Going Up Town in 1980s Oldham

Elsewhere within this hallowed soupçon of server space, this insignificant spec of cyberspace is an article on the joys of shopping in Ashton-under-Lyne during the 1980s. This time, East of the M60 has followed this up with a similar article on Oldham.

For some time in the 1980s, I was equally au fait with Oldham town centre as much as Ashton’s town centre. On a fortnightly basis, during that decade, I used to visit my late Grandma and Granddad’s house in Chadderton. Prior to 1988, our journey involved three buses. As well as catching the usual suspects up to Oldham (346 or 340 then 409), we would change at Shopping Giant for a 421 to Block Lane (Chadderton Broadway/Moston, Gardeners’ Arms). After 1988, we started getting the 419, then operated by Citibus Tours.

Shortly after arriving and eating our dinner, we would get the 421 to Oldham, alighting at the Civic Centre stand for C&A. For us, and many Oldhamers each Saturday afternoon, this would be where our great consumerist adventure would begin.

Bus and coach termini

Oldham, like now, had two main bus termini during the 1980s (and at one point, three). Stops on St. Mary’s Way and Yorkshire Street were well used as of now. Towards Mumps Bridge was the imaginatively named Mumps Bridge bus station. Back then, westbound buses stopped on the side nearest the B&Q Supercentre and Oldham Way. Eastbound buses stopped at Wallshaw Place on the same side of First Manchester’s Oldham depot and offices. At present, only the westbound section of Mumps Bridge bus station remains in use.

Opening the same year as the new Town Square shopping precinct (1981) was Oldham’s main bus station. With eight stands it was built to GMPTE’s prefabricated design used at Stockport’s before then, Ashton’s shortly after, and at several others till 1994. With two platforms of four stands, it had toilets, an information kiosk, and a SaverSales shop, backing on to the shopping precinct next to Toy and Hobby. One platform accommodated a control tower. Today, the original GMPTE stands have been razed with car parking in place of the stands E -H. Four stands remain, albeit with standard cantilever bus shelters.

Further up was the turning circle on Manchester Road. Prior to 1989, a handful of services used the more rudimentary facilities. A further stand was built along Cheapside. These existed as a stopgap solution whilst Spindles replaced St Peter’s Precinct. Today, the Turning Circle and Cheapside form part of the most recent Oldham bus station. The first part opened on Cheapside in 2001, with the second part arriving in 2007 on the Turning Circle.

Other termini in Oldham included the Yelloway Coach Station, opposite GMPTE’s Mumps Bridge station. This was shared with National Bus Company’s long distance services as well as Yelloway’s excursions. The station closed following Yelloway’s demise in 1989, though the travel centre continued for a few years as a National Express agent. For several years, St Mary’s Way and the Sports Centre stops have been popular with shoppers alighting for Tommyfield Market. They remain so now. Likewise the nearby High Street and Yorkshire Street stands.

George Street and King Street were popular stops for the Shopping Giant, King’s Hall and St Peter’s Precinct.

The shopping centre

Elsewhere within this blog is detailed reference to St Peter’s Precinct. In a nutshell, it was a brutalist precinct designed by the same architect as the Civic Centre. It was windy, had few shops open, and was great for skateboarders. Or hyperactive 4 year olds like myself in 1983.

Upstaging the older precinct years before its topping out ceremony, the neighbouring Town Square was Oldham’s most popular of the two. For a start, it was warmer. It had shops and cover. It was the first such precinct to be operated and funded by its owners which were at the time Scottish Amicable. The anchor store, as of now was Boots, with at the opposite end, Toy and Hobby on street level, and Presto at precinct level. From the High Street entrance was a giant digital seen at the junction of Boots, Burton, Peter Lord and the North West Gas showrooms. This was (and still is) used for sales pitches and temporary stalls. In the mid 1980s, Santa’s sleigh would assume temporary residence there in the run up to Christmas.

