suffragette Movement.


A passion for education

Oldham has long-held associations with education in Greater Manchester, beginning in 1515 when Oldham-born Hugh Oldham founded the Manchester Grammar School, after serving as the Bishop of Exeter.

Another historic educational figure from Oldham was local industrialist Thomas Henshaw who left the sum of £40,000 (£3.6 million in today’s money) after his death in 1810, to the building of the town’s famous Blue Coat School, which was opened in 1834 and still runs today as a co-ed academy for 11 to 18 year-olds.

Oldham as a town is justly proud of its education provision. Currently, there are 96 primary schools, 32 secondary schools, 8 SEN and alternative provisions and a dedicated FE/ sixth form college, as well as University Campus Oldham, the sister campus of the University of Huddersfield.

A recent report in The Oldham Times https://www.theoldhamtimes.co.uk/news/24334361.revealed-oldhams-rank-cheap-homes-near-top-schools/ found Oldham to be one of the most affordable metropolitan boroughs in the UK in which to buy a house located near a school rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, a distinction that currently applies to nearly 10% of the town’s primary and secondary schools.

This is a particularly impressive achievement, given Oldham’s extremely diverse demographic mix and socio-economic profile. As with all of Greater Manchester’s constituent boroughs, Oldham has some very upmarket areas such as Uppermill, Greenfield and Diggle, alongside some of the most deprived areas of the UK, including Coldhurst which currently has one of the nation’s highest child deprivation rates.


The Moxi difference

Our partner, EdStart Schools (which is currently on Church Lane in the town centre) will shortly be expanding into new premises, where we will be able to accommodate even more trainees and support even more students.

Across the Grolife group of companies, of which we are part, we are always looking to help more wherever we can, whether it be with recruitment, training new staff or providing support via our partner schools.

Another key point of difference between ourselves and other education recruiters, is that Moxi is community-focused and, wherever possible, we always seek to work with local candidates who know the area, its strengths, its demographic profile and its challenges. In this way, we can make a really lasting contribution to our region’s educational environment at all levels, and help drive the local economy.

We have a fantastic cohort of classroom-ready candidates currently available in and around Oldham, all looking for long-term, permanent roles in Early Years, Primary and Secondary schools. The training of these candidates – some of whom are new to the world of education – is ongoing, and we work in collaboration with our partners across the North West of England to help people take that all-important first step with regard to a career in teaching, teaching assistance, admin and support.

As part of our all-encompassing package, we can provide bespoke training that includes a Level 2 Teaching Assistant qualification, Mental Health First Aid, Lesson Planning and Mindfulness.

If you’re looking to get a head start in education as a career, then call me today on 0300 303 4414, email info@moxi-recruitment.co.uk or visit our ‘Contact’ page https://www.moxi-recruitment.co.uk/contact/ and send us a message. We will always try and support you in the best way we possibly can. Whether that be through new career opportunities, training or CPD!