Shaw and Crompton Line

Over the coming months we'll be updating this page with details of the stops along the Shaw and Crompton line; information about the groups creating the tracks for each stop, interesting facts,  media and snippets of information as the project progresses. Be sure to check back on Monday 17 July, when we will be uploading recordings of each full track. 

Shaw and Crompton | Derker | Oldham Mumps | Oldham Central | Oldham King Street | Westwood | Freehold | South Chadderton | Hollinwood | Failsworth | Newton Heath and Moston | Central Park | Monsall

Shaw and Crompton

Janet Wolstenholme is a Composer and Musician. Recent projects have included composition and performance at Manchester Fringe Festivals Unturned Stones, Tracing Paths, and participation in Manchester Histories’Picture Stockport project.

About the track

Trams have a family connection for me – my grandfather, who came from Oldham Mumps which is on the Shaw and Crompton Tram line, was as a child knocked over by one of the original Manchester trams, losing sight in one eye which then prevented him from going to be shot at in the First World War. So without trams, I might not be here! The piece is abstract and textured - involving captured sound, samples and vocal harmonies. Singers are: myself, Julie Wolstenholme and Rose Niland. Enjoy.

Derker - Commission by Faz

Farhaan Aamir Shah (24) is an actor, violinist and beatboxer from Manchester who also writes and releases his own music as well as music for theatre. He collaborates with a wide range of artists including rock and indie bands, Islamic Sufi singers, breakdancers and classical ensembles. He is the North West Harmonise Coordinator for Music Action International, delivering refugee music projects to schools, and he delivers education projects for the Hallé Orchestra, Universities and Colleges. He runs his own outreach company, Vivo Creative and he vlogs regularly on his Youtube channel ‘Faz Shah Music’.

About the track

The Derker tram stop was originally a trainline that opened in 1985 and later closed in 2009 to be refurbished and re-opened 3 years later in 2012 as part of the Manchester metro link. The Derker residents are a close knit society and have a history of different communities arriving and developing families, industries and traditions within the area.

The sound of urban regeneration...
There are three transitions that have taken place during the time of the train stop conception through to the functioning light rail stop we see today. Firstly the idea of travel is constant throughout the piece through rhythm, relentless ostinatos and building anticipation for your destination. Secondly the idea of traditional train sounds being replaced with modern tram sounds is reflected in instrumentation and timbre and how it changes over time; and lastly the concept of the traditions of Derker slowly changing over time with new generations filling old shoes and the sounds of the old industries being replaced with new ideas layering on top of old ones rather than discarding them.

Oldham Mumps - Public songwriting session

‘Years Turn’ was created at one of BWH’s ‘public days’ by Karen Dyson, Steve and Liz Perryman, working with Aidan Jolly. It reflects on the history of Oldham, which is built on mills and migration, and how that history is hidden, in the same way that the streams that meet under the area now known as ‘Mumps’ have been built over. The origin of this wonderful and curious word is obscure, but appears to come from the saxon ‘Ga Mumpi’, meaning, where two streams meet. ?

Oldham Central - Saxation (Oldham Music Centre)

Saxation is a group of 20 young saxophone players that have formed into one large ensemble for this special project. They come from schools all across Oldham and rehearse every week at the Oldham Music Centre, right next to the Oldham Central tram stop.

Oldham King Street - Oldham Theatre Workshop

We provide a wide range of drama and theatre-related workshops for young people aged 6-25, and opportunities to perform in major theatre productions. We also support local schools by delivering teacher training and drama activities both in and out of school, and undertake partnerships community groups and other agencies who wish to use drama as a learning medium. We treat everyone with respect and fairness and aim to ensure that our services are available to all. We make certain that our activities are inclusive, enjoyable, exciting, and of a high quality. Our approach is to encourage and involve the individual in their self-development while respecting differing preferences and needs.

About the track

A group was taken to the site of the tram stop in order to identify cultural points of interest in the area. Words were noted down which related to the area and its various cultural components. The notes included that of the Oldham motto from the crest of the town, educational establishments, and cultural landmarks.

The root theme of the music was derived from the Baptist church which stood on the same street where the tram stop is now, religious music associated with the Baptist church was selected as a starting point for the piece.

The young people composed spoken word pieces individually which were set to the chords of the traditional Baptist hymn, thus providing a rhythmic bed for the spoken word pieces to be performed over.

A historic building in Oldham was selected for its acoustic qualities. The large open room provided an eerie quality for the choral sections of the song and provided a natural reverb for the staccato guitar bed. Each layer for the piece was recorded with ambient microphones to add texture to the overall sound and keep the energy of the piece true to the reality of the writing process.

Group Leaders - Rob Mc Culloch & James Atherton

Soloists - Caitlin Knowles, Hannah Murray, Sophie Ellicott and Amy Clohessy

Westwood - The Red Rose and The Shapla Flower

Music and Lyrics Geli Berg (English) & Sarah Sayeed (Bengali)

Geli Berg is a singer-songwriter, broadcaster, producer and DJ, who specialises in music from around the world. She is the founder of Lingua Franca World Community, a social enterprise which seeks to bring diverse cultures together through arts and heritage, and represents professional musicians from around the world who have settled in North West England. She sang with the Sacred Sounds Women’s Choir from 2013 until 2016.

