Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Richard Thomas

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Richard Thomas (1837–1916), tin plate manufacturer of Richard Thomas and Co

1837 He was born at Bridgwater, Somerset, on 5 December 1837, the son of Richard Thomas, shipowner and merchant, of Bridgwater.

He was educated at Wesleyan (now Queen's) College, Taunton, until the age of eleven.

During his early working life he was employed as a clerk, as an assistant to an uncle who ran a draper's business in Oxford (later becoming a partner in the business), and as a coal exporter and commission agent in Cardiff.

1859 age 22. While in Cardiff Thomas married, on 18 February 1859, Anne Loveluck (1836/7–1914), daughter of John Loveluck, a farmer, of Ffald, Llangynog; they had five sons and a daughter.

His subsequent employment as works manager and accountant of a colliery and firebrick business at Briton Ferry, Glamorgan, in which his father was a partner, was to provide a springboard for his future career.

1863 his appointment as accountant and sub-manager in charge of overseeing the construction of a new iron plate and tin plate works at Melyn, Neath, Glamorgan, brought him into direct contact for the first time with the industry in which he was to become an important figure. During his four years at Melyn he studied the processes, working methods, and ways of financing the tin plate trade, and he made contacts with important ironmasters and coal owners.

1871 Aged 34 he formed Richard Thomas and Co

Aged 79 he died on 28 September 1916 at 31 Henrietta Street, Bath, and was buried at Lydbrook churchyard, Gloucestershire, on 30 September. His wife had predeceased him, dying in 1914.

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