Historically in Lancashire, and with little early history to speak of, Oldham rose to prominence in the 19th century as a boomtown of the Industrial Revolution and an international centre of textile manufacture. At its zenith, it was the most productive cotton spinning mill town in the world, however the industry fell into decline in the mid-20th century with the town's last mill closing in 1998. Today there are ongoing plans to renovate the town centre and promote Oldham as a centre for performing arts.
A wide array of notable individuals originate from Oldham- and considering the town's proximity to Manchester- many Coronation Street actors are among them. Some of the most notable to be born in the town include; Alan Rothwell, Noel Dyson, Barbara Knox, Anne Kirkbride, Sally Ann Matthews, Sarah Lancashire, Suranne Jones and Shobna Gulati. Others including Dawn Acton, Sean Wilson and Sally Dynevor trained at the town's well-established theatre school.
Role in Coronation Street
Janice Lee lived in the town for some time during the early 1980s with her boyfriend Ronnie Clegg and gave birth to their daughter Toyah there in 1982. After the relationship with Ronnie broke down and she sent him packing, Janice returned to Weatherfield as a single mother.
Oldham was also the residence of Ashley Peacock's biological mother Kathleen Gutteridge. Ashley was unaware of his true parentage until he was 23 and decided he wanted to meet his real mother. Ashley's father Fred Elliott tracked Kathleen down in August 1999 but she was adamant she didn't want to meet Ashley. Kathleen later visited Fred and told him she had changed her mind and so Fred drove Ashley to her house but he couldn't bring himself to knock on the door and asked Fred to take him back to Weatherfield. Fred returned the next day to explain this to a disappointed Kathleen. Ultimately, mother and son were reunited and Fred later returned to Kathleen's house in an attempt to woo her again but was turned down.
In January 2012 nail technician Kylie Platt was called out to an emergency consultation in Oldham that turned out to be a hoax call. Kylie and husband David suspected that their neighbour Owen Armstrong was responsible, due to their ongoing feud and demanded he pay them the £50 cab fare.
In June 2015, Tracy Barlow set up an online date between Brian Packham and a woman named Julie Carp from Oldham. Julie, who lived two streets away from Boundary Park stadium, shared her exact name with Brian's former girlfriend, who he was failing to win back with tickets for a round-the-world cruise. Fed up of Brian's presence as a lodger at No.1, Tracy set out to find another woman by the same name and set them up. Tracy engineered a date between Brian and "Julie" at Nick's Bistro, informing Brian that Julie from Oldham was recently divorced and keen to travel abroad, making them a perfect fit. Brian, however, was still fixated on his Julie and let the second Julie down gently, foiling Tracy's plan.