January 2017
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A Big Big exhibition at Gallery Oldham

Taking the camera out on the road.

The extraordinary Big Big Camera has been in the collections of Gallery Oldham for many years. Over the last two years artist and photographer Ian Beesley has been working to reuse this industrial relic and photograph the Oldham area in a whole new way. This new exhibition charts his journey and includes some suitably ‘big big’ images.

The camera was originally housed at Rome Mill in Springhead, where it was used by a company manufacturing wallpaper. Rome Mill was built as a cotton spinning mill but was converted to become a wallpaper factory by Lees Paper Staining Co in the early 1930s. It was at this point that the process camera manufactured by the London firm of Hunter Penrose was first installed. The mill continued to produce wallpaper until 1990 and when it was closed Gallery Oldham acquired the process camera for the collections.

Large cameras like this were made specifically for the printing industry and once installed were probably never moved again. Ian Beesley has worked with Gallery Oldham to get it working again, including specialist restoration of the lens as well as cleaning. Most importantly Ian had to meet the challenge of using a camera that was designed for huge negatives 24 inches square. His solution was to create a grid which could take a series of smaller negatives resulting in images made up of 20 separate prints.

Thanks to funding from Arts Council England the gallery was able to take the camera out on the road. A transit van is needed to transport a camera this size and with a little modification the van can also double as a darkroom enabling the slides to be reloaded out in the field. It is a laborious process and a maximum of three photographs can be taken in a day.

Photographer Ian Beesley has used the camera to take images across the borough as well as a series of portraits and still lifes. Poet Ian MacMillan has also worked on the

Hartford mill taken with the Big Big Camera

project to produce a series of poems in response to the photographs. Both the images and poems will be on display in this new exhibition.

Councillor Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Co-operatives, said: “This is a fascinating project to reuse a historic piece of industrial equipment in a new way. These large scale photographs will make you think again about the whole process of taking a picture.”

Ian Beesley said: “This exhibition explores some of the aspects of photography that are now being lost in the digital age. From the sheer physicality of the equipment, to the delicate relationship with light and the uncertainty of success, this is photography in its purest but most demanding form.”

The exhibition opens on January 21 until April 22. Visitors can also join Ian Beesley for a demonstration of the camera on 15 February at 2pm.

Have you claimed the ‘Flood Resilience Grant’?



Fighting the flooding in Uppermill, Boxing Day 2015 (Photo: ©StuartColeman)

Courtesy of Christine Wilson

Saddleworth and Lees District Team

Please spread the word, see below or click on the link:  http://www.oldham.gov.uk/info/200578/emergencies/1574/flood_resilience_grant

Government grants of up to £5,000 are available for homeowners and businesses that have been flooded as a result of Storm Desmond and Storm Eva to help fund additional flood resilience or resistance measures for their properties.
The resilience grant presents a great opportunity for those who have been flooded to better prepare their homes for future flood events, both to prevent flood water from entering the property and to speed the recovery if it does.


Grants are intended only to fund measures which improve the property’s resilience or resistance to flooding, over and above repairs that would normally be covered by insurance.

Flood Resilience Grant Application Form
Property Resilience Grant Scheme Participation Agreement Form
Applications must be submitted by 31st December 2016 with all expenditure by 30th June 2017.

To apply please complete the “Flood Resilience Grant Application Form” and return it via post email:
The Head of Corporate Governance,
Financial Services,
Floor 14,
Civic Centre,
West Street,
OL1 1UG.
Applications should be submitted and approved in advance of any work being carried out. If applications are submitted after work has been started there is a risk to the homeowner/business that they may not be eligible for the grant.

Diggle School Light Up Diggle for Christmas


Diggle Primary School Christmas competition winners Dylan Jackson (Class R) and Jane Anderson (class 3) turning on the Christmas lights (Photo: ©stuartcoleman)

Diggle residents celebrated their annual Christmas light switch on in style on Sunday with record numbers enjoying carols, fireworks and the tree lighting ceremony.

Pupils from Diggle Primary School choir started the festivities with a selection of carols at, a full to overflowing, Diggle Band Club.

Fuelled on minced pies and mulled wine, the gathering led by Diggle Band made their way to the Christmas tree opposite Wharf Mill where Christmas competition winners, Jane Anderson and Dylan Jackson from Diggle School, turned on the tree lights.

Rev Duncan Rhodes said, “It’s wonderful to see so many people enjoying this event, singing carols and celebrating Christmas together as a community.”

