Dictionary of Welsh Biography



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THOMAS , RICHARD ( 1838 - 1916 ), industrialist ; son of a London metal-merchant ; b. at Bridgwater and educated at the Wesleyan College at Taunton . He entered the tinplate trade at Margam , and was afterwards clerk-of-works during the erection of Melincryddan works ( 1863 ), near Neath . In 1865 he borrowed money to buy the Ynys-pen-llwch iron and tinplate works ; in 1871 he rented the Lydbrook tinplate works ; in 1875 he acquired the Lydney works , and in 1877 the Lydbrook colliery . The depression of 1883 forced him to compound with his creditors, whom however, he eventually repaid in full. In 1884 he formed, with his sons, the private company of Richard Thomas and Sons , and in 1888 bought the Melingriffith iron and tinplate works . The firm expanded its activities rapidly, acquiring works at Aberdare ( 1890 ), Aber-carn ( 1895 ), Cwmfelin ( 1896 ), Llanelly and Burry Port ( 1898 ), Cwmbwrla ( 1898 ), and elsewhere ( 1902-8 ). By his wife, Ann ( Loveluck ) , whom he had m. in 1859 , Thomas had five sons and two daughters. He took but little part in public life, but was a generous supporter of hospitals at Llanelly , Swansea , Cardiff , Newport , Ross , and Lydney . He d. 28 Sept. 1916 , and was buried in Lydney parish churchyard. His sons, in Sept. 1918 , turned the firm into a public company, which continued to flourish, and in 1935 acquired the Ebbw Vale steel works . By today it has been merged into the firm of Richard Thomas and Baldwin, Ltd.

Bibliography:

  • Files of the Western Mail and of the South Wales Daily News ;
  • The Times , 30 Sept. 1916 and 11 Jan. 1917 ;
  • The Engineer , 1910-13 , 6 Oct. 1916 .

Author:

Watkin William Price, M.A., (1873-1967), Aberdare