History Detectives

Do you love history? Could you help uncover the stories of the 160-acre Northern Roots site and its surroundings?

Northern Roots is creating the UK’s largest urban farm and eco-park  in the heart of Oldham, Greater Manchester. The Northern Roots site borders Oldham’s award-winning Alexandra Park to the north and extends all the way beyond Park Bridge Heritage Centre in the south.

From the Cotton Famine and Roman roads to ancient Fossil Forests, Vikings and the Industrial Revolution, Oldham is steeped in layers of history. But what about the Northern Roots site and its immediate surroundings? What can we learn from this landscape about its past? What were Strawberry Gardens? Who owned Brook Mill at the top of Snipe Clough?  What exactly was the Junior Beautiful Oldham 1910 ‘opening of Snipe Clough’ event?

If you can help us answer any of these questions and unearth more of the history of the Northern Roots site, we’d love to hear from you. We’re also interested in hearing any stories you may have heard about the site – stories that are more ‘local legend’ than factual history.  We hope to build up an archive of images, maps and photographs relating to the Northern Roots site, so please do share anything you find that you think may be of interest and we’ll check copyright accordingly.

Share your stories, research and discoveries with us on our social media platforms and email us at northern.roots@oldham.gov.uk  Please put HISTORY and your name in the subject line of your email. We’ll respond to everyone who gets in touch and share some of what we collectively discover on the Northern Roots social platforms and website.

Thank you to Gallery Oldham for providing us with the 1876 Squire Knott ‘Oldham Panorama’ photograph above and the 1831 ‘Oldham from Glodwick Fields’ painting by J H Carse to the right.  Oldham has a fantastic Local Studies and Archive resource, which history detectives can access online:

Looking forward to seeing what you discover!

Thank you from the Northern Roots team.


Oldham from Glodwick Fields, 1831 by J H Carse. Copyright Gallery Oldham

The Oldham Panorama, 1876 by Squire Knott. Copyright Gallery Oldham