The Story So Far


   THE inaugural meeting of The Rotary Club of Oldham was held on 2nd July, 1928, at the Union Club.  It came about after correspondence between Ernest England of Oldham and Rotarian Harry Ormrod, Secretary of the Rochdale Club.  The Mayor of Oldham presided.

   A second meeting, with William Dodd in the chair was held in the Mayor's parlor on 17th July, when it was decided to send a circular to certain local gentlemen, explaining the Objects of Rotary and enquiring if they were interested and would wish to join the proposed club.

   The third meeting, held at the Town Hall on 15th August, again with William Dodd in the chair, recorded eighteen other local gentlemen, including the Mayor.  Also present were Rotarians from Manchester and Rochdale.  It was unanimously agreed to form a Rotary Club, with William Dodd as Founder President.  The first Club Council was appointed with Ernest England as Secretary.

   At the fourth meeting (28th October), it was agreed that the weekly luncheon meetings should commence on 4th November at the Greaves Arms Hotel.  At the first Council Meeting in December four new members were elected and an application made to register the club as a member of Rotary International Association for Great Britain and Ireland.

   The Charter was duly presented by Rev A J Costain at the Charter Dinner on 1st March 1930.  It is dated 22nd January 1930, and certifies that the Rotary Club of Oldham, England is elected a member, club number 3273 of Rotary International.  The new club boasted 24 members.

 During the first two years if its existence, the club held its meetings at the Greaves Arms Hotel

   When it transferred to the Union Club, February 1932 it had grown to 32 members.  By November 1938 membership had shown a further increase to 78, comprising 3 honorary members with 23 representing professions and administration, 28 distribution and service trades, and 21 manufacturing and industry.  The peak was reached in April 1939 when there were 82 members.  Lack of suitable accommodation restricted further expansion.

   Early in October 1932 it was agreed to sponsor a new club at Ashton-under-Lyne, it was chartered in February 1935 with 25 members.

   In October 1936, Mrs Golding, Founder President of the Inner Wheel Clubs of Great Britain and Ireland, at a luncheon meeting attended by wives of Rotarians, explained the aims and objects of this movement, this brought about the formation of that club.

   The most spectacular achievements during this period were the sponsorship of a Toc H branch, the supply of several hundred white sticks to Oldham Blind Association and a continued supply of magazines and books to Oldham hospitals.  Help was given in staffing Unemployed Men's Centers, cast of clothing was collected and distributed to the needy, and holiday camps for unemployed families arranged.

   During the war years the remaining members continued their involvement in the local community, taking responsibility for the Earl Haig Poppy Appeal, supplied wireless sets to searchlight units, and raised funds to provide a traveling canteen to the Finland and Anglo-Turkish Relief Fund.

   In 1943 the Club was nominated by Rotary GB&I to examine the Ulthwatt Report on Compensation and Betterment.

   After the war, in 1946, the Inskip League was formed for the help of disabled civilians.  

In 1947 Past President H B Shaw was elected President of Rotary GB&I .


  1955 was the Golden Jubilee of Rotary International, and to mark this milestone the Rotary Club of Crompton & Royton was formed.  The inaugural meeting, 7th December attracted 32 prospective members, on its charter, 13th July, 1956, 29 founder members became Rotarians.

  To mark this milestone in Rotary;s global history The Club donated to the town Oldham Park - Union Street, it featured the Rotary Wheel set in mosaic surrounded by hardwood bench seats. 

    Six years later, 9th April the Rotary Club of Chadderton & Failsworth was formed.

   In March 1972 the Clubs Vocational Service Committee considered the formation of a Probus Club, this came into fruition with the first meeting in March 1972. 

    In that same year another Rotary Club. Saddleworth was formed. Inaugural meeting in the Civic Hall on 10th June.  The presentation of its charter took place on 31st July, 1973.

    1981 saw the birth of the latest child, Oldham Metro Club to cater for those unable to attend lunch time meetings, its membership drawn from the whole of the Metropolitan area.

   The name Rotaract is a contraction of "Rotary In Action", and is for men and women between the ages of 18 and 28 years of age, and like its parent is a service organisation.  The Rotaract Club of Oldham first meet on 18th May, 1979.  Unfortunately, with its membership growing older and an inability to attract new members the club in 1994 closed.

  Now entering its eighty third year of service, with 29 members and in its sixth home, the four star Hotel Smokies,the Club still generates activities far and near.

  A Rotarians vocation is the basis of election to membership, and his first duty to Rotary is to serve his vocation.  Obviously, no account could be given here of all the many projects sponsored and completed by the Club.  Nor has there been recorded any individual service rendered to the community in parliamentary and local government service, or the active participation with local voluntary groups. 

   It may well be that the impact of the individual Rotarian on society has been more significant than the confined activities of the Club.

Fortunately that commitment continues... 

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