With Chelsea Girl/Etam on the left and Dorothy Perkins on the right, the High Street corridor came to a T-junction with Dixons and Rumbelows in full view. Turning right would take you towards WHSmith, the toilets, St Peter’s Precinct and a third Boots entrance. Turning left led you towards HMV, Mothercare, Superdrug, Argos, Presto and the centre’s sole café, the Country Larder. Today, the Argos store has moved into the former Index store in the Spindles shopping centre, as did Superdrug. HMV doubled in size taking over the former Superdrug unit.

Tommyfield Market

No visit to Oldham was ever complete without a visit to the famed Tommyfield Market. Back in the 1980s, the indoor market was a dull green structure akin to a supermarket. This was built as a stopgap prior to the current indoor market (built in two phases), following the fire of its more majestic market hall in October 1974.

Its outdoor stalls were shambolic yet had character. The chaotic layout made for a most interesting visit prior to the arrival of today’s more sanitised aluminium equivalents. Some stallholders had wooden kiosks, such as Stewarts’ carpets, or brick built units which backed onto St Mary’s Way and Lord Street. The indoor market looked as nondescript inside as it did on the inside.

King’s Hall

Using premises vacated by the Co-op in the late 1970s, King’s Hall offered market style shopping. The ground floor included fancy goods stalls and a pick and mix counter. Most of the first floor was allocated to Shoemarket. The entire second floor was taken up by King John’s café. Within its three floors, you could have your ears pierced, buy a new pair of shoes and have a burger, without even touching the main centre. Today, the whole of the King’s Hall complex belongs to Shoemarket. How I wish it became Oldham’s answer to Affleck’s Palace.

Food and drink

In 1980s Oldham, the Country Larder was the place to visit. The café was a firm favourite among Oldhamers for its tasty treats, cooked meats and ground coffee. I can recall it being quite exotic for recession-hit Northern England with its faux oak beams, seating booths and equally exotic prices. Even so, it made for a good occasional treat and was a dependable source for posh milk shakes and coffees.

Further down from the Town Square shopping centre was the Theatre Tea Shop. On Waterloo Street, it was close to the Oldham Coliseum and even closer to the site of the Empire Theatre, demolished in 1981. It was a small place with few tables downstairs and twice as many upstairs. The hot chocolate was always impressive there.

For anyone who hadn’t had their fill of hills (natural and wooden ones included), King John’s restaurant in King’s Hall was worth a visit.

Like most town centres throughout the late 1970s – early 1980s, Oldham wasn’t immune to the joys of fast food. The mid-1980s saw McDonalds take over the former Yates’ Wine Lodge unit. Wimpy moved from a smaller unit next to the Royal Bank of Scotland to a more prominent corner unit, formerly used by Burton and latterly Boardmans. This unit remained a Wimpy bar throughout the whole of the 1980s till seeing in a new decade as Burger King. Catering for the Butterfly’s crowd since the late 1980s was the Kansas (Southern Fried Chicken) takeaway. Even the Co-op offered fast food by means of its Big Bite burger bar beside the escalators of Shopping Giant.

Not a million miles away from Oldham is the oft-disputed birthplace of fish and chips which is the small town of Mossley. Oldham itself wasn’t short on chippies either. On Union Street was Butterworth’s. Tommyfield Market had Mr Chippy on one of the indoor market’s units. Just outside of the town centre on Manchester Road was Mother Hubbard’s. This was Oldham’s answer to Harry Ramsdens, albeit with a nice view of Zenith mill with orange and white buses passing by.

Department stores:

Dominating Oldham for most part of the decade was Co-op’s Shopping Giant. It was a great place where you could stock up on your groceries and buy non-food items. It boasted its own Handybank, had a separate chemist opposite the main store and a fast food restaurant (q.v Food and Drink section). Cars parked on the roof and at ground level with access via trolley-friendly escalators. Other delights included Mario’s salon (on Manchester Street underneath the main store) and an ice cream stand by the entrance nearest the Bank Top Tavern. Today, it is now a Mecca Bingo Hall with a neighbouring Indian buffet restaurant.

