One for the purist, now. Matt, who lives just off Oldham Roads in Ancoats, is astonished I’m going to recommend a trip up the A62 now.
One of the benefits of living in Sheffield is that I can now say “Let’s do lunch in Oldham” without ridicule.
The train/tram is simple, and the route across the Pennines via Holmfirth (did I spy a Magic Rock Tap there ?) takes you from Peak to Saddleworth to the mysteries of outer Oldham.
You won’t believe me, I know, but I’d never been to Mumps, just like in the Charlene song.
OK, the sun was blazing down (I was there, what do you expect ?), but I was a bit awestruck by how lovely it all looked, from the art installation across from Mumps,
to the majestic architecture,
to the heritage interior of the Royal Oak.
I’m fairly sure it was the Royal Oak that last drew me to Oldham nearly a decade ago, when the Art Gallery was the best thing in town, and one of the best provincial galleries in the country.
It still is. I didn’t want to breach copywrite of the fantastic art from the Manchester School, so here’s some natural beauty on display.
I think the chip display is there all summer.
Talking of chips, I fancied an early lunch with my pre-emptive. Which meant I was just too early for the cold platters at what should have been a pre-emptive. And now I know Fox & Pine sells Bass I have an excuse to go back.
Oldham was buzzing with life, and not just gentlefolk with ties and bonnets either.
Quite what the great suffragette Annie Kenney would have thought of bars called Bees Knees, Club Faith and Oldham Snooker Union remains a matter of conjecture.
But she would have loved my next pub.