Henry Platt
In the beginning ...

Abraham Saville set up a company to produce rollers and spindles at Lower Moor, becoming the brass and iron founders, Messrs Wolstenholme & Co in the late 1820s. Spinning Mules were most in demand, and the partnership between Elijah Hibbert of Ashton and Henry Platt, which was set up at the Soho works, was to eventually provide all the mules and carding machines which Oldham's factories could use.

They expanded to open further works at Mount Pleasant and the Hartford Mill at Greenacres in 1830. Eventully, the name of Platt became associated with the company Mather & Platt which continued production of (inter alia) heavy machinery and machine tools right into the late 20th century.

From John Beaver’s, 'History of Oldham Churches' - "Hope Congregational Church, Bottom o'th' Moor

In the eighteenth century what is now the area of Shaw Road near Cross Street was a wild and boggy place at the edge of Greenacres Moor known as Fowleach.  The land must have taken some draining before it could be built on, but for industry it was cheap, so it became the centre of a rapidly expanding industrial area crammed with workers' houses and with very few amenities.  Even the roads were not paved and the dips became dust bowls in summer and mud baths in winter.

 The Lees family - Samuel and his sons Eli and Asa - were well know textile machinery manufacturers and their factories remained in the area into the late twentieth century.  In the early 1800s Samuel Lees resided at Soho House at the bottom of Greenacres Road and from his home he could see his fellow Congregationalists having to struggle up the often muddy road to Greenacres Chapel.  He decided that a church was needed at Bottom o'th' Moor to serve Mumps and the surrounding district, so he built one at his own expense.

The small chapel opened in 1824 had two floors, the upper used as a church and the lower as Sunday school and day school. The first day school teacher was Mr. Simeon Smith. With such sponsorship the church thrived and Mr. Lees was soon joined by another eminent businessman, Mr. Henry Platt, the founder of the textile engineering firm which dominated Oldham industry for so many years.  When the family moved from Dobcross they started attending Hope Church and their connection with it was maintained for several generations; Henry Platt was buried in the small graveyard at the side of the church.

In 1817, Peter Mather - originally a cabinet maker and metal worker - saw emerging opportunities in the manufacture of textile machinery. An entrepreneur and something of a visionary, he extended his business into making rollers for local textile mills. The business prospered and in 1845 he leased part of the Salford Iron Works from John Platt (Senior). The partnership developed and became the major supplier of textile finishing machines. Afterwards, the invention of the steam engine by virtue of its rôle as a prime-mover for industry was included in a catalogue of the firm's products.

The partnership had been in existence for about fifty years when William and Colin Mather changed their business status to the firm of Mather & Platt, through the arrival on the scene of William Wilkinson Platt.