150 Years of Oldham Photographic Society

The latest exhibition in our Community Gallery runs from 15 July to 2 September. It celebrates the history of Oldham Photographic Society which was founded in 1867 and today can proudly claim to be one of the oldest photographic societies in the world.

On 16 May 1867 a group of photographers met at the Hare & Hounds Inn and resolved to form a society “for the advancement of photographic art and science”. The exhibition charts how some of these early members became important and successful photographers. Several of them established studios in Blackpool to photograph holidaymakers whilst others prospered in their home town. Many more members remained amateur photographers whilst pursuing other careers and one of them, Dr James Yates, became mayor of Oldham.

Visitors to the display can also learn about the infamous explosion at Chadderton Town Hall in 1884. It was caused by a magic lantern slide projector being used by one of the society’s members and led to many injuries and one fatality.

The show also features a slideshow of work by current members of the society.