OB­JECT OF THE WEEK

Oldham Advertiser - - GALLERY -

SEAN

Bag­ga­ley, exhibitions co­or­di­na­tor, shares a photo from Old­ham Lo­cal Stud­ies Li­brary... THIS pho­to­graph from the col­lec­tions of Old­ham Lo­cal Stud­ies Li­brary shows the Druids Arms on Ash­ton Road. The pic­ture was taken on June 14, 1970.

The first li­cence for the Druids was taken out in 1829 fol­low­ing an Act of Par­lia­ment of 1828 which al­lowed peo­ple to sell ale or porter off the premises.

Cus­tomers would knock on the win­dows and the beer was then passed through and con­sumed in the street! This would have been the case with the Druids Arms in 1829, the year be­fore the more fa­mous Beer­house Act of 1830.

A brew­house was added in 1878 where the li­censee Wil­liam Tay­lor brewed mild, bit­ter and porter at what he called the Cham­ber Hall Brew­ery.

In 1894 there were five drink­ing rooms and two bed­rooms. It was a typ­i­cal cor­ner beer­house with a small bar next to the tap room and a par­lour be­hind that. On the right was the bar par­lour and then the ten­ant’s liv­ing room. There was no bar counter and the two par­lours were served through a hatch. In the 1960s the pub was turned into one big lounge as was the fash­ion at the time.

Why the Druids Arms? The name prob­a­bly comes from the An­cient Or­der of Druids – a fra­ter­nal or­gan­i­sa­tion founded in London in 1781.

It wasn’t a re­li­gious or­gan­i­sa­tion, in­stead its mem­bers were ex­pected to pre­serve and prac­tice the main prin­ci­ples at­trib­uted to the early druids: jus­tice, benev­o­lence and friend­ship. One of the main func­tions of or­gan­i­sa­tions such as this was as a ben­e­fit club and friendly so­ci­ety.

Mem­ber­ship fees were col­lected into a cen­tral fund, used to care for mem­bers who were too ill to work, or un­able to pay for their fu­ner­als.

●● The Druid Arms Pub, Ash­ton Road, Old­ham

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