© All rights reserved. Scottish Architect and Builder’s Journal 1938 

Larger versions of these images are located at the foot of the page.

Basic Biographical Details

Name: James Taylor Thomson
Designation: Architect
Born: 28 April 1886
Died: 15 March 1953
Bio Notes: James Taylor Thomson was born in Edinburgh in 1887 or early 1888, the son of Andrew Lindsay Thomson, commercial traveller and Alice Rennie Taylor, and was educated at the Royal High School. He was articled to George Lennox Beattie about 1903 and at the end of his articles became an assistant to Robert Stodart Lorimer in whose office he became friends with James Smith Richardson, John Ross McKay, James Robb and Hardie Phillip. Outwith Lorimer's office he also became a close friend of John Wilson.

In 1912 he emigrated to the USA and for eight years worked in the practice of Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue in New York. In the 1920s he returned to Scotland for medical treatment. Initially he intended to return to the USA but decided to establish his own practice as architect and civil engineer in Glasgow, joining Burnet Son & Dick part-time at Burnet's invitation to take over the detailing of Glasgow University Chapel. There he fell foul of Norman Dick over the time taken to detail the project and left, Dick supervising the drawings himself. Fortunately Thomson's personal practice picked up very quickly to become a serious threat to Dick's. In 1927 he won the competition for St John's Renfield Church, and it was there that he married Wilhelmina Coutts Malcolm on 3 June 1931. Thomas Smith Tait gave him a major share of the Glasgow Empire Exhibition of 1938, from which Dick was excluded. From 1936 to 1937 Taylor Thomson was assisted by William McCrea who appears to have been taken into partnership around that time under the title of James Taylor Thomson & Partner, his name being acknowledged in the practice title as Thomson & McCrea by c. 1942.

In his later years Thomson was vice-president of the Glasgow Institute of Architects, Deacon of the Incorporation of Masons and president of Glasgow Art Club. Outwith the office his interests were snooker and fishing. He died of cancer at 156 Hyndland Road, Glasgow on 15 March 1953, aged sixty-five, after a long period of poor health. He was survived by his wife. His practice was continued by McCrea and William Hamilton Sanders, who had been taken into partnership the previous year as Thomson, McCrea & Sanders.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 6Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivatec. 1887c. 1908Place of birth
Item 2 of 6New York, New York, United States of AmericaPrivate/business1912Before 1924 
Item 3 of 64, Jane Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1924 *July 1926Builder 6 August 1926 p198 - removal
Item 4 of 6212, Bath Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessAugust 19261953Builder 6 August 1926 p198 - new office
Item 5 of 618, Highburgh Road, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1931 *  
Item 6 of 6156, Hyndland Road, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1953 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 6George Lennox Beattie1903 Apprentice 
Item 2 of 6(Sir) Robert Stodart Lorimerc. 1908 Assistant 
Item 3 of 6Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue19121920Assistant(?) 
Item 4 of 6Burnet, Son & DickAfter 1923Before 1927AssistantPart-time
Item 5 of 6James Taylor Thomson & McCrea (or Thomson & Partner)1937(?)1952Partner 
Item 6 of 6Thomson, McCrea & Sanders19521953Partner 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 9William McCrea19241928Assistant 
Item 2 of 9James Bunyan19251928Apprentice 
Item 3 of 9Ian Baillie1928After 1930Assistant 
Item 4 of 9Charles Findlater Reid14 March 192931 May 1930Assistant 
Item 5 of 9James Smith (junior)November 1930After 1932Assistant(?) 
Item 6 of 9James Miller19321933Draughtsman 
Item 7 of 9Joseph Cunningham19341936Assistant 
Item 8 of 9William McCrea19361937(?)Chief Assistant 
Item 9 of 9James Milne Munro Billing19361937(?)Assistant 

