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Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||Thomas Hill Thoms |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||21 October 1908 |
|Died: ||10 April 1987 |
|Bio Notes: ||Thomas ('Tommy') Hill Thoms was born on 21 October 1908 at Benvie, Invergowrie, Perthshire and educated at Dundee High School and Morrison's Academy in Crieff. He began his architectural training in his uncle Patrick Hill Thoms's firm of Thoms & Wilkie in 1925, studying at Dundee School of Architecture under Vernon Constable and two years later transferred to the office of Wright & Wylie (soon to become Wylie Wright & Wylie) in Glasgow, continuing his studies at the Glasgow School of Architecture where he qualified in 1932. In the latter year he was awarded the John Keppie scholarship which enabled him to spend two months travelling in Italy, as well as gaining second prize in the Rowand Anderson studentship. He was admitted ARIBA in late 1932, his proposers being Patrick Hill Thoms, Charles Geddes Soutar and William Salmond. By that time he had returned to his uncle's firm, where he was taken into partnership in 1934, Donald Ross having left to join Carver & Symon. He immediately made his reputation with the stylish Draffen's men's shop on Nethergate, very much in Edward Grigg Wylie's style. For about ten years he lectured in 'Professional Practice' at the School of Architecture in Dundee. |
Thoms served with the Royal Engineers during the Second World War but was invalided out having obtained the rank of Captain, thereafter returning to the family firm and becoming senior partner in 1946 on the death of his uncle. He became FRIBA on 4 April 1950, proposed by John Needham, Graham Conacher Young and John Donald Mills. In 1957 he was elected President of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, at 49 the youngest man at that date to hold the office.
Thoms served as director on a large number of committees including the Dundee Orphan Institution, Pine Grove Old Folks' Home and the Dundee Repertory Company. He served on the councils of the Dundee Rotary Cluc, Dundee High School Old Boys' Club and Dundee Film Society as well as the Dundee Institute of Architects of which he was President in 1956 and 1957. He was particularly keen on film-making and won the trophy for the best film at the Edinburgh Cine Society's Annual Festival in 1955 and 1956 and was a prize-winner at the Scottish Amateur Film Festival for a number of years prior to 1957.
Besides his directorships Thomas enjoyed curling and summer yachting.
Thoms was very tall, of commanding appearance and great personal charm. As with many other architects at that time post-war restrictions weakened his commitment to good design but he remained capable of making the effort when the occasion demanded. In the 1950s he bought back Grey Walls, the fine Arts & Crafts house his uncle had built for himself. Thomas Hill Thoms died on 10 April 1987. He was survived by his wife Sheila, two sons and a daughter.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|Benvie, Invergowrie, Angus, Scotland||Private||1932 *||1939 or 40A0s|| |
|21, South Tay Street, Dundee, Scotland||Business||1932||1975(?)|| |
|40, Middlebank Crescent, Dundee, Scotland||Private||1950 *||c. 1972|| |
|Grey Walls, Perth Road, Dundee, Scotland||Private||c. 1972||1987|| |
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
Buildings and Designs
|The following periodicals contain references to this architect:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|Builder||3 May 1957|| || ||'RIAS President', p840|
|Builder||23 June 1961|| || ||'Dundee Rotary Club' p1226 - Thoms elected president of Rotary Club|
|Dundee Courier and Advertiser||13 April 1987|| || ||Obituary|
|Prospect||1987||no30|| ||Summer issue, p22|
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert Museum||RIBA Nomination Papers|| ||A no4935 (combined box 45); F no4521 (combined box 19)|
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