Thomas Bennett (architect)

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Sir Thomas Penberthy Bennett KBE FRIBA (1887 – 29 January 1980) was a renowned English architect, responsible for much of the development of the new towns of Crawley and Stevenage.


Early life[edit]

Thomas Bennett was born in 1887 in Paddington, London.[1] He trained as an architect at Regent Street Polytechnic while employed in the drawing office of the London and North Western Railway. He went on to study at the Royal Academy School.


He joined the Office of Works (later Ministry of Works) in 1911. A career in both education and government followed, until setting up his own practice in 1921. In 1922, he became a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Saville Theatre, London

His practice was responsible for many landmark buildings such as the Saville Theatre, Esso House, John Barnes Department store, Hampstead (since 1986, a branch of Waitrose), Westminster Hospital, a BOAC air terminal, the London Mormon Temple in Surrey and Hawkins House [1] in Dublin. In 1940, he became Director of Bricks at the Ministry of Works, where he was awarded the CBE in 1942, but returned to private practice immediately after the Second World War. He was knighted in 1946.

In 1947, he was appointed as the Chairman of the Development Corporation of Crawley New Town, in West Sussex, a post he held until 1960. In his early days at the Development Corporation, he was responsible for the scrapping of the existing plans for the New Town, and the appointment of Sir Anthony Minoprio to create a new master plan. When the town was built, a new comprehensive school was named for him, opening in 1958. He also took over responsibility for the Stevenage New Town which had been initially the responsibility of Monica Felton.

Sir Thomas Bennett opened the school in Tilgate, Crawley, officially in November 1959. In 1964 he designed the Crawley Chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[2]

He was awarded the KBE in 1954. His private practice, T.P. Bennett and Son, expanded into an architectural company and in 1967 was passed to his only son, P.H.P.Bennett, CBE, Chairman of the Joint Contracts Tribunal 1973-1978.


He died on 29 January 1980.

tp bennett[edit]

tp Bennett LLP is an English architectural company, founded as T.P. Bennett and Son in 1921 by Thomas P. Bennett, the practice quickly became known[citation needed] for the innovative design of theatres, residential and commercial buildings, with early work predominantly in London. The practice later came to the forefront of the New Town Movement, and following a succession of major projects throughout the 1960s and 1970s, developed into one of the largest and most successful architectural practices in the UK.[citation needed]

The practice was located on Kingsway, near Lincoln's Inn Fields, Holborn, until 1998 when it moved to purpose designed offices within a converted Edwardian warehouse at One America Street on Southwark Bridge Road.

tp Bennett LLP has three core divisions of architecture, interiors and planning supported by specialist practice areas in strategy, research and graphics. tp Bennett LLP currently has offices in London, Moscow, Abu Dhabi and New York.

The practice incorporated the architectural firm Stillman & Eastwick-Field in 2004 and converted to a Limited Liability Partnership on 1 December 2005


  • Gontran Goulden, ‘Bennett, Sir Thomas Penberthy (1887–1980)’, rev. Kaye Bagshaw, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 24 Oct 2007

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