Your Home, Your Voice, Your Place: A Celebration of Community and Heritage

Manchester Histories and Great Places Housing Group launches new exhibition to celebrate 10th anniversary of Gateways to Oldham PFI initiative.

By Sarah Jones · September 25, 2023

The Mayor of Oldham, Councillor Zahid Chauhan, was one of the guests to attend an event hosted by Manchester Histories and Great Places Housing Group at Gallery Oldham on 16 September to mark the launch of an exhibition to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the housing and regeneration venture. 

The ten-year £113m Public Finance Initiative (PFI), delivered by the Inspiral Oldham Consortium, made up of Great Places Housing Group and Wates Living Space, has transformed four areas across Oldham: Crossley in Chadderton, Dew Way in Westwood Primrose Bank in Medlock Vale and Keswick Avenue in Fitton Hill. ‘Gateways to Oldham’ has included the construction of new homes, refurbishment of existing homes and the creation of two community centres. 

The exhibition Your Home, Your Voice, Your Place: A Celebration of Community and Heritage is culmination of the six-month Manchester Histories’ project commissioned by Great Places. It involved interviewing people who have lived in these four areas before the regeneration work started and document their memories along with those of the local and wider community. The aim was to connect residents with those who’ve gone before and those who will come after. 

The PFI residents shared their experiences with oral historian, Heather Roberts who with artists Katie McKeever, Laura Jones, and Millie Sheppard, curated a unique archive of recordings, films, art, and crafts. 

The exhibition showcases an array of paintings, poetry, textiles, and film, all inspired by the themes of “home” and “memories.” 

A book is also planned to follow up this exhibition, and the oral histories will be stored as archives with Manchester Histories, and shared with Oldham Local Studies and Archives when they are based in their new home. 

Commenting on the launch of the exhibition, Karen Shannon, Chief Executive of Manchester Histories, said:  

“Your Home, Your Voice, Your Place” is a heartfelt celebration of community, home, and personal history. The exhibition brings together a remarkable collection of artwork and oral histories contributed by residents, visitors, and neighbours of Crossley, Dew Way, Fitton Hill, and Primrose Bank. 

“Home,” in this context, represents more than just a physical space. It embodies a profound sense of connection and belonging within Oldham’s ever-evolving landscapes and communities. These personal stories offer a perspective often absent from formal history books, creating a vital legacy that will resonate with future generations, connecting them to their own heritage and that of others across Oldham.” 

Ryan Smith, Head of Neighbourhoods for Great Places’ central region, added:  

“This is a landmark year for everyone involved with Gateway’s to Oldham, in particular the residents of the neighbourhoods who have seen and been an integral part of their transformation over the past ten years.  

“We’re delighted with the exhibition, and we hope that it will provide a long-lasting reminder of the tenth anniversary for years to come and can be enjoyed by members of the local community.” 

“Your Home, Your Voice, Your Place” is on at the exhibition at Gallery Oldham, 35 Greaves St, Oldham OL1 1AL from September 16, 2023, through to December 2, 2023. 

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