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The Oldham Panorama

Squire Knott

Panoramic photograph of Oldham taken in 1876 by Squire Knott. 

This series of nine photograph s was taken from the roof of the Star Corn Mill on Woodstock Street in Oldham. 

The Oldham Panorama is one of the best visual records of the transformation of North West England into an industrial powerhouse.

It was in the 1870s that Oldham moved into prominence as the largest cotton-spinning town in the world and this photograph captures the growth that accompanied this economic boom.

At first the image is dominated by the railway, terraced houses, the gasworks, coalmines and mills all crowded closely together. But look more closely and you will see a field of sheep and several other open spaces that are yet to be filled in as the town rapidly expands. Far harder to spot are any people – the picture was taken during wakes week when the view wasn’t spoilt by smoking chimneys and when most workers had left the town.

A large reproduction of this photograph is on permanent display at Gallery Oldham.