Percy Thomas Partnership

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Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay. Designed by Percy Thomas Partnership.
Built 2002–4.

Percy Thomas Partnership was the trading name of the award-winning British architectural practice established some time between 1965 and 1973 as the successor to a series of earlier partnerships originally set up by Percy Thomas (1883–1969) in Cardiff, Wales in 1911/12. Percy Thomas and the Percy Thomas Partnership put their name to a number of landmark buildings in the United Kingdom including the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. It opened offices overseas and completed a number of prestigious buildings in Hong Kong.

Percy Thomas Partnership came to an end in 2004 when they went into administration and were bought by Capita Group.


Bute Building, Cardiff (previously the Cardiff Technical College) designed by Percy Thomas and Ivor Davies. Built 1913–16.
Clifton Cathedral, Bristol. Designed by Percy Thomas Partnership. Built 1970–73.

Percy Edward Thomas was born in the northeast of England in 1883, but was well-travelled and started work as at a young age in Cardiff, Wales.[1] He was articled to study architecture, and won the National Eisteddfod of Wales architecture competition in 1903.[1] He returned to England to work, but began collaborating with Ivor Jones of Cardiff, in architectural competitions. In 1911 they won the competition to design Cardiff's new Technical College (now known as the Bute Building), and Thomas returned to Cardiff to work in partnership with Jones.[1]

Percy Thomas's architectural practice was set up in 1911/12.[2][3]

During the 1920s and 1930s the practice won a large number of commissions to design important civic buildings in Wales and England, including county offices for Glamorgan and Carmarthenshire, Lord Davies' Temple of Peace, Swansea Civic Centre, Aberystwyth University campus and a redesign of London's Euston Station.[1]

The partnership with Ivor Jones was amicably dissolved in 1937.[1]

In 1946 Percy Thomas was knighted. In the same year Percy Thomas's son Norman joined the practice[1] – which became known as Sir Percy Thomas & Son.

In 1952 William Marsden and Wallace Sweet joined the practice.[1] John Francis Vergette joined (in Swansea) in 1955.[4]

Percy Thomas became seriously ill in 1962, retiring from the company in 1963.[1]

In 1965 Sir Percy Thomas & Son were commissioned to design a new Roman Catholic cathedral, Clifton Cathedral, for the city of Bristol. The architect was Ronald Weeks A.R.I.B.A. Dipl Arch.[5] Percy Thomas died in 1969. Clifton Cathedral was consecrated in 1973, by which time the architectural practice was known as Percy Thomas Partnership.[5]

John Vergette became Chairman and Chief Executive of Percy Thomas Partnership. He founded the Royal Society of Architects in Wales (RSAW) and was president 1971–73.[4]

PRP eventually had six offices in the United Kingdom,[3] as well as offices in Malaysia, Hong Kong and elsewhere.

One of Percy Thomas Partnership's last works was the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff (2004). It was designed by Jonathan Adams, who had joined the practice in 1998. The award selectors for the Wales National Eisteddfod Gold Medal for Architecture 2005 described the building as "a special place which will provide a focal point for the unique culture, identity and talents of Wales... The large mass of the building has been successfully formed into an impressive edifice as opposed to an oppressive monolith... In terms of texture, colour, selection of materials and spatial experience this is a feast to be enjoyed".[6]


  • R.I.B.A. Bronze Medal in 1938 for the design of the Temple of Peace, Cardiff.[7]
  • R.I.B.A. Gold Medal for the design of the Swinton Town Hall.[8]
  • 1970 National Eisteddfod of Wales Gold Medal for Architecture for the Physics & Mathematics Building, University College, Swansea.[9]
  • 1971 National Eisteddfod of Wales Gold Medal for Architecture for the Great Hall, Students Union and central concourse, University College, Aberystwyth.[9]
  • 1974 National Eisteddfod of Wales Gold Medal for Architecture for the Albert Edward, Prince of Wales Court for the Elderly, Porthcawl.[9]
  • Concrete Society Award (1974) for Clifton Cathedral (a 'Winner of Winners' Award was achieved in 2007 for the quality and longevity of its concrete).[10]
  • 1976 National Eisteddfod of Wales Gold Medal for Architecture for the Parke Davies Pharmaceutical Plant, Pontypool.[9]
  • 1978 National Eisteddfod of Wales Gold Medal for Architecture for the Welsh Folk Museum, St Fagans, Cardiff.[9]
  • 1983 National Eisteddfod of Wales Gold Medal for Architecture for the Amersham International Laboratories, Cardiff.[11]
  • RIBA Wales Award (2005) for the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff.[6]
  • 2005 National Eisteddfod of Wales Gold Medal for Architecture, for the Wales Millennium Centre.[6]

