Mr Thomas Cole

Thomas Cole.png
Image from Western Mail 9.11.1934 ©Mirrorpix[1]

The best candidate we have at the moment is Thomas Cole, 63, (1869-1941) J.P., the Managing Director of Thomas Cole and Son. builders, Neath, since 1915 Hon. Treasurer of the Neath Conservative Club, on the Borough Council from 1922 and in 1934 Mayor of Neath and in 1936 elected President of the South Wales Federation of Building Trades Employers. His company built many of Neath’s most notable buildings.

puzzle-piece2-50A bit of a puzzle. He is possible but no strong confirming evidence.


He would have been a good dinner companion to Josephine Collier given her early background in working conditions for women, and also for Mrs Ewart, running her own business.


Most likely the state of the economy and how you create jobs in South Wales.


Born in Neath on 24th October 1869, Thomas built up a substantial building business, Thomas Cole and Sons, previously Cole, Waring & Cole, by this point also employing his two sons Albert and Thomas Cecil. In February 1933 the younger son Cecil became Vice President of the Neath and District Master Builders’ Association, at a meeting which called on all house and property owners to have all repairs or new work carried out immediately through members of the association in order to create work for the unemployed.[2] Being Welsh, Thomas may well have a connection to the Rhondda business empire, albeit moving in Conservative Party circles rather than Liberal. The Chair of the Neath Conservative Association at this time was Charles Rhys, Lord Dynevor.


Thomas was about to become Mayor of Neath, in 1934, which brought him more into the public eye. For example, as Mayor, in 1935 he attended a meeting with prominent Welsh businessmen to meet a trade delegation from Canada[3] and he was notable enough for the Western Mail of 24th October 1939 to choose him as the birthday of the day.[4] In February 1938 he stirred things up at a meeting of the Conservative Club by proposing a motion of confidence in the Prime Minister, which after much debate was ruled out of order. The newspaper itself that day was full of the clashes and votes of confidence between Chamberlain and others in the House of Commons over Italy and Mussolini. Thomas died on 27th April 1941, leaving a widow, two sons and a daughter.[5]

puzzle-piece2-50More ideas please! Does he have a particular link to Lady Rhondda? Are there other candidates?


[1] Western Mail Mayoral Supplement, 9.11.1934 p13, ©Mirrorpix. Image created courtesy of the British Library Board, accessed from The British Newspaper Archive

[2] Western Mail, 10.2.1933 p10

[3] Reciprocal Trade with Canada: Importance to South Wales Industry Western Mail 22.6.1935 p6

[4] Today’s Birthday Western Mail, 24.10.1939 p7

[5] Western Mail, 28.4.1941

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