Stockport & South Manchester

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

Weekday Wander - Oldham

Tuesday 31 January 2023

February Weekday Wander — Oldham
11:20 Tuesday 31st January, Stockport Rail Station

This month only three pubs are on the timetable as all are worth lingering in, however a fourth is suggested because it is in the National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors. We can decide on the day.

The travel arrangements given is only one of many available. Tram connections can easily be made from Piccadilly to either St Peters Square [Altrincham or Eccles service] or Victoria [Bury service], also the connection can be made on foot. The important thing is to catch a Pink Line tram, destination variously Shaw & Crompton/Rochdale.


Until the opening of our two other venues, the Ashton Arms was probably Oldham town centre's premier outlet for real ale. Four to six real ales are usually on offer, but the pommeliers among the party may be disappointed. Housed in row of terraced buildings, but maybe not part of the terrace. The architecture does not match the buildings either side (see right), so is it an infill, or was it originally free standing with the adjacent buildings being erected later. Discuss. Whatever the answer inside is a welcoming pub, with real fires when required.

A short walk across town takes us to Tommyfield Market, sadly not the original building which was destroyed by a massive fire back in 5 October 1974. Here is an Oldham Times article on the fire and a YouTube film of the demolition. Oldham Council is now threatening to close the market and move the businesses down into the under-used Spindles Centre. In the meantime, let us enjoy the delights of the recently opened Cob and Coal with its six handpulls, plus a sprinkling of continental real ales. Pommeliers are also well catered for with upwards of four real ciders/perrys. No wonder it was CAMRA ROB's pub of the year, followed by it taking the Greater Manchester accolade. Though accommodated in a small unit, there is extensive 'outside', ie in the market hall, seating. On a side note, what does the Cob in the name refer to? If cob, as in bread roll/bun, what has this to do with coal? If used in the sense of a cob of coal, isn't that tautology? Further investigation required.

Another recent to the Oldham real ale scene is our third destination, the Fox and Pine, almost across the road (okay square) from the Ashton Arms, so a reversal of direction is required. With ten handpumps there must be something to suit everyone, without needing to trouble the five Bavarian Beer fonts. A dark beer is invariable on offer, and the house beer is advertised as Bass! No wonder it became CAMRA ROB's Pub Of The Year, succeeding its stablemate in 2022. The Fox & Pine is arranged on two floors, along with an outside drinking area which is unlikely to trouble us in February! The name is supposedly derived from the home town of the two owners, namely Leicester and Oldham. This confused me as Leicester City are known as The Foxes, but Oldham are known as The Latics, and the bird on their logo is an owl. Further investigation reveals that Oldham Athletic began with the founding of Pine Villa F.C. in 1895. Mystery solved.

With two pubs of the year on the outing, it was felt that adding a fourth wasn't so much adding icing to the cake, more putting the cherries on the icing! However the nearby Royal Oak Hotel a little way along Union Street would fit that bill as it is on the National Inventory of Pub Interiors. The drawback is it isn't a multi-ale house, simply serving Robinsons beer. It can be added either at the beginning or end and utilising the Mumps tram stop instead of Oldham Central.


11:20am11:25am Meet Stockport Rail Station
11:25am11:39pm East Midland train to Oxford Road - Note: express so does not call at Heaton Chapel
11:39am11:47pm Walk to St Peters Square
11:57am12:27pm Metro to Oldham Central Stop
12:30pm1:45pm Ashton Arms28 - 30 Clegg Street, Oldham OL1 1PLFood till 8pm
1:50pm3:25pm Cob & Coal TapUnits 12, Tommyfield Market, Albion Street, Oldham OL1 3BGOutlets in market
3:30pm4:45pm Fox & Pine18 Greaves Street, Oldham OL1 1AD 
4:55pm5:26pm Metro to St Peters Square
5:26pm5:34pm Walk to Oxford Road Station
5:39am5:57pm East Midland train to Stockport - Misses Heaton Chapel
 Additional extra if desired - above times can be adjusted or later departure (trams every 6-10 minutes)
   Royal Oak Hotel178 Union Street, Oldham OL1 1EN 

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