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British Industrial History

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Arthur Treve Holman

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Arthur Treve Holman (c1893-1959), chairman of Holman Brothers

1959 Obituary [1]

WE have learned with regret of the death of Mr. Arthur Treve Holman which occurred suddenly, in Lisbon, on June 6. He was sixty-six. Mr. Holman, whose home was at Chyverton, near Truro, was chairman of Holman Brothers, Ltd., the family firm with which he had been closely associated for fifty years. He had gone to Portugal to convalesce after a recent illness and to visit the British Trade Fair.

Mr. Holman was the eldest son of the late Mr. John H. Holman, of Camborne. He was educated at Blundell's School, Tiverton, and at Birmingham University and served his apprenticeship in the Holman works at Camborne, which were started in 1801 by his great grandfather.

He became a director of the company in 1914 and in 1949 was appointed chairman and joint managing director. Mr. Holman relinquished this latter appointment, however, last October on account of indifferent health.

Mr. Holman's half-century of service with his firm was outstanding. He made many valuable contributions to the development of compressed air and mining equipment and to the solution of problems associated with silicosis and industrial dust diseases. Moreover, during his extensive travels overseas he was a worthy ambassador not only for his own company but for the British engineering industry generally.

There were many other ways in which Mr. Holman's work was distinguished. He was intensely proud to be a Cornishman. The establishment of the notable Holman Museum at Camborne bears testimony to that as also does his enthusiasn1 for the Cornish Engines Preservation Society, which he helped to found and of which he was the chairman. Then, too, Mr. Holman was actively concerned in the improvement of technical education, especially in the Camborne-Redruth area. His public service included a term as High Sheriff of Cornwall, membership of the governing body of the Camborne School of Mines and membership of the Cornwall Coastal Advisory Committee.

Mr. Holman was a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Institution of Production Engineers and of the Newcomen Society. In association with this Society, he took a prominent part in the erection of the Trevithick statue at Camborne and the restoration of Trevithick's cottage at Penponds.

1959 Obituary [2]

Arthur Treve Holman, O.B.E., died at the age of 66 on 6th June 1959 in Lisbon (where he had gone to attend the British Trade Fair and for convalescence after an illness), completing a life of distinction as a mechanical engineer and in a wide field of interests, public and private.

His great-grandfather was Nicholas Holman, who in 1801 founded the engineering works near Camborne with which the family have always been connected and which developed into the firm of Holman Brothers, Ltd., manufacturers of mining machinery for all parts of the world.

Treve Holman was educated at Blundell's School, Tiverton, served his apprenticeship with the family firm and studied engineering at Birmingham University. In 1914 he became a Director, in 1949 Chairman and until recently was Joint Managing Director; it had been his intention to retire during the present year but he was, in fact, actively associated with the firm until the end of his life and always intensely interested in its technical developments, particularly in air compressors and rock drills. For many years he had studied the problems of silicosis and dust extraction, and had visited most countries of the world on business missions.

In the 1914-18 war he served in the Honourable Artillery Company, the Royal Field Artillery and the Royal Air Force, and in the 1939-45 war he commanded a battalion of the Home Guard.

He was a devoted son of Cornwall and served the County in many aspects of life. A notable example was his work for technical education; to him is mainly due the establishment of a Technical School in Camborne and its subsequent development into the present large Cornwall Technical College. From the beginning he was Chairman of the Governors and remained so until comparatively lately. Keenly interested in everything appertaining to the history of the County, he founded, and was later President of, the Cornish Engines Preservation Society, and was Chairman of the Trevithick Memorial Committee. Among other activities he served as a High Sheriff of Cornwall, a County Magistrate and a Trustee of the Royal Institution of Cornwall; he took a special interest in horticulture.

Treve Holman fulfilled each office to which he was called with zeal and discretion, and with a natural humility which gained him the admiration and affection of all those with whom he had to do. He became a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1938, and served as a Member of Council from 1952 to 1955, also on the Committee of the Western Branch.

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