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Thomas Ridgway (1802-1885) of Ridgways, was an English trader who specialised in the import and sale of tea during the early 19th century.
His first shop was in the Bull Ring area of Birmingham; this went bankrupt, and he moved to London. The new business, The Tea Establishment (Ridgway and Company) of King William Street, London, imported tea, coffee and spices, later specialising in tea. Its success enabled Ridgway to repay his creditors.
A Ridgway representative was among importers who met at the London Tavern in March 1851 to condemn the high price and the adulteration of coffee sold to "the lower class of consumer". Ridgways became one of the first companies to sell tea hygienically pre-packed as a measure against adulteration.
1864 Married in Liverpool to Cordelia Dawbarn (1818–1909). 'October 13, at Pembroke Chapel, Liverpool, Thomas Ridgway, Esq., of Elra Lodge, Towcester, to Cordelia, fourth daughter of the late John Dawbarn, Esq., of Liverpool.'
1885 August 20th. Died. 'The Late Mr. Thomas Ridgway.— In the death, on the 20th inst., of this gentleman, who resided at Elm-lodge, Towcester, in his 84th year, we lose kind hearted, and philanthropic resident of some 30 years standing. Mr. Ridgway has been a large benefactor of the local poor, and his help could always be relied upon for any good object. The funeral took place to-day at Lymm, near Warrington, the arrangements for the conveyance of the deceased's remains from Elm-lodge to the railway being carried out by Mr. W. H. Smith, of the firm of Messrs. Smith Brothers, Gold-street, Northampton. The coffin was of walnut with ebonised mouldings, brass plate, and handles. Among those who followed were Mrs. Ridgway, Mr. A. Burrows, Mr. T. J. Ridgway, Miss Garraway, Mr. R. Dawbarn, Mr. A. H. Dawbarn, Mr. J. Salisbury, Mr. F. J. Ridgway, Mr. J. T. Daintree. Dr. A C. Clifton, Rev. A. Pickles, Mr. Tite, Mr. R. W. Watkins, J.P., Mr. H. Jepson, deceased's servants, local ministers, members of Northend Baptist Church, and a large number of residents and tradesmen of Towcester. Special carriages conveyed the principal mourners to Warrington.'