Metropolitan Borough of Oldham
|Borough of Oldham|
Oldham Civic Centre
|Motto: "Sapere Aude" "Dare to be wise"|
Oldham shown within England
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Region||North West England|
|Ceremonial county||Greater Manchester|
|Admin HQ||Oldham (Civic Centre)|
|Founded||1 April 1974|
|Borough status||23 November 1973|
|• Type||Metropolitan borough|
|• Governing body||Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council|
|• Leader of the Council||Cllr. Jim McMahon|
|• Mayor||Cllr. Richard Knowles (2011-12)|
|• MPs:||Debbie Abrahams (L)
Michael Meacher (L)
David Heyes (L)
|• Total||55.0 sq mi (142.4 km2)|
|Elevation||1,778 ft (542 m)|
|Population (2011 est.)|
|• Total||225,200 (Ranked 69th)|
|• Density||4,000/sq mi (1,543/km2)|
| • Ethnicity
(United Kingdom estimate 2005)
13.3% S. Asian or mixed
1.6% Black or mixed
0.5% Chinese or other
|Time zone||Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)|
|Postcode areas||OL, M|
|Area code(s)||0161 / 01706 / 01457|
|ONS code||00BP (ONS)
|OS grid reference||SD922053|
The Metropolitan Borough of Oldham is a metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester, England. It has a population of 225,200, and spans 55 square miles (142 km2). The borough is named after its largest town, Oldham, but also includes the outlying towns of Chadderton, Failsworth, Royton and Shaw and Crompton, the village of Lees, and the parish of Saddleworth. The borough was formed in 1974 as part of the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 and is an amalgamation of the former County Borough of Oldham with the Chadderton, Crompton, Lees, Royton urban districts of Lancashire and the Saddleworth Urban District of the West Riding of Yorkshire.
Although a 20th-century creation, the borough has Neolithic, Bronze Age and Roman heritage. It encompasses several former mill towns, which expanded and coalesced during the late-19th century as a result of population growth and advances in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution. Although some parts contiguous with the city of Manchester are highly industrialised and densely populated, about two-thirds of the borough is composed of rural open space; the eastern half stretches across the South Pennines.
For its first 12 years the borough had a two-tier system of local government; Oldham Council shared power with the Greater Manchester County Council. Since the Local Government Act 1985 Oldham Council has effectively been a unitary authority, serving as the sole executive, deliberative and legislative body responsible for local policy, setting council tax, and allocating budget in the district. The Metropolitan Borough of Oldham has two civil parishes and 20 electoral wards.
Noted as one of the more unpopular amalgamations of territory created by local government reform in the 1970s, the Oldham borough underwent a £100,000 rebranding exercise in early 2008. The town has no listed buildings with a Grade I rating, and the borough's architecture has been described as "mediocre". There have been calls for the borough to be renamed, but that possibility was dismissed during the rebranding of 2008.
- 1 History
- 2 Governance
- 3 Geography
- 4 Demography
- 5 Economy
- 6 Education
- 7 Landmarks
- 8 Transport
- 9 Twin towns
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Following both the Local Government Act 1888 and Local Government Act 1894, local government in England had been administered via a national framework of rural districts, urban districts, municipal boroughs and county boroughs, which (apart from the latter which were independent), shared power with strategic county councils of the administrative counties. The areas that were incorporated into the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham in 1974 had formed part of Chadderton Urban District, Crompton Urban District, Failsworth Urban District, Lees Urban District and Royton Urban District from the administrative county of Lancashire, Saddleworth Urban District from the West Riding of Yorkshire, and the politically independent County Borough of Oldham. By the early 1970s, nationally, this system of demarcation was described as "archaic" and "grossly inadequate to keep pace both with the impact of motor travel, and with the huge increases in local government responsibilities". After the exploration of reform, such as the proposals made by the Redcliffe-Maud Report in the late 1960s, the Local Government Act 1972 restructured local government in England by creating a system of two-tier metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties and districts throughout the country. The act formally established the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham as a local government district of the new metropolitan county of Greater Manchester on 1 April 1974. The district was granted honorific borough status on 23 November 1973 by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, which allowed the council to have a mayor. The new dual local authorities of Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council and Greater Manchester County Council had been running since elections in 1973 however. The leading article in The Times on the day the Local Government Act came into effect noted that the "new arrangement is a compromise which seeks to reconcile familiar geography which commands a certain amount of affection and loyalty, with the scale of operations on which modern planning methods can work effectively".
