New book charts fascinating 150 years of Oldham Photographic Society

By Lily Chick

ONE HUNDRED and fifty years of the Oldham Photographic Society are explored in a captivating new book as they celebrate the landmark anniversary.

Christine with her new book

Written by Christine Widdall, President of the Oldham Photographic Society, the book ‘A Victorian Society’ has already been on the Amazon best seller list.

The book celebrates the past of the society since its founding in 1867 by a group of photographers from Oldham and District at the Hare and Hounds, Yorkshire Street.

The society has met continuously for 150 years and the book charts their progress, with emphasis on the Victorian period, through stories and over 300 photographs.

Christine, a member of the society for 30 years, explained: “The Victorian age was the ‘Age of Invention’ and the Oldham Photographic Society reflects that through its early members, many of whom rose to prominence in photography, commerce and manufacturing, some of their businesses achieving national and international importance.

“The book describes the rise of Oldham to become one of the most important cotton spinning and textile engineering towns in the world and follows its progress through phenomenal growth to eventual decline.”

Using genealogy sources and historic publications, Christine researched the founders and many of the Victorian members, their origins, rise to fortune, sometimes failure and personal tragedies.

The final chapter is a guide on how to date old photographs.

Christine added: “Even though the science and the art of photography has changed since 1867 the aims of the society are still the same as the Victorian ones.”

The book is being unveiled locally at a special launch at Saddleworth Museum on Sunday, June 18 from 2-4pm, with all welcome and Christine will be there to answer any questions.

To celebrate the Society’s 150th Anniversary, Gallery Oldham is running an exhibition with story boards about members of the society talked about in the book.

Work from current society members will also be shown in the exhibition to show the contrast of their work over time.

The official exhibition opening will take place on Saturday, July 15, with an appearance from the Mayor of Oldham, and will run until Saturday, September 2.

‘A Victorian Society’ is available from Amazon UK for £15: ISBN-13: 978-1545379851.

Oldham Photographic Society meets to help each other become better photographers, and they host regular speakers at meetings. Find out more on their website:

Christine exhibits her work in exhibitions and salons across the world, as well as on her own website:


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