William Firth (1882-1958)
William Firth (c1882-1958) of Richard Thomas and Co
c.1903 William Firth became interested in the tin-plate trade as an agent for a Welsh works
Later he was made a director of the Grovesend Steel and Tinplate Co.
Post-WWI He built up a group of tinplate works known as the Grovesend Group, by amalgamations and the purchase of other mills.
1923 The Grovesend Group was merged in the Richard Thomas Group and Firth became a director of the combine.
1923 He was the first to form a central selling organisation in the iron and steel trades when he established the South Wales Tinplate Corporation.
1931 Appointed Chairman of the company. Put throught a scheme of capital re-construction.
1936 the company decided upon a huge programme of extension which included the modernisation of the Redbourn Steel Works and the purchase of the Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron, and Coal Company. However, this put the company in financial difficulties, partly as a result of the collapse of the boom in the steel trade.
The banks came to the aid of the company - control of the company was vested in the hands of a Special Committee of four, with the Governor of the Bank of England as Chairman. Other directors were appointed who were also directors of well-known iron and steel companies.
1940 Sir William left the Board of Richard Thomas and Co., Ltd. as the result of an irreconcilable difference within the Board.
1957 Obituary 
SIR WILLIAM FIRTH, whose death, we regret to record, occurred in South Africa on November 11, had a prominent place in the activity ·of the Welsh tinplate industry prior to his retirement ten years ago. He was formerly chairman and managing director of Richard Thomas and Co., Ltd.
Sir William, who was seventy-six, was born in London and entered the tinplate industry when he was twenty. A few years later he was managing the Grovesend group of works, which subsequently became part of the Richard Thomas organisation.
In the later years of his active work in the steel industry, Sir William was closely concerned with the building of the Ebbw Vale plant, and it was the financial complications of this project which ultimately led to his resignation from Richard Thomas and Co., Ltd., in 1940.
Among the many offices which Sir William held during his career were those of vice-president of the British Iron and Steel Federation, chairman of the International Tinplate Cartel, chairman of the Welsh Plate and Sheet Manufacturers' Association, and president of the Swansea Metal Exchange.