Basic Biographical Details

Name: Alexander Thomson Turnbull
Designation: Architect
Born: 1880
Died: 1949
Bio Notes: Alexander Thomson Turnbull was born in 1880, the elder and only surviving son of Robert Turnbull, architect, then a partner in the architectural practice of Thomson & Turnbull, and his second wife Fanny Pattullo Watson.

Alexander appears to have trained as civil engineer rather than architect within his father’s practice, presumably from c.1895. At that date his father was embroiled in sequestration proceedings arising from the non-payment of feuduties and other accounts despite being a very wealthy man. This seems to have had little effect on the practice to which in 1896 his father recruited the Edinburgh architect Thomas Reid Peacock as assistant. Peacock had a wealth of experience from the offices of George Washington Browne, John More Dick Peddie and Rowand Anderson and was taken into partnership in 1898, the practice title now becoming Thomson, Turnbull & Peacock.

In 1901 Campbell Douglas ‘found it necessary’ to dissolve his partnership with Alexander Morrison. Morrison then merged his practice with that of Thomson, Turnbull & Peacock, the practice title now being Morrison, Turnbull & Peacock, the sequence of names suggesting that Robert Turnbull had retired and that Alexander had been taken into partnership, the firm now describing itself as civil engineers as well as architects and surveyors. This arrangement proved to be brief and is known only from an amendment to the Glasgow directories traced by William Williamson, the practice title reverting to Thomson Turnbull & Peacock.

Robert and Fanny Turnbull both died in October 1905, leaving Alexander and his sister Jessie Mary a large portfolio of properties in Lenzie which must have produced a significant rental income. In or about 1905 Glasgow School Board gave Thomson Turnbull & Peacock the commission for the two east end schools at Bluevale and London Road, the excellent neo-Baroque of the latter suggesting that Peacock was its designer: but in 1906 Peacock relinquished his partnership and emigrated to Canada before these schools were completed, leaving Alexander Turnbull as sole partner. The Glasgow office did not survive long thereafter although Alexander may have continued to practice as a civil engineer from Lenzie. Like so many others it was doubtless adversely affected by the Finance Act of 1909. All Alexander’s cousin would say when interviewed at the family joiner’s shop in the early 1960s was ‘He’s dead now. Made a right damned mess of it, didn’t he?’

Alexander married Isabella Petrie Forrester in 1911, their elder son Robert Forrester Turnbull being born in 1912. A second son John was born in 1932 but Isabella died shortly after the birth at Stobhill Hospital while John himself survived only another two months.

In later years Alexander moved to Crieff Road, Hillyland, Perth. He died at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh in 1949 and was buried alongside his parents, wife and son and Cadder Cemetery. His profession was given as civil engineer. His sister Jessie Mary who had married her cousin John Smart of Charleston Farm Montrose had predeceased him in 1937: his son Robert settled in Stonehaven where he died in 2000.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1122, Wellington Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessAfter 1884After 1901 

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 1Thomson, Turnbull & Peacock1898Late 1905Partner 

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 16Before 1888AuchinlochLenzie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 2 of 16Late 1880sGrove Park, 11 housesLenzie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 3 of 16Late 1880sHouses, Victoria RoadLenzie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 4 of 161892Lenzie Golf Club pavilionLenzie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 5 of 16Before 1894Albert villaLenzie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 6 of 16Before 1894Ava CottageLenzie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 7 of 16Before 1894BeaconsfieldLenzie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 8 of 16Before 1894GowanbraeLenzie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 9 of 16Before 1894LochviewLenzie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 10 of 161897Tenements in London Road  GlasgowScotland 
Item 11 of 161898Kelvinbridge Artistic Stationery Works  GlasgowScotlandAddition
Item 12 of 161898Villas, Glasgow RoadPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandPlans dated
Item 13 of 161904Gavinburn Board Schools at ClydebankOld Kilpatrick DunbartonshireScotlandAdditions
Item 14 of 161905Double cottagesLenzie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 15 of 161905London Road School with lodge  GlasgowScotland 
Item 16 of 161906Bluevale SchoolHaghill GlasgowScotlandInitial building?


Bibliographic References

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

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 Letter from Jean Francois Caron re Peacock 18 January 2001; personal recollections of Mrs W K Stewart