Eric Cole is one of the longest established Architectural firms in the country and has its roots in Gloucestershire with a practice started by John Middleton in Cheltenham about 1860. Eric Cole, a Partner in Cheltenham opened a branch office in Cirencester in the 1930s and an office in Swindon in the early 1950s. The firm developed under his name and continued after his death in 1980 to establish a strong reputation and involvement with Gloucestershire, the Cotswolds, Wiltshire and the surrounding regions.

2010 – Eric Cole Limited 1930 – Eric Cole & Partners
1919 – Barnard & Partners 1908 – Phillott & Barnard
1893 – Prothero, Phillott & Barnard 1885 – Prothero & Phillott
1883 – Middleton, Prothero & Phillott 1876 – Middleton & Son
1868 – Middleton & Goodman 1860 – John Middleton


Long standing members of the firm, John Loach and Geoffrey Williams became partners in the mid 1970s and were responsible, respectively, for the Swindon and Cheltenham offices and in September 2005 they brought together their professional teams in Cirencester within one office located in the centre of the town. This move responded to the changing nature of modern business, working methods and communications and in particular the desire to provide, for the whole team, the most efficient, agreeable working environment and the best location for general amenities.

As a further natural development and evolution of the firm, the Partnership was dissolved at the end of March 2010, and Eric Cole & Partners ceased trading and with effect from 1st April 2010 all that was the ongoing Partnership business in terms of Clients, services, activities and responsibilities etc. was transferred to the new limited company, Eric Cole Ltd. 

Eric Cole Ltd. with Directors John Loach and Geoffrey Williams and Associates Russell Wilks, Andrew Read and Peter Haslam therefore took over and replaced Eric Cole & Partners and the Limited Company with the same professional team continues the business previously carried out by the Partnership.  On 1st June 2010, Russell, Andrew and Peter joined John and Geoffrey as Directors and owners of Eric Cole Ltd. On the 31st March 2011, having both completed nearly 40 years with the firm, John and Geoffrey retired, leaving Eric Cole fully owned and managed by Russell, Andrew and Peter.

The changes to the name and the format of the business and the management personnel represent a few more small adjustments to the family tree of a professional firm that in 2010, celebrated its 150th anniversary.

Practice work over many years has always covered a broad range with an area of operation generally from South Wales to London and north and south of the M4 with some projects further a field. Commissions have included a wide variety of projects of all sizes across the full spectrum of building types and clients. They ranges from traditional design and detailing for old and new buildings, including refurbishment, alteration, preservation and conservation through to all stages of the design, construction and fitting out of complex projects involving modern building techniques and specialist installations.

An unusual and key feature of the firm compared with others of our size, or larger, has been our diverse commissions and in particular our regular involvement in more major and complex commercial projects often involving tight programmes and non traditional methods for achieving the Client's needs.

We maintain very traditional professional values of service but adopt a totally open and flexible approach towards the design and detailing of a project and the process for its construction. In addition to the normal tendering procedures we are experienced with alternative contract arrangements and building procurement routes. These embrace arrangements for programme acceleration through negotiation and contractor participation, various forms of Design and Build and other non-traditional tendering and contractual methods designed to suit specific Client needs. We are used to working directly with either Clients or Contractors and sometimes both through "novation" for all or parts of the design and procurement process.

Throughout all our activities we give emphasis to understanding and meeting the requirements of the Client's brief, especially budget and programme and to satisfying the needs of the building users. We have a reputation for reliability, technical competence and commercial awareness. Our professional expertise is applied in the most flexible and effective way and we encourage a team approach and a close working relationship between all involved parties. A Practice characteristic is the direct involvement and personal service given by Directors. They are full design and production working members of a close-knit group that provides all the necessary professional services throughout the project.

To complement our skills as Architects we are able to integrate interior design experience including the co-ordination of fixtures, fittings and equipment, space planning and furnishing etc. and we have qualified and experienced Principle Designers to deal with the requirements of the Construction, Design and Management Regulations.

We regard project management and co-ordination, including the work of the whole design and construction team as natural and inherent characteristics of our role and we are very experienced with either providing these services or working effectively with other project managers. We are used to introducing other consultants to the project team to provide additional professional services and we often arrange their appointments directly for the Client or as sub-consultants to ourselves.

As a long established close knit very experienced professional team used to working together to achieve client objectives, we have the inherent skills, and operational methods that ensure the natural quality control of our professional activities. This is further supported by simple QA office systems.

The application of progressive flexible thinking, traditional skills and modern technology within an Architectural Practice of nearly 150 years standing and a wealth of broad experience, provides Eric Cole with unique qualities. These combined with our traditional personal service and commitment, form a secure basis for our team to reliably fulfil our Client's needs and meet the changing demands of the property and construction market.