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Jules Thorn (1899-1980) was born in Austria and emigrated to England in the early 1920s. Over the ensuing 60 years he created a substantial group of successful companies operating in the electronics sector. At its peak, Thorn Electrical Industries was one of the UK’s largest electrical businesses, employing over 100,000 people, and including such well-known names as Thorn Lighting, Ferguson Radio, Radio Rentals, DER, Tricity and Kenwood.
In collaboration with Jules Thorn’s grandchildren, Jim Lewis has written this biography of ‘a very private man’. His legacy lives on in the Jules Thorn Charitable Trust: ‘Knighted in 1964, Sir Jules was a noted philanthropist, who created his charitable trust primarily to support medical research. As a result of his endowment the Trust has been able to commit many millions of pounds to a very wide range of charitable causes’.
About the author: Dr Jim Lewis has spent most of his career in the consumer electronics industry, apart from a three-year spell in the Royal Air Force servicing airborne and ground wireless communications equipment. When working in the Lea Valley for Thorn EMI Ferguson he represented the company abroad on several occasions and was involved in the exchange of manufacturing technology. Currently he is a Consultant to Terry Farrell & Partners on the historical development of London’s Lea Valley. He is also a volunteer with Social Services teaching students who have learning difficulties. A freelance writer (with eighteen published books), researcher and broadcaster for his specialist subject – London’s Lea Valley – he also has a genuine passion for encouraging partnership projects within the local community, which, in the long term, are planned to help stimulate social and economic regeneration. In 2012 Dr Lewis was appointed Contributory International Professor by the Clark H Byrum School of Business, Marian University, Indianapolis, for his work with students on The Modern British Service Economy.
Dr Lewis is married with four grown-up children and lives in Lincolnshire.