Thomas Lomas and the Bristol Channel Chemical Works
research by Daphne McCutcheon -



Thomas Lomas was born in 1828 in Salford, Lancashire. He married Jane Mease 3qt.1860 in Tynemouth Northumberland.
Thomas and Jane were living at Lake House Westoe, South Shields in 1861 where Thomas is listed as a chemical manufacturer! In brackets it says ‘Soda works in course of erection – 18 hands at present employed’.
I haven’t found Thomas in 1871 but did find his wife in Westbury on Trym in 1871.
Jane was the daughter of Soloman Mease who was born in 1801,occupation: Chemist in 1841. In 1851 Solomon was a magistrate and alderman as well as a chemist shop owner. Her mother was Mary Ann Drydon Mease.
 In 1861 they were living in Cleveland house Tynemouth. Solomon is now listed as the Mayor as well as an Alderman & magistrate. He was also a chemical manufacturer employing 120 men, plus a ship owner employing 50 men at sea.
 In 1871 he is shown as a chemical manufacturer employing 250 men.He came to Minehead in 1875 and built the Bristol Channel Chemilcal Works at Culvercliffe Minehead,  which opened in 1877 and produced artificial fertilizer. It had a very tall chimney which can be seen in the background of early pictures of the area. The building measured 140 x 100ft and was two storeys. He also started to build a house up in the woods behind the works but it was abandoned due to problems getting dependable water to it. The ruins of it are still there (pictured below). The path going up to it from the end of culvercliffe, is called Lomas’s path. The factory was sold to a Mr.Heller, however, it factory caught fire and burnt down on 25th Oct. 1887 when a glue furnace overheated.
Although the contents were auctioned on July 15th 1886




In 1881 Thomas and family are in Christchurch Bournemouth with sons, John 18 born in Durham, and Harold 8 who was born in Bristol in 1873.
He had Clevelands built on North Hill in 1877, a large brick and timber house, near the Parish church, Minehead, with architects Foster & Wood of Bristol.


 Jane died in Salford Manchester in 1897 aged 64.
In 1901 Thomas is living alone in Selbourne Villas Minehead and in 1911 he is living with his son Harold, who was a photographer in Minehead and became an early pioneer of the british cinema.
Biography of Harold Mease Lomas (c1873-1926) was a chemist-turned-amateur photographer of great skill, with a particular interest in photographing hunting scenes. Around 1902 he first approached Charles Urban with the idea of making hunting films along similar lines to his photographic studies. Of these, the recently rediscovered Hunting the Red Deer with the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, filmed by Lomas in 1904, is a brilliantly photographed and edited work, if appalling in its detail. Lomas filmed animal studies for Urban while managing the darkrooms of the Charles Urban Trading Company for a short while, and undertook three filming trips to British North Borneo in 1903, 1904 and 1908. He travelled widely as an independent filmmaker, made other 'sporting' films, and in 1914 wrote a technical guide to film studio work, Picture Play Photography. In 1920 he became cameraman for Adrian Brunel's Minerva Films, making comedy shorts that starred Leslie Howard, before joining British Instructional Films in 1921 and filming some of the famous Secrets of Nature series, alongside another former Urban cameraman, Percy Smith.
In 1911, his other son, John Arthur Mease Lomas is an artist living in Waldolf Chambers, Aldwych, London in 1911, with his wife Mary Christine who was also an artist and enameller. She was also an art critic. Harold married Jeanette Maud Ilsley in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) her father, Joseph, was a minister.
John did some wonderful paintings of the Porlock area. He died in 1950 in Timberscombe aged 87. His wife died in 1938.

The picture below, shows the chemical works and the gas works (very blurred old picture)
The two pictures above were taken in the 1950's
Clevelands in 1920's