Robert Thomas Martin

Photo reference number: 1372

(Photo and text from "Who's Who In Newport" 1920.)

Martin, Robert Thomas was born in Gloucester, being the youngest son of the late John William Martin, of that city, and educated there at the Woodtield House Academy, London road. He commenced his commercial career in the accountant's department of the South Wales Railway at Swansea, and, on the amalgamation of that company with the Great Western Railway, was transferred to the audit department at Paddington. He came to Newport in 1863, on his appointment as assistant cashier in the offices of Messrs. Thomas Powell and Sons, colliery proprietors, being transferred to Cardiff when the business was purchased and formed into the Powell Duffryn Steam Coal Co. Ltd., by the late (1st) Sir George Elliot, Bart., returning here in 1865 as the Newport manager for the company, a position which he has held ever since, and the importance of which may be inferred from the well-known fact that the Powell Duffryn Company are the largest shippers of coal at this port, their present output being over 4,000,000 tons of coal per annum. At the request of the late Mr. Thomas Powell he took charge of his Newport business whilst that gentleman went on his ill-fated big game hunting expedition to Abyssinia, whence he, his wife, and other members of his party never returned. Mr. Martin was the first to prove that steamers could be dealt with as expeditiously at Newport as at Cardiff, and his advice was frequently sought by the late Sir George Elliot on matters connected with the Alexandra Docks, his suggestions being generally acted upon. In addition to his business engagements, Mr. Martin has had a strenuous public life. He was churchwarden at St. Mark's Church for 25 years, and is senior director of the Royal Gwent Hospital. He was a member of the Newport School Board for nine years, of which he was chairman in 1890 92, and was invited in 1896 to again take the chair, but declined, and finally retired in 1899 owing to pressure of business. He was one of the promoters of the Newport Chamber of Commerce, and one of the first governors of the Intermediate School, and, since its formation, has been a member of the Newport Athletic Club. He is a director of the Tredegar Hall Company Limited, also of Webb's (Aberbeeg) Ltd. Although a Conservative in politics, Mr. Martin has several times been approached by both political parties desiring to nominate him for the Newport Town Council, but he has always declined. He married in 1867 Margaret, eldest daughter of the late Mr. Evan Symmons Jenkins, and grand-daughter of the late Mr. David Jenkins, of Flemingstone Court, Cowbridge, Glam. Mrs. Martin died in 1914. He has only one daughter, who in 1892 married Mr. J. Edgar Webb, solicitor, and managing director of Webb's (Aberbeeg) Limited. Mr. J. Edgar Webb died in 1918. Address: 20 Alexandra road. Telegrams: Duffryn. Tel. 3610. Residence: Caederwen, Clytha Park. Tel. 2739.