William James Thomas and Adoption

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1867 - 1945

Welsh businessman and philanthropist

Thomas was born in Caerphilly, South Wales, orphaned as a young boy, and raised by his paternal grandmother in Mynyddislwyn and Pontypridd. He went to work for his grandfather, a local coal entrepreneur. When his grandfather died, Thomas inherited most of his fortune and continued the businesses with great success. Exceptionally for the period, he gave great consideration to the welfare of his workers. In 1914 he sold his mining interests and was knighted; five years later he was created a life peer.

In public life he was a magistrate, deputy lieutenant and high sheriff of Glamorgan; he was a member of the Glamorgan County Council for many years. He was a major benefactor of a number of district charities, especially medical and religious institutions. [Last updated: 12 SEP 2004]


Dictionary of Welsh Biography © Roger Ridley Fenton