In the 1820s Charles Lea became a coal merchant in London. His sons, Thomas, Charles, and John, followed him into the family business to form Lea & Sons. In 1836 Charles Lea retired and dissolved the partnership with his sons. Each of the sons then went into business for himself as a coal merchant.
The 1841 the London Post Office Directory listed the business address of Thomas Lea & Co., coal merchants, as Northumberland Wharf, Augustus Street, Regents Park Basin.
Portrait of Thomas Lea (1807-1874) by the artist Henry Charles Heath
by Mark Matlach