The borough is noted as one of the more unpopular amalgamations of territory created by local government reform in the 1970s. This being especially true of residents of the parish of Saddleworth who viewed the new arrangement as a "retrograde step". It had been proposed in a government White paper that the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham include the former mill town of Middleton. However this was given to the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale once it was decided that Rochdale and Bury would not be merged. Before its creation, it was suggested that the metropolitan borough be named New Oldham, but that was rejected.
In the early 20th century, following some exchanges of land, there were attempts to amalgamate Chadderton Urban District with the County Borough of Oldham. However, this was resisted by councillors from Chadderton Urban District Council.
The Oldham borough underwent a rebranding exercise in 2008 with a view to improving cross-community unity. Officials believed the borough's image was outdated and that "often negative" national media coverage held and continues to hold back businesses and hampers attempts to attract new investors, visitors and external funding. There had been calls for the borough to be renamed to a "settlement-neutral" name (such as those of neighbouring districts of Calderdale, Kirklees and Tameside) as part of the rebranding. However, consultants cited that this idea came from a "vocal minority" wishing to distance themselves from Oldham. The borough name was unchanged.
For the first 12 years after the county was created in 1974, the borough had a two-tier system of local government, and so Oldham Council shared power with the Greater Manchester County Council. The Greater Manchester County Council, a strategic authority running regional services such as transport, strategic planning, emergency services and waste disposal, comprised 106 members drawn from the ten metropolitan boroughs of Greater Manchester. However in 1986, along with the five other metropolitan county councils and the Greater London Council, the Greater Manchester County Council was abolished, and most of its powers were devolved to the boroughs. Since 1986, Oldham Council has effectively been a unitary authority that serves as the sole executive, deliberative and legislative body responsible for setting local policy, and allocating budget. Its duties also include setting levels of council tax, monitoring the health service in the borough, providing social care, and providing funding for schools. The borough's centre of administration since 1977 has been Oldham Civic Centre.
Civil parishes form the bottom tier of statutory local government; the parish councils are involved in planning, management of town and parish centres, and promoting tourism. In 2001, 46,072 people lived in Oldham's two civil parishes—Saddleworth and Shaw and Crompton—20.9% of the borough's population. The rest of the borough is unparished.
In 2005, Oldham Borough Council was assessed as "weak" but "improving well" by the Audit Commission. It was awarded two stars, placing it in the bottom third of councils in the country according to perceived performance. According to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council sets the highest council tax rates in Greater Manchester. It has the second highest council tax rates of the metropolitan areas, and is placed as the 16th highest rate of council tax in England. In 2007 Oldham was assessed as the second-worst performing local authority in England in terms of providing customer satisfaction.
Since the council's formation it has generally been under the control of the Labour Party, with periods of no overall control, two years of Conservative control, and one of Liberal Democrat control. Since 2011, the Labour Party has had overall control.
|Party||Seats||Current Council (2012–13)|
The Metropolitan Borough of Oldham is divided into twenty electoral wards, each which elects 3 councillors who generally sit for a 4-year term on the Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council. The twenty wards are: The available data dates to 2001, before the ward boundaries were changed in 2004. Saddleworth West no longer exists, and at the time of the 2001 census St Marys' had not been formed (it is represented by 1 Independent, 1 Labour, 1 Liberal Democrat councillor).