Another ‘must visit’ department store was Littlewoods, with entrances on High Street and Albion Street. The latter entrance had the record section between its stairways. Its upstairs café was popular and remained part of the store till its closure and replacement with a Primark store.

Other noted shops of 1980s Oldham:

  • Hardcastles (High Street): next to Salter’s Shoes, it was a desirable women’s outfitters;
  • The 50p Shop (Henshaw Street): opposite Tommyfield Market, it sold all sorts of unnecessary and necessary items you would love to buy at an impulse. For 50p;
  • Trilby Fashions (Curzon Street/Albion Street): another independently owned outfitters, handy for Tommyfield Market, Littlewoods and the glass box also known as the Halifax Building Society;
  • Bottomley’s (Yorkshire Street): a loveable little art shop, sadly missed;
  • Blasters (George Street): a pre-Do It All era hardware store, part of a chain which at its height had two other shops in Ashton-under-Lyne and Rochdale;
  • The Golden Disc (Hilton Arcade): an independent record shop offering more esoteric sounds than the usual mainstream tat.

Now it’s your turn:

Feel free to add your comments and memories of Going Up Town, 1980s or any other decade you wish to recall. Were you fascinated by the big digital clock in the Town Square centre? Did you ever experience the joys of ‘Duck a Muffin’? Or did you buy your first single from The Golden Disc? Feel free also to add to the list of forgotten Oldham shops from the 1980s.

S.V, 14 December 2010.

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73 thoughts on “Going Up Town in 1980s Oldham

  1. I can recall the toy shop opposite the bus station on the row of terraces that included upwards towards the church…. I think it was called Hamleys, but could be wrong.
    Of course, there’s the (in)famous Candlelight club which was the haunt of slightly older clubbers who insisted on going that extra hour or two after all other pubs and clubs had closed.

    The Golden Disc was the destination of many a trip to Oldham at that time… in fact I recall there being two ‘decent’ record shops… The Golden Disc in the arcade (a covered alley leading towards Tommyfield, but also there was a second shop somewhere I can’t fully recall…. Possibly more towards Oldham College, but my memory escapes me for the moment. Again, what I believe to be an independent store.

    Butterflies was the haunt of many a ‘drinking’ teen, although it seemed to be superseded by ‘Froggies’ also on Union Street (which may now be a Job Center)? This would be around the 1983 mark.

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    1. I`m sure there were 2 golden discs, 1 in the arcade and 1 in the row of shops that are in front of the magistrates court entrance. Also froggies, it was in the basement of butterflies, the jobcentre is on the site of the former cats whiskas

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      1. Hi Jeff,

        Yes there were two Golden Discs, though I remember the one in Hilton Arcade the best.

        I too remember Froggies being in the basement of Butterflies, the entrance being opposite The Star Inn. Prior to being a nightclub [The Cats Whiskas], it was – if my memory serves me right – previously a bowling alley and a theatre long before then.

        Bye for now,

        Stuart.

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      2. do you remember the bali hoo on manchester rd?. i loved it there, nightclub downstairs and a restaraunt/bar/piano bar upstairs, quite sophisicated for the 80`s. i had quite a lot of fun there and met some “ interesting people“

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      3. Hi Jeff,

        I was way too young to visit the Ballyhoo on Manchester Road, but I have heard of the place. Would that have been near Zenith mill and Old Mother Hubbard’s restaurant? When I was about five or six years old, I always wondered why you would want to call a nightclub ‘Ballyhoo’ (and I thought the same about ‘Froggies’ back then)?

        Bye for now,

        Stuart.

