Thomas Ashton (1818-1898) was a cotton manufacturer and owned a textile company in Hyde, Manchester. The Ashton family were among the earliest cotton pioneers in Hyde. From 1800 to 1823 Thomas was one of six brothers involved in the business which included coal, cotton and a calico printing works at Newton Bank. The brothers separated in 1823 and Thomas went on to run the factory at the Hollow in Hyde. The Ashtons were unusual in that their mills did both spinning and weaving when most mills concentrated on one process only. When he inherited the business from his father in 1845 he enlarged the mill school, built a church at Flowery Fields and expanded the village his father had built. Thomas Ashton established scholarships at the Hyde Mechanics' Institute which enabled students to go to Owens College and the Manchester Mechanics' Institute. He was also a leading member of the Liberal Party from 1882.
Place of creation