"Sir William Mather was born in 1838. He was primarily educated privately and subsequently in Germany which may, to some extent, account for the keen interest he has all along taken in the question of higher education - as is the rule on the Continent.
On completing his scholastic career he immediately identified himself with the Salford Iron Works and, at the age of 24, was admitted into partnership. In 1872 Sir William, then of course, Mr. Mather, took over the entire management of the concern, the older partners subsequently retiring altogether from the business. Sir William continued in office until June 1916, when he resigned the chairmanship of the company, to be succeeded in this position by his son, Mr. (then Captain) L. E. Mather.
Apart from the high position Sir William held in the commercial life of the community, his whole career has been characterised by his great interest in public affairs and any scheme that had for its object the uplifting and elightenment of humanity always found - and still finds - in him a hearty and liberal supporter.
When quite a young man, Sir William founded in Salford what is known as the Queen Street Institute, where a free kindergarten was established for boys under seven years of age, which Institute soon became one of the centres of religious, temperance and educational work in the district. He was for a time a member of the Salford School Board and also of the Salford Council, during which time he largely interested himself in housing and also in the question of open spaces and playgrounds for children.
For more than two generations his interest in educational and social matters has been untiring, and many institutions both at home and abroad readily acknowledge the debt they owe to him. He has travelled extensively in the United States, Canada, Russia, Egypt and the Continent - his invariable intention being to promote goodwill and a better understanding between the people of this country and those whom he visited.
Sir William has also done good service for his fellow citizens in the House of Commons, where he sat for varying periods between 1885 and 1904, and in 1902 he received the honour of knighthood as a recognition of his services. Later, in 1910, he achieved the dignity of being made a Privy Councillor.
As an employer Sir William has always been held in the highest esteem. In 1893 he inaugurated a 48 hours' working week which has been proved a boon to the workers, and although at the time this was looked upon as a somewhat daring innovation, this generous and far-sighted action set an example which was followed by others, not only in engineering but in many trades.
We take the liberty of quoting from an address presented to Sir William by the employees of M&P on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
Sir William resides mainly at his home at Bramshaw in the New Forest and our respects are tendered to him and Lady Mather, together with our sincere wishes for their good health and general well-being."