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      4. the bally hoo was near the mother hubbards, its where the menzies avant hotel is now, bit of a daft name, froggies was an even dafter name, those were good times, in my late teens/early twenties, own flat, cash in pocket, building up a resistance to alcohol, meeting young ladies etc, dreading the day when you have to grow up, settle down and start behaving yourself.

        jeff

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      5. Hi Jeff,

        Thank you several times over for confirming where I thought Ballyhoo was! I could have sworn I used to pass the place on many a 421 up town, from my late grandma’s house. From Werneth Fire Station, Manchester Road would be punctuated by a row of shops opposite, then OMC, more shops and (of course) Ballyhoo itself. There used to be a Barclays Bank by the flats between Manchester Road and Featherstall Road South. Then Mother Hubbard’s, with Zenith Mill and Avery Scales opposite.

        Beyond Oldham Way was the Belgrade Hotel. By then, I knew I had reached Oldham town centre (along with the Seton Tubigrip sign on the bridge from a 343, or Butterflies, coming in on a 409).

        Bye for now,

        Stuart.

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    1. Hi Cleggy,

      All I can remember was that the toy shop on the road up to the church was a Toymaster franchise. The Golden Disc is the one record shop of the ’80′s I remember. At the time, Littlewoods also sold the usual mainstream cack (or chart music in polite terms) as well as HMV.

      I do remember passing Butterflies on the 409 or 400 buses into Oldham. It’s a shame to see the lovely building falling into dereliction.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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    2. The record shop in the Arcade was called “The Javelin Records” “Golden Disc was at the top of West st. near the walkdown, towards the Magistrates court.
      “Dave Stewarts” mens clothes shop was opposite “Javelins” a little lower down the arcade(a must buy from place for the fashionados of the late 70s early 80s) always bought my Perry shirts, parallels, and french flares from there, Lyle and Scott pullovers and platform shoes, I had a saving account there to buy the more expensive goods, bought my first ever leather jacket from there, I felt like the bees knees.

      Happy Days
      Aidy

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  2. I recall Levers chippy which is still there & diana’s cafe.
    I bought my hair & makeup products from bonanza & Ruth & Geralds.
    Spent my teens at trax roller rink.
    Tesco was in the precinct for a while as I recall my mum complaining when they closed if.
    Met my dates outside toy & hobby at the bus station, that way if they looked bad I could stay on the bus.

    Best decade ever :-) chrissy.

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    1. Hi Chrissy,

      On its original site (opposite Tommyfield Market), I only went Diana’s Coffee House once. It was quite a bijou establishment with barely enough room for 30 persons. I’ve not been to Lever’s chippy for years and could say the same about Mr Chippy.

      There was also another cafe on the arcade which ran parallel to Hilton Arcade with a Victorian style interior which I liked. Could you which one it was? It was opposite a doughnut stand.

      I would say that Oldham bus station was a good choice of dating venue, though pretty dank by the Information/SaverSales kiosks. It was close enough for the pubs on Yorkshire Street and clubs on Union Street.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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      1. There’s a few memories. I went to Trax when I was at school. There was another roller skating rink in Ashton town centre in the early eighties too called wheels.I remember Toy and Hobby being where you met dates. Remember meeting a girl called Janice outside there one Sunday night in 89. I had met her in Scandals in Royton (now a housing estate) the night before. Sadly, we were not destined to be together.

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      2. Hi Jeff, Yes, Scandals was opposite the Junction Inn. I think way back in the 70s it was called Tramtracks, and after Scandals it was Jo Jo’s, before being demolished to make way for flats and houses.

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  3. Hi Stuart,
    I have a picture of me outside Rambos chippy back in the day on union St. That’s the place we went after leaving butterflies, bulls head etc.
    I think the cafe youre thinking about may have been called sizzlers. Could be wrong though :-/

    Kind regards,
    Chrissy :-)

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    1. Hi Chrissy,

      I think ‘Mother’s Kitchen’ fits the bill. Inside the café had a stereotypical country cottage ambience. There may have been fake beams and that most pastoral style of wallcovering known as Artex. There was a little amusement arcade further up and a butchers at the front of the entrance. I do remember there being a barbers on the first floor.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  4. just wondering if anyone went in the candlelight in the early 1980′s and remembers a dj called steven/ stephen mason? think he was from new moston, anyone knows what happened to him?

