Hugh Mason was a local mill-owner and social reformer. He owned the massive Oxford Mills complex, built by his father, not far from where his statue now stands. He built houses for his workforce, along with community facilities, and was the first local mill owner to give his workers Saturday afternoons off! He kept his employees in work during the "Cotton Famine" when some of his competitors were laying off their workers.
He became a Liberal councillor, mayor and eventually Member of Parliament for the town. When his wife Sarah died after only six years of marriage, he married her sister, Betsy. As this was illegal in Britain at the time, he obtained a special licence from the King of Denmark and was married in that country. He had one child with Sarah and four with Betsy before she died after just seven years.
The statue was originally at Chester Square but was moved after that square became a glorified traffic junction, as you saw in this recent post.
See Google Street View of this location.
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