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Discover Oldham

Oldham is a former textile town in Greater Manchester, 7 miles (10 km) northeast of city centre in the foothills of the Pennines. Historically it was in Lancashire, while the area of Saddleworth just east was in Yorkshire, including the villages of Delph, Diggle, Greenfield and Uppermill. In 1974 the county border was moved east onto the crest of the Pennines, and Saddleworth became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham within Greater Manchester. The area was little more than sheep farms until well into the 18th century. Oldham became a centre for manufacture of hats, but the early industrial revolution passed it by: the town is perched on a bleak ridge 700 ft (210 m) above sea level, with no rivers to drive waterwheels or canal routes to transport materials. 19th-century steam power made all the difference, fired by coal from the town's own coalfield, and Oldham suddenly became the world's leading cotton-milling town, outstripping Manchester and Bolton. This textile industry crashed in the late 20th century and the town has yet to reinvent itself. The main reason to visit is to explore the villages and valleys leading into the Pennines.

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