Robert Ascroft, a Solicitor, was born in 1847, representing Oldham in Parliament from 1895 until his
death in 1899 at the age of 52.
In 1903 a bronze and granite statue to the memory of Robert Ascroft, designed by E. P. Pomeray, was fittingly unveiled by Thomas Ashton J P, secretary of the Operative Spinners Association.
It was sited in Alexandra Park midway between the Lions Den and the Refreshment Room. Paid for by the people of Oldham, it bears a simple but impressive inscription, "The Workers Friend".
As a Soliciter by profession, Ascroft's Presidency of Oldham Law Association, Coupled with his role as Legal Advisor to the Association of Operative Cotton Spinners placed him in a perfect position to arbitrate during industrial disputes.
His Parliamentary career was distinguished, he supported a reduction in working hours, he was responsible for smashing the money lending system and he introduced a Bill enabling workers to claim their wages in the event of Bancruptcy.
Yet it is perhaps for the "Brooklands Aggreement" that he acquired his title "The Workers Friend". This agreement in which Ascroft settled a five month strike to the satisfaction of both parties, became known as "The Charter of the Cotton Industry" and as such was employed in later disputes as both a standard and a reference.
Photograph taken 6 Sep 2007.
Robert Ascroft Bronze and Granite Statue, showing the lead-up steps and walling around. Unfortunately the inscription appears to have erroded away over time, however it is clearly visible in the postcards below.
Photograph taken 6 Sep 2007.
Robert Ascroft Statue, without the lead-up steps. The inscription seems to be slightly visible.
Postcard by Publisher unknown
Posted 27 Jul 1903 to Miss I Cutmore in Eastbourne
Written on front
Message reads, Dear Miss Cutmore
I am enjoying my holiday very much hope you are doing the same.
I shall be sorry when I have to go back to business am having lovely weather
So goodbye for the present
From Mr H
Postcard by Publisher unknown.
Posted 7 Oct 1903 to Miss Wolstencroft in Royton.
Message reads, Willie & Mama.
Will come to spend an Holiday with you shortly . Willie.
INSCRIPTION ON STATUE READS
. ROBERT ASCROFT.
MP for Oldham
1895 - 1899
"THE WORKERS FRIEND"
This Statue was
erected by Public subscriptin - 1903
Postcard by J. W. Astin, Oldham.
Unposted, not written on.
Postcard by A. H. & S., Oldham.
Posted 19 Jul 1912 to Mr J Davenport in Young Mens Holiday Camp Douglas IOM.
Message reads, Dear Jim
Glad to hear that you are enjoying yourself. Mother & Father have gone to the Malady tonight. I think they are being very frivolous what do you think I hope you are having better weather than we are as we have had nothing but rain since you went away yet.
Postcard by A. H. & S. O.
Victory Series Posted 6 Jun 1925 to Mrs Hunt in London.
Message reads, Dear ????
We are having quite a heat wave again.
Love Fredk xxx
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