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  5. Does anyone remember the name of the chinese restaurant opposite the market hall. It was upstairs above the Army & Navy store and Mays the jewellers – on the same side as Littlewoods. A group of friends think it was called Lams but this is causing a big debate – anyone remember.

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  6. Remember Peter Street (which now runs as the outfeed from Town Square Car Park) running all the way up between St. Peter’s Precinct and Town Square Shopping Centre. It met High Street between Boots and I think Comet (or Currys). The junction is now where Rymans stationery shop sits since they built Spindles. Instead of walking through from WH Smith and Boots into the Spindles (like you do now), you actually walked through an external door onto Peter St. facing an entrance to St. Peter’s precinct.

    Also Halfords was a 2 storey shop behind the large spiral concrete ramp on George Street.

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    1. Hi Dave,

      Yes! I do remember that being the case when Spindles Shopping Centre first opened. The link to the Town Square shopping centre came about 2 years after Spindles’ opening.

      I also remember there being a set of external steps from Town Square leading to St Peter’s Precinct. Ditto the above with Halfords being a two storey unit. I used to love that concrete ramp, great for running along. How I miss late 1960s skateboarder/hyperactive child friendly architectural design!

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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    2. there was also a Tesco
      By the bus station I remember Hallmarks where you could buy stationery. Also a café/bakery shop, was this owned by Emery’s

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  7. As a 9 or 10 year old, I was mad into punk rock. This would be 79 / 80 when it was over really. Anyway, I used to buy all my punk singles at The Golden Disc when it was roughly where the entrance to Spindles is, on the side where the smaller new bus station is. There was a chippy next door called The Little Kingfisher, On the corner stood a pub called The Regent – a Bass house. I also used to go on the market looking for imports, picture discs, coloured vinyl, and everything else. The stall I used to go to was run by a bloke who looked like Peter Cushing. He was a Man U fan and was always listening to the footy on his tranny radio. He had some great records though.

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    1. Hi Nick,

      Though I never went in, I did remember The Regent. It had a big Toby Light sign on the corner and was left of Manchester Chambers (and by the subway to the precinct). How I wish the Oldham of 2011 had such musical variety today: the Entertainment Exchange and nearby Sainsburys store are the most dependible sources now. (HMV has closed, though re-emerged as a ‘pop-up shop’ for Christmas time)

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  8. This blog brought back some great memories for me and its nice to see other people adding their observations to it as well.
    Does anyone remember ‘Macfisheries’ which was were the ‘Greenwoods’ mens outfitters shop is at the back of C&A’s. My mother worked at C&A’s for over ten years and loved the staff discount that she received which helped enormously when purchasing our school uniforms every year.
    I also remember the UCP tripe shop which I think was part of the old indoor market, or was located close to where Levers chippy would be now.
    Diana’s cafe was very popular at the time and I remember the owners name was Savas I think, we used to play football with him and a few of his friends on the all weather pitch on Horsedge St on Sunday afternoons.
    My brother and I used to frequent the Golden Disc record shop and indeed the ‘Sounds’ record shop on Saturday afternoons, we used to run a mobile disco at weekends called ‘Eruption Roadshow’ and would purchase the top 10 records of the week to make sure we had the latest and most popular hits. Although I too cannot recall the location of the Sounds record shop, but I will ask my brother to see if he can remember it.

    I am sure that the owner of Dunkins Donuts was also the owner of ‘Mothers Kitchen’ and his name was Tony. His wife also worked there at times and it gave employment to a lot of female waitresses at weekends.
    I am also sure that he opened up a restaurant on Greaves St called Town House Restaurant which also included the Coal Hole bar downstairs.