|Ward name||Population||Area||Population density||Councillors' party||Ref.|
|Alexandra||11,159||2.57 km2 (0.99 sq mi)||4,342 /km2 (11,250 /sq mi)||3 Labour|||
|Chadderton Central||10,784||4.89 km2 (1.89 sq mi)||2,205 /km2 (5,710 /sq mi)||3 Labour|||
|Chadderton North||10,269||3.71 km2 (1.43 sq mi)||2,768 /km2 (7,170 /sq mi)||3 Labour|||
|Chadderton South||10,061||2.52 km2 (0.97 sq mi)||3,992 /km2 (10,340 /sq mi)||3 Labour|||
|Coldhurst||11,935||2.27 km2 (0.88 sq mi)||5,258 /km2 (13,620 /sq mi)||3 Labour|||
|Crompton||11,066||4.88 km2 (1.88 sq mi)||2,268 /km2 (5,870 /sq mi)||3 Liberal Democrats|||
|Failsworth East||10,728||4.34 km2 (1.68 sq mi)||2,472 /km2 (6,400 /sq mi)||3 Labour|||
|Failsworth West||9,827||2.34 km2 (0.90 sq mi)||4,200 /km2 (11,000 /sq mi)||3 Labour|||
|Hollinwood||9,910||2.53 km2 (0.98 sq mi)||3,917 /km2 (10,140 /sq mi)||3 Labour|||
|Medlock Vale||11,919||4.03 km2 (1.56 sq mi)||2,958 /km2 (7,660 /sq mi)||3 Labour|||
|Royton North||10,588||5.04 km2 (1.95 sq mi)||2,101 /km2 (5,440 /sq mi)||3 Labour|||
|Royton South||10,373||4.03 km2 (1.56 sq mi)||2,574 /km2 (6,670 /sq mi)||3 Labour|||
|Saddleworth North||9,376||41.88 km2 (16.17 sq mi)||224 /km2 (580 /sq mi)||3 Liberal Democrats|||
|Saddleworth South||9,215||32.71 km2 (12.63 sq mi)||282 /km2 (730 /sq mi)||1 Liberal Democrats, 2 Conservative|||
|Saddleworth West||11,309||27.59 km2 (10.65 sq mi)||410 /km2 (1,100 /sq mi)||n/a|||
|Saddleworth West and Lees||10,647||4.56 km2 (1.76 sq mi)||2,335 /km2 (6,050 /sq mi)||2 Liberal Democrats, 1 Labour|||
|St James'||9,684||3.68 km2 (1.42 sq mi)||2,632 /km2 (6,820 /sq mi)||1 Liberal Democrat, 2 Labour|||
|Shaw||10,655||7.11 km2 (2.75 sq mi)||1,499 /km2 (3,880 /sq mi)||3 Liberal Democrats|||
|Waterhead||12,876||3.84 km2 (1.48 sq mi)||3,353 /km2 (8,680 /sq mi)||1 Liberal Democrat, 2 Labour|||
|Werneth||11,594||1.69 km2 (0.65 sq mi)||6,860 /km2 (17,800 /sq mi)||3 Labour|||
|Oldham||217,273||142.36 km2 (54.97 sq mi)||1,526 /km2 (3,950 /sq mi)||14 Liberal Democrats, 44 Labour, 2 Conservatives,|||
Coat of arms
Following the 1974 reorganisation, a new coat of arms was granted to Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, based closely on that of the predecessor Oldham County Borough Council. Like the county borough's arms, which dated from 1894, the new coat is derived from the arms of the Oldham family. The most famous member of the family was Hugh Oldham, Bishop of Exeter and founder of the Manchester Grammar School. The Oldham family arms were:
Sable a chevron Or between three owls argent on a chief of the second as many roses gules.
The owls were a "canting" reference, or heraldic pun, on the original pronunciation of the name. This is still reflected in the local pronunciation of "Ow'dom". In the Metropolitan Borough's arms the gold chief (upper third of the shield) and chevron have "invected" or fluted edges. The arms are further differenced by the replacement of the three red roses by three red annulets or circles, representing the initial "O" of the authority's name.
The crest, an owl upon a rock, is placed on a helm above the shield. In order to distinguish the crest from that of the county borough, it rises from a gold circlet bearing six red annulets. The crest wreath and decorative mantling repeat the black and gold colouring of the arms.
Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council was granted supporters and a heraldic badge. The supporters recall the local authorities merged in 1974, and are made up of portions of the arms of the ancient manorial lords. The red griffins come from the arms of the Chadderton and Chetham families. Each griffin wears a collar with an "engrailed" edge recalling the arms of the Radcliffe family. Each collar bears red bendlets from the arms of the Byrons. From the collars hang heptagons, the seven sides representing the union of seven councils. One heptagon bears a black spur-rowel from the Assheton family arms, the other a black saddle, recalling the derivation of the name "Saddleworth".
The badge is a black heptagon bearing a silver owl, the whole contained within a red annulet.
The Latin motto of the county borough continues in use: Sapere Aude or "dare to be wise" refers to the owls in the arms, while "Aude", pronounced "Owd" continues the pun. The motto is also used by Manchester Grammar School.
The blazon is as follows:
Sable a chevron invected or between three owls argent on a chief engrailed or as many annulets gules; and for a Crest: On a wreath of the colours issuant from a circlet or charged with six annulets gules a rock proper thereon an owl argent.
Supporters: On either side a griffin gules each gorged with a collar engrailed argent charged with six bendlets gules pendant therefrom a heptagon argent that on the dexter charged with a pierced mullet that on the sinister with a saddle both sable.
Badge or Device: On a heptagon sable environed by an annulet gules an owl argent.
