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Unveiling of the War Memorial

James Purdy

This painting shows the War Memorial being unveiled on 28 April 1923. It shows some of the 10,000 estimated people that were in attendance.

James Purdy was a prolific local artist who documented the changing landscape of Oldham throughout his life. Many of his paintings are now in Gallery Oldham’s collection.

The painting captures the unveiling of the War Memorial in 1923. This dramatic structure is one of the finest pieces of public art in Oldham. It was designed by Albert Toft who produced studies of soldiers for several other war memorials, including the one at Chadderton.

For the Oldham memorial his dynamic composition of figures in action was one of Toft’s most ambitious works.

The unveiling captured in this painting took place before a crowd of more than 10,000 people. The solemn ceremony had been preceded by several years of argument about whether this town centre site close to a pub was actually a suitable place for such a memorial.