    Keep the posts coming!

    Dez

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    1. Hi Dez,

      Thank you for your comments. MacFisheries is a bit before my time, but I do remember The Proper Oldham C&A on Market Place. When I used to see my late Grandma in Chadderton, we would go up town on the 421 bus and call in C&A’s first and foremost. I remember it being on two floors and there being a LS Lowry canvas print on the stairway. Then we would either go to the 50p Shop before the indoor market or Littlewoods.

      If I had a time machine, I would love to visit the Oldham on the early 1970s just to see the old indoor market. Besides the present building, the only other market hall I remember was the temporary green one. I do remember Diana’s café opposite Tommyfield Market; there was a hairdressers above.

      The Town House Restaurant, if my memory serves me right is still going, if you can find it through the current forest full of road cones and temporary signs.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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    2. yes I remember McFisheries , my mum used to go there. There was also a fish shop top of the arcade run by Sam. I remember the record shop at the inside market, bought my first records there, think it was called Javelin records shop. I do remember the Golden Disc too, remember meeting the lead singer of mud there when he signed a single for me

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    3. The cafe was called Mothers Tea Shop he also owned Dunkins Donuts and Sizzlers in the arcade he did American burgers before Macdonalds arrive . He then sold up and bought the Town House .

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  9. hi all, just to add to my brothers comments about oldham town centre, as he said our mum used to work at C&A, that is where ‘HOME BARGAINS’ is now,and our dad was also a driver for them, as Dez says, we used to get our records for our disco from the ‘GOLDEN DISC’ which was next to ‘MAYS’ jewellers, and also next to the ‘MARKET HOTEL’ which was where the bus garage is now, we also used to get them from ‘DISCLAND ‘ in the arcade, which is still there, run by ‘ALAN’ the manager, I can also remember getting some records from an elderly lady called ‘MA- DOBS’, can anyone else remember her? I remember ‘SOUNDS’ but cannot remember where it is, I can remember ‘DIANA’S cafe, and also the ‘FAMOUS ARMY & NAVY STORE’ where the games shop is now, and also I remember ‘LITTLEWOODS’ where I started my first job, after leaving school.

    bye for now

    MEL

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    1. Hi Mel,

      C&A (or in longhand form, Clemens and August) had quite an impression on your family, and as I know myself, many Oldhamers. It was part and parcel of the joys of Going Up Town along with Tommyfield Market. Nowadays, it is almost impossible to find anything other than chart-topping singles and albums in Oldham (available in Sainsburys on Union Street). For the likes of Half Man Half Biscuit, The Fall or Stiff Little Fingers, it’s either a trip to Manchester or the HMV stores in Ashton-under-Lyne or Rochdale. The only exception to this is CEx’s secondhand CDs, DVDs and Bluray discs.

      I have found an image on Flickr.com of the Market Hotel which might conjure up a few memories. It was taken in 1972 and includes a view of the late lamented Victoria Market hall:

      Oldham Market Hotel and Indoor Market Old Photograph

      The Market Hotel site is occupied by Halifax, opposite what was Trilby Fashions. Littlewoods used to have a good music section in the mid-1980s. Its café was another ‘must visit’ along with the Country Larder in Town Square, and the upstairs café in Silvios.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  10. The old mothers tea shop was a fave for my mum and gran especially when it was cold and they could afford it! They had red gingham heart check fabric window curtains and matching seats. All the chairs had cut out heart shapes in the backs and on the tables. They did the nicest hot chocolate with whipped cream for miles around. i remember Diana’s cafe and the golden brown baby deer children’s ride that stood outside, it had a red bell.

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    1. I don’t know what Monty’s was before. I never really liked Monty’s. I was a Dreamers man. Ahh, many a fun night spent in there. I even fell down the stairs one night, 3 sheets to the wind, but it was okay because a loose sheet of wood panelling broke my fall. Needless to say, the doormen found it most amusing – happy days!!!

