Famous Name for Tommyfield Market's First Bar

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date published: 27 August 2019

A fabled traditional song has been enshrined in the name of Oldham Tommyfield Market’s first bar.

Creative landlady Michelle Riley, 47, has opened the cosy Cob and Coal to great acclaim from customers seeking a quiet backwater to share a drink in a quirky setting.

The tiny tap and bottle shop sits snugly in a corner  of the indoor market and offers a wide range of beers ciders and  wines six days a week.

Leicester-born Michelle, a former landlady of the White Lion in Delph, explained how  she settled on the bar’s unique name.

“My husband Chris and I wanted a Leicester and Oldham connection. Chris  always talked  about cob coaling and the song so it was a contender.

“And I’ve always got into a many a row over what s bread roll should be called. 

“It’s a a cob in Leicester... so we decided on an honourable compromise and the name of the tune fitted the bill because of it’s connection to the area.”

The  song “We come a cob coalin’” was a firm favourite  sung by children in the run up to Bonfire Night.

History shows children  would sing the  song and  neighbours would give them loose change (often to keep  them quiet) or anything towards their bonfire. 

Once they had shared their tips or other bits of wood, they would build their bonfire. Then they would buy, or get their parents to buy their fireworks.

Meantime, Alderman David Jones, a former Mayor  of Oldham, and a customer at the bar said: “The bar just what Tommyfield  needed.

“It is an ideal  place to drop in for a drink and a chat and it will certainly encourage more footfall for the other stalls too.”

Michelle, who is hoping to open other micro bars in Oldham, added: “Bury, Ashton and other towns with markets have  their own bars - Oldham didn’t.   I’m really pleased  it’s becoming popular.

“Oldham council  have been marvellous - they have been very supportive and given lots of help and practical advice.” 

Part of the bar decor includes a lineup of  clocks which will show the opening times of bars in markets in principal cities across the world.

And included in her beer selections are Schlenkerla, a German sausage beer and Tynt Meadow brewed by Trappist monks in Leicester.

The Cob and Coal is open Monday-Friday 11am-5pm; Saturday 10am-5pm, closed Sunday. 

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