Roger Tanner

1922 – 2022

It is with great sadness that we have to announce Roger Tanner passed away on Saturday the 27th of August. His passing will certainly mark the end of one of the chapters in Saddleworth’s history as a contributor to so many aspects of the Saddleworth community.

Roger Tanner was born in 1922 at his parents’ home, the ‘Sycamores’ in Greenfield and lived there until he moved to Fur Lane Cottage next door which he occupied for the rest of his life.

He was born into a mill owning family with the Tanners having a total of four mills, with the main one being Waterside Mill in Greenfield, in total employing a total of 900 people.

He was educated in Uppingham, Rutland at a private boarding school which was a typical path for a mill owning family.

On leaving full time education he went on to pursue his passion for music and was accepted at the Royal College for Music in London being an exceptional piano player.

Unfortunately, his time in London was in the midst of the 2nd World war and London wasn’t the safest place to be. He joined the Royal Air Force but was found to be colour blind however he applied to the Fleet Air Arm and was willingly accepted by them.

He was greatly involved with the local community particularly with his interest in sport and the arts. He followed on from his previous ancestors having had a great passion for cricket. He was involved with the establishment of the Saddleworth Festival which was held every four years.

The establishment of a museum in Saddleworth was created directly by Roger. Having visited a small town called Bodo in Norway he was inspired by the fact that such a small community celebrated its culture with a museum. This led him to search for a suitable venue to create one and he purchased a section of Victoria Mill which fronted the High Street, Uppermill. With a team of volunteers of which the museum has always relied upon, the project came to fruition in 1962 when the building was opened. The building was extended in 1979 to include a gallery and more exhibition space. In 2016 a major project was completed to refurbish the museum funded by the Heritage lottery.

Up to the opening of the refurbished museum Roger had been actively involved in all aspects of the museum.

The museum will serve as a permanent reminder of one of his major contributions to the Saddleworth community allowing the preservation of its history and the education of future generations.