Key buildings and projects[edit]

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Administration and buy-out[edit]

In June 2004 Percy Thomas Partnership went into administration after cancellation of a large PFI project for the Ministry of Defence and delays of a number of other key projects. At the time, they had a turnover of £6 million, with 100 staff.[20]

The company was bought by the large British outsourcing company, Capita, who created a new arm of their property consultancy division called Capita Percy Thomas. The staff and several senior directors were transferred to Capita.[20]

In 2007 the name 'Percy Thomas' came to an end in the UK when Capita consolidated the architecture divisions within Capita Symonds into a new brand called 'Capita Architecture'.[21]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i National Library of Wales Dictionary of Welsh Biography THOMAS, Sir PERCY EDWARD (1883–1969) retrieved 2011-10-14
  2. ^ Capita website (Media) Capita Symonds acquires Percy Thomas Architects Archived 2012-04-06 at the Wayback Machine, Press release issued 16 June 2004 (retrieved 2011-10-14)
  3. ^ a b PTP Architects (HK) website, HISTORY (retrieved 2011-10-26).
  4. ^ a b Obituary: John Francis Vergette FRIBA 1930–2009 Archived 2012-03-30 at the Wayback Machine (retrieved 2011-10-18)
  5. ^ a b Clifton Cathedral website THE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF Ss. PETER AND PAUL, CLIFTON (viewed 2011-10-14)
  6. ^ a b c The awards pile up for Wales' delightful 'armadillo'. Western Mail, 30 July 2005 (retrieved 2011-10-18)
  7. ^ a b Temple of Peace & Health website Building History – Architecture (retrieved 2011-10-16)
  8. ^ a b Salford City Council website Salford Civic Centre Updated 16 July 2010 (retrieved 2011-10-16)
  9. ^ a b c d e The National Eisteddfod of Wales website Gold Medal for Architecture (retrieved 2014-10-24)
  10. ^ Clifton Diocese website 'Winner of Winners' Award Goes To Clifton Cathedral Archived 2012-04-05 at the Wayback Machine, May 2007 (retrieved 2011-10-18)
  11. ^ PTP Architects (HK) website, AWARDS (retrieved 2015-12-10).
  12. ^ R.C.A.H.M.W. website, UNIVERSITY OF WALES, ABERYSTWYTH: PLAS PENGLAIS, PENGLAIS CAMPUS AND LLANBADARN CAMPUS Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine (retrieved 2011-10-17)
  13. ^ Queen's Building, Cardiff University, Adamsdown, British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 2015-01-07.
  14. ^ University of Bristol website Archived 2008-06-07 at the Wayback Machine, updated 20 October 2010 (retrieved 2011-10-16)
  15. ^ Aberystwyth Arts Centre website Hanes/History (retrieved 2011-10-16)
  16. ^ Hardingham, S. Around a new world in a day: One of the publishing hits of 1993 was 'London: a Guide to Recent Architecture', a pocket picture book... The Independent, 10 July 1994. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
  17. ^ PTP Architects (HK) website, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (retrieved 2011-10-26).
  18. ^ Scotland's yards, Hospitality Design (article on, October 2001. Retrieved 2011-11-13.
  19. ^ BBC Wales News Royal seal of approval for centre 29 November 2004 (retrieved 2011-10-14)
  20. ^ a b Gates, C. PFI fells Welsh giant Building Design, Issue 1630, June 18, 2004, p.1
  21. ^ Capita Symonds website Our history (viewed 2011-10-14)

External links[edit]