Harrry Percy Adams

Place of Birth

  • Born      26 October 1865 at Ipswich, Suffolk.
  • Married (I)  :  22 May 1890, Cecilia Clara Staddon (1868–1891) at Ipswich, Suffolk
  • Married (II) : 1898 Alice Mildred Mathieson
  • Died       7 April 1930 at Westminster Hospital

The son of Webster Adams (1840–1900), a surgeon in Ipswich and London and his wife Alice Heal (1840–1888), Henry Percy Adams was educated at Epsom College with his older brother, Webster Angell Adams (1864–1895). He left Epsom in 1879 and moved to Gould House, Dedham, Essex, before being articled to Brightwen Binyon (1846–1909) architect of Ipswich. In 1888 he entered the office of Stephen Salter, architect to the Royal College of Surgeons. After Salter’s death in 1896 he practised as Salter and Adams, winning the competition for Southport Homeopathic Hospital among others.

Adams won the RIBA drawing prize in 1888 and entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1890. He also studied at the South Kensington Schools and was a prizeman at both schools. He also won the Donaldson medal and in 1897 the Godwin bursary.

In 1898 he employed Charles Holden as chief assistant and their collaboration resulted in some unusual and interesting designs, notably for the extension to the incorporated Law Society Chancery Lane London WC2, and the headquarters of the British Medical Association. Holden became a partner in 1907. Lionel G Pearson, who Holden had known in Manchester, joined the firm in 1903 and became a partner in 1911. Adams’s son, Percy Webster Adams became a partner in 1925. Adams Holden and Pearson enjoyed considerable success in the inter-war period, not least for their work for London Transport.

On 22 May 1890, Henry Percy Adams married Cecilia Clara Staddon (1865–1891) in Ipswich, Suffolk. She died following childbirth the following year at St Pancras. Their son, Cecil Clare Adams, was at a boarding school in Folkestone, Kent in 1901 and by 1911, he had joined the army and was serving as a 2nd Lieutenant with the Royal Engineers at Chatham in Kent. It is not known if Cecil ever lived with his father or if he was raised by relatives before leaving for boarding school. He married Louisa Augusta Kirkpatrick while stationed in Kingston, Ontario and they had one daughter Margaret Cecil born in 1921. Cecil Clare Adams, by then a retired major, was one of the executors in the will of Harry Percy Adams.

He married secondly, 23 year-old Alice Mildred Fulcher who had married James Francis Mathieson, in 1894 and who was divorced in 1898 on the grounds of her adultery with Henry Percy Adams between June 1896 and April 1897. The decree nisi was granted on 7 February 1898 and Alice and Harry married shortly thereafter (10 February 1898?). After their marriage they moved to 28 Woburn Place, Bloomsbury, but Percy retained offices at Tower Street, Ipswich.  There were three children by this second marriage -  Percy Webster, Basil Mallandaine and Kathleen Mildred. (The Records of the Heal Family (Privately Printed & Published 1932).

Harry Percy Adams died on 7 April 1930 at the Westminster Hospital Middlesex.

1898 : Tower Street, Ipswich (Branch office)

1891        Hampstead
1896-98   Harry Percy Adams, The Lodge, Hendon Lane   
1898        28 Woburn Place, Bloomsbury
1930        7 Knightsbridge, Hyde Park Corner, London

Obituary    RIBA Journal 26 April 1930 page 431
Obituary    Builder 11 April 1930 page 702

Reference :  Gray, A Stuart, Edwardian Architecture A Biographical Dictionary (London: Duckworth, 1985), page 84-85


Name Designation Formed Dissolved Location
Adams and Holden Architectural practice 1907 1911 London
Adams Holden and Pearson Architectural practice 1911 1940 London