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Thomas Brown (1804-1884)

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Thomas Brown (1804-1884) of Russell and Browns, of Ebbw Vale Ironworks

Son of Richard Brown (of Blaina)

1834 August. Married. 'Thomas Brown, Esq. of Blaina Iron Works, Monmouthshire, to Fanny, eldest daughter of Mr. Williams, of Tutshill, near Chepstow.'[1]

1844 Designated managing partner of the reformed Ebbw Vale Co.

c.1851 of the Ebbw Vale Iron Co.

1851 Living at Victoria House, Bedwellty: Thos. Brown (age 47 born Merthyr), Magistrate, Ironmaster. With his wife Fanny Brown (age 47 born Chepstow) and their three daughters; Margaret Brown (age 9 born Aberystruth); Elizabeth Brown (age 8 born Aberystruth); and M. E. Brown (age 5 born Aberystruth). Also a visitor Richard Fothergill (age 28 born Caerleon), Ironmaster. Also TB's niece Mary Fothergill (age 17). Nine servants plus one visitor's servant.[2]

1861 Living at Ebbw Vale Park, Bedwellty: Thomas Brown (age 57 born Merthyr Tydfil), Iron Master, deputy Lieutenant, Magistrate. With his wife Fanny Brown (age 57 born Chepstow) and their two daughters Anne Brown (age 24 born Blaina) and Matilda J. Brown (age 15 Born Ebbw Vale). Six servants.[3]

1881 Living at Evesham Lawn, Cheltenham: Thomas Brown (age 77 born Merthyr), J.P. and D.L. - Widower. With his daughter Anne Brown (age 44 born Blaina), Income from interest on money. Four servants. [4]

1884 December 4th. Died. 'On the 4th inst., at Evesham Lawn, Pittvile Cheltenham, Thomas Brown, Esq., formerly of Ebbw Vale, end afterwards of Chepstow, J.P. for Monmouthshire and Breconshire, aged 81.'[5]


1884 Obituary [6]

On Thursday, the 4th inst., there passed from among the living a gentleman who, a generation ago, was one of the most conspicuous figures in business circles in Monmouthshire. Closely identified with many of our leading commercial undertakings, having a reputation for rare astuteness and business capacity, and taking an active interest in public affairs, Mr. Thomas Brown was recognised as among our foremost men. Considerably more than half his life was, we believe, spent in Monmouthshire.

Early in the century his father occupied a position of trust in connection with the Dowlais Works, in Glamorganshire, then a comparatively small undertaking but his two sons, Messrs. Thomas and James Brown (the latter now and for many years past resident in Newport), settled on the Monmouthshire Hills, we believe more than half-a-century ago. Probably as far back as the period named, Mr. Thomas Brown was connected with the Blaina and Cwm Celyn Works in which he shared an interest with the late Mr. John Russell, afterwards proprietor of the Black Vein Collieries at Risca.

At a later period we find Mr Brown's name associated with the Ebbw Vale Iron Works, a concern in the management of which he attained his greatest prominence. Having taken a leading part, on behalf of Messrs. Darby, in acquiring the works for them from Messrs. Harford. Mr Brown became the manager and afterwards a partner. His rule at Ebbw Vale was marked by the vigour and far-sightedness for which he was distinguished and by a liberality of expenditure which in these days of keener competition few would be sanguine enough to incur. It may be supposed however, that the result justified the outlay. The undertaking prospered and prosperity gave birth to a desire for extension. The Abercarn Collieries, the Abersychan Iron Works, the Pontypool and the Cwmbran Works were acquired in succession and the far-reaching negotiations set on foot (the full of which we have not indicated) seemed to point to an ambition to make the Ebbw Vale Company the iron interest of the district.

Still there was a healthy rivalry. Though fortune's could in those days be amassed more swiftly and under lass harrowing conditions than now, yet competition had to be encountered.

During the years here referred to Nantyglo, Tredegar, Blaina, Dowlais – the mere mention of which brings to mind the familiar names of Bailey, Homfray, Levick and Guest – were bidding for the contracts which found their way from time to time, to the rolling mills and forges of the distric . . .

. . . Mr. Brown actively interested himself in our principal local enterprises. He was a director of the Monmouthshire Railway and Canal Co, an early promoter of the Alexandra Dock, the Newport, Abergavenny and Hereford Railway, the Merthyr, Tredegar and Abergavenny Railway, etc….

Ten or twelve years ago Mr. Brown withdrew from the activities of business life, and went to reside in the neighbourhood of Chepstow. Still later he removed to Cheltenham, where, in a sadly feeble state, he spent the closing years of his life. He had attained the mature age of 82. He leaves several daughters, by whom, as well as by many family friends, his removal will be painfully fell.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Bristol Mercury - Saturday 16 August 1834
  2. 1851 Census
  3. 1861 Census
  4. 1881 Census
  5. Manchester Times - Saturday 13 December 1884
  6. Monmouthshire Merlin - Friday 12 December 1884