William Daniel Rees
1888 Obituary 
There died at Peebles, North Britain, on Monday, aged 64, one who was a familiar figure in the tin-plate trade for about 40 years, and who, moreover, was a thorough Welshmen, though domiciled for the greater part of his lifetime in Liverpool.
We refer to Mr William Daniel Rees, who was for many years a partner in the celebrated firm of Messrs Phelps, James and Co., then of Liverpool, but now of London, Mr Rees, who was a native of Tregaron, Cardiganshire, came to Liverpool when very young, and was taken into the office of the above-named firm.
The principal partner then in Liverpool was Mr Daniel James, with whom Mr Rees soon became a special favourite. He worked his way upwards to be the chief cashier, and then principal buyer, as well as confidential man generally and ultimately he was promoted to be a member of the firm. This he continued to be for very many years until Mr Daniel James's death, and for a short time afterwards.
With the old gentleman's death, however, there were changes made in the firm, and with new men there came other ways, and so Mr Rees soon afterwards retired. Mr Rees was above 40 years with the firm in one capacity or another. This is a further proof, if such were necessary, as to the power and capabilities of a Welshman. The deceased was well known to the majority of Welsh tin-plate makers, and, in fact, to all tin-plate makers. He frequently visited South Wales at one, time, and his rather bulky form was looked for at all the meetings of the trade, especially the Birmingham quarterly meeting.
Mr Rees was of a genial and hearty disposition, and was popular with all who had dealings with him. Since he left the firm of Phelps, James, and Co. in 1879 he has lived a rather retired life, travelling from place to place. In the meantime he found time to take unto himself a wife.
It may be mentioned that Messrs Phelps, James, and Co. are the largest tin-plate buyers in the world. They did at one time control the trade, and bought the bulk of the plates made, but of late years they have had to divide the business with numerous other firms, though even now they export nearly half the total number of boxes that are sent from this country to America. Mr Rees, in conjunction with Mr Daniel James, had a great deal to do with the development of the tin-plate trade in South Wales.
Sources of Information
- South Wales Daily News - Wednesday 25 January 1888