Roy Crago Mather was an engineer, a technician and a businessman. As a grandson of Cast Iron Colin - whose brother, William, gave Mather and Platt its Mather dynasty - he was a cousin of Loris Emerson Mather.
From the archives ...
After leaving Uppingham School, Roy Mather spent over three years in Germany studying engineering and the long summer vacations were spent mainly in textile works in Alsace with a view to the acquisition of knowledge regarding the processes of bleaching, dyeing, printing and finishing. After leaving Germany in 1905, he followed the usual procedure of passing through the various departments of the firm in the course of his training and naturally decided to specialise on textile finishing machinery in the development of which his forefathers had played so distinguished a part.
Towards the end of his apprenticeship he spent some time erecting textile machinery on the Continent and later made a visit to Russia with James Robinson. On his return, he was transferred to Paris - before the days of the formation of the French company of S. A. Mather & Platt - where he spent the next three years travelling extensively in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy in the interests of the textile finishing machinery section of the business. In 1913-14 he visited the U.S.A. and Canada on his way to Japan and China where a 'fruitful harvest was reaped' in later years from this 'tilling of the soil'.
In September 1914 his work with the firm was interrupted by the First World War during which he saw active service with the Manchester Regiment, achieving the rank of a Major. He returned to Park Works on demobilisation but he still maintained a close interest in his old regiment and was later a President of the 19th Manchesters Old Comrades Association.
Between the two world wars Roy Mather travelled extensively in Europe on the business of the company - in fact it may be said that he visited, at one time or another, every country in Europe. At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the manufacture of textile machinery was prohibited, except under licence and Roy Mather was given the job of co-ordinating the work entailed in the manufacture of the various new armaments and munitions which were turned out in considerable quantities by the firm - an appropriate task for one who had 'practical experience of being in the field in the early days of the 1914 war with a very serious lack of the necessary equipment'.
Roy Mather was an original member of the executive committee of the Textile Machinery & Accessory Manufacturers' Association which had been inaugurated in 1941 and was their chairman from October 1946 until July 1952. He was also a member of the British Cotton Industry Research Association. He was elected to the Board of Directors of Mather & Platt Ltd. in 1942.
In 1945, on the death of James Robinson, he was given total responsibility for the design, production and sale of textile machinery and other products of the General Machinery Department. In that same year, he was appointed chairman of the Bleachers and Printers Engineers Association, taking over from John Taylor who had held that office until his death.
Roy Mather retired in 1956 after 50 years of continuous service with the company. He was a man with a fondness for anecdotes with which he could both entertain and inform - which he often did 'at the drop of a hat'! Though known to be forthright in his opinions he also had a keen understanding of people and was held in high regard by those who worked with him during his long career. On retirement he still retained contact with the company - in an advisory capacity - making him one of the first of a new breed of 'consultants' - a position that was to become so ubiquitous in all aspects of trade and industry as the century progressed.