This record is held by Oldham Local Studies & Archives

Details of C-AAL
Reference: C-AAL

C-AAL 1 Session Minutes


C-AAL 2 Managers' Minutes


C-AAL 3 Registers


C-AAL 4 Roll Books


C-AAL 5 Disjunction Certificates


C-AAL 6 Financial records (including reports and accounts)


C-AAL 7 Correspondence


C-AAL 8 Plans


C-AAL 9 Trustees and Elders


C-AAL 10 Missionary records


C-AAL 11 Sunday School


C-AAL 12 Girl Guides


C-AAL 13 Boys' Brigade


C-AAL 14 Fellowship of Youth


C-AAL 15 Photographs


C-AAL 16 Printed material


C-AAL 17 Organ music

Date: 1883 - 1994
Related material:

Oldham Local Studies:


United Reformed Church, 1883-1983, Centenary Year: Programme of Events (RRP:FF) pamphlet


United Reformed Church, King Street - A Short History, 1883-1983 (RRP:FF) pamphlet

Held by: Oldham Local Studies & Archives, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

King Street United Reformed Church, Oldham, Lancashire

King Street United Reformed Church, Oldham, Great Manchester

Physical description: 0.215 cubic metres
Immediate source of acquisition:

Accessions 1994-014, 1995-029 and 1996-001 donated by Mr L Price

Custodial history:

The records contain a mix of volumes and papers; manuscripts and printed records. The collection seems to be fairly comprehensive, and reflects most of the activities of the Church. The records are generally in good condition and there are no restrictions on acces.

Publication note:

Photocopying of the registers is not permitted, but photocopying of other items may be possible, depending on their size and condition. Please ask a member of staff.

  • Oldham, Lancashire
  • Oldham, Greater Manchester
Administrative / biographical background:

In 1883, the Manchester Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of England resolved to organise a 'preaching station in Oldham. Drawing heavily on support from the Scottish and Northern Irish communities in the town, the first service was held on 11 March in the Hall of the Reform Club on Union Street. Conducted and funded by Rev William McCaw of Manchester, the Moderator of the Synod of England, the service was so well attended that its start was delayed while more chairs were found.


Under the leadership of Dr Alexander MacGowan, the services became so regularly well attended, that a meeting was held in May to formally establish a Congregational Committee to organise the Church. One of their first acts was to organise a public meeting and tea party at King Street Baptist Church, at which it was decided that the new Presbyterian congregation should become a permanent fixture in Oldham.


In December 1883, they moved to the Temperance Hall on Horsedge Street, where there was enough space to establish a Sunday School and other recreational associations. The first settled Minister, Rev Thomas Boyd arrived in September 1886. His wife worked alongside Mary Higgs, campaigning for Poor Law Reform.


On 27 April 1887 the church on King Street opened at a cost of £1824. The ground floor was to be used for the Sunday School and the first floor for public worship. An organ was installed in 1893 and the gallery and side classrooms were added in 1898.


A Band of Hope was formed in 1889. Dedicated to temperance, it held weekly meetings and organised outings during the summer. It was soon replaced, however, by the Presbyterian Entertaining Party (PEPS) who gave performances in the schoolroom and in other institutions in the town.


Rev E Roxburgh became Minister in 1894 and it was he who founded Oldham's first Boys Brigade two years later. This was followed by a Girl Guide company in 1927. During the 1920s, the Sunday School was heavily influenced by the Sunday School Union Movement and the Graded School and the Teachers' Training Class were introduced. In 1929, Rev W T Hunter became Minister, but resigned that same year over a dispute relating to fundraising. Many of the Church Elders also resigned, some transferring their allegiance to Union Street Congregational Church. As a result, the Presbytery had to run the Church for a short period and Mr G C Storr was appointed as temporary preacher-in-charge.


In 1938, dwindling numbers at the Sunday School persuaded the Sunday School Union to try an experiment called 'Cinema Sunday School'. The school was given the appearance and atmosphere of a cinema, religious films were shown, and hymns were projected on to the screen. The experiment certainly brought children in, but a lack of suitable films posed something of a problem. The scheme was abandoned during World War Two when the schoolroom formed part of the Soldiers' Home organised by the local Council of Churches.


In the 1950s and 1960s, the massive redevelopment work that took place in Oldham saw the Church become increasingly isolated physically. Numbers fell, and when Rev Soulsby left in 1961, it was three years before another Minister could be found to replace him. This trend was echoed in many other churches throughout the country and in 1972 a union was proposed between the Presbyterian Church of England and the Congregational Churches. On behalf of the all the Presbyterian Churches, their Assembly voted in favour of the merger, but it was left to individual Congregational Churches to decide for themselves. In Oldham, only the churches at Hollinwood and Ashton Road agreed to join the new Church. A short time later, Union Street also decided to join only for Ashton Road to secede.


The new Church was named the United Reformed Church and placed an emphasis on management by Elders (previously known as the Session at King Street). King Street, however, was reluctant to dispose of its Management Committee, and decided upon a system involving both Managers and Elders, with a Church Meeting every quarter.


Falling attendances also impacted upon the Sunday School. In 1973, it was decided to discontinue the afternoon school and have 'Family Church' on Sunday mornings instead. When the Rev P A Roche was appointed in 1976, it was as Minister to both King Street and Union Street. However, nothing could arrest the declining membership numbers and the increasingly elderly congregation found it difficult to maintain the building. In 1994, the decision was made to close King Street and transfer the congregation to Union Street. The last service was held on 6 December.

Link to NRA Record:

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