The office of mayor in Oldham is largely ceremonial; their main role is as an ambassador or representative of the borough. The mayor also chairs council meetings and is the only office of the borough approved to use the coat of arms. A new mayor is elected by the borough councillors and serves a term of one year. The deputy mayor is elected at the same time, and usually becomes mayor the following year. The first mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham was Ellen Brierley elected 1974 to 1975, although there had been mayors of the county borough of Oldham between 1845 and 1973. It is usual for a mayor to highlight chosen local charities.
|Ellen Brierley||1974–1975||Colin Campbell||1980–1981||Sidney Jacobs||1990–1991||John Dillon||2000–2001|
|Jack Armitage||1975–1976||John Raymon Crowther||1981–1982||Ralph Semple||1991–1992||Christine Wheeler||2001–2002|
|Christopher McCall||1976–1977||Alfred Clarke||1982–1983||Norman Bennett||1992–1993||Riaz Ahmad||2002–2003|
|Geoffrey Webb||1977–1978||John Joseph Curran||1983–1984||Brian Mather||1993–1994||Val Sedgewick||2003–2004|
|Edward Lord||1978–1979||James Kevin Leyden||1984–1985||Frank Heap||1994–1995||Abdul Jabbar||2004–2005|
|Harold Shanley||1979–1980||Alwyn Bywater McConnell||1985–1986||Joseph Farquar||1995–1996||Kay Knox||2005–2006|
|Albert Banks Jowett||1986–1987||Alan Griffiths||1996–1997||Bernard Judge||2006–2007|
|Arnold Tweedale O.B.E||1987–1988||Peter Dean||1997–1998||Ann Wingate||2007–2008|
|Harry Slack||1988–1989||Margaret Riley||1998–1999||Shoab Akhtar||2008–2009|
|Elsie Shaw||1989–1990||John Battye||1999–2000||Jim McArdle||2009–2010|
The boundaries of three parliamentary constituencies cover the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham. These are:
- Oldham East and Saddleworth represented by Debbie Abrahams MP.
- Oldham West and Royton represented by Michael Meacher MP.
- Ashton-under-Lyne represented by David Heyes MP
- The Metropolitan Borough of Oldham was a part of the Greater Manchester East European Parliamentary constituency. It has been a part of the North West England (European Parliament constituency) since 1999.
|This section requires expansion. (May 2008)|
The Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale lies to the north-west, the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees (of West Yorkshire) to the east, and the Metropolitan Borough of Tameside to the south. The City of Manchester lies directly to the south west and the Derbyshire Borough of High Peak lies directly to the south east, but Derbyshire is only bordered by high moorland near Black Hill and is not accessible by road.
Showing status at 31 March 1974 (prior to the Local Government Act 1972 taking effect).
Showing former status.
- Chadderton (Chadderton Urban District)
- Failsworth (Failsworth Urban District)
- Lees (Lees Urban District)
- Oldham (County Borough of Oldham)
- Royton (Royton Urban District)
|2001 UK Census||Oldham||Greater Manchester||England|
|Chinese and other||0.3%||0.8%||0.9%|
As of the 2001 UK census, the borough of Oldham had a population of 217,273. Of the 87,824 households in Oldham, 36.8% were married couples living together, 29.5% were one-person households, 8.9% were co-habiting couples and 11.5% were lone parents. These figures were broadly in line with national averages, although the proportion of lone parent households was above the national average of 9.5%.
The population density was 1,526 /km2 (3,950 /sq mi) and for every 100 females, there were 93.6 males. Of those aged 16–74 in Oldham, 37.7% had no academic qualifications, significantly higher than 28.9% in all of England. The proportion of Oldham's residents born outside of the United Kingdom was below the national average (8.1% compared to 9.2%) The largest minority group was recorded as Asian, at 11.9% of the population.
The rise of the middle classes in Oldham has reflected the wider national trend, roughly steady from 1841 until 1921 and then increasing almost exponentially until 2001. However, the proportion of middle-class people was always 5–10% below the national average. Over the same period, the proportion of working class people in Oldham decreased steadily from 60% in 1841 to 23% 1991; since then there has been an increase in the percentage of working-class people to 34%. This was roughly the same pattern as the national averages, however Oldham has a greater proportion of working-class people than the whole of England. As of the 2007/2008 financial year, the crime rates in Oldham were broadly similar to the national averages. However, the number of theft from a vehicle offences and theft of a vehicle per 1,000 of the population was 10.6 and 4.5 compared to the English national average of 6.9 and 2.7 respectively.
