Hugh Mason (Liberal MP) Commemorative Plate
Hugh Mason was a Liberal MP from 1880-1885.
Hugh Mason (30 January 1817 – 2 February 1886) was an English mill owner, social reformer and Liberal politician. He was born in Stalybridge and brought up in Stalybridge and Ashton-under-Lyne until he entered the family cotton business in 1838 after a seven-year period working in a bank. Having originally opposed trade unions, Mason became a paternalistic mill owner, creating a colony for his workers with associated facilities and ensuring that they experienced good conditions. During the Lancashire Cotton Famine of the 1860s he refused to cut workers' wages although it was common practice.
Mason became the first Liberal to be elected councillor for Ashton-under-Lyne in 1856. He was mayor of the council from 1857 to 1860 and retired from local politics in 1874 due to conflict with his own party. Mason returned to the Liberals in 1878 when he stood for election as Member of Parliament for Ashton-under-Lyne. He was voted in and supported progressive policies, which included women's suffrage, making him unpopular within his own party. He was MP from 1880 to 1885. When he died in 1886, aged 69, Hugh Mason had amassed £290,933 (now about £17 million).