We hope to open to the public (by appointment only) on Saturday 14th  and Sunday 15th November from 1 to 4 pm  and each week-end thereafter.

(except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day)

Access for the disabled, is, and will remain, one of the museum’s priorities.

 We currently operate an appointment system; our opening hours are subject to change and our service provision is constantly under review to ensure compliance. Please check our visitor information page.

 Please browse through the selection of images after each section here

Introduction (Due to the current restrictions the interactives will not be available but we may be able to provide a restricted family trail – bring your own pen or pencil!)

The galleries are wheelchair friendly, but you will also find plenty of places to have a sit down.

Before the visitor starts the tour of the galleries, they may like to ask for the family trail or one of our activity bags suitable for children. For the family trail pick up your clue and question sheet from reception and find out which figures we have “hidden” around the galleries. Hand in your answers at the end, and you will then be eligible for a prize! Our themed activity bags will contain replicas of Victoriana or transport methods etc. and could further enhance your visit. Please hand these back when you have finished. There are also activity areas for dressing up, colouring, weaving and other interactives. Also walk-in areas and discovery drawers  that help children engage with the museum.

The museum galleries tell the story of the people, events and history that have created Saddleworth’s landscape and character. The visitor will find that this has been done using a well-designed mix of technologies, old and new, with several “interactive” areas for both young and old. Our galleries do this within the carefully restored fabric of a building that still retains the character you would expect from a building dated 1862. All the four galleries, over two floors, are well lit with additional spotlighting dedicated to highlighting specific display points and an extensive use of clear story boards. Whilst a few items may have some glass, or rail protection, the visitor can still get close enough to see the detail. In other areas, such as the walk-in Victorian parlour, it is possible for the visitor to walk into the space and touch some of the items. New, and old, technologies have been used within many of the visitor interactives and eventually we hope it will be possible to view our collections database, and more, on a secure workstation within gallery three.

Four main galleries

All the four galleries, over two floors, are well lit with additional spotlighting dedicated to highlighting specific display points and an extensive use of clear story boards. Whilst a few items may have some glass, or rail protection, the visitor can still get close enough to see the detail. In other areas, such as the walk-in Victorian parlour, it is possible for the visitor to walk into the space and touch some of the items. New, and old, technologies have been used within many of the visitor interactives. 

Our Family Trail

Before the visitor starts the tour of the galleries, they may like to ask for the family trail or one of our activity bags suitable for children. For the family trail pick up your clue and question sheet from reception and find out which figures we have “hidden” around the galleries.

 

Wheelchair access

We have gentle sloping ramps where they are needed and:-

  • A dedicated wheelchair lift to all floors with all handles and controls at a convenient height
  • A dedicated emergency exit procedure for wheelchair users on all floors
  • A dedicated lavatory facility for wheelchair users

We hope you enjoy your visit and would welcome the opportunity to help you.

Additional engagement for the young

There are also activity areas where the young can dress up, draw and those, together with the interactives, walk-in areas where they can touch objects and discovery drawers they can open, helps children engage with the museum in an additional way. We hope they enjoy the experience and they make a return visit with you!

Gallery One – ground floor (Due to the current restrictions the interactives will not be available but we may be able to provide a restricted family trail – bring your own pen or pencil!)

This gallery starts with the geology of the Saddleworth area, and then explores the human history, artefacts, and other physical remains in an archaeological display of some of our more interesting collections. There are also several fascinating displays about transportation. The archaeological history, geology, and transportation in the Saddleworth area at the time would help determine the activities, occupations and manufacturing processes and we present some of those here. Especially important are the development of the canals and railways and how local supplies of water played a part in the progress of the industrial revolution. The visitor can connect all these elements by viewing the collections, reading the story boards and labels and our interactives which we hope help explain and hold the interest of young and old alike. There are also records, displays and interactives of the local “People” shaped by this environment and so much more.

Geology & Archeology

The geology section and some archaeological finds in Saddleworth are currently on your left as you enter gallery one. We have some interesting  collections in the 4 & 5-drawer discovery cabinets here. Learn about the Castleshaw fort and forlet. The remains of the fort (c AD 69 and replaced by the fortlet c 105) are located on Castle Hill on the eastern side of nearby Castleshaw.

Transport cycles

From our transport collections kindly donated by Saddleworth residents.

TOP: in the background an example of one of the earler velocipedes. The “boneshaker” manufactured c 1860.

BOTTOM: an example of one of the first bicycles. The High Wheeler commonly known as the “penny farthing” manufactured c 1870.

 

Transport motorcycles

From our transport collections kindly donated by Saddleworth residents.

