Oldham ˈoʊldəm' is a town in Greater Manchester, England, situated beneath the Pennines between the rivers Irk and Medlock, 5.3 miles (8.5 km) southeast of Rochdale and 6.9 miles (11.1 km) northeast of Manchester. It is the administrative centre of the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham with an area of around 26 square miles (67 km2) and a population of more than 230,000.
In medieval times Oldham made woollen textiles - but in the 19th century it became "Cottonopolis". One of the world's first industrialised towns and a prominent international centre of textile manufacture, it was said to be "one of the most important centres of cotton and textile industries in England" and at it's peak produced more cotton than France and Germany combined.
By the mid-20th century Oldham's time as "Cottonopolis" was over, with the town's last mill closing in 1998. Today Oldham is a predominantly residential town, with the ambition to become an expanding centre for further education and the performing arts. Now - many of cotton mills and other buildings from the heyday of the cotton industry still survive and have been repurposed as business centres and warehouses, while the old Town Hall has been refurbished to house a cluster of cafes and a cinema; and new public space - Parliament Square has been created alongside, in the place of a former bus station.