Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1930 & 39

Alfred Willett JP (1855 - 1935)

Alfred Willett was a Director of the engineering company Mather and Platt in Newton Heath, Manchester and was the spirit behind Salford Poor Children's Holiday Camp at Prestatyn, North Wales. He was awarded Freeman of the City of Salford in 1935.

He was born in the Greengate area of Salford in 1855. His father was John Willett (1818 – 1904) born in Manchester, who was a Linen Draper in 1861 and a Dry Goods Warehouseman in 1881. His mother was Mary (nee Wilson) Willett (1821 – 1881) who was born in Bamber Bridge, near Preston, Lancashire.

In 1861 at 75 Bury Street, Salford, Alfred was the youngest of six siblings, all born in Salford. Marsha (b.1843) was aged 18 and was a Milliner, Sarah Ann (b.1845) was aged 16, Mary (b.1850) was aged 11, John jnr (b.1852) was aged 9, William (b.1853) was aged 8 and Alfred (b.1855) was aged 6. In 1871, the family was still at Bury Street, with an addition to the family, Joseph (b.1863). In 1881 still at Bury Street, Sarah A was described as Warehouseman Manchester Goods (Draper), Mary was a Draper, William was a Railway Clerk, Alfred was a Clerk Engineers Dept, and Joseph was Clerk Commercial. On 1st May 1881, Alfred's mother Mary died aged 59 and was buried in the Dissenters portion of Weaste Cemetery.

The 1901 census reveals that Alfred was staying at the Euston Hotel, Drummond Street, St Pancras, London, and his occupation was Director Mechanical Engineer. On 4th March 1904 Alfred's father John died aged 86 and was re-united with his wife at Weaste Cemetery. In 1911 at 236 Great Clewes Street, Higher Broughton, Salford, 54-year-old Alfred was unmarried and an Engineer and Director of a Limited Company. Also in the house were his unmarried sisters Sarah Ann aged 62 and Mary aged 59.

Alfred had worked for Mather and Platt from being a youngster to his retirement in 1924. He was made a board member in 1899 when the company went public. In 1901 he moved from the Salford Iron Works site to the new site in Newton Heath, Manchester. For fifty years, Sir William Platt referred to him as his "guide, philosopher and friend."

After retiring, he devoted more time to his civic duties and social work. He was a Salford Magistrate and Chairman of its Licencing Committee, president of the Salford Society, trustee of the Windsor Institute and involved with other charities. In 1927, he donated the full cost of £750 for the installation of a wireless system at Hope Hospital.

But it was his tireless work and financial support for the Salford Poor Children's Holiday Camp in Prestatyn, North Wales, that Alfred Willett will be best remembered for. He was the inspiration, guiding light and Treasurer. He, as well as the camp founder and Chairman, Salford Mayor Samuel Delves (first Labour Mayor 1925 – 26) and Mayoress Elizabeth Jane Delves, made the camp a success and allowed many Salford school children a week's holiday and an experience by the sea that they would never forget. In May 1830, the Council honoured Alfred by making him a Freeman of the City of Salford. Three weeks later, on 27th May 1930, he died aged 80 and was buried in the family grave at Weaste Cemetery.