Mark Brooks, chairperson for the Diggle Community Association said, ” The light-up Christmas event takes a lot of fundraising, planning and organising but it’s worth it to see so many people from the village enjoying themselves.’

Special thanks go out to: The Diggle Community Association, Cllr Nikki Kirkham, Diggle Primary School, Diggle Band, Diggle Band Club and local residents




New Gritter Named Nicole Saltslinger

15310999_10155411360699989_1755504996_oAfter an avalanche of interest and suggestions Oldham Council can reveal the name of our new gritter is Nicole Saltslinger. Named after the former Pussycat Doll and X-Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger the now famous yellow gritter has become the most famous vehicle in the country over the last few weeks.

Recently we asked primary school children from across the borough to ‘prove their salt’ and come up with a fitting name for the new addition to our fleet. After a ‘snow’ start the number of entries snowballed by the day and we eventually ended up with hundreds to choose from, including Gritney Houston, Spready Eddie and even Andy Gritchie, after the former Oldham Athletic favourite. The competition also really caught the imagination of the ‘gritterarati’ and it received wide spread national coverage in newspapers, websites, TV and radio.

The winning entry was sent in by Eve McGrath, who attends Royton Hall Primary School. We ploughed through hundreds of entries and Eve was the only youngster who came up with the unique and fun name. The 10-year-old decided on Nicole Saltslinger as she is a fan of the Saturday night entertainment show. Eve made the trip down to our depot at Moorhey Street for a special naming ceremony.

Nicole will now join Freddie Salted; Grittersaurus; Goliath; Walter the Salter; Gritterbug; Gritney Spears; Gritanator and Thor, helping to keep the borough’s roads moving safely when the snow and ice appear.

Councillor Fida Hussain, Cabinet Member for Environment Services, said: “Firstly we’d like to thank Eve for coming up with such a great name. We’re delighted with how well the competition took off. It captured the imagination of Oldham residents and the whole nation. It was intended as a bit of fun and we even treated the silly suggestions with a pinch of salt.

‘We ran a similar competition a few years ago which was also really well received but this time I think we’ve taken it up a notch.
On a single tweet more than 70,000 people engaged with us in one way or another and some of the suggestions we had were fantastic.

“In Oldham we’re usually hit quite hard when the snow begins to fall and we have an excellent team who work tirelessly to keep the roads clear and the borough moving. Our gritters obviously play a vital role in that and so it’s nice that we can have a bit of fun by running competitions like this whilst teaching young people about road safety.”

To keep residents fully informed of any developments the Oldham Council website – http://www.oldham.gov.uk/winter – will be updated continually and feature the latest news on school closures, gritting routes, locations of grit bins and grit sales.

Our First Response service will use its Twitter account @oldhamalert to inform followers of school and road closures or incidents.

These will also be retweeted for residents using the Council¹s account @oldhamcouncil and updates will appear via the local media.

Stage is set for the new Coliseum Theatre

octaceOldham is to build a new Coliseum Theatre in its budding Cultural Quarter after the plans were awarded a multi-million pound funding injection.

A successful Round 2 joint funding bid by Oldham Council and Oldham Coliseum Theatre has seen Arts Council England approve a grant worth £7.1m towards the project.

Alongside a future fundraising contribution agreed with Oldham Coliseum Theatre, this now triggers the green light for it to move from its Fairbottom Street home to a new state-of-the-art facility including a 550-seat main auditorium and a 170-seat studio theatre with improved front-of-house facilities.

The new-build project will be a central part of Oldham’s Cultural Quarter and will be located on the current Southgate Street car park site, with a frontage on Union Street.

This will connect the Coliseum Theatre with the other cultural jewels of a new Heritage and Arts Centre linked with Gallery Oldham, Library and Lifelong Learning centre.

All are sited at a prominent town centre gateway and just yards from the Oldham Central Metrolink stop.

The new theatre will be adjacent to the Grade-II listed Victorian library building, which is to house the Heritage and Arts Centre, showcasing the story of Oldham’s past from its time as the cotton spinning capital of the world to the present day.

The plans are part of an approach approved in September 2015 which commits Oldham Council and its partners to a phased delivery over ten years of a four-stage Cultural Regeneration Programme*.

Jean Stretton, Oldham Council Leader, said: “We’re delighted to be able to now get on with our plans to deliver a new Oldham Coliseum Theatre.”