Triumph Engineering Co Ltd, a British motorcycle manufacturing company, originally had works in Coventry, Munch Park Street and in 1902 they began producing Triumph motorcycles. The model in the foreground originates in the 1920’s.

 

Occupations

This clogger’s bench and set of shoe lasts came from one of the last cloggers in Saddleworth. This collection item in gallery one is accompanied by a photograph of “George” at work in the shop c 1960.

 

Interactives

Some of the past occupations and manufacturing history in Saddleworth with one of our interactives, “cogs” in the foreground. There are other interactives in this gallery.

 

Transport motor cars

From our transport collections kindly donated by Saddleworth residents.

The Austin 7 was an economy car that was produced from 1922 until 1939 in the United Kingdom by Austin. It was known as the “Baby Austin” and nicknamed “Chummy”.

 

People

There are also records, displays and interactives of the local “people” shaped by Saddleworth.
One of these was Ann “Annie” Kenney (1879 -1953) who was an English working-class suffragette and socialist feminist. Ann was born in Springhead, Oldham, originally worked in a local cotton mill and was a local and national activist. In 2018 a statue, funded by public subscription, was unveiled close to the site of the former Oldham Town Hall.

Photo of Annie c 1905

 

Buildings

Buildings

TOP: Leaded lights from houses in Greenfield, painted stained glass from St. Chads and tools of the trade going back to c 1845

BOTTOM: We run schools programmes at the museum. One of our schools groups looking at and using the display to record information for their workshop.

 

Gallery Two – ground floor (Due to the current restrictions the interactives will not be available but we may be able to provide a restricted family trail – bring your own pen or pencil!)

This is, in some ways, is our “signature” gallery with its stunning glass atrium and featured displays of those major Saddleworth icons, the Dobcross Loom and the scaled replica Rushcart of the one used by the Morris Men in 2012 with the museum’s 50th anniversary recognised on the banner used. This and the sash embroidery for the Morris Man on top were all beautifully replicated by the museum’s “Friends” and volunteers. Here we explore Saddleworth’s unique position in the cotton versus wool debate with our collections and story boards helping explain the similarities, and differences, in manufacture  Gallery two also has truly breath-taking collections of costume made and worn at the time and of course we have several related interactives (“weave away”, “putting you in the picture” etc.) to help enhance the experience. From here the visitor may use the stairs (or the lift behind reception for wheelchair users) to move up to the first floor galleries.

Rushcart part 1

This is a view from above of our scaled replica Rushcart which occupies pride of place in our stunning glass atrium. The revived Rushcart festival now takes place in Saddleworth on the 2nd weekend following 12th August. The Rushcart ceremony, derives from Rogationtide. Parishioners would process around the parish once a year, bearing rushes to replace the worn-out rushes on the floor of the local church.

Rushcart part 2

Our scaled replica Rushcart of the one used by the Morris Men in 2012 with the museum’s 50th anniversary recognised on the banner used. This and the sash embroidery for the Morris Man on top were all beautifully replicated by the museum’s “Friends” and volunteers.

Dobcross Loom

By the middle of the 1800’s almost everyone in Saddleworth worked in the textile industry. It was a time of great innovation and a local man, James Hollingworth, patented a loom capabable of producing cloth with more decorative patterns. Between 1861 and 1910 over 25,000 Dobcross looms had been produced in Diggle, Saddleworth, used locally, nationally and exported all over the world.

 

Dressing up station

The “putting you in the picture” (an opportunity for the children to dress up and pose for a photograph) in gallery two is naturally Morris dancer themed.

 

Costumes

Gallery two also has some truly breath-taking collections of costume made and worn at the time. Our trained and experienced volunteers regularly update these displays so there is usually something “new to view”.

 

Interactives

One our interactives it would be easy to miss would be “weave away” which is below the window opposite the costume display in gallery two.

 

Notice for wheelchair users

AWAITING NEW IMAGE

After the tour of gallery two, on the ground floor, wheelchair users will need to return to our reception area to use our specially designed lift before they can move to gallery three, on the first floor. This lift may also be used to gain access to, and from, the community / art gallery on the mezzanine floor.

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Gallery Three – first floor (Due to the current restrictions the interactives will not be available but we may be able to provide a restricted family trail – bring your own pen or pencil!)

