This service did not originate with Oldham Corporation, but was originally operated by Belgrave Mills Limited, one of Oldham's major cotton-spinning companies.
They had purchased Oldham's Electromobile battery bus in 1919 to carry employees to their mills, replaced in 1920 by a Leyland double-decker. Originally it operated between their premises on Honeywell Lane and Hathershaw tram terminus but their services later developed to become one from Honeywell Lane to Star Inn and another from Rhodes Bank to Wash Brook in Chadderton. This travelled along Union Street, Union Street West, Crossbank Street, Manchester Road, Oxford Street and Block Lane.
Oldham took over this service (along with the Leyland) from 20th August 1925 and gave it the route letter D. It was extended along Coalshaw Green Road to Drury Lane on 28th January 1927 (although the letter from the MoT authorising the extension was not recorded until the Tramways Committee meeting on 23rd February).
In 1935 the D was extended along Turf Lane to the junction with Long Lane and from November 1937 it was further extended along Long Lane, Hollinwood Avenue, Butterworth Lane and Mough Lane to Owler Lane. On 17th March 1940 a final extension was added along Owler Lane and Hollinwood Avenue to Moston Greengate to serve the A. V. Roe factory which was busy with war work. Some journeys extended to the factory and through fares were advertised until the 422 ceased to serve Moston. Industrial journeys also ran to Chadderton Power Station (closed in 1982) until 1976, but through fares only extended to Mumps even after the service was extended to Denshaw (see below).
After the 1940 extension the service then continued unchanged until the introduction of the one-way system in Oldham town centre. From 22nd March 1965 buses to Rhodes Bank were diverted from Manchester Road along Manchester Street, Duke Street, West Street, High Street and Yorkshire Street.
From 1st April 1968 Oldham ceased to use route letters and the D became the 22. Later the same year, from 29th December, it was converted to one-man operation. In early 1970 Union Street West was severed for the construction of the by-pass. This led to services to Greengate being diverted along King Street and Manchester Street. Implementation of a PTE-wide route numbering system saw the service renumbered 422 from 2nd December 1973.
From 17th August 1975 the service was extended along Ripponden Road to give a through service from Moston Greengate to Denshaw. This was a Limited Stop service between Oldham Mumps and Moorside. From 19th July 1981 this was co-ordinated with a new 423 Moston to Strinesdale service.
A further rationalisation of services followed from 21st January 1985 when the 422 and 423 were withdrawn and the section to Denshaw replaced by extending the 408 service which had run from Stalybridge to Oldham, whilst the 423 was replaced by 405.
There was no 422 service from that date until 27th October 1986, when Stott's Tours started working local bus services on deregulation. Their first service was a resurrection of part of the 422, a Monday to Saturday service which followed a very different route. Starting at West Street it used George Street, King Street, Ashton Road, Chamber Road, Manchester Road, Drury Lane, Long Lane, and Hollinwood Avenue to the terminus at Butterworth Lane. By 1990 the route was changed from the end of Chamber Road, with buses turning up Manchester Road and using Stanley Road and Coalshaw Green Road to reach Long Lane.
The commercial bus operations of Stott's Tours were acquired by First (trading as Greater Manchester) on 25th November 1996 and from that date the 422 became operated by First. It was quickly extended to Ashton via Lees New Road but this extension was soon replaced by a shorter one to Holts Estate on evening and Sundays only.
A final route revision took place by 2000, when M60 construction saw the link between Long Lane and Hollinwood Avenue severed. As a consequence the 422 turned right from Turf Lane into Long Lane and went via Broadway to Mough Lane.
The 422 was finally withdrawn as part of a package of service revisions taking effect from 25th February 2001, when it was replaced by a much revised 149.
© David Beilby