Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||Leslie Grahame Thomson & Connell |
|Designation: ||Architectural practice |
|Started: ||1937 |
|Ended: ||c. 1940 |
|Bio Notes: ||Leslie Grahame MacDougall was born Leslie Grahame Thomson on 14 August 1896, the son of Patrick William Thomson, departmental store proprietor. He was educated at Merchiston Castle School and was called up at the end of his final year, serving first with the Highland Light Infantry and as a sergeant in the Army Pay Department, and from 1917 in Egypt and Palestine with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. On his return he commenced his architectural training at Edinburgh College of Art under Sir George Washington Browne and John Begg and was articled to Sir Robert Lorimer. The course ended with a full-time year at the end of which he and another student were the first to complete the full recognised RIBA diploma course giving exemption from the qualifying exam and he was admitted ARIBA on 14 February 1927. Prior to this he had travelled widely listing Italy, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Greece as well as the places in which he saw active service - Constantinople, Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Syria. |
In 1927 Thomson set up practice on his own account at 10 St Colme Street, moving to 6 Ainslie Place in 1930 or 1931. Through a combination of sheer ability, excellent presentation watercolours and family connections he was successful at once. Initially he worked in a markedly Lorimer-influenced style but quickly moved into a white-walled style with American-Italian and sometimes 'Cape Dutch' elements similar to those adopted by Oldrieve Bell & Paterson, the last of these, William Paterson being a particular friend. In 1936 Grahame-Thomson received the commission for the new headquarters building for the National Bank of Scotland but his more conservative design for it did not meet with the approval of the bank and Arthur Davis of Mewes & Davis was brought in as consultant to redesign the elevations. Later Scandinavian influences took a hold over him, following a number of study tours abroad, a development also associated with Frank James Connell who became his partner in late 1937.
Connell had been born on 23 May 1910 and had commenced his studies at Edinburgh University where he had achieved first-class marks in the first year of the Fine Arts class in June 1928. He had then proceeded to Cambridge University, where he had graduated BA (Hons) in the Mechanical Sciences tripos in 1930 and BA in architectural subjects in 1932. He had returned to Edinburgh thereafter, studying at the College of Art. In June 1934 he had been awarded the RIAS Rutland Prize for working drawings and in August that year had visited Scandinavia, including Gothenburg, Stockholm, Helsinki, Paimio and Abo, as well as Copenhagen and Hamburg. In June 1935 he had obtained his diploma and an exemption from the RIBA final exam, and the following month had passed the Professional Practice exam. He had been admitted ARIBA on 2 December that year, his proposers being Arthur Forman Balfour Paul, John Begg of Edinburgh College of Art, and Harold Tomlinson of the University of Cambridge School of Architecture, who wrote in his supporting statement: 'He was supervised by me at Cambridge in Architecture, after taking a Tripos in Engineering. His earlier training in Engineering was of great assistance to a particularly apt pupil. I have watched his brilliant later career with interest.' By that time Connell had joined Grahame-Thomson as assistant, soon before being taken into partnership. He had a large hand in the Caledonian Insurance Building.
The practice was backed up by a magnificent library sold in 1983. As was remarked at the time, Grahame Thomson 'had absolutely everything'. Thomson was elected FRIBA on 21 June 1937, his proposers being Reginald Fairlie, Frank Charles Mears and John Fraser Matthew. He was also melected ARSA in that year.
Connell was briefly the editor of the RIAS Quarterly from January 1939 but when he was called up this must have ended, as did the partnership with Grahame-Thomson. During the Second World War Grahame-Thomson taught for a short period at Edinburgh College of Art from want of other work. After the war Connell joined the staff of the Scottish office as an architect-planner, while Thomson resumed practice as sole partner.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|6, Ainslie Place, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||1937 or 1938||c. 1940(?)|| |
Employment and Training
Employees or Pupils
Buildings and Designs
Currently, there are no references for this architectural practice. The information has been derived from: the British Architectural Library / RIBA Directory of British Architects 1834-1914; Post Office Directories; and/or any sources listed under this individual's works.