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'Iron Men and Wooden Ladders' - 
A History of Oldham County Borough Fire Brigade
an Illustrated presentation given by Mark Beswick,
author of the book of that title.

This talk was the regular, free, monthly meeting, of the Oldham Historical Research Group, on zoom, at which meetings all are most welcome.

" Mark Beswick is a retired fire officer who served in Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service for 31 years with almost half of those at Oldham Fire Station. It was there where he saw that previousr fire officers had put up some old photos on the wall and it got him interested in Oldham Fire Brigade. During his time at Oldham Fire Station he added many photos, artefacts and information to the walls for others to appreciate the history that surrounds them. Mark had collected such a lot of information from a number of sources such as retired firemen, Oldham Local Studies and Fireground the Fire Service Museum at Rochdale that he published a book entitled "Iron Men And Wooden Ladders". This is also the title of the presentation.
Before Greater Manchester was formed after Local Authority reorganisation in 1974 there were a number of local town fire brigades. These small Brigades were often the pride of the town having been formed over 200 years previously. The amalgamation of ten local brigades into a huge Metropolitan Fire Service meant the loss of local identity.
Mark has managed to cram all this history of Oldham Fire Brigade into a 45 minute presentation that shows the varied history of firefighting and how it has affected the way the town has developed over the years."

"Megavolts and Milliamps:
Ferranti at the cutting edge of electric power and electronics"

an illustrated presentation given by Hattie Lloyd & Jan Hicks,
from the Science & Industry Museum, Manchester.

This talk was the regular, free, monthly meeting, of the Oldham Historical Research Group, on zoom, at which meetings all are most welcome.
Part of the 2022 programme for the annual 'Oldham Histories Festival and Heritage' talks.

Over more than a century of existence, Ferranti led the way in electric power generation and the development of electrical and electronic equipment. Always interested in its own history, Ferranti maintained a company archive and museum that was open to the public from the mid-1960s. The Science and Industry Museum acquired this collection in 1996. Join us for a talk that gives an overview of the collection and draws on it to reveal two of Ferranti’s mid-20th century innovations.
Ferranti’s move from London to Hollinwood in 1896 brought expansion and diversification. By the 1960s, its Avenue Works was the location for the Transformer Department. Jan Hicks will explore Ferranti’s contribution to high voltage electric power generation, including the manufacture of High Voltage Impulse Testing Equipment at Avenue Works, capable of generating 6 megavolt sparks.
Expansion of the company meant new sites across the UK, but the company retained its focus on Greater Manchester. As well as the Hollinwood HQ, the talk will also explore the contribution to electronics and digital computing at the Gem Mill site in Chadderton, from the manufacture of computers that brought British industry into the digital age in the 1950s to the development of silicon processing technology that helped shrink the size of computers.
Hattie Lloyd will introduce two of the computers manufactured at Gem Mill, the Ferranti Mark I* and the Pegasus. The Mark I*, along with its earlier iteration the Ferranti Mark I, was among the world’s first commercially available electronic computers. The Pegasus was the first “user-friendly” computer, and Ferranti’s best-selling thermionic valve computer. Jan will close the talk with an exploration of the development of silicon processing technology at Gem Mill.

"Oldham RLFC - Then and Now," an illustrated presentation
given by Michael Turner.

This talk was the regular, free, monthly meeting, of the Oldham Historical Research Group, on zoom, at which meetings all are most welcome.
July 2022 (Unfortunately, the internet connection wasn't the best and the audio was affected occasionally)
The presentation will review the history of the Oldham Rugby League Club from it’s beginnings in 1876 through to the present day.
From its first match against Stalybridge at a ground known as “Sugar Meadow” in the Glodwick area on October 21st 1876, the club has hit the heights and plumbed the depths of the rugby league world.
Championships and Challenge Cups have been won. Even going back over 100 years, talented players from all over the rugby playing world were acquired for the club, including many internationals. There is no doubt that in the Edwardian era and the 1950s the Oldham club was amongst the best in the league.
In contrast there has been, in the last fifty years, constant financial insecurity including liquidation in 1997 and, on the field, many relegations and much disappointment for the supporters.
That said, Oldham RLFC is not alone in this predicament nor is the sport of Rugby League as many professional sports organisations struggle to make ends meet.
The presentation was given by Michael Turner, one of the founders of the Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust and author of several books about the club.

'The Women's War Interest Committee in Manchester during WW1'
given by Dr. Alison Ronan.

This talk was the regular, free, monthly meeting, of the Oldham Historical Research Group, on zoom, at which meetings all are most welcome.
May 18th, 2022
Women employed in munitions factories have become the most visible face of the woman worker in WWI and their entry in huge numbers into the labour market after the shell crisis of early 1915 raised political questions for women trade union activists across the country. Women’s wartime employment revitalised pre-war feminist concerns about gendered discrepancy in pay and conditions.
In Manchester and Salford there was a specific response by local suffrage/pacifist/trade union activists who, concerned about the threat to women’s rights in the workplace, established a Women’s War Interest Committee in the city in 1915. The rapidly changing situation for local working women as they were recruited into the munitions industries in huge numbers intensified the need for women’s trade union organisation The war threw feminist issues into sharp relief and women on the committee used the well-rehearsed suffrage and social reform techniques of investigation, gathering data and presenting evidence in order to lobby the Government to meet their unapologetically feminist demands. What makes this committee particularly unique is that it was composed exclusively of anti-war suffragist, socialist and trade union women who were simultaneously involved in developing the local branches of the Women’s International League and the No-Conscription Fellowship as well as involvement in other anti-war campaigns in Manchester. The composition of the committee reveals how national and local suffrage, socialist and trade union networks informed the work of the Manchester Women’s War Interest Committee. Committee members also used this information to inform their activism in the pacifist and anti-war movement and the revitalized suffrage campaign in the city after 1915.

Northerners from the Ice Age to the 21st Century

This recording is from an Oldham HRG meeting, in January 2022, which was presented by Brian Groom, author of the book of the same title.
Firstly, my apologies as I missed recording Brian's opening remarks at the beginning of the talk. Very kindly, he has provided me with the following synopsis :

"I'm going to try to cover 180million years in 40 minutes - a crazy thing to do. In the past, historians tended to write off the north, before the Industrial Revolution, as barren and uncivilised. The Industrial Revolution was certainly important - it is viewed by economic historians as the key event in human history - but there is far more to the north’s story. As I hope to show, the roots of many of today’s issues lie in its past.
First, where is the north and what is a northerner? I take a broad, inclusive view. The north is where people who live there think they are. A northerner is someone who regards him or herself as a northerner. After all, it hasn't been been a single government unit since the kingdom of Northumbria, so it's a cultural question. The Scottish border was fixed in 1237 and there is sea down both sides. There is a grey area in the south and insofar as boundaries have been drawn for one administrative purpose or another, these have shifted - for example, Cheshire is in the north-west for modern government and statistical purposes, but in Anglo-Saxon times it was in Mercia, not Northumbria.
We do not know who exactly the first northerner was - almost certainly a member of a hunting group of an early human species, taking advantage of a warmer interlude during the last ice age to range north in search of food at least half million years ago. Britain was at the edge of their range. They would have come across the land bridge known as Doggerland, now under the North Sea. There were at least 10 separate waves of occupation of Britain. Its climate fluctuated between Mediterranean conditions and long stages of cold, with ice sheets up to three miles thick as far south as the Thames Valley."

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