Thomas Room Plowman

The following was taken from the Enfield Gazette Observer dated 9th January 1920.

Thomas Room Plowman, eldest son of Mr Thomas Plowman of “Nystuen”, Bycullah Park, Enfield, was born at Tottenham on 8th June 1875. He was educated at Vermont College, Hackney, and the Grocers’ school, afterwards finishing his education at Koningsfield, where he became an accomplished linguist in both French and German. In 1880 the family came to Enfield, and upon his return to his home he at once entered the business of his father and uncle as brickmakers in Tottenham, Edmonton and Peterborough. In the course of time, through his business ability, he became managing director of the whole concern, and also held responsible positions in connection with the trade.

In 1891, when less than 17 years of age he was persuaded by Mr Norris Toms to take an active interest in the 3rd Enfield Company of the Boys’ Brigade, and after a few months he was gazetted Captain; and he lived to see this Company become famous among boys’ organisations. This result must be sorely attributed to his wonderful thoroughness and persistency.

In 1906 a competition was instituted by the Daily Telegraph for the most efficient all round Company of the Boys’ Brigade. To the 3rd fell the honours of being the first winners, and they have achieved this distinction on seven occasions the last being in 1919. To show more clearly the high standards maintained throughout, it is only necessary to say the Company has appeared in the final at the Royal Albert Hall eleven times in twelve years.

Mr Plowman was also interested in summer camps for the boys; and took a large share in making the arrangements up to 1914, when the war put an end to such ventures. He was always the most keen on being thoroughly efficient and consequently he joined the London Rifle Brigade in the days of the old volunteers and served seven years; it was probably out of regard for the efficiency of his Company that he remained a single man devoting practically all his spare time to it.

In 1911, on completion of 21 years’ work with his boys, a presentation of a gold watch and roll-top desk was made, and in addition a billiards table for the Company, the inscription on the watch reading: Presented to Thos R Plowman Esq., by the boys, parents and friends, in grateful recognition of his long continued interest and service to the Company.

When the Great War came he joined the Inns of Court OTC as a cadet, and afterwards received his commission in the 15th London Regiment, and proceeded to France. On Sept 20 1917, he was wounded in arm and leg, but recovered and was passed in January, 1918 as fit again for general service. He was, however sent to take a musketry and Lewis gun course in Hythe and on returning to his regiment was made instructor to the Battalion at Wimbledon. He consequently did not again go to France, and was eventually demobilised.

He was a member of Christ Church for many years, and in 1913 was elected a Deacon, which office he retained to the last.

This brief account in no way covers Mr Plowman’s activities, for he was in turn both Secretary and President of the Enfield Battalion the Boys’ Brigade, a Sunday School teacher, a representative on the London Committee of the Boys’ Brigade, and also for two years on the Executive of the Boys’ Brigade. He also founded the Enfield Junior Football League, which was most successful in pre-war days.

A few last words must be added to the great interest in his old boys. For many he secured their first start in life, and followed this up by seeing they were engaged in something with prospects for the future. Many of these old boys corresponded with him from all parts of the world. He also founded a club for them in Lancaster Road. It will be remembered how quite recently he carried out the erection of a memorial to all those who laid down their lives during the war, and the large attendance on that occasion clearly showed the influence he still exerted. Now he is gone! On Tuesday, December 30, he was taken ill in the evening, and on New Year’s Day morn he passed away leaving a home circle filled with sorrow which embraced his personal friends, his old boys and the present members of the Company, and leaving all that have a sense of vision to morn their loss.