SIDNEY Gilchrist Thomas, born April 1850, made a significant scientific discovery - and it was adopted across the continent.

In 1870, he attended a course of scientific lectures at Birkbeck Institute where discussing the process for converting pig iron into steel, one lecturer remarked, "the man who invents a process that eliminates phosphorous, would make his fortune".

Mr Thomas then devoted all his spare time researching the problem in collaboration with his cousin, Percy Gilchrist.

Both worked at the Iron Company in Blaenavon, and they eventually patented their process, which utilised the 'Bessemer Converter', in 1878.

This became widely adopted and successful.

Mr Thomas died in Paris, aged 35, in 1885, after suffering from severe lung problems.

A memorial to him can be found at the entrance to CADW's Blaenavon Ironworks.