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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:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 4Benvie, Invergowrie, Angus, ScotlandPrivate1932 *1939 or 40A0s 
Item 2 of 421, South Tay Street, Dundee, ScotlandBusiness19321975(?) 
Item 3 of 440, Middlebank Crescent, Dundee, ScotlandPrivate1950 *c. 1972 
Item 4 of 4Grey Walls, Perth Road, Dundee, ScotlandPrivatec. 19721987 

* 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 5Thoms & Wilkie19251927Apprentice 
Item 2 of 5Wright & Wylie19271928Apprentice 
Item 3 of 5Wylie, Wright & Wylie19281932(?)Apprentice 
Item 4 of 5Thoms & Wilkie19321934Assistant(?) 
Item 5 of 5Thoms & Wilkie1934 Partner 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 6John Donald Mills4 April 1950for Fellowship
Item 2 of 6John Needham4 April 1950for Fellowship
Item 3 of 6William SalmondLate 1932for Associateship
Item 4 of 6Charles Geddes SoutarLate 1932for Associateship
Item 5 of 6Patrick Hill ThomsLate 1932for Associateship
Item 6 of 6Graham Conacher Young4 April 1950for Fellowship

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 11David William Baxter (junior)5 June 1968For Fellowship
Item 2 of 11John Philip Boys2 March 1954For Associateship
Item 3 of 11Richard Houston Dewar5 June 1968for Fellowship
Item 4 of 11Alexander MacLauchlan DuncanLate 1915 or early 1916For Associateship
Item 5 of 11William Lamond Galloway4 March 1956For Licentiateship
Item 6 of 11William Higgins Henry2 February 1966For Fellowship
Item 7 of 11Mitchell Crichton KayJuly 1920For Associateship
Item 8 of 11James Watson Ritchie10 April 1956For Fellowship
Item 9 of 11(Professor) Charles Calthorpe Robertson5 May 1953For Associateship
Item 10 of 11Lawrence Anderson Rolland10 January 1956For Fellowship
Item 11 of 11James Charles Edwards Tainsh11 December 1951For Associateship

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 32 Angus Folk MuseumGlamis Angus conversion
Item 2 of 321934Draffen's Department Store extension, Nethergate  DundeeScotlandNew block on Nethergate and other work following a fire at the original site
Item 3 of 321934South Mills (or South Mill)  DundeeScotlandAlterations
Item 4 of 32After 1934House for Stirling DraffenLongforgan PerthshireScotland 
Item 5 of 321936Bruce HotelCarnoustie AngusScotlandAlterations
Item 6 of 321936House, Marchfield Road  DundeeScotland 
Item 7 of 321937House for Very Reverend Provost A C Don  DundeeScotland 
Item 8 of 321937LincroftBlairgowrie PerthshireScotland 
Item 9 of 321937Tay Ropeworks  DundeeScotlandAlterations
Item 10 of 321938Cottages at the GrangeMonifieth AngusScotland 
Item 11 of 321939St Margaret's Episcopal Church and hallLochee DundeeScotlandHall added. Gifford gives 1948-49.
Item 12 of 321945Bruce HotelCarnoustie AngusScotlandAlterations
Item 13 of 321947Housing schemes for Carnoustie Town CouncilCarnoustie AngusScotland 
Item 14 of 321947Housing schemes for Perthshire County Council  PerthshireScotland 
Item 15 of 321949Garden Works  DundeeScotlandLarge extension
Item 16 of 321957Dundee High School  DundeeScotlandInterior remodelling. Per Builder p654
Item 17 of 321958St John's RC High SchoolDudhope DundeeScotland 
Item 18 of 321959Camperdown Church and Hall  DundeeScotland 
Item 19 of 321961Menzieshill Parish Church  DundeeScotlandMainly responsible
Item 20 of 321967Dundee Technical College, Kydd Building  DundeeScotland 
Item 21 of 321969George Morton's Bond  DundeeScotlandFurther work
Item 22 of 321969Lochee Cabinet FactoryLochee DundeeScotlandFurther alterations - also later
Item 23 of 32Late 1960sChalmers Ardler ChurchArdler DundeeScotland 
Item 24 of 321970Whitfield Parish Church and HallWhitfield DundeeScotland 
Item 25 of 321972Dundee College Gardyne Road CampusBroughty Ferry AngusScotland 
Item 26 of 321973St Andrew's Church  Dundee Halls joined to church at E
Item 27 of 32Early 1970sAshludie HouseMonifieth AngusScotlandGeriatric and Rehabilitation Unit
Item 28 of 32Early 1970sDundee College of EducationWest Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 29 of 32Early 1970s(?)Dundee Technical Institute  DundeeScotlandExtension
Item 30 of 32Early 1970s(?)Kirkcaldy Burgh Infectious Diseases HospitalKirkcaldy FifeScotlandGeriatric Unit/Day Hospital
Item 31 of 32Early 1970sMorrison's AcademyCrieff PerthshireScotlandAddition of boarding houses
Item 32 of 32Early 1970sUniversity of Dundee, Chemistry, Sports and Botanical Buildings  DundeeScotland 


Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Builder3 May 1957  'RIAS President', p840
Item 2 of 4Builder23 June 1961  'Dundee Rotary Club' p1226 - Thoms elected president of Rotary Club
Item 3 of 4Dundee Courier and Advertiser13 April 1987  Obituary
Item 4 of 4Prospect1987no30 Summer issue, p22

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no4935 (combined box 45); F no4521 (combined box 19)


© All rights reserved. Šand courtesy of RIAS 

© All rights reserved. Šand courtesy of RIAS