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British Industrial History

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Hubert Spence Thomas

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Hubert Spence Thomas (1871-1940)

1922 J.P., C.C., Glamorgan, M.I. and S.I., M.Inst.Met., Vice-President South Wales Inst. of Eng., Chairman, and Man. Dir. of Iron, Steel and Tinplate Firms; b. 1871; s. of Richard Thomas. Ed. and Training: Dulwich Coll. (Eng. side) and Lydbrook Tinplate. Works. Co-inventor of Machinery for use in the Tinplate Works. Publ.: "The Tinplate Trade: Some Recent Developments," "The Tinplate Trade: Standardization of Plant," jointly with Frederick J. Taylor; Papers read before South Wales Inst. of. Engrs. Clubs: Reform, Royal Automobile, Swansea an I County, Cardiff an 1 County. Address Melingriffith Works, Whitchurch, near Cardiff.

1940 Obituary [1]

HUBERT SPENCE THOMAS, who was associated with the tinplate industry, died on 16th January 1940 at Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. He was born in 1871 near Ross, Herefordshire, and he received his general education at the County College, Hereford, and Dulwich College, between 1883 and 1887. While at Dulwich College he also studied engineering subjects and on leaving he was apprenticed to Messrs. Richard Thomas and Company, Ltd., the firm founded by his father.

In 1891 he was appointed works manager of this firm's works at Lydbrook, and in 1898, when Messrs. Thomas acquired the business of Messrs. E. Morewood and Company, he became manager of the South Wales steel and tinplate works at Llanelly. Subsequently he was responsible for starting the Cwmbwrla tinplate works at Swansea, and the Burry tinplate works at Llanelly. In 1907 he became managing director of the Melingriffith Company, Ltd., of Whitchurch, near Cardiff, and he was connected with this company for nearly twenty years.

He was jointly responsible with his partner, Mr. W. R. Davies, for many improvements, including the electrification and modernization of the works. He continued to live in Cardiff until about three years before his death, when he gave up many of his business activities and went on a world's tour. At the time of his death he was, however, still chairman of the Wolverhampton Steel and Iron Company, Ltd., and at one time he had been a local director of the Blaenavon Company, Ltd.

He was elected a Member of the Institution in 1925, in which year also he served as president of the South Wales Institute of Engineers. He was an honorary vice-president of the Iron and Steel Institute and a Freeman of the City of London.

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