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Saddlworth News

Drawing from memories of the old days of farming with Saddleworth Museum

Saddlworth News

The face of sheep farming changed from curly horned to the ones we see today

Reporter – Ruby Anstee

With an interactive tablet, a voice recorder, three elderly residents, a creative artist, and a handful of school children, a cutting edge film recording the cherished memories of working and living on a farm is now on display at the Saddleworth Museum.

Annie Harrison, an artist, and a group of  young people from Oldham and Rochdale children interviewed three local senior citizens about their memories of what it was like to live in the 1940s in our area on a farm. Interviewees were Brenda, from Lowerstones Farm in Delph, Sam, 86, from Fairbanks Farm in Diggle and Doris a good friend of  Sam’s family. It’s an intergenerational project which helps to give it a lot of depth with enquiries from the young and middle aged of the older generation.

Sam says some very interesting things about how he outbred the original Saddleworth sheep, with white curly horns. They were not hardy enough for the landscape to make money, so he interbred them with a hardier variety. So really, he changed the face of sheep farming in the area. The farm he lived on has over 600 yrs of farming heritage. Brenda grew up on a farm in Delph. This was a way for her to conserve her childhood memories of riding on the hay cart and doing the milking and milk deliveries around Saddleworth and Uppermill.

Audio snippet from the film:

Learning Officer at the Museum, Lindsey Milnes told Saddleworth News: ” The children, 11-14yr olds, loved asking the questions of the elderly people, and it was great to see the respect that for them.

“It seemed to open their eyes to something they’d never even thought about, to how people lived in those days. The children went out to the sites of the farms and did some drawings themselves.

“Annie Harrison, from Mytholmroyd, creates contemporary pieces that relate to oral history. We were very happy to work with her on this project.”

The film is in an area in the museum that has all sorts of bits and bobs from the time that the owners of the voices would have been very familiar with and used daily.

Lindsey told us : “We do have an oral history archive already however, this is the first time it’s been used creatively in the museum and as a piece of contemporary art.”


The museum is open Monday to Sunday 1-4pm

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