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:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|122, Wellington Street, Glasgow, Scotland||Business||After 1884||After 1901|| |
Employment and Training
|The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):|
| ||Name||Date from||Date to||Position||Notes|
|Thomson, Turnbull & Peacock||1898||Late 1905||Partner|| |
Buildings and Designs
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|Williamson