Gallery Oldham: Collections

Gallery Oldham’s Fine Art collection consists of over 550 oil paintings, ranging from pre-Raphaelite and late Victorian artists to post-war painting, including Pop and Abstract art.

Of particular interest is the Charles Lees Collection of oil paintings, watercolours, drawings and engravings, presented to the town in 1888. With special thanks to Art UK, all of the Gallery’s oil paintings can now be viewed online.

The Gallery also hosts several exhibitions in its Community Gallery and Foyer during the year.

Current exhibitions include:

Gallery 1 – Oldham Stories

This gallery permanently houses both: Oldham Stories exhibition, featuring selected objects from our extensive collections to tell and show the stories of Oldham and its local communities. From birds and shells to a recreation of an Edwardian chemist’s shop, every object has a fascinating tale to tell. The display features local figures such as suffragette Annie Kenny, the pioneering natural history collector James Nield and the popular artist Helen Bradley.

The Community Gallery, which has a wide range of exhibitions by groups and individuals from the Borough of Oldham.

Gallery 2 – A to Z: The First Seven Years by Dave Ball 1 December 2018 – 2 March 2019

Dave Ball always wanted to make art about the world. The problem was though, that the world was frustratingly large and complex. Where could he possibly begin? In 2011 Ball embarked upon his project of visualising every word in the Concise Oxford English dictionary in alphabetical order. Starting with “Aardvark” and limiting himself to words he already knew the meaning of, a total of around 10,000 visualisations would need to be made, taking an estimated 35 years to complete.

This new exhibition presents the first three instalments of the project: From Aardvark to Axle, comprised of 461 drawings of the “A” words; Babble to Byte (from Memory), a sequence of 479 “B” drawings made without the aid of any visual source material; and All the Cs (through the lens of My Camera), which features over 800 photographs of words beginning with “C”.

Gallery 3 – Peace and Plenty? Oldham and the First World War 29 September 2018 – 12 January 2019

As the ‘Great War’ drew to a close what had been the experiences on the home front for the people of Oldham? This exhibition revisits their everyday lives, losses and achievements using the galleries extensive collections.

This exhibition is co-curated by historians Alan Fowler and Terry Wyke. It explores how Oldham’s mills, shops and people all adapted to meet the needs of the war.  In 1918 as the fighting and the fundraising stopped the town was forced to deal with a deadly influenza epidemic and prepared for the first general election in which all men over the age of 21 and women over the age of 30 could vote.


Further information:
  • Open Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm. (Last admission to the galleries 4.30pm); Sunday 10am – 4pm (Last admission to the galleries 3.30pm)
  • Location Gallery Oldham, Oldham Cultural Quarter, Greaves Street, Oldham OL1 1AL
  • Free admission
  • Contact 0161 770 4653