Oldham women remembered
Detail from Helen Bradley's painting, 'A Special Treat'.
'Oldham Women' is an exhibition at Gallery Oldham which runs until 10 January 2010 and is a chance to learn more about the many achievements of women from the town. These include Annie Kenny, a suffragette who famously spent three days in Strangeways prison after being charged with assaulting a policeman at a Liberal rally at the Manchester Free Trade Hall. The exhibition includes a sculpture of Annie, a suffragist banner and photos of a suffragette march. Then there's Helen Bradley, one of Oldham’s most renowned artists, who began painting at the age of 65 because she wanted to show her grandchildren how different the world looked when she was a child and, as a result, achieved celebrity status.
A worker ring spinning at Lilac Mill, 1940.
Other women featured include local benefactor Dame Sarah Lees, who became the first female Mayor of Oldham in 1910, and more modern icons such as Coronation Street actress Anne Kirkbride and the internationally successful model Karen Elson. What makes the exhibition special is the fact that it also celebrates and remembers the achievements and contribution made by women who would not regard themselves as exceptional in any way ― such as those who worked in local mills.
Oldham women during World War Two working in a civil defence centre, co-ordinating fire engine call outs.
Gallery Oldham, Greaves Street, Oldham OL1 1AL, tel: 0161 770 4653, www.galleryoldham.org.uk, open Mon–Sat 10am–5pm, Sun 10am–4pm (last admission 30 minutes earlier), free.
22 October 2009