The Freedom of the Borough is the highest award that the council can bestow.

Rarely awarded, it is awarded to local people who have, in the opinion of the Council, rendered eminent services to the Borough.

The award of the Honorary Freedom of the Borough does not convey with it any legal rights or responsibilities, other than a ceremonial role at civic functions.

The award dates back to the middle ages when Freemen had commercial privileges and a route into a position of power in a town or city.

Associated with the "Freedom of the Borough" is the "Freedom of Entry" which the Council may award to service units which have rendered conspicuous service and which are closely associated with the Borough.

The Freedom of Entry grants the service unit the right, privilege and honour of marching through the streets of Oldham on ceremonial occasions with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums beating, bands playing and colours flying.


Roll of Honorary Freemen of the Borough
Oldham Borough County Date Admitted
Dame Sarah Anne Lees DBE LLD 9 November 1909
Dr. Thomas Fawsitt MBE 26 October 1921
Alderman William Schofield JP 3 June 1925
Councillor Charles Ward JP 3 June 1925
Councillor Marjory Lees 3 October 1934
Rt. Hon Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill KG OM CH 2 April 1941
Rt. Hon J.R Clynes PC DCL 9 January 1946
William E Freeman Esq. JP 9 January 1946
Councillor James Bannon JP 13 June 1949
Alderman Frank Tweedale JP 13 June 1949
Thomas Driver Esq. JP 13 June 1949
Alderman John Fletcher Waterhouse 13 June 1949
The 41st (Oldham) Royal Tank Regiment TA 3 March 1954
Sir William Turner Walton MUS.D 7 December 1960
Miss Alice Amelia Kenyon JP 6 January 1965
Charles Leslie Hale Esq. 6 November 1968
Sir Frank Lord KBE MA JP 3 February 1971
Dame Eva Turner DBE MUS.D                                         7 July 1982
Councillor Arnold Tweedale OBE JP                               2 December 1987
75 Engineer Regiment (Volunteers)                                 13 June 1999
Honorary Alderman Miss Ellen Brierley MBE BA JP    8 September 2004
Norman Kelvin Stoller Esq OBE CStJ DL                       16 April 2008
Michael Hugh Meacher MP                                               17 July 2013
Nicola White                                7 September 2016
Matthew Walls   8 September 2021
Frank Rothwell 24 March 2022
Kevin Sinfield 24 March 2022