Platt’s my boy! Museum home for famous Dobcross villager

A PORTRAIT to honour a famous son of Dobcross now has pride of place in Saddleworth Museum.

John Platt was the MP for and Mayor of Oldham in the 19th century and owned the biggest manufacturing company of textile machinery in the world at that time.

Elected as Oldham’s first Liberal Mayor, he owned mansions in north Wales and at Ashway Gap in Greenfield.

John Platt

He held his seat in Parliament until his death in Paris, at the age of 55, in May 1872.

Younger brother, James, who was also MP for Oldham, was killed by the accidental discharge of a shotgun while shooting on Saddleworth Moor. His death in 1857 is commemorated by the Ashway Cross which overlooks Dovestone reservoir.

A statue to honour John was erected in Oldham town centre before being moved to Alexandra Park.

However, Saddleworth Parish and Oldham borough councillors Luke Lancaster and Max Woodvine were concerned there was little to commemorate him in the parish itself.

They initially campaigned to have the statue relocated to Dobcross but hit on a less costly solution to earn the businessman and politician local recognition.

John Platt’s statue

So, to mark the 150th anniversary of his death, the duo, who represent the village where John Platt was born in 1817, funded a portrait to go on permanent public display at the museum in Uppermill.

Platt Brothers & Co started in Bridge House, Dobcross, where Platt was born and where his blacksmith father invented the carding machine.

Later the company moved to Uppermill occupying small mills and workshops, before it moved to Werneth in Oldham and expanded into a manufacturing empire.

Cllrs Luke Lancaster and Max Woodvine with John Platt portrait

It was John’s advocacy of free trade and business knowledge that led him to visit France to assist in the negotiations of the French Commercial Treaty.

More locally, however, he successfully campaigned for a municipal charter for Oldham and was a strong supporter of the Anti-Corn Law League.

4 Replies to “Platt’s my boy! Museum home for famous Dobcross villager”

  1. That was was good article, not least because I’ve seen the statue of John Platt in Alexandra park on numerous occasions without ever really having a clue who he was or why he mattered. Cllrs. Lancaster and Woodvine funding the portrait of him, (I assume it’s modern but painted in the Victorian manner,) is lovely touch and one that shows more flair, initiative and imagination that I sometimes tend to associate with the conservative party.

    A small and poignant gesture and one well worth making and which I for one and I’m sure others as well have noticed with appreciation..

  2. Good to see recognition of one of the region’s industrial and social Titans. Thumbs for Cllrs Lancaster and Woodvine. Just wondered if Cllr Woodvine has a relative Joan, who would probably be in late 60s now? Cheers.

      1. G’day Max, I thought you may be a relative. I remember Joan. Nice girl. Hope everything’s OK with her. Give her my best. And keep up the good work. Cheers.

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