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'The Great War - How it Touched Lives in Oldham' Part 1
An illustrated presentation given by Sheila Goodyear

This was a hybrid meeting in the Performance Space at Oldham Library and on zoom in April 2024.
'The Great War - How it Touched Lives in Oldham' Part 1
When war was declared on 4th August 1914, 120,000 regular soldiers, were re-deployed, as the British Expeditionary Force, and sent to the defence of Belgium. Britain had no system of conscription and her regular army, of about 250,000 volunteers, was a fraction of those of the other great powers. On that first day, Oldham crowds were waiting for the expected mobilisation of the Army Reserves and the embodiment of the Oldham Territorials.
One of those first regular battalions was the 2nd Manchesters, which had been stationed in Ireland, and in which a number of our local men were serving. It was this battalion that Oldhamer, Sergeant John Hogan, in the Army Reserve, would re-join when it reached France. He would later be awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery.
Over the next 4 years, men would be exhorted to join up as volunteers, come together in 'Pals' Battalions, attest under the Derby Scheme in 1915 and, finally, in 1916, face conscription.
We follow the story of the Oldham Territorials (the 10th Manchester Battalion), and that of the Oldham Comrades (the 24th Manchester Battalion, through some of the Oldham men who volunteered.
We also look at the civilians, on foreign soil or on board ships, who were caught up in the conflict in the early months.
This talk focuses on local people against the wider background of enlistment, training, conscription, internment and POWs.

Transcripts and illustrations of this talk (Part 1) and of Part 2, can be read or downloaded from the Research/Miscellany page HERE. At present, there is no video of Part 2.

'Made in Manchester:
a People's History of the City that Shaped the Modern World'
An illustrated presentation given by Brian Groom

This was a hybrid meeting in the Performance Space at Oldham Library and on zoom in March 2024.
Made in Manchester -The astonishing story of how the people of Manchester and its region – including Oldham – shaped the emergence of the modern world, from the Romans to today, will be outlined by Brian Groom, author of the bestselling 'Northerners: A History'.
Based on his forthcoming book (to be published in May 2024), 'Made in Manchester: a People's History of the City that Shaped the Modern World', Brian will talk about individuals, famous or not, who built the region and its culture and ask what part it can play in Britain’s future.

'Lest We Forget'
A History of Oldham & District's War Memorials
An illustrated presentation given by John Fidler,
in November 2023,
 on Zoom, to Oldham Historical Research Group

2023 marks the centenary of the unveiling of the Oldham War Memorial and a day close to Remembrance Day seems an appropriate time to respond to a request for a talk on the subject ( plus mention of other memorials in present day Oldham).
The grief of individuals, families and communities as day after day telegrams brought news of lives lost, called for some acknowledgment of that anguish and Oldham responded by having its marvellous Memorial unveiled a century ago.
Individuals may with the passage of time
“fly forgotten as a dream dies at the opening day” but their sacrifice remains annually and rightly acknowledged.

' The British Tiffany Windows '
An illustrated presentation given by Douglas Jackson

Douglas Jackson, a journalist and writer, has made several visits to America to research the life of Lancashire man Joseph Briggs, and has produced a book on his work.

In April 2022, Douglas gave us the Branch's first hybrid talk, Joseph Briggs and the Tiffany Glass Collection at the Haworth Art Gallery Accrington. It was also a first zoom talk for our speaker ... 'newbies' together!
Douglas had spent decades researching this subject and the result was a beautifully and lavishly illustrated book, 'Mosaic' from which many of his illustrations were included in that talk
.Douglas's latest talk for us was about Tiffany stained-glass windows, in which Joseph Briggs specialised. The company produced over 5,000 windows and sold them all over the world. While only six came to Britain, they are all linked to a fascinating series of events, and of people both famous and infamous.For this talk, Douglas recapped a little on last year's talk, to set the scene of the story again.
That story started with his meeting a man from Oldham who became the curator at the Haworth Art Gallery. On Douglas' first visit, he was shown a cupboard which, when opened, revealed glassware in a riot of colour and beautiful shapes. It was a collection of Tiffany glass ... out of fashion in the 1930s, and of low value, the Joseph Briggs of our story had sent it back to a small museum in his native county of Lancashire. It was to become a world class glassware collection of eye-watering, multi-millions of pounds in value.
Douglas took us back to the beginning, introducing Joseph Briggs and his family in Accrington, in a tiny terraced house and from which, in 1891, at the age of just 17 years old and an engraver's apprentice, he bought a one-way ticket to America, having raised the money by any number of innovative methods, such as putting on puppet shows, delivering groceries and teaching a goat to jump through a hoop!
The full write up of that talk was in the Branch newsletter, 2022-05, a copy of which can be downloaded as a .pdf from the newsletter archives, HERE
This more recent talk continued with the emphasis on the fabulous windows that Joseph Briggs designed ... which came to England. Douglas had identified the whereabouts of five and had visited and photographed them.

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