Two historic Oldham sites to go under the hammer

The Groundwork building

Two pieces of Oldham’s history are due to be put up for auction next month.

The five-acre Cardwell Street site of the former Maple Mill, which was destroyed by fires in 2009 and 2016, is for sale with a guide price of £195,000, while the former HQ of the Groundwork community organisation on Shaw Road is also up for auction, with a nil reserve.

The building was formerly a school and subsequently a performing arts centre, attended in the 1980s by actors Jane Horrocks and Sarah Lancashire.

The two lots will feature among more than 100 for sale at Pugh’s next North West property auction, at the AJ Bell Stadium on December 3.

Maple Mill was a six-storey double cotton mill designed by architect Sydney Stott and built at the turn of the last century.

In 1968, under Courtaulds’ ownership, it was equipped with the first open-ended spinning machines in England and was a working cotton mill until the 1990s.

The building was demolished in 2017 after being destroyed by fire and the site is now considered suitable for redevelopment.

Paul Thompson, managing director of auction house Pugh, said: “This is a large site in a residential area close to the A627 and it has enormous scope for redevelopment. Any potential buyer would, of course, need to secure the necessary planning consent and we are seeing a great deal of interest in the site.”

Also included in the Pugh sale is the Groundwork building on Shaw Road, which is being auctioned with a nil reserve.

The 20,000 sq ft grade II-listed former school building on a one-acre site has been the headquarters of the Oldham branch of the Groundwork community and training organisation for more than 20 years.

One of the few listed buildings in the town, the property was built as Higginshaw Board School, opening for 850 pupils in 1897 and remaining as a school until 1983.

It was subsequently used as a performing arts centre, attended by fledgling local actors Jane Horrocks and Sarah Lancashire, before being taken over by Groundwork.

“The Groundwork building is something of an Oldham landmark and it would be tremendous to see it brought back to life with an imaginative redevelopment scheme,” said Mr Thompson.

“Along with the Maple Mill site, the sale of these two lots at auction could be a real catalyst for regeneration in the town.”

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