Mr T.J. Callaghan

Callaghan
Tom Callaghan in 1924[1]

Mr T. J. Callaghan, 73, (1859-1935), Thomas Joseph Callaghan, known as Tom Callaghan, was a major player in Welsh industry, especially coal and had been since 1920 a board member of GKN, representing the coal industry. He was a devout Catholic, sponsor of good causes and popular with his workforce. One of the more powerful representatives of Welsh business at the dinner, networked closely with William Lysaght, the Berry brothers, Lord Camrose and Sir Gomer, and of course Lady Rhondda. Tom is probably the host or convenor of the table, as the guest is assigned to his name.

puzzle-piece2-50Any thoughts as to who else Tom might have invited to the dinner?  Right now there are varying degrees of mystery shrouding half of the six guests at this table. 

SEATED BESIDE

Probably with either Gwendoline Davies, the Welsh arts philanthropist (both of them donated to the National Museum of Wales – he with money, she with her Impressionist art collection) or Mrs Lupton, whom he may well have known – unless she was seated the other side of his guest. If we are right that Florence Marshall is known to Mrs Lupton, she is probably with her, whilst Frank Marshall is a mystery, possibly related to Florence. The other guest will stay a mystery until some diary emerges that talks about the dinner, or some other surprise.

WHAT’S ON HIS MIND?

Now retired he may well have just been happy to enjoy the evening and chat.

TOM’S STORY SO FAR

Tom Callaghan was born in Cardiff in 1859, the third of the nine children of Sarah Hancock, (born Wells, Somerset, 1830 – 2.2.1905), servant to a priest in Cardiff before marriage, and Thomas Callaghan, Irish born potato merchant (1829 – 10.10.1899). In April 1881, when a 22 year old accountant, Tom was a patient at St Thomas’s Hospital, London. He married, in 1882, Edith Elinor Snell, the daughter of Elinor and James Pedwarden Snell, born in Bristol in 1862.

Western Mail
Western Mail 1st December 1920 [3]

Educated at Ratcliffe College, Leicester (a school which he supported throughout his life), Tom first joined the coal exporters Louis Gueret in 1874. He succeeded the founder and in 1919 bought out Lord Rhondda’s holding in Gueret. In 1920 GKN took a controlling interest in L. Gueret and Co. Ltd., he became a GKN director and over time one of its largest shareholders. He held many directorships including Chairman of Cambrian Collieries Ltd. Tom was listed along with Lady Rhondda and the Berry brothers by the Daily Herald in a 28th April 1927 analysis showing the “interconnected, monopolistic nature of the press and heavy industry”. (see Lady Rhondda’s page for the Daily Herald network). A key player in the businesses of Wales and presiding over international deals such as this one trying to reduce the price of pitch.[2]

During the First World War Tom was vice-chairman of the Central Executive for the Supply of Coal to France and Italy. In 1918-19 he chaired the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce. He was popular with staff, and referred to as the “doyen of Cardiff Docksmen” having worked at the Cardiff docks for half a century.

fifty-years
Western Mail 29th October 1924 [4]

 

prince of commerce
Western Mail 29th September 1924 [5]

Tom enjoyed playing golf, cricket and football and was a devout Catholic and a supporter of the Irish National Party.  The Pope made him a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great (Civil Class) for his services to his co-religionists.

National Museum
Western Mail 5th February 1926 [6]

 

WHAT TOM DID NEXT

Riviera
Tom (centre) and his wife (LHS) with the third Berry brother Seymour and party soaking up the Riviera sunshine, 1925 [11]

By this time Tom and his wife had lived most of their full lives. Elinor died on 30th June 1934, just a year after the dinner and Tom himself died not long afterwards, at Penarth House, Penarth, (just south of Cardiff Docks) on 19th April 1935, leaving an estate of £734,603.[7] [8] His house was sold by auction in October 1935, and the contents sold by auction in June 1938.[9] [10]

 

 

 

 

BACK TO TABLE 15

 


[1] Western Mail 29.9.1924 ©Mirropix Image created by The British Library Board, accessed from the British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)

[2] Edgar Jones, A History of GKN: Volume 2 The Growth of a Business, 1918–45, Springer, 19.11.1990 online accessed 10.4.2019

[3] Western Mail 1.12.1920 ©Mirropix Image created by The British Library Board, accessed from BNA (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)

[4] Western Mail 29.10.1924 ©Mirropix Image created by The British Library Board, accessed from BNA (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)

[5] Western Mail 29.9.1924 ©Mirropix 

[6] Western Mail 5.2.1926 ©Mirropix Image created by The British Library Board, accessed from BNA (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)

[7] Angela V. John (2013), Turning the Tide, Cardigan, Parthian, p271

[8] https://cathayscemetery.coffeecup.com/thomasjosephcallaghan.html

[9] Western Mail, 21.9.1935

[10] Western Mail, 30.4.1938

[11] Western Mail 19.2.1925 ©Mirropix Image created by The British Library Board, accessed from BNA (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)

 

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