John Oates was a Yorkshire architect.
He as born in Salterhebble, near Halifax, the son of quarry owner John Oates (1759-1818) and his wife, Anne (née Stubbs). He is believed to have been born on 14 September 1793.
His family had been stone masons and quarry owners for several generations and, together with his brother Matthew (1795-1861) and Thomas Pickersgill (c.1807-1969), he formed the architect company Oates, Pickersgill & Oates.
He married Mary Chapman (c.1796-1871) in 1816 and they had one daughter, Ellen.
According to local historian Edward J. Law, it is likely that Oates moved to Huddersfield at the time he was working on the designs of the three churches built in 1828. His intimate knowledge of stone meant he was able to detect when builder Joseph Kaye had substituted a cheaper stone than the one specified whilst building the Huddersfield Infirmary — Kaye was ordered to replace the stone.
March 16 1830,
I beg to inform you that I will attend the meeting of the Committee of the Huddersfield & Upper Agbrigg Infirmary on the evening of Thursday next the 18th inst. when I hope the Committee will take into consideration the circumstances of the Longwood Edge stone introduced by Mr. Joseph Kaye contrary to his agreement instead of' the Radcliffe delf stone & decide whether the same shall be permitted to remain or must be taken down.I am sir, yours very respectfully,
Oates contracted cholera and died in May 1831, aged 37. He was buried at All Saint's Church, Paddock, on 21 May and his headstone reads:
Here lie the remains of John Oates of Springwood, Architect, who died May 16 1831 in the 37th year of his age.
In private life he was a kind husband an affectionate father and a sincere friend.
Under his superintendence the Infirmary and St. Paul's Church, Huddersfield and this adjoining church were built.
† built by Joseph Kaye (c.1779-1858)