Thomas (Tom) Allman was factory manager from 1945 to c1950. Born in 1894 Thomas’ exceptional abilities were recognised by Harold Robinson: at 18 he was appointed as works manager at Cauldon in 1912.
A photograph taken at the Ridgways (Bedford Works) Ltd in the period 1929-32. Thomas is on the front row sitting next to "Flossie", Harold Taylor Robinson's secretary. Eric Robinson is on the left hand end of the top row, with Phillip Robinson on the top row above "Flossie".
Thomas eventually left the Cauldon empire to become works manager at Arklow Pottery in the Republic of Ireland, a factory which started production in 1934. Although the Republic of Ireland remained neutral during the war, Thomas faced considerable difficulties in securing the raw materials to keep Arklow operating. Two ships sent to secure china clay and coal were lost at sea. Upon the death of his wife, Thomas was persuaded to return to England by Harold Robinson and take up the post of General Manager at Royal Crown Derby in 1945.
In a letter dated 30th March 1945 asking Thomas to join him at Royal Crown Derby Harold provided some significant and persuasive information: “Orders are positively rolling in, and during the past week they amount to approx. £7,000 from Canada and the U.S.A. The total on the books is over £80,000. Some orders considering we make nothing but fine china! A satisfactory feature is that a large proportion of them are for new lines introduced since we came to Derby and broadened Derby’s hold on the market, apart from any exceptional temporary demand due to trade booms. I think it fairly certain that we shall gradually rise from our present weekly packing figure of £1,100 to £2,500, which would be more than Cauldon and Coalport did together. Their joint packing in 1930 was about £75,000 per annum, but of course prices have risen 50% since then.” As a result Thomas accepted the offer of General Manager.
Thomas’s signature is included in the Birthday Book of the 9th June 1947.
He remarried on the 19th April 1948 and the event with photograph was recorded in the Derby Evening Telegraph. He was afforded the rare if not unique opportunity to hold the wedding reception in the Company Showroom.
Taken at the wedding reception. From left to right - Thomas Allman, Harold Robinson, Unknown, Mrs Eileen Jones, Mr Peake and Mrs Peake
Thomas left Royal Crown Derby around 1950 to become General Manager at Wedgwood and Co., Tunstall. He returned to Derby and ran an Off Licence in Drury Lane. He died in the Derwent Hospital in 1964.