The table below details the population change since 1801, including the percentage change since the last available census data. Although the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham has only existed 1974, figures have been generated by combining data from the towns, villages, and civil parishes that would later be constituent parts of the borough.
|Population change in Oldham since 1801|
|Source: Vision of Britain|
|2001 UK Census||Oldham||Greater Manchester||England|
|Population of working age||152,602||1,805,315||35,532,091|
The average gross weekly income in the borough of Oldham is £297; not only is this below the national average but it is the lowest of Greater Manchester's ten boroughs. Environmental technologies and life science industries have been identified as growth industries in Greater Manchester and are concentrated in Oldham as well as Bolton, Manchester, and Tameside. Out of the ten metropolitan boroughs in Greater Manchester, the average house prices in Oldham are seventh highest, 15% below the average for the county.
As of the United Kingdom Census 2001, Oldham had 152,602 residents aged 16 to 74. Of these people, 2.1% were students with jobs, 3.9% students without jobs, 6.7% looking after home or family, 7.7% permanently sick or disabled and 3.8% economically inactive for other reasons.
In 2001, of 92,777 residents of Oldham in employment, the industry of employment was 20.4% retail and wholesale, 20.3% manufacturing, 10.7% health and social work, 9.2% property and business services, 7.5% education, 7.1% construction, 6.7% transport and communications, 5.0% public administration and defence, 4.6% hotels and restaurants, 3.6% finance, 0.8% energy and water supply, 0.5% agriculture, and 3.7% other. This was roughly in line with national figures, although the proportion of jobs in agriculture was below the national average of 1.5% and the rates of people working in the areas of finance and property were below the national averages of 4.8% and 13.2 respectively; the proportion of people working in retail and wholesale was above the national average of 16.7%, and much higher than the national average of 14.8% for people working in manufacturing.
There are around 161 schools in the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham. Overall, Oldham was ranked 90th out of the all the Local Education Authoritys in SATs performance and 8th in Greater Manchester in 2006. In 2007, the Oldham LEA was ranked 122nd out of 148 in the country—and 8th in Greater Manchester—based on the percentage of pupils attaining at least 5 A*-C grades at GCSE including maths and English (35.4% compared with the national average of 45.8%). Schools in the borough of Oldham include:
There were 11 Grade II* listed buildings, and 524 Grade II in the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham, and thirty-six Conservation Areas. Although the borough has no Grade I listed buildings, it does have the second highest number of Grade II buildings in Greater Manchester after Manchester. The listed buildings range from former weavers' cottages in Saddleworth to some of the large former cotton mills in the West of the borough through to fine civic buildings such as the Old Town Hall in Oldham town centre.
Oldham has two of Greater Manchester's 38 Scheduled Monuments. Castleshaw Roman fort was built in 79 AD and was one of a chain of forts built along the route connecting the fortresses at Chester (Deva Victrix) and York (Eboracum). It is one of only two known Roman forts in Greater Manchester, the other is at Manchester (Mamucium). Oldham's other Scheduled Monuments is a Bronze Age bowl barrow in Saddleworth. Also in the borough are five of Greater Manchester's Sites of Special Scientific Interest, they are a section of Dark Peak, the Ladcastle and Den Quarries, the Lowside Brickworks, the Rochdale Canal, and part of the South Pennine Moors.
There are two railway lines that serve places in the Oldham borough; one is the main line service running between Huddersfield and Manchester, with Greenfield railway station the only station served by this line in the borough. The other line is the main line service running between Bradford and Manchester via Halifax and Rochdale, with Mills Hill railway station the only station in Oldham served.
A former railway line, the Oldham Loop Line has been converted to operate Manchester Metrolink tram services. Metrolink serves Derker, Shaw and Crompton, Oldham Mumps, Freehold, South Chadderton, Hollinwood and Failsworth with Freehold and South Chadderton stops purposely built for Metrolink.
There are many bus services running in the Oldham borough. The main bus operator is First Greater Manchester, whose HQ is based in Oldham at Wallshaw Street, which is located at Oldham Mumps Bridge.
The Metropolitan Borough of Oldham has formal twinning arrangements with three European places: Each was originally twinned with a place within the Metropolitan Borough boundaries prior to its creation in 1974.
|Country||Place||County / District / Region / State||Originally twinned with||Date|
|Germany||Landsberg am Lech||Bayern||Failsworth Urban District||1974|
|Germany||Geesthacht||Schleswig-Holstein||Chadderton Urban District||1966|
|Slovenia||Kranj||Gorenjska||County Borough of Oldham||1961|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Metropolitan Borough of Oldham.|
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