Sir Thomas Lipton (1850-1931) Born in Gorbals, Lipton
became a multi-millionaire and is remembered as
an iconic and much loved figure of the late Victorian
era. Sir Thomas was a tall dapper figure, instantly
recognisable to the public thanks to his signature
polka-dot bow-tie and sailing cap. He was a teetotal,
non-smoking confirmed bachelor. Throughout his life
Lipton remained a humble man, an extremely generous
benefactor to the poor who never forgot his working
class origins. Most of his donations were carried out
anonymously and the sheer scale of his benevolence
only became apparent after his death.
He was born of Irish parentage, from County
Monaghan, at Crown Street Gorbals in 1850.
The Australian editor and multi-millionaire Kennedy Jones
was born in the same close. Living across the landing
from Lipton were the Dick brothers, who became
pioneers of retail shoe shops in the United Kingdom.
In the 1880’s he set his sights on conquering the vast
United States market, a daring venture which indirectly
involved him in the tea business. Lipton’s tea came to
rival coffee as the United States favourite beverage. His
product is still the best selling brand in America today,
where some ten million cups of Lipton’s tea are drunk
Lipton was created a baronet in 1902 and
died aged 81 on 2nd October 1931. It has been claimed
that this fine man left as much as a million pounds in
his will to various charities.