Sarah Sayeed is a writer and musician who has worked in the field of music from a young age. Her credits include Samson and Delilah with Jose Carreras (ROH), BBC Mela, BBC Asian Network, BBC 1XTRA, Sydney Festival and the Brighton Fringe Festival. Trained in Indian classical techniques with maestro Swati Natekar, she has released work through Public Transit Recordings Label (Toronto). Sarah Sayeed has recently been selected for the Sound and Music Portfolio programme under Kuljit Bhamra, and as a composer she will premiere her first composition in 2017 with three highly accomplished UK musicians. 

About the track

The song focuses on the impact of the Bangladeshi community on the area around the Westwood Metrolink Stop. The red rose is a reference to Oldham formerly being part of Lancashire, the red rose county. The Cotton flower is a reference to the cotton industry which attracted workers from Bangladesh to the Westwood area Oldham in the 1970s. The Shapla (of Lotus) Flower is the national symbol of Bangladesh, which is represented in the form of a monument in the centre of a roundabout in Westwood, which is also referred to by local Bengali people as the Bangla Parra (village).

Freehold - Commission by Jason Singh

Jason is a musician, composer, sound artist, creative facilitator, producer and performer. He is both a solo artist and collaborator and works across a wide range of art forms, music genres and educational practices. His work is an ongoing exploration and collaboration between the voice, body, music technology and its application to art, sound, music and education.

About the track

The inspiration for the track was based on a number of feelings whilst being on the tram.  It included the awareness of the melody of the opening and closing doors as well as the feeling of space and openness of leaving Manchester City Centre.  I also like the way sounds of birdsong and nature would seep in through the doors at various stops.  I found Freehold to be quite bleak and wanted to somehow reimagine both the stop and place in general as a location of beauty.  

South Chadderton - The Radclyffe School

We are an outstanding secondary school in Chadderton with a thriving Music Department. Students taking part are from year 8 and are preparing to begin their GCSE Music studies. Participants come from a variety of musical backgrounds and study a wide range of instrumental disciplines including traditional instrumentalists, vocalists and Music Tech/Production Specialists.

About the track

The class created lyrics which tell the story of before and after having trams in the area - predominantly how easy it now is to get into Manchester city centre from Oldham. They also devised word rhythms which layered to create the atmosphere of the busy building work required to open the South Chadderton tram stop. The group then composed the melody for the verses together and added some instrument and vocal breaks to complete the song.

  • Shaw and Crompton Line
  • Shaw and Crompton Line
  • Shaw and Crompton Line


Hollinwood - Commission by David Judge

I trained as an actor and have spent the over ten years working in theatre and TV. During this time I began writing poetry/spoken word and two years ago I became a regular in Manchester's open mic scene. This led to being offered guest slots at main events in Manchester, performing in Manchester’s literature festival and being a finalist and winner of two slam competitions.

Having never been to Hollinwood I was surprised not to feel too far away from home, Northern Moor. The tram has been a huge part of my life, freeing me up to see the city and taste areas I’ve never smelt.

Failsworth - Failsworth Community Choir

An informal, fun a capella community choir singing pop songs and musical theatre.  

About the track

The group were hugely knowledgeable about and interested in the local history, stories and historical figures from Failsworth, and the song reflects that passion, as well as drawing on the landmark of the Failsworth Pole and the more modern events in Failsworth today. The piece begins and ends with a local Folk tune called Droylsden Wakes which, in its original version, talks about the spinning industry of the local area. 

Newton Heath and Moston - Manchester Secondary PRU Newton Heath Centre

The Newton Heath Centre is a small nurturing school for young people who struggle in a mainstream environment. The students in this group are in years 10 and 11. 

Central Park - Commission by George Fell

"I composed this instrumental piece to convey the mood of Central Park. This Metrolink stop is architecturally impressive with a sleek futuristic design, and is situated next to the commanding presences of two head offices for the Greater Manchester Police Force. There is a sense of constant activity there, but the atmosphere is somber and serious. To portray this on the 12 string guitar I combined busy rhythmic patterns influenced by electronica and emotive melodies influenced by gospel and religious baroque music."

George Fell is a Manchester based Guitarist/Composer and Metalworker specializing in steel sculpture. He has been performing his self-composed guitar instrumentals and arrangements since the age of 16, playing mainly 12 string guitar using a three finger picking technique known as clawhammer which allows me to play rapid polyphonic melodies and has a strong rhythmic drive. In addition to performing solo George has toured with Bez (Happy Mondays) and played guitar and banjo on DJ Yoda's recent album "Breakfast of Champions" which was performed in thousand-capacity venues and at numerous leading UK festivals.

About the track

George composed this instrumental piece to convey the mood of Central Park. This Metrolink stop is architecturally impressive with a sleek futuristic design, and is situated next to the commanding presences of two head offices for the Greater Manchester Police Force. There is a sense of constant activity there, but the atmosphere is somber and serious. To portray this on the 12 string guitar George combined busy rhythmic patterns influenced by electronica and emotive melodies influenced by gospel and religious baroque music.

Monsall - St Augustines Primary

Our Year 4 class has 16 girls and 14 boys from a variety of cultural backgrounds including White British, Black African, Black Caribbean and Pakistani heritages. They are a creative, diverse and enthusiastic class who all have strong individual personalities but can come together to work in a constructive, collaborative way. Most of the children live on or near to the estate of Monsall, so are very excited to work on a song for their very own local tram stop.

  • Shaw and Crompton Line