“The support and shared vision of Arts Council England has been vital in this and we’re extremely grateful for this significant financial contribution which will help us to realise our ambitions for a fantastic Cultural Quarter.

“Arts, culture and heritage matter. They can inspire education across all ages and communities, boost the local economy, and attract tourism

“Oldham Coliseum Theatre is a hugely-respected institution in the borough, and beyond. It’s a major cultural asset that also delivers lots of important educational work. This relocation will widen its profile and ensure it has a bright future as part of our wider regeneration plans.

“You can see with developments like the Old Town Hall and others that we are working to transform our town centre into one that gives our residents greater pride in better facilities and preserved heritage – and will also attract a new type of visitor with a great arts, culture and leisure offer.”

Kevin Shaw, Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s Artistic Director and Chief Executive, said: “We are immensely proud to be taking our place in Oldham’s Cultural Quarter alongside the new Heritage and Arts Centre, as well as Gallery Oldham and Oldham Library.”

“We are indebted to the vision of Oldham Council that places a real value on arts and culture for the borough, and for the support of Arts Council England in investing in that vision.

“The current board, staff, volunteers and audiences are all custodians of a proud tradition of theatre in the town, which in the Coliseum’s case dates back to 1885. This is the second time in our history when we’ve moved location. Initially we were on Henshaw Street and then moved to Fairbottom Street in 1887 to make way for Tommyfield Market. It’s our responsibility to make a theatre that’s right for future generations, meaning in the years to come that theatre in Oldham continues to thrive, grow and develop.

“We are rightfully famous for the warmth of our welcome, and we will take that warmth with us, so future residents of Oldham will feel this is a theatre for absolutely everyone.”

Alison Clark, Director North, Arts Council England said: “We are delighted to have made such a major investment in the future of cultural life in Oldham.

“Our capital programme is intended to ensure that artistic activity is embedded in the heart of infrastructural development and this is an great example of how a regeneration programme can demonstrate that the arts are critical to the growth of healthy communities.”

The Coliseum scheme got initial planning permission in March 2015.

Mecanoo, the project architects, are committed to prioritising the local supply chain throughout this project.

In support of Oldham Council’s ‘Get Oldham Working’ campaign, they are developing an employment and skills strategy to focus on young people within the borough, improving links with local education providers and exploring the opportunity to create apprenticeships.

Mecanoo are currently producing new designs in order to submit a new planning application by March 2017.

Construction work is anticipated to start in April 2018 with the venue set to open in 2020.

Diggle’s Christmas Lights Switch-On: 4th December

img_4814Event: The Diggle Christmas lights switch-on

Location: Diggle Band Club on 4th December 2016 at 2:30pm

2:30pm Mulled wine and minced pies

2:45pm Diggle School Choir and Diggle Band perform a selection of Christmas carols

3:30pm Procession to the Christmas tree site lead by Diggle Band

3:45pm Short service and community carol singing led by the Rev. Duncan Rhodes

4:00pm Tree lighting ceremony performed by the winners of the Diggle Primary School Christmas competition

4:10pm Procession back to Diggle Band Club

A road closure will be in place on Huddersfield Road, Diggle from 3:20pm and 4:30pm between Sunfield Lane and Spurn Lane. Notices will be posted.

On Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th of December the Gate Inn are holding a Christmas market from 12-5 pm

For more information email: dcachairman@gmail.com or Hello@thegateinn.co.uk

Grafitti Vandals ruin the work of volunteers in Diggle

On step forward two steps back as Diggle Community Association and Canal Trust volunteers are forced to look at re-painting the storage container located at the Diggle end of the Standedge Canal Tunnel after Grafitti vandals left their mark over the weekend.

In addition to the container, the bus shelter on Station Rd., was also targeted.

Anyone with information should contact GMP on 101

201611_grafitti_diggle-0112 201611_grafitti_diggle-0111

Marks and Spencer will not be coming to Oldham Mumps

ms-from-yorkshire-stMarks & Spencer has announced it will not be taking up its option on new retail space at the Prince’s Gate at Oldham Mumps development. Oldham Council was contacted today (November 22) by the retailer and informed of the decision.

M&S recently confirmed plans to close 30 UK clothing and homeware shops and convert dozens more into food stores as part of a business restructuring. It came after the firm had reported falling sales and profits in the six months to the end of September.

M&S and Oldham Council had announced the plans for Prince’s Gate in November 2014 as part of a mixed-use scheme that includes retail and residential opportunities.

