It was Tuesday, March 17th 1857. Thomas Adams bid farewell to his wife Lucy and stepped out of his house into the cold, moist air feeling every bit of his 50 years. The occasional whiff of fresh horse manure and sewage greeted his nostrils on his journey and in the distance he heard the sound of a steam engine belching it’s way across the countryside.
He pulled his gold pocket watch from his waistcoat pocket and noted the time. It was 7.45 am, as usual. He made his way on foot through the cobbled streets, shimmering with the mornings dew and thought warmly about the new school he was helping fund in the city as he palmed his coarse whiskers. More schools for the poor children in the town were much needed and having ten offspring of his own, he knew well, the worth of education.
As a quaker and humanitarian, Thomas looked for the goodness in everyone believing that each and every person, no matter what their circumstance, had a unique worth. He felt duty bound as a privileged man to give back to those in need. His 500 plus workers were the most cared for in the city and his altruistic manner mixed with his keen business sense had made him one of the greatest employers and lace manufacturers in the country. No mean feat when many others were starting to fall by the wayside. He remembered back to his ordeal in Paris as a younger man and how that disaster of being robbed, cheated and abandoned had been the beginning of his success today. When one door closes, God opens another.
He waited to cross Stoney street as a horse and Brougham carriage trundled by, the black body, bouncing on rickety wheels.
“Good day t’you, Sir.” The driver nodded his head courteously toward Mr. Adams as he drove by.
“Good morning.” Thomas replied, taking a forefinger up to the front lip of his top hat.
He crossed the road to the main factory door 5 minutes before morning service began in the Chapel. Thomas had made sure that a chapel had been built for his workers in the factory basement and every single day he joined them for worship from 8 - 8.30 am. Time that Thomas made sure his workers were paid for.
"Let the chapel regulate the business, and don't let the business extinguish the chapel. Let us give up everything which we cannot ask God to bless." He remembered as he approached the door, straightening his cravat and removing his headwear.
As he made his way through the main Adams building door and down the stairs he could hear the clanging bells of St Mary’s Church singing in the city sky and he felt the presence of God all around him.
Labels: atozchallenge, doors, Lace manufacturers, Lace Market, Thomas Adams, Victorian industry