Those taking the stairs will enter this gallery near our “Pots and Pans viewing window” and will also have an excellent top to bottom view of the Rushcart to their right. For the visitor wanting to sit and stare awhile we have a small bench seat near the viewing window and a “picture show” on the opposite wall. Those taking the lift will enter this gallery at the far end near our Peterloo display and storyboard. This gallery reflects very much the social change in Saddleworth’s own industrial revolution from early cottage life, to religion and reformand has lots of hidden little “gems” not to be missed. Four of these gems must be the George Dew clock mechanism which runs the museum clock to this day, the outside “lavvy“, the handloom and our cabinet of “mystery” objects. We have “opened up” rooms such as a cottage room and a Victorian kitchen and parlour, so the visitor can touch and feel some of the items from bygone times. There are also learning story boards, interactives and an activity desk for children where we invite them to try the current craft activity. Our church and chapel display with significant other social commentary, such as Peterloo, complete gallery three. There is just about something for everyone in this gallery.

Viewing Window

At the top of the steps leading you to gallery three we have a viewing window to Pots and Pans and a view into our atrium above the Rushcart in the gallery below. We have some seating here so you can rest and enjoy the “picture show” on the wall opposite. Another collection item here is the “Dey Time Register” c 1910, one of the first “clocking in machines”.

George Dew Clock

/galleries/4aOne major donated collection item we have was from the friends and family of one of Saddleworth’s public works contacters, George Dew (1908 – 1979). The clock, originally at St Mary’s Church Greenfield, has been lovingly restored by a combination of one expert and our skilled volunteers. The clock, with encouragement,  still keeps good time on the outside of the museum,  and our volunteers have encased the mechanism in glass for you to enjoy.

Interactives

In gallery three we have this “warp and weft” interactive near our hand loom and, on the left past the Victorian parlour, an activity table for children where we invite them to try the current craft activity. On the right of this table we are still developing our electronic archive and collections database to view. Unfortunately this has been “abused” and “mis-used” by members of the visiting public so we currently use this space for the one-hour bookable family research sessions.

Social change - Handloom

The origins of the textile industry in Saddleworth began in local cottages, farms and hamlets using the local fulling mill (the museum has a seperate section devoted to fulling) then hand combs, spinning wheels and handlooms. This particular example came from Slackcote Mill, Delph.  In later life this handloom must have been adapted to take the “flying shuttle” which was invented by John Kay in 1733 to speed up the weaving of cloth.

Social change - Cottage Life

Our volunteers have constructed an open plan single room cottage with an upper bunk, in which to display some of our collections such as as a dresser (not illustrated) , the lant jar and the spinning wheel illustrated here. We have also created a mock up of the outside “lavvy” which has a warning sign which everyone ignores of course. Please visit us, if only so you experience this surprise!

Social change - the Victorians

By the mid 1800’s most of the textile manufacturing was being done by machines and had moved from hamlets to the factory floor. Those who have read “our story” page on this website will know that the museum is housed in part of a mill which was built in 1862 so qualifies to be part of this story. Our volunteers have created a walk in Victorian kitchen and parlour to house some of our collections which, alongside our storyboards, we hope helps to show how this “industrial revolution” affected peoples lives at home.

Social change - reform and religion

TOP: Voting. Detail from our Peterloo storyboard. In 1819 a large group of people set off from Saddleworth to join many others in Manchester for a peaceful protest to demand votes for ordinary people. 3 Saddleworth people died in the ensuing “massacre”.

BOTTOM: Education. The harmonium featured here was used at the Sunday school in Kiln Green church, Diggle. The earliest schools for ordinary parishioners, and their children, in Saddleworth were Methodist or Anglican.

 Gallery Four – first floor (Due to the current restrictions the interactives will not be available but we may be able to provide a restricted family trail – bring your own pen or pencil!)

A turn out of gallery three takes the visitor into gallery four. Visitors in the days before our last refurbishment, may have known this as the “Carnegie” gallery and we have utilised some of the previous, sound, robust (and useful for storage) display cabinets. The Lord Rhodes display is lovingly maintained by members of the family to this day. The gallery holds many of our most interesting, ever changing, rather miscellaneous collections. Currently we have a “Pelham Puppets” display, toys, brass bands, memorabilia, utensils and story boards about Saddlewort’s past.

We have one display area devoted to the unsolved murder at the Moorcock Inn /galleries/4a (Bill o Jacks) in 1832, a commemorative display to the two World Wars and a magnificent wedding dress from our collections currently on display. The children will no doubt find the final “putting you in the picture” dressing up area where they can dress up as soldier or nurse. “Around the corner” we  have haberdashery and looking back through the decades (currently 40’s and 60’s) displays. Many of the collections in this gallery (except the Lord Rhodes display) are subject to change as we rotate the items in our collections stores.

