“We had joy, we had fun, we saw Oldham in the sun”

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.

11 thoughts on ““We had joy, we had fun, we saw Oldham in the sun”

  1. I always thought “Mumps” was a peculiar name for a station/ district.

    The sun may well have been shining when you visited Martin, but being built on a hill, Oldham is a cold and inhospitable place in winter! It’s also a location I’d avoid like the plague, in the current situation – if you’ll pardon the pun!

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  2. The Fox & Pine will definitely be in a future GBG. 10 ales + real cider. It’s run by Chris Riley who used to run the Regal Moon in The Dale. I was there just over a week ago.

    Currently in the GBG is The Cob & Coal run by Michelle Riley. Yes, there is a (close) connection. I was there just over a week ago as well.

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    1. TEN (10) ales ? That seems a huge amount for an OIdham pub. Can they sell all of those in 2 days do you think ? GBG should be quality not quantity. I’ll pop back and find out….

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      1. Yes, ten ales is probably plenty for Oldham pubs as a whole.
        I remember when Oldham Mild and Oldham Bitter sufficed.

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      2. Obviously I’m being slightly mischievous, Paul. But I haven’t seen more than half a dozen pumps on in the famed beer houses of Sheffield since 17 May. However, I shall be heading back soon enough to see for myself.

        And when you feel able to return to pubs I’d be delighted to join you in Oldham. I think you’d be impressed.

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      3. “being slightly mischievous” is what can happen up North. That’s why I’m best off in the Midlands.
        For last year I had planned staying in Manchester again with a day out on t’tram that included Oldham for t’Royal Oak but then the pandemic stopped me even deciding dates for the trip. It’s high up on my list for if things ever get back to normal.

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  3. Only 8 beers actually on the other Friday. all 3 pints I had, Black Edge Cascade, Castle Eden Blonde & Small World Thunderbridge Stout were all in excellent nick. 5 on out of 6 at Cob & Coal, Black Edge Mosaic & Mill Valley Yorkshire Bitter being the 2 I had. 4 more on at The Ashton Arms (Settle Mainline), so that’s 17 different beer in just 3 pubs. Oldham is definitely moving up a bit in the beer world.

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  4. Hi Stafford Paul, I can recall cycling to Oldham, from Salford, in order to sample Oldham Ales. Their distribution seemed quite tightly restricted to the immediate of the town, but both the mild and the bitter seemed pleasant enough beers.

    A trip by train, a couple of years later, afforded another opportunity to sink a few pints of Oldham ales. January wasn’t the best time for a visit though, which is why my impressions of the town are clouded – hence my earlier comment about it being cold and inhospitable.

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    1. T’other Paul.
      Yes, a hundred pubs, mostly within a several mile radius of Oldham. Nowt wrong with local beers for local drinkers, no confusion when everyone knows what’s what.
      I first drank their beer in t’Hare and Hounds in Oldham on 25th June 1974, aye nearly 47 year ago.

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