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British Industrial History

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Thomas William Ward

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Thomas William Ward (1853-1926) of Thomas W. Ward

1877 Thomas William Ward began business as a coal, coke and iron merchant

1926 February 3rd: died at his home in Sheffield.

1926 Obituary [1]

We record with regret the death on the 3rd. inst. at his home, Endcliffe Vale House, Sheffield, of Mr. Thomas W. Ward, the founder of the firm of ship-breakers which bears his name.

The story of Mr. Ward's business life is both a romance and an example of commercial endeavour. His success was achieved from small beginnings. There was a time when business men looked with suspicion on the scrap iron merchant, and the second-hand machinery business, but by sheer honesty and square trading the late Mr Ward lifted his business and the whole trade to a pinnacle which commanded the respect of the industrial community. He commenced business in 1877 at the age of twenty four as a coal, coke and iron merchant, and in a few years became an important factor in the iron steel and allied industries. A the business progressed he added the sale of machinery to his activities, extending the area of his operations and eventually dealing in obsolete works ad battleships.

In the course of his business Mr Ward travelled a great deal, visiting America, South Africa, Australia, and most countries in Europe. He gave evidence before the Railway Commission in 1914 and assisted at the other Commissions of national importance. In 1913 he had the unique honour of serving as president of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Master Cutler, both at the same time. For many years he was a Justice of the Peace.

1926 Obituary [2]

THOMAS WILLIAM WARD died at Sheffield on February 3, 1926.

He was born in that city in 1853, and in his early years was associated in business with his father.

Later he started business on his own account, and was one of the first to realise the possibilities in connection with the utilisation of scrap metal. He began to purchase scrap iron and steel in small quantities at first, and as his business prospered his dealings ultimately developed on a very large scale. He bought up warships and other obsolete vessels, which he dismantled and broke up; his activities extending to many parts of the United Kingdom, until the operations of Messrs. T. W. Ward, Ltd., embraced almost every branch of engineering.

Mr. Ward was elected Master Cutler in 1913, and for the years 1912-13 he was president of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce.

He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1897.

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