****(There is a photograph of Mr. RICH with this article. If anyone would
like to see it, please e-mail me off list and I will scan it for you.)****
Thomas RICH, Esq., J. P.,
Chairman of Millom District
(From photograph by Mr. Walter DAVEY, Harrogate.)
There are not many figures better known in Millom than the hale and
hearty veteran who is the subject of the above portrait. His appointment to the
position of chairman of the Millom Council has been an all round popular one,
as Councillor, Thomas RICH, J. P., bears the good wishes of all classes of the
When it became known that Councillor HILL did not wish to allow his
name to come before the General Council for another year's term of office, the
general wish was that Captain RICH, as he is popularly known, should be invited
to fill the vacant post of honour, a wish that was carried out by his
unanimous election at the first meeting of the new Council.
Mr. RICH spent his early days in Cornwall, a county that has sent
experienced miners to all parts of the world. School Boards had no existence then,
hence at an early age he was found in one of the Cornish mines. Though
technical classes, &c., placed at the disposal of young people of the present age,
Captain RICH was ever anxious to ascend the scale, and was ultimately rewarded
with an appointment as Captain or mine agent. After some practical experience
in different Cornish copper and tin mines, he was invited to fill the post of
assistant underground manager at the Hodbarrow Mines, under the late Mr. W.
BARRATT. He still retains the same position under Messrs. VAUGHAN & BARRATT.
It was in 1868 when Mr. RICH commenced his connection with Millom, and
his first impressions of the place were anything but favourable. Hodbarrow
was only in its infancy, and for the comparative few miners then engaged it was
almost impossible to find accommodation. In fact the place partook more of the
nature of a mining camp of the Wild West than a peaceable Cumbrian village.
>From this condition of things, Mr. RICH has not only seen, but taken an active
part in all the improvements which have made Millom almost a model town.
From the time the Old Local Board was established, Mr. RICH was a
member until it's demise, when the present Council came into existence. In the
work of the different Committees he has taken a prominent part, and such has been
the appreciation of his services that when the town was divided into wards,
and so many of the old Local Board members failed to secure a seat, Captain
RICH headed the poll in Haverigg Ward, beating all comers. When his three years
term of office was completed, he was re-elected without a contest. He is one of
the two or three present members of the Council who has continuously sat on
the Board ever since the Urban Authority was formed in Millom, and seeing that
he has exceeded the allotted span of three score years and ten, he may be
truly considered to have earned the title of "Father" of the Council.
Age has not produced the same effect on Captain RICH as on the
majority of the people. He is still as hale and hearty as most men many years
younger. Mr. RICH was a member of the first school board that was elected in Millom,
but after the three years had expired he did not seek re-election.
Belonging to a Wesleyan family, it was only natural to find him
associated with the Wesleyan body in Millom and he is at present senior circuit
steward. Though owing allegiance to the Wesleyans, other religious bodies in the
town have always found in him a generous sympathiser in any good work.
As an official of the Hodbarrow Mining Co., he is very popular amongst
the miners, always displaying a good deal of interest in their affairs, and
having a kindly word with a workman whenever and wherever he meets him.
Ever since his connection with Hodbarrow, Mr. and Mrs. RICH have lived
in close proximity to the mines, their present residence being at Steel
Green. Mr. RICH's family consisted of three sons and four daughters, but there are
only two sons and two daughters living. The former are connected with the