Gallery Four

Inside, solve a murder!/home/0e

 surprised

Lord Rhodes of Saddleworth

This display is maintained by members of Lord Rhodes’ family. Historically there have been many close links between our founder Roger Tanner, Saddleworth, Saddleworth Museum and Hervey Rhodes. The museum also has a commemorative stone on the outside wall to the left of the entrance. From humble origins (born in Greenfield as 1 of 6), in 1965 he became Lord Rhodes of Saddleworth. Please visit us and read about his amazing life and how much he contributed to Saddleworth.

Pelham Puppets

One of our latest collection acquisitions from a Saddleworth donor. The Pelham Puppets company was started in 1947 by Bob Pelham. Over 40 years the multitude of designs became some of Britain’s most cherished and collectable toys. Bob won the right to produce Disney puppets in 1953 and went on to include characters from the Magic Roundabout, the Muppets, Peanuts and the Wombles.

Bill O'Jacks murders

The Bill’s o’ Jack’s murders took place on the night of April 2nd 1832 at the Moorcock Inn on the Holmfirth road out of Greenfield Saddleworth. 84 years old William (Bill – whose own father had been called Jack) Bradbury and 46 years old Thomas Bradbury, his son, were savagely beaten to death. They are buried at St.Chads, Saddleworth. Nobody was ever convicted for the murders. Do you think you could solve it?

Brass Bands

Brass bands are in the area’s DNA and this display pays homage to that heritage. Saddleworth has along tradition of Whit Friday brass band contests with sometimes more than 100 groups competing. In 2019 the Uppermill Band were crowned National Third Section Champions. Other notables just within a  2.5 mile radius of the museum are Boarshurst, Champion Brass, Delph, Diggle and Dobcross band clubs

Toys

Sometimes one of the “secret” hiding places for one of our Family Trails figures our display of vintage toys from our collections are a real “trip down memory lane” for some. Vintage classic books such as PC49 and the Girl’s Crystal Annual, a clockwork railway train, an early wooden jigsaw, early toy tea set complete with picnic hamper, Micky Mouse xylophone, Ludo, dominoes, skipping rope and marbles are just a few examples. Not a power cord or battery in sight!

Dressing up station

This could be the last opportunity for the children to dress up and pose for a photograph, perhaps in front of  the WW1 and WW2 commerative display nearby? This “putting you in the picture” has soldier and nurse costumes. Please post your photo and let Facebook know you were here. Thank you.

Wedding Dress & Haberdashery

TOP: Wedding Dress. Awaiting text.

BOTTOM: Drapery & Haberdashery. Awaiting text.

40's & 60's

TOP: the 1940’s. Awaiting text.

BOTTOM: the 1960’s. Awaiting text.

Notice for wheelchair users

AWAITING NEW IMAGE

After the tour of gallery four, on the first floor, wheelchair users will need to return to gallery three to use our specially designed lift before they can move back to the ground floor. This lift may also be used to gain access to, and from, the community / art gallery on the mezzanine floor.

..before you leave

On your left, as you leave gallery four we usually display a group of magnificant botanical studies from our collections by Joan Charnley /galleries/4a(1928 – 2016). Joan was a textile designer, botanical artist and travel journal writer. Born in 1928 in Southport, Joan studied Textile Design at Manchester School of Art between 1948 and 1953 before becoming a tutor and artist in Great Yarmouth. In 1963 she moved to Saddleworth.  Joan donated many items for our collections and was a great “Friend” of the museum.

/galleries/4aJoan’s work is often out on loan to other museums or galleries. We often invite a local artist to occupy the space short term to exhibit their work for viewing or sale so this area is subject to change and we cannot guarantee what you will see.

It is now possible to either, retrace your steps back to the ground floor, or leave by the exit only door (this exit is only suitable for wheelchair users seeking a refuge point on this floor in an emergency it is not suitable for wheelchair users needing to exit this floor). Wheelchair users would need to go back to go back to the lift access in gallery 3. Those using this exit by foot would find some steps down to the community gallery and the current free to view art exhibition./galleries/4a

Those families who have completed the family trail or have family bags should return these to reception. Please browse in our shop, or book an event, before you leave and we always value your entry in our visitors comment book in the foyer entrance. Your views encourage us to continue to work at what we are doing or try to find a way to improve the vistor’s experience. Please, also share your  experiencee with us on Facebook with a message or photographs. If you have taken any special photographs you think would improve our gallery of images on this website please send them to our curator.

We hope you enjoyed your visit and we look forward to your return!

smile

Saddleworth Museum and Gallery

High Street Uppermill, Saddleworth, Oldham OL3 6HS

Call us on 01457 87 4093 or Email curator@saddleworthmuseum.co.uk

Contact the curator