Thomas COLLINGDON (1791-1885)

Mr. Collingdon was the son of an officer in the army, and was born at Kensington, London. Having received a liberal education at Marlborough College, he obtained a clerkship in a London bank through the influence of Colonel Hopkinson, a friend of his father's, and while in that position he became acquainted with the agent to the third Marquess of Bute, Captain Walker, through whom he was introduced to his lordship. For some years Mr. Collingdon retained hit position at the bank until the death of Captain Walker. The latter gentleman died intestate, and his affaire were wound-up by Mr. Collingdon, who was awarded £100 for his services. The manner in which he performed this duty so strongly commended him to the favourable notice of Lord Bute that in 1817 his lordship appointed him his private secretary. In that capacity he paid his first visit to Cardiff, at a period when the port had scarcely shown the slightest indication of that prosperity which was in store for it. It is a remarkable circumstance that within the memory of one man so extraordinary a change should have occurred in the condition of a town When Mr. Collingdon first came to Cardiff its only means of exporting the mineral wealth of the district was the Glamorganshire Canal and the Taff River, and even 82 years later, when the accommodation had been increased by the opening of the West Dock, the exports of coal for the year amounted to 4,662 tons, as compared with 7,000,000 tons during the past year. The increase in the population of the town during the time that the deceased gentleman was acquainted with it was, if anything, mere remarkable. According to the census of 1821, the inhabitants numbered 3,521 souls, compared with a total of over 100,000 at the present time. In the early days of his connection with the Bute Estate his duties consisted chiefly of the management of the Luton Estate, but with the development of the port of Cardiff his whole attention was occupied by his ever-increasing responsibilities in that direction. The deceased gentleman had taken part in two ceremonies of especial historic interest to Cardiff-one the marriage of the third Marquess of Bute to Lady Sophia Hastings, at Loudoun Castle, on the 10th of April, 1845; and the other the funeral of his lordship on the 30th March, 1848. At the former he was one of the honoured guests, and at the latter his was the melancholy duty to bear, with the late Mr. E. Priest Richards, Mr. Thomas Evans, and Dr. D. Grave, the coronet of his dead patron. These were but a tithe of the noteworthy events with which the name of Mr. Collingdon will ever be associated, and the last of which was the cutting of the sod of the New Roath Dock by Lord Bute at Cardiff two years ago. In religion the deceased was a Low Churchman, and in politics a staunch, though unobtrusive, Conservative. For many years he was a regular attendant at St. Mary's Church under the ministrations of the late Canon Morgan, but on the appointment of the present vicar, with whose High Church opinions he disagreed, he severed his connection with St. Mary's, and up to the time of his death might frequently be seen on Sundays winding his way to the Thisbe Mission Ship, where he would take his seat among the hardy, but none the leas sincere, toilers of the sea. In social life Mr. Collingdon was looked upon as a good-hearted gentleman, doubtless a little crotchety in his later years, but to his familiar friends always the earns genial companion. He was married on the 28th of August, 1816, to Miss Elizabeth Scales, who died on the 20th of June, 1863, in her 88th year. By this marriage there were four children-three sons and a daughter-but only one survives, C. Collingdon, who was present at his father's residence, Bute-crescent, throughout his last illness.

THE WESTERN MAIL 13th May 1885

Source: National Library of Wales