A fascinating exhibition has launched at Gallery Oldham celebrating Oldham’s proud industrial past.

In 1865 Godai Tomoatsu, a student from the western Japanese island of Kyushu and agent of the Prince of Satsuma, secretly came to Oldham. At the time Oldham was the world’s greatest cotton mill town. Godai visited the famous Platt Brothers’ Works in Werneth and placed an order for textile machinery and spindles. He also arranged for engineers to visit Japan to set up the country’s first modern textile mill – inspiring and igniting the Japanese Industrial Revolution.

Now, more than 150 years later, the ‘Follow the Thread’ project celebrates Oldham’s historic Japanese cotton connection. The project and exhibition brings together Crompton Primary School and Hashima Elementary School in Ichikikushikino, the city from which Godai first left Japan. A joint picture, produced by children from both schools, will be on display at the exhibition celebrating the relationship between Oldham and Ichikikushikino. A supporting exhibition highlights the history of these two towns and how their link is being renewed in 2017.

Sheena MacFarlane, Head of Heritage, Libraries and Arts said: “It’s wonderful that the unique history between these two towns is being recognised and that school children on different sides of the world are being given the opportunity to learn about their past. I hope the link between these two schools continues to flourish and I would urge anyone with an interest in Oldham’s history and our impact on the world during the Industrial Revolution, to visit the gallery.”

The exhibition opens on Saturday 27 May until Saturday 8 July. For more information visit: Gallery Oldham



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