Jean Stretton, Oldham Council Leader, said: “We are, naturally, disappointed by this decision.”

“It’s well-known that Marks & Spencer has been experiencing difficulties in a very competitive market and they recently announced store closures as part of a business restructuring. When they first informed us of this decision today, Marks & Spencer were clear that although this means they will not be taking retail space at the Prince’s Gate site, this does not mean that they’re necessarily closing the door on coming to Oldham.

“I want to reassure people that we are continuing to have discussions with them about this and we are hopeful of a positive future outcome. The global economic and trade factors affecting M&S at this time are completely outside of our control – and our ambitions for Oldham remain undaunted.

“Rest assured that we will leave no stone unturned to deliver a positive outcome at the Prince’s Gate site which complements our wider regeneration programme in the town centre.

“Despite this news, Oldham town centre is firmly on the up and the stunning Old Town Hall cinema and restaurant complex which opened last month is already bringing increased footfall, trade, investment and visitors here. We are in positive discussions with several partners to capitalise further on that success.

Have your say on public transport



Saddleworth residents are reminded to have their say on public transport

Transport leaders are reminding people in Saddleworth to give their views on how public transport in the area could be improved.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) launched a public transport survey on 24 October and residents have until 30 November 2016 to complete it.

The results of the survey will support the development of potential interventions to make the transport network better suited to the needs of Saddleworth residents.

The survey is funded by the Department for Transport’s Total Transport Pilot Fund to deliver joined up and efficient transport links specifically in rural areas.

Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “We want to find out where Saddleworth residents travel to and how, and what people think about public transport. The closing date for the survey is now approaching and we’re reminding everyone who is yet to fill in the survey to do so by 30 November.

“All comments received will help to inform recommendations for improving transport in Saddleworth, so we can start to target interventions that will better connect people with work, education, shops, leisure, health and local services, as well as friends and family.”

The survey is available now to complete online at www.tfgm.com/saddleworth. Hard copies have been distributed to Saddleworth residents and are also available for collection at Uppermill Library, Saddleworth libraries, doctors surgeries, Uppermill Civic Hall and Saddleworth Medical Centre.

If you would like more information on the Total Transport scheme, please email: saddleworthtransport@tfgm.com

Give Oldham’s Newest Gritter a Name

img_9490-copyOldham Council has added a new gritter to its fleet – and we don’t want it to feel left out…

Two years ago we ran a name the gritter competition and primary school children from across the borough ‘proved their salt’ and came up with some imaginative names for our eight vehicles.

Since then, whenever there has been a cold snap, Freddie Salted; Grittersaurus; Goliath; Walter the Salter; Gritterbug; Gritney Spears; Gritanator and Thor, have been out helping to keep the borough’s roads moving safely when the snow and ice has appeared.

Now we are asking our young people to come up with a name for the new addition to our team.
All you have to do is log onto www.oldham.gov.uk/winter and then give us your suggestions along with your details. You can send in one name or as many as you want.

Once the winning entry has been chosen the gritter will then be branded with its new name on the front of the cab. We’ll also be inviting the winner along to be photographed with the machine they have named.

You’ll then be able to look out for the vehicle as it travels around the borough spreading grit and salt.

The competition is open to primary school age children who either live in Oldham or attend a school in the borough. The closing date for entries is 5pm on Wednesday, November 30.

Councillor Fida Hussain, Oldham Council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “We had a great response to our name the gritter competition a few years ago and hopefully we’ll get the same this time around.

“Although it was a bit of fun it also helped to teach our young people about road safety and how we keep our roads safe in cold weather.

“Our fleet of gritters and their drivers play a vital role in helping to keep the borough moving and in recent years they have gritted thousands of miles of adopted highway during cold spells.”

As far as reasonably possible, the council will keep the primary highway network free of ice and snow at all times in order to help ensure a safe journey for commuters and residents.

Resources are initially directed to gritting seven priority routes, including the trans-Pennine roads and most of the principal, classified and major bus routes.

To keep residents fully informed of any developments the Oldham Council website – www.oldham.gov.uk/winter – will be updated continually and feature the latest news on school closures, gritting routes, locations of grit bins and grit sales.
Our First Response service will use its Twitter account @oldhamalert to inform followers of school and road closures or incidents.
These will also be retweeted for residents using the Council’s account @oldhamcouncil and updates will appear via the local media.