Basic Biographical Details

Name: D Thomson & Turnbull
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1877
Ended: 1883
Bio Notes: David Thomson was born on 16 October 1831 in Barony parish, Glasgow, the son of Andrew Thomson, medical practitioner and Mary Lockerbie (or Lockerby). His RIBA nomination paper does not state to whom he was originally articled, only that he was for many years assistant and principal assistant to Charles Wilson, studying at the Government School of Design under the unrelated Charles Heath Wilson.

In March 1862 he was taken into partnership by Wilson, and on 19 August the same year he married Janet Giffen at Mearns, Renfrewshire. When Charles Wilson died in February of the following year he continued the practice which thereafter consisted principally of church, school and country house work. Later in that same year, 1863, Charles Heath Wilson's tenure as headmaster of the Government School of Design ended when the institution was transferred from the Board of Trade to the Department of Science and Art. He set up business as an architect although his practice was limited to monuments and ship interiors rather than buildings. Nevertheless he had some influential patrons and he became both Honorary Director of the School (which thereafter became the School of Art) and a trustee of the Haldane Academy. Wilson and Thomson went into partnership some time in that year as C H Wilson & D Thomson, but in 1868 Wilson withdrew to live and work in Florence.

Thomson was important as a teacher during this period: he was appointed architectural master 1862-64, and was reappointed teacher of architectural drawing in 1869 and teacher of architecture in 1871. After the dissolution of his partnership with Wilson he practised alone until July 1876 when Alexander Thomson's partner Robert Turnbull requested permission from Alexander Thomson's trustees to take a partner to handle the design work. The request was eventually agreed to later in that year. No name was mentioned but Turnbull had probably already discussed the possibility of a partnership with David Thomson. The firm became D Thomson & Turnbull later that year.

Turnbull had been born at Mossburnford near Jedburgh in 1839, the son of William Turnbull, joiner, and his wife Mary Deans. He had been educated at Glendouglas School and apprenticed to his father at the early age of eleven. Between 1865 and 1869 Robert Turnbull appears to have been first in Edinburgh, studying at the Watt Institute, and at Andersonís College in Glasgow. After Alexander Thomson's brother and then partner George Thomson left for the Cameroons in 1871 Alexander Thomson had undertaken the contractual and supervising work previously handled by his brother, but by 1873 he had become overcommitted and unwell. Turnbull had been taken into partnership to deal with such matters, the practice name becoming A & G Thomson & Turnbull. In August 1874 Alexander Thomson had written to his brother that 'Mr Turnbull and I are getting on pretty well we are busy with a number of smallish jobs'. But in the winter of 1874-75 his asthma and bronchitis had deteriorated and on 22 March 1875 he had died, leaving Turnbull sole partner. For more than a year Turnbull had continued the practice, completing and executing projects already designed, some in a simplified form, and adapting old designs to new commissions, until the merger of his practice with that of David Thomson.

Thomson and Turnbull were not, however, really compatible and the partnership was dissolved in 1883, probably primarily because of the severe recession from 1881 onwards.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1122, Wellington Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18771883 

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 5William Newlands1877February 1879Assistant 
Item 2 of 5John Thomson1877April 1880Apprentice 
Item 3 of 5David Thomson18771883Partner 
Item 4 of 5Robert Turnbull18771883Partner 
Item 5 of 5Andrew Morell McKinlay18791883Apprentice 

Buildings and Designs

This architectural practice was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 381870sTenements, Albert Drive, Forth Street and Glenapp Street  GlasgowScotlandHS attribution to Robert Turnbull
Item 2 of 381876Auchinloch SchoolAuchinloch LanarkshireScotlandAdjacent schoolmaster's house built at same time.
Item 3 of 381877Auldfield Parish ChurchPollokshaws RenfrewshireScotlandAdditions or remodelling
Item 4 of 381877Dalziel Manse (Parish Manse?)Motherwell LanarkshireScotland 
Item 5 of 381877Double villaPollokshields GlasgowScotland 
Item 6 of 381877Innamore LodgeCarsaigMullArgyllScotland 
Item 7 of 381877Melbourne HouseClydebank DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 8 of 381877Scotia Leather Works  GlasgowScotlandOriginal building and additions
Item 9 of 381877Sir Peter Coats Memorial Church, MinishantMaybole AyrshireScotland 
Item 10 of 381877West Calder Parish ChurchWest Calder MidlothianScotland 
Item 11 of 38c. 1877Warehouse, countinghouse etc, 89-92 Miller Street  GlasgowScotlandProbably based on an Alexander Thomson design - on grounds of style
Item 12 of 381878Chryston Parish ChurchChryston LanarkshireScotland 
Item 13 of 381878Grantly TerracePollokshaws GlasgowScotlandPossibly by Turnbull
Item 14 of 381878St John the Evangelist Episcopal churchJohnstone RenfrewshireScotlandFurther work
Item 15 of 381878WingfieldStrathaven LanarkshireScotlandAttribution undocumented but possible
Item 16 of 381879BroomhouseNewton Mearns RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 17 of 381879BrownvilleKilsyth StirlingshireScotland 
Item 18 of 381879Established Church and hallsPossilpark GlasgowScotlandChurch halls built
Item 19 of 381879Keppochhill SchoolKeppochhill GlasgowScotland 
Item 20 of 381879Thornliebank Memorial Public halls and club roomsThornliebank RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 21 of 381880s(?)Villa, 48 Townhead StreetStrathaven LanarkshireScotland 
Item 22 of 381880GlengairStrathaven LanarkshireScotland 
Item 23 of 381880InvershielLenzie Dunbartonshire/LanarkshireScotland 
Item 24 of 381880Tenement, Darnley StreetPollokshields GlasgowScotland 
Item 25 of 381880Warehouses, counting houses etc  GlasgowScotland 
Item 26 of 381880Winton House  GlasgowScotland 
Item 27 of 38c. 188014-16 Glenbank RoadLenzie DunbartonshireScotland'style of' (HS)
Item 28 of 38c. 1880Villa, 65 Kirkintilloch RoadLenzie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 29 of 381881Arden and DalveenLenzie Dunbartonshire/LanarkshireScotlandAttribution undocumented but possibly a reworking of Thomson's design
Item 30 of 381881Auchendrane  AyrshireScotlandExtension - possibly by them
Item 31 of 381881Blocks of Tenements on Sandbank Street  GlasgowScotlandAttribution undocumented - possibly by Turnbull reworking Thomson's designs for other sites
Item 32 of 381881Villas, 28 Victoria Road and 16 Glenhead RoadLenzie DunbartonshireScotlandHS attribution
Item 33 of 381881WoodsideDoune PerthshireScotland 
Item 34 of 38c. 1881Glasgow Municipal Buildings  GlasgowScotlandCompetition design entered under the pseudonym Bourgeris
Item 35 of 381882ClairinishRhu/Row DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 36 of 381882DunavonOban ArgyllScotland 
Item 37 of 381882Oban Episcopal Cathedral of St John the DivineOban ArgyllScotlandExtension
Item 38 of 381882Royal Exchange  GlasgowScotlandAlterations


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 1Williamson, William2011Robert Turnbull IA of Lenzie