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British Industrial History

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Thomas Coster

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Thomas Coster (1686-1739)

1684 Born 20 December, eldest son of John Coster, a Bristol industrialist, and his wife Mary

1700 Thomas (surely it was John?) Coster and partners erected a copper works at Redbrook on the Wye; "he soon made a profit of £60,000"[1]. See Redbrook Copper Works.

1702 John Coster and his son Thomas, copper manufacturers who were familiar with Dutch brass foundry techniques, joined the new Baptist Mills Brass Works.

1709 Benedict Hall leased the Upper Redbrook mill at Newland, Gloucs, to John Coster; the mill was used as a paperworks and later as a copperworks.

c.1711 The Bristol Brass and Wire Co built its own Copper Works on the Avon at Crew's Hole under the control of John Coster and his son Thomas.

Thomas Coster inherited from his father the Upper Redbrook copper works, together with copper and tin mining interests in Cornwall.

1720 Married, Jane, daughter of Thomas Rous of North Nibley, Glos

1722 Became a partner in the Bristol Brass Company when it assimilated the Upper Redbrook Copper Co

By 1730 the brass company had closed the Redbrook smelting site in favour of its Bristol works.

1734 He became an MP for Bristol, after a contest which was later much disputed by the sitting member

Second marriage to Astrea, daughter of Sir John Smith, of Long Ashton, Somerset

The Coster's family business established a smelter at an abandoned works at Melincryddan, near Neath, South Wales, during the planning of a large new site at White Rock, Swansea.

1736 Thomas Coster and the Polgooth Adventurers agreed that Coster would sell all his engines and engine materials in Polgooth, Mulvra, St Martins and Crane, and assign his interest in the watercourses, stamps and stamping materials to the Polgooth Adventurers[2].

1739 He died 30 September, leaving £40,000 to his only child, Jane, the wife of Robert Hoblyn.

1744 A lawsuit was brought on behalf of Viscountess Gage, daughter of Benedict Hall, against Thomas Coster for failure to carry out repairs in accordance with the terms of the lease. The defendants were Robert Hoblyn and others, executors of Thomas Coster deceased. Defendants were to pay £500 and costs[3].

1750s The Harfords and Bristol Brass and Copper Co bought Thomas Coster's Copper Works in South Wales - presumably this was Melincryddan(?).

Note: A good account of the Coster family's involvement in copper production was written by Joan Day in 1975[4]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. British mining: a treatise on the history, discovery, practical development and future prospects of metalliferous mines in the United Kingdom, by Robert Hunt, 1887
  2. National Archives [1]
  3. National Archives [2]
  4. [3] 'The Costers: Copper-Smelters and Manufacturers' by Joan Day, Trans. Newcomen Society, Vol 47, 1974-76