Sunday, 31 May 2015


Northwards from Oldham on to Rochdale. One of the outstanding features of many towns made prosperous by the industrial revolution is the impressive town halls, and Rochdale is no slouch in this respect.

And more importantly for this blog, the town hall has a massive clock tower. In fact, a truly impressive clock tower that makes many other clock towers seem positively wimpish.

The Town Hall was opened in September 1871. The clock tower was built with a wooden spire, which in hindsight may have been a big mistake as the tower was destroyed by fire in 1883. A new tower, standing 58 metres high, was designed by Alfred Waterhouse and completed in 1887.

Yorkshire Street seems to have its fair share of clocks. First up is this lovely specimen on the side of Townhead Court.

On the opposite side of the main road is Our Lady Immaculate church.

And a little bit further on is the Yorkshire Street Surgery.

The Rochdale Observer clock has certainly seen better days.

Nearby is this building on the corner of Milnow Road.

Our last port of call is Rochdale station. The clock is situated on the main staircase leading up to the platforms.

Rochdale acquired a station as early as 1839, but the current location dates from 1889.

A plaque below the clock shows in provenance. The Rochdale Pioneers were established in 1844, so I am taking a wild guess that the clock was installed in 1994.

And finally, just because I feel like it, a picture of a tram as taken from the platform at Rochdale station.

Monday, 25 May 2015


By the splendid delights of the Manchester tram system to Oldham. And to the not quite so splendid delights of this odd looking and somewhat worn clock tower.

Despite its unusual appearance, its location high up on the building on a road junction, with large clear dials, makes it a highly effective timepiece. Or what do if the clock was working.

But at least you have the choice of time, depending on which face you look at.

The building is a snooker and pool club (although I am not sure if it is still open) on Union Street, but I assumed surely must have been a cinema originally. Further research shows that it was the Gaumont Cinema which was closed in 1961, but has had later reincarnations as a bowling alley, night club, snooker hall and, since 2011, a roller derby venue. So a useful local venue, but just a shame the exterior looks so awful.

Further up Union Street is The Centre.


And even further along are the offices of the Oldham Evening Chronicle.

What I have just realised is that Union Street is quire special in that it has three clocks, all of which are of the simple dashed-clock face design rather than the more common Roman and Arabic numerals. Union Street might just well be Unique Street in the world of clock bloggers (admittedly not the largest world in the universe).

The Oldham Evening Chronicle newspaper itself started out as the Oldham Chronicle on 6 May 1854.

Back to the world of Roman numerals. This is the church of St Mary with St Peter. As so often is the case, the church has a very long history, but the current building design dates from 1830.

On to Tommyfield Market.

The market was founded in 1788 on land owned by Thomas Whittaker, hence the name. The subsequent market hall was burned down in 1974, and the replacement building dates from the 1990s.

The market covers the site of what is claimed to be the first chip shop, opened in about 1860. There is apparently a plaque on the wall in the market all, although I didn't see it myself.

And finally on to the bus station. The original new bus station was opened in 2001 and is fitted out with several identical clocks.

An addition to the bus station, on a separate piece of land, was opened in September 2006. The seeds from the main site must have blown across, as the same clocks have sprung up here.