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      1. Hi Heyes’y,

        Exactly my perception on Mother’s Tea Room. I do remember the gingham cloths, window curtains and the matching seats. As soon as you mentioned the heart shaped wooden chairs, that was my trigger.

        Bye for now,

        Stuart.

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  11. The Golden Disc was originally just up from the One and Three pub close to where the Spindles entrance is now. There was a Golden Disc later in the Hilton Arcade, this unit had previously been Javelin Records in the 1970′s, which was a large shop I think it may have been a franchise on a smaller level to HMV, and directly next door was an independent record shop called ‘Discland’ both shops were great sources for my Punk tunes from 1976 onwards

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    1. Hi DJ Tank the Manc,

      Thanks for filling me in on the Oldham record shops. A proper record shop in Oldham would be a fine thing, though this would buck the trend towards people downloading chart music. However…

      …I did read that vinyl sales are rising (44% up on 2010 figures). This formed the subject of a recent article by John Harris in today’s Guardian (source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/25/antidote-to-capitalism-33-revolutions-minute). Perhaps a retro technology shop wouldn’t be a bad idea!

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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      1. the last independent music shop in oldham i believe was andys records in spindles, even hmv has gone now you could possibly get a top 10 cd from wh smiths but thats about it. like the other comment, most music is now off the web

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      2. Hi Jeff,

        The most dependable source for recorded music in physical form, in the centre of Oldham, is Sainsburys on Union Street. This, alas, is chart music and budget price compilation albums. Ditto the above with TESCO on Chadderton Way and Greenacres.

        I would say Oldham’s last independently owned record shop was Save Records on Tommyfield Market, which closed in 2010. Their other branches in Bury and Rochdale closed around the same time (they also had a fourth branch in Lincoln).

        Bye for now,

        Stuart.

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      3. it`s the modern era and music in it`s physical form is old hat,especially when you can download quicker than finding your hat, but there are a few purists who can still buy yinyl at few specialist shops in manchester , or online

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      4. Hi Jeff,

        I like a happy medium between digital and analogue worlds. I am just as much at ease with downloading off the internet as well as buying a record in physical form. Though I love the convenience of digital, I prefer the sensual nature of analogue technology. Take for example photography, with the joys of using a memory card in a present day camera, or loading 35mm/120 in a film camera.

        Digital technology may be great for overall convenience, but we need to be analogue every now and again. For example, going to the shops and meeting up with friends instead of going online. The two worlds can co-exist.

        Bye for now,

        Stuart.

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      5. i can understand what you mean, also used to do a bit of photography and there is something satisfying feeling that old SLR and listening to the mechanical parts do their work and hearing it click in the same way music lovers like to touch the album as they put it on the record deck and read the lyrics and info on the cover. I agree, digital can be sanitised but thats what you pay for conveinience.

        jeff

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  12. Javelin was the record shop in the arcade during the 1970s and was then bought out by Golden disc which is how you end up with two of them.

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    1. Thanks for that, i was scratching my head wondering what it was called. I seem to remember a cafe next door to it as well and at the bottom of the arcade on the corner was a newsagents stall

      jeff

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    2. The second Golden Disc opened around the late 80s in the arcade next to where Javelin was. Javelin became an amusement arcade in around 83/84. Prior to that, it was indeed a record shop with Discland records a little further up. Also facing Javelin was Sizzlers burger bar. I used to go in Javelin, Discland and the Golden Disc, next to the Regent pub, circa late 70s and into the 80s.

