From 18 March to 17 June, Gallery Oldham are exhibiting the work of the multi-talented Sam Fitton whose career started in the Lancashire textile mills but who went on to make a living as a skilled illustrator, poet, dialect writer and performer.
In 1907, he began to contribute a weekly cartoon to the Cotton Factory Times, a newspaper for Lancashire millworkers. Over the next 12 years he drew over 400 cartoons. He created a unique visual record of the cotton industry and its workers, touching on the struggles of workers whose lives were difficult, dirty and often short. As a writer, he wrote hilarious lines in the Lancashire dialect and a book of his poems ‘Gradely Lancashire’ was published after his death in 1923.
This exhibition explores Sam’s creative output, his sense of humour and his ability to adapt to earn a living. Through his eyes and using the collections of Gallery Oldham and Oldham Archives you can reflect on the experiences of millworkers. His dialect writing also raises questions about our identity and the way we speak which are still important today.
A date for your Diary
On Wednesday 22 March at 2pm Alan Fowler (the chair of the North West Labour History society), and Terry Wyke, authors of Mirth at the Mill: The Gradely World of Sam Fitton, will give a talk and a guided walk through the exhibition.