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Thomas Ridgway

Thomas Ridgway was born in Lymm in 1802. He became a tea merchant; but not just any old tea merchant. After a false start with a tea room in the Bull Ring in Birmingham that went bankrupt, he went from strength to strength. He opened tea rooms in London and became an importer. He was so successful that soon after the Lymm Hall estate was broken up in 1846, he purchased a large tract of land to the south of Higher Lane. On it he paid for the building of Lymm Baptist Church. His brother Isaac was the first Baptist minister there.
Up on Crouchley Lane he had the massive Italianate villa, Beechwood built. That later became better known as home to the Dewhurst family of cotton merchants and is now the site of Lymm Rugby club. It is doubtful whether Thomas and his wife ever lived there for long, if at all. By 1851 their main address was Oxford Square in London.
Thomas died in 1885 in Towcester but was buried in Lymm. Just a year later, Ridgways were summoned by Queen Victoria to provide teas for the Royal Household. They later went on to become official tea merchants to George VI.
And if the name sounds familiar then yes Ridgway-Grundy Park, Ridgway Gardens and Ridgway Residential in Lymm all get their name from the family. (Even though an extra "e" creeps in sometimes). You can still buy Ridgway tea today though it is now part of the Typhoo group.
Isn't it amazing where making a decent cuppa can get you !

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