Black History Month: Ajit Medtia
This blog is one of a series looking at our collections and our shared histories as part of Black History Month.
One particularly rich archive held by Oldham Local Studies and Archives is the records of the Oldham Asian Business Association. The archive was further enriched by a project to collect oral histories from a range of contributors that reflected on the contribution made by Asian businesses to the economic life of Oldham. The result was a book, ‘Cotton, Curry and Commerce’, read more about this book.
One of the stories held within the archive is of Ajit Medtia who was the vice-chairman of the Oldham Asian Business Association from its beginning until 2002. His impressive business career and tragically short life packed in more incidents and achievements than most.
Ajit was born at the Royal Oldham Hospital and became head boy at Grange School, before studying civil and structural engineering at Imperial College, London. His first career was in merchant banking but he returned to Oldham in 1992 to found Red Lion Construction. His first job was a small house extension but taking advantage of low property prices the company progressed to larger building projects around the town, many of which included ‘Medtia’ in their name.
Ajit was more than just the owner of a building company. In his personal life he married an Indian princess and his many projects even included the funding of a film, Chicken Tikka Masala. But his over-riding passion was polo. After learning to ride he set up his own Red Lions team in Cheshire.
Sadly Ajit died from cancer in 2008 at the early age of 39. In 1999 he was asked why he moved back to Werneth. He said: ‘I just have an affinity for the town. You can walk down the street in Oldham, ask someone the time and they’ll tell you the time and their life story.’
Oldham Local Studies and Archives has reopened to the public. We’re open from Wednesday to Friday each week between 10:00 and 17:00. We’re offering a limited service to visitors but you’ll get the same expert help with your queries and a friendly welcome. Visitors will be required to book their visit and order their material in advance. If you’d like to make a booking please give us a call on 0161 770 4654 or e-mail email@example.com
For more information, visit Oldham Studies and Archive webpage.