Buildings and Designs

This architect 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 48c. 1923University of Glasgow, War Memorial Chapel and Arts BuildingGilmorehill GlasgowScotlandIn charge of detailing of chapel
Item 2 of 481925Metropolitan Vickers Building  GlasgowScotland 
Item 3 of 48Before November 1926Head Office of the Clyde Valley Electrical Power Company  GlasgowScotland 
Item 4 of 481927Falls of Clyde, Bonnington Power StationLanark LanarkshireScotlandCompleted by Winter 1927
Item 5 of 481927Muirend Savings BankCathcart GlasgowScotland 
Item 6 of 481927St John's and Renfield UF Church  GlasgowScotlandWon in competition
Item 7 of 481928Cowlairs Co-operative Society shopRobroyston GlasgowScotland 
Item 8 of 481930Former New Possil School Gymnasium  GlasgowScotland 
Item 9 of 481930Possil New SchoolPossil GlasgowScotland 
Item 10 of 481930 or 1931High Carntyne Parish ChurchCarntyne GlasgowScotland 
Item 11 of 481931Office and garage for Cowlairs Co-operative Society  GlasgowScotland 
Item 12 of 481931Two warehouses, Wilson Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 13 of 481931Warehouse, Candleriggs, for Messrs Black  GlasgowScotland 
Item 14 of 481933Garage for McHarg, Rennie & Lindsay  GlasgowScotland 
Item 15 of 481933Moore's Hotel  GlasgowScotland 
Item 16 of 481934Bank of Scotland, Calton districtCalton GlasgowScotlandIn conjunction with James Miller?
Item 17 of 481934Millerston Church of ScotlandMillerston GlasgowScotlandAdditions
Item 18 of 481936Glasgow Empire Exhibition, masterplanBellahouston GlasgowScotlandIn independent practice, working in conjunction with Tait
Item 19 of 481937Cowlairs Creamery  GlasgowScotland 
Item 20 of 481937Factory for Donaldson & Files LtdPollokshaws GlasgowScotland 
Item 21 of 481937Glasgow Empire Exhibition, Church of ScotlandBellahouston GlasgowScotland 
Item 22 of 481937Glasgow Empire Exhibition, Concert Hall and Tea PavilionBellahouston GlasgowScotland 
Item 23 of 481937Glasgow Empire Exhibition, Palace of Industries WestBellahouston GlasgowScotland 
Item 24 of 481937Tulloch FactoryBridgeton Cross GlasgowScotland 
Item 25 of 481938Church of Scotland hallsDalmarnock GlasgowScotland 
Item 26 of 481938Factory and WarehousePollokshields GlasgowScotland 
Item 27 of 48c. 1938The Nipp Bar  GlasgowScotland 
Item 28 of 481939BeechwoodMuirend GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 29 of 481939Blowarthill Church of Scotland  GlasgowScotland 
Item 30 of 481939Premises for Donaldson & Faber  GlasgowScotland 
Item 31 of 481942House for Professor the Rev GHC MacGregorMilngavie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 32 of 48Before 1942Factory for John Tullis & CoTullibody ClackmannanshireScotland 
Item 33 of 48Before 1942Factory for John Tullis & Sons  GlasgowScotlandExtension
Item 34 of 48Before 1942Lamlash SchoolLamlashButeButeScotland 
Item 35 of 48Before 1942Yorkshire Insurance Company offices, St Vincent Street  GlasgowScotlandCompletion
Item 36 of 48c. 1942(?)Cowlairs Co-operative Society Department storeCowlairs GlasgowScotland 
Item 37 of 481947Gilmore & Aitken Premises  GlasgowScotlandExtension
Item 38 of 481947Ivanhoe Hotel  GlasgowScotland 
Item 39 of 48194843 Wellington Street and 41 Waterloo Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 40 of 481948Currie Limited Premises  GlasgowScotlandadditions and alterations
Item 41 of 481948Her Majesty's Theatre, Gorbals StreetGorbals GlasgowScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 42 of 481948HouseKippen StirlingshireScotland 
Item 43 of 481948New Church Halls Mecklarig Avenue  GlasgowScotland 
Item 44 of 481948Premises 83-91 Forth Street  GlasgowScotlandAdditions and alterations
Item 45 of 481948Residence? Dalkeith Avenue  GlasgowScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 46 of 481949Barony Parish Church  GlasgowScotlandOrgan case
Item 47 of 481951Titwood Established Church  GlasgowScotlandTaken down and re-erected at Meiklerig Crescent as St James's Pollok
Item 48 of 481953Montrose Old ChurchMontrose AngusScotlandPlans in hand for alterations


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 3McKean, Charles1987The Scottish Thirties: An Architectural Introduction Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press 
Item 2 of 3Post Office Directories     
Item 3 of 3RIBA1939The RIBA Kalendar 1939-1940 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Builder6 August 1926  P198. Notice of removal from 4 Jane St, Blythswood Sq to 212 Bath St. Glasgow
Item 2 of 2Scotsman17 March 1953  Obituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Personal information from John Watson; further information from research by Iain Paterson


© All rights reserved. Scottish Architect and Builder’s Journal 1938 

© All rights reserved. Scottish Architect and Builder’s Journal 1938