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  13. I fondly remember “golden disc” I bought all my records from there. and blasters the wallpaper/diy store as my sister worked there for several years. Mark Jordan (pc bellamy/ heartbeat) also worked at blasters for a time

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  14. excellent blog, I have not lived in Oldham since my teens in the 1970′s, but the nostalgia i have read triggers many memories,, someone mentioned Ma Dobbs i remember her well, a kind elderly scrawny lady who had only a few teeth left but a big smile she worked in a record shop owned by her son i think, she was soft and kind hearted to kids, when pocket money didn’t quite stretch to the price of a single which cost maybe cost 50p, if you only had had 40p then she would sell a top 20 record 40p but only when the boss was not around , they probably never made a profit in that shop, when he was not around the shop was packed with kids, trying to get a bargain. I remember the day the old inside market burned down. it was always packed but after the fire and rebuild it was never the same and always seemed empty of shoppers, i also remember the big opening day of the new Tesco store by Ken Dodd the precinct was packed and he was mobbed, and best of all waiting for a bus after school at the bottom of the arcade and Norman Wisdom walking past and asking him for his autograph which he gave me before being surrounded by loads of kids he escaped into a shop never to re appear, got home showed my dad the autograph he took it off me and I never saw it again……….. happy days.

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    1. Ma Dobbs was my grandma, my mum’s mum. She did work in a record stall owned by my Uncle Jim, sadly no longer with us. Its nice that she is remembered so well. Thank you.

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    2. I remember going to the grand opening of Tesco in St Peter’s Precinct, but I could have sworn the celebrity who opened it was the Disc Jockey, David Jacobs ?

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    1. Hi Jeni,

      Duck A Muffin was like a giant meatball, probably made of beef, pork or mutton with breadcrumbs. Similar to Duck A Muffin would be Savoury Ducks or Faggots. About a similar texture to Swedish meatballs.

      Warmly,

      Stuart.

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  15. Made me smile reading this. Those were the days. Did the Cats Whiskas become Bobos? Then there was Henry Africas. Also used to go in a bar on Greaves Street which is now boarded up, anyone remember its name?

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  16. In the 80′s there was some kind of Diner (possibly Amercian) in thr old Shaw St warehouse behind thr Bluecoat School, can anyone remember what it was called?

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      1. Yes it was Porky’s. I worked there for a few weekends and the odd evening when I was at school. It was part-owned by Bob Sopel of ‘Bob Sopel Travel’. We used to finish late and then get off to Zolly Boshers til chucking out (or raided; whichever came first – usually the raid). Then off to Butterflies for the Friday night rave or Dirty Dreamers if it was a Saturday cos Butterflies reverted back to it’s true,’shirt and tie’ roots on a Saturday.

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  17. Nightclubs I remember in Oldham are,Romeo and Juliets also became Ro’s and Jo’s I think under 18′s on a Monday night, then became Butterflies.Froggies underneath which later became Over the Rainbow. I remember Scruples,on Yorkshire Street,Henry Afrikas where Sainsburys is now.Montys,Chaddy Squash club,Bali hoo,Candlelight,Dreamers,Scandals was my fave.

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  18. remember the cats whiskers club and went to the empire also met most of the old cast of coronation st at the Oldham playhouse did work in the co op store in the furniture upstairs the meeting place outside used to meet at c and a girlfriends or blind dates remember yates wind bar on the high st lots of hanghovers after drinking the cheap plonk alexander park on the rowing boats and the first time i went on a skiff if you had no balance. you fall in played a lot of football there on a Saturday used to work on tommy field my stepdad bill Delaney used to work with cannon and ball before the fame as welders i also remember working at the Broadway club in failsworth on Oldham road with my brother Keith we met mat Monroe who payed for our taxi back to Oldham and gave some flowers for my mum

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  19. Hi Kay

    The restauraunt was called New Lung Wah. This was managed by my dad who was the first to open a chinese restaraunt in Oldham, The first was in George Street and was knocked down when the bus station was built there. He then moved to Albion St opposite the inside market. Sadly my dad passed away a few months ago and we were all very proud that he made history when he came to Oldham and opened the first chinese restaraunt.

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