Sir William James Thomas

A major coalowner and Director of the Great Western Railway. A great benefactor to illness related causes and Medical education. He received the Freedom of the city in 1915.

He is buried in Section P.

BARONET, coalowner, philanthropist . Born 10 Mar. 1867 at Caerphilly, Glam. , s. of Thomas James and Jane Thomas . Orphaned at an early age he was cared for by his paternal grandmother during his schooldays at Mynyddislwyn and Pontypridd . He then entered the service of his grandfather, James Thomas ( 1817 - 1901 ), a pioneer of the coal industry in the Rhondda Fach valley , who at the age of 60 sank the Standard and Ynyshir pits . He left the greater part of his fortune to his grandson who displayed business acumen in the management of the mines and great consideration for the workers’ welfare. Sir William , who was a director of the Great Western Railway , the Barry Dock and Railway and other companies, disposed of his mining interests in 1914 to the United National Collieries Ltd.

Among his public gifts were £100,000 to the Welsh National school of Medicine , over £20,000 for the endowment of beds at the Cardiff Royal Infirmary , £5,000 to the Welsh National Memorial Anti-tuberculosis fund , £2,500 to the Welsh National Hospital for the treatment of wounded in World War I , and several thousand for other hospitals at Newport , Porth and Cardiff and for various religious causes.

He was knighted in 1914 and created baronet five years later. He was a magistrate and Deputy Lieutenant for Glamorgan , High Sheriff in 1936 and member of the county council for many years. He became a Freeman of Cardiff in 1915 , was awarded the honorary degree LL.D. by the University of Wales in 1931 , and elected vice-president of the University College , Cardiff , in 1931.

He remained a member of Saron Welsh (Congl.) church , Ynyshir even after his removal to Cardiff . He m. in 1917 Maud Mary , eldest dau. of George Cooper , of Bexhill-on-Sea and deputy matron of Cardiff Royal Infirmary . Sir William d. 3 Jan. 1945 and was buried at the Cardiff Cemetery .

Source: Welsh Biography Online