Thomas Sitch was born in Lomey Town, Cradley Heath, in 1852, the son of a chainmaker. He started his working life at the age of eight, blowing bellows in a local chain shop, and progressed to become a striker in the chainworks. His family later moved to Newcastle-on-Tyne, where in 1877 he married Miss E. Young. Thomas and his wife had nine children.
In 1890, Thomas returned to his native Cradley Heath and gave his whole time to union work. By 1914, membership had increased to 1,300. This figure included every employee in the factory branch of the chain trade at the time.
As General Secretary of the Chainmakers’ and Strikers’ Association, he played a leading part in the long agitation which resulted in the inclusion of the hammered and dollied branches of the chain trade and which led to the Trade Boards Act of 1909. He played a leading role in the 1910 strike, and was one
of the original trustees of the Cradley Heath Workers’ Institute.