Oates Bairstow was born in Heckmondwike, the son of James and Martha Bairstow, and was baptised on 31 March 1812 at Halifax.
He founded the clothing manufacturing firm of Messrs. Bairstow of Fitzwilliam Street, Huddersfield.
He was the father of James Oates Bairstow and the grandfather of noted organist and composer Sir Edward Cuthbert Bairstow (1874–1946).
He married his second wife Sarah Ann Vickerman in 1865.
Oates Bairstow of 3 West Hill, Huddersfield, died aged 77 on 27 February 1889.
Halifax Courier (02/Mar/1889):
Death of Mr. Oates Bairstow. — This gentleman, brother to Councillor James Bairstow, J.P., of Halifax, died on Wednesday, at his residence, West Hill, Huddersfield, at the age of 77 years. He was born at Heckmondwike. Subsequently he came with his parents to Halifax, and, in 1832, through the influence of the late Judge Stansfeld, obtained a situation in Her Majesty's Customs at Liverpool. He rose from one post to another, but the superior offices not being open to day-pay officers, he resigned, after 17 years' service, and went into partnership with his brother, Mr. James Bairstow, in Halifax. The two carried on business together in the woollen trade for four years, at the end of which period deceased left the partnership and commenced on his own account as a woollen merchant at Huddersfield, where he continued trading for about 25 years. Since 1879 he has carried on business as a ready made clothier. Deceased will be interred in the Huddersfield Cemetery this morning.