Thomas Adam’s grave in the Church Rock Cemetery faces opposite the ‘Robin Hood Caves’ and he is buried in the ‘upper class’ area of the Cemetery. A lot of the graves originally would have had metal rails around the grave side. Most of these metal rails have disappeared over the years, this was do to the two World Wars with metal being sent off to be used for the war effort. It is interesting to note that Thomas Adams’s grave is one of the only graves in the cemetery still to have it’s metal rails intact.
The below is taken from Robert Mellors book ‘Old Nottingham suburbs: then and now’ (1914):
THOMAS ADAMS lived from 1844 to 1873, at Lenton Firs, on Derby Road. He was born in 1807 at Worksop; at fourteen he was apprenticed to a draper at Newark, and after seven years’ service he took a situation in London, and when about twenty-three years of ago commenced business as a lace merchant in a very small warehouse in Stoney Street, Nottingham. In 1830 he married Miss Lucy Cullen, and they had a family of ten children born to them. His character was developed by industry, frugality, fixity of purpose, sincerity, truthfulness, strong domestic affections, great liberality, and above all, the fear and love of God, carrying with it a deep sense of responsibility. Of course he had his imperfections and faults, like other people, and the last thing he would have thought of was to regard himself as perfect, for humility was one of his distinguishing features. In 1855 his firm—for there were nine partners—built the large and handsome warehouse in Stoney Street, and, his idea being that religion should accompany and guide business, a room in the warehouse was set apart for a chapel in which prayers were every morning offered in a short service commencing at eight o’clock, and this service he always attended, so leaving his house at fifteen minutes to eight. A Chaplain was appointed, and a letter was addressed by Mr. Adams to four hundred workpeople in which they were styled “Dear Friends,” asking their cooperation, and the time spent in the service was at the cost of the firm. The workpeople heartily responded, and formed improvement classes, a penny bank, a medical aid society, and other means of promoting the reading of wholesome literature, piety, frugality, general culture, etc. His directions were, “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.” Mr. Adams was very generous as a supporter of schools and churches. £500 was, about 1845, placed in the hands of the Bishop of Lincoln for the building or enlargement of St. John’s, Trinity, and St. Mary’s Schools, and it was then unknown that he was the donor. In 1870 he gave £500 towards supplying every district in Nottingham with school accommodation. £400 was given for a school site in the Poplar district, and £500 to what was then called a Free Church, afterwards St Stephen’s, in a yard on Bunker’s Hill, in order to provide for the poor of the district who would not attend a more public church. In conjunction with the Rev. J. W. Brooks, Vicar of St. Mary’s, Col. Holden, Mr. F. B. Gill, and others, six new churches were built, and to St. Luke’s he gave largely, and for twenty-five years there was not a church or school built in Nottingham to which he did not contribute (except All Saints’, built by Mr. W. Windley). He inaugurated a scheme for six parochial Scripture readers, and was a large benefactor to Foreign Missions. In order to disguise his works he gave openly small subscriptions, and large ones anonymously, bis idea being that he was responsible to God to contribute according as God had prospered him. so he adopted the patriarch’s rule, “Of all that Thou shalt give to me I will surely give the tenth to Thee.” His personal public labours were also considerable, for he acted as a Justice of the Peace for both town and county; for many years he was a member of the Board of Guardians, and a member of the General Hospital weekly Committee, but withal he could never make a speech! He could work, and give, but not make a set speech. In the spring of 1870 his health began to show signs of giving way, but he continued his labours partially until 1873, when on May 16th he died, aged sixty-six, and was buried in the valley of rocks in the Church Cemetery. Ten thousand people attended the funeral, the parishioners of Lenton erected a memorial window in the parish church, and “Adams’ Hill” is so named to his honour. His daughter. Miss Adams, continued as a useful parochial worker.
See “Religion and Business: Memorials of Thomas Adams,” by the Rev. W. Milton. M.A., formerly Incumbent of New Radford.
There have been many men and women, quiet workers in their varied spheres, who may well be classed among the Worthies of Lenton. They have done their duty, served their generation, and are gone to their reward. Some in lowly stations, their names are not recorded, but they gave God and man their best, and their record is on high.