The Eric Oldham Legacy Collection

By John Hillier. Foreword by Sir John Oldham OBE

This book features many photographs and paintings produced by Eric Oldham from the 1940s until the 1980s. Although he was an accomplished photographer much of his work has not been published before. Having trained at Art College where a successful career in art beckoned, family circumstances dictated that instead Eric took over the family confectionery business in Hyde, Cheshire where he became a Master Baker; the material contained in the book shows that he was also a Master Photographer and Master Artist! Eric joined the prestigious Railway Photographic Society in 1950 and was appointed an Honorary Member of the Guild of Railway Artists for his work in helping set up the Guild.

John Hillier first met Eric during his school days in Hyde and Eric guided him during John’s formative photographic years and subsequently recommended that he should also join the RPS. Unfortunately, the two lost touch when John moved away from Cheshire and, having belatedly learnt about Eric’s passing, feared that the superlative photographic collection might have been lost. After having made numerous enquiries, he was eventually relieved to discover that the collection was safe and in the hands of Eric’s nephew, Sir John Oldham.  The two made contact and both felt that the collection of photographs and paintings deserved a larger audience, and this book is the result.

Although he was an enthusiast of ‘all things Gresley’ Eric made successful photographic forays over about 40 years or so to varied locations all around the UK despite the limitations placed on him by the commitments of his shop and by not having a car. This book therefore includes images from each Region of British Railways.

Sir John Oldham has written the foreword to the book and has kindly offered to donate any surplus revenue from the sales of this book to railway heritage and charity.

About the authors:

John Hillier spent a successful career in HR and general management both at corporate level and in consultancy and chaired a number of National Committees for bodies such as the CBI and the Food & Drinks Federation and, for Government, Chaired an Independent Review of Training Standards. He is an established and published photographer accepted into membership of the Railway Photographic Society in 1964 he has also participated in the RCTS Photographic Portfolio since 1976. In 2018 John organised the highly acclaimed Rail Cameramen exhibition at Locomotion, Shildon when his book The Photographic Artistry of Rail Cameramen was launched. A second volume followed in 2019.  John organised the Young Railway Photographer of the Year Competition the results of which were announced at the NRM in February 2022.

In his spare time (!) John initiated and subsequently project managed the latest overhaul of ‘Jubilee’ Class No 45596 Bahamas and its return to main line operation having been involved with the engine since it was bought in 1967.  He was appointed Vice President of the Bahamas Locomotive Society in November 2022.
He is an occasional speaker and also a contributor to various transport publications.
Sir John Oldham OBE, is a GP by background, practising in Glossop Derbyshire. His innovations led to him being asked to create and head the National Primary Care Development team.  At the time the Primary Care Collaborative was the largest improvement programme in the world covering 32 million patients in 40 months. He designed a similar programme in Scotland, Australia and other countries. He received the OBE in 2001 and a knighthood in 2003.  In 2003 Sir John also created the concept of the award winning Healthy Communities Collaborative with residents of deprived areas as the improvement team members, now spread throughout Scandinavia. He has been a keynote speaker at many international conferences on large system change, quality and safety.  He was a member of the National Quality Board , National Clinical Lead for Quality and Productivity at the Dept of Health in England and subsequently Chair of an Independent Commission on Whole Person Care. Latterly he was Senior Independent director at the Care Quality Commission in England. He was however weaned on steam trains and has had a lifelong interest, including the recreation of Eric’s model railway.