Northern Roots at Manchester Histories Festival 2022

This June, Northern Roots has teamed up with Gallery Oldham to take part in Manchester Histories Festival 2022. The theme is ‘The History of Climate Change’.

By exploring the past, Manchester Histories Festival wants to inspire people to look at ways they can take action for a better future for all. So from green buildings and green energy generation, to careers in the green sector, we’ll be sharing some of the ways in which Northern Roots is taking action to meet the challenge of climate change.

On Saturday 11th June 2022, we’ll be focusing on biodiversity, bees and botany with a series of bookable workshops and events at Northern Roots in Oldham.

Everyday Botanists: Botanical Society Launch at Northern Roots

Meet artists Anna FC Smith and Helen Mather as they launch a brand-new Botanical Society at Northern Roots.

“The Botanical Society launch event at Northern Roots aims to share the history of 18th and 19th century Oldham and Lancashire botanists, recruit ‘members’, and encourage ‘members’ to engage with their local flora in the footsteps of the working-class botanists who came before themAnna FC Smith & Helen Mather

Book on to one of Helen and Anna’s FREE workshops to:

  • Learn about John Mellor (1767-1848), ‘The Father of Lancashire Botany’, and Oldham’s rich tradition of 18th and 19th century working-class botanists.
  • Pick up your Botanical Society pamphlet and badge, specially designed by Anna and Helen for launch.
  • Discover the 160-acre Northern Roots site and its plants.
  • Create and take home your very own mono-print using a leaf, seed or flower you find at Northern Roots.
  • Share your ideas and help shape the direction of the Botanical Society going forwards.

Book your place

Helen Mather

Anna FC Smith

Family Fun Beekeeper Experience at Northern Roots

Put on a beekeepers suit, lift the lid on one of our hives and learn about the wonderful world of bees! Join Northern Roots Lead Beekeeper Cath Charnock and get hands on with our bees – an opportunity to learn about these tiny pollinators, who are so crucial to biodiversity, food production, and the environment.

Our family-friendly session will last approximately two hours and you will learn about honeybees and beekeeping in a fun and relaxed environment. Get hands on, take a look inside a hive and learn about the different roles of the bees and how they make our delicious honey.

Places are limited to 15 people to ensure that all participants can enjoy maximum hands on involvement and get the best out of the session. Places are allocated on a first come first served basis. Refreshments will be provided.

Meet Northern Roots Bees – free ‘show and tell’ session

We’ll be running a FREE ‘show and tell’ session, 10.30am to midday on Saturday 11th June at the Northern Roots apiary in Oldham.

Come and meet our Beekeepers, take a look at our observation hive, and ask as many questions as you wish. No need to book, everyone is welcome.

Address: Northern Roots, Kings Road, Oldham, Greater Manchester, OL8 2BJ.

You might also enjoy…

Take a short walk up to Gallery Oldham in Oldham town centre to enjoy two nature-themed exhibitions and discover their natural history collections.

  • The Nature Table: Work by Sheila Tilmouth | 11 June – 10 September – Gallery Oldham
  • British Wildlife Photography Awards | 10 years retrospective – 28 May – 3 September – Gallery Oldham

Explore history at Northern Roots

Oldham is steeped in history. A history of Vikings, fossil forests, steel smelting and social activism. The  160-acre Northern Roots site is no exception. From Roman roads and Victorian railways, to Pony Club events and sheep dog trials, the Northern Roots site is full of history – and memories.

Listen to the Northern Roots history podcast to discover stories, events and characters connected to the Northern Roots site and its immediate surroundings.  This mini-series was created for us by podcaster Ashleigh Cartwright.

The Beautiful Oldham Society

2022 marks 120 years since pioneering social reformer and Oldham resident Mary Higgs founded the Beautiful Oldham Society.

By the mid 19th century, Oldham was the cotton-spinning centre of the world, its skyline dominated by the smoke and mills of the Industrial Revolution. Mary wanted to improve the environment, so in 1901 she wrote to the Oldham Chronicle asking, ‘Beautiful Oldham – why not?’

Mary founded The Beautiful Oldham Society in 1902. The Society encouraged local children to plant flowers, residents to grow and garden, and businesses to plant trees. Children from the Junior Beautiful Oldham Society attended events on Snipe Clough, part of today’s Northern Roots site.

Inspired by Mary’s words, and the vision for Northern Roots, University of Salford MA Digital Video & Marketing student Charlotte Kendall worked with children at Holy Cross Primary School in Oldham to create this celebratory short film.


Community Food Growing Project at Northern Roots.
Herbarium specimens collected by James Nield, Oldham, 1876. Courtesy of Gallery Oldham.
Family Fun Beekeeper Experience at Northern Roots.
The former Ashton to Oldham railway ran directly through what is now the Northern Roots site.
The formidable Mary Higgs, social reformer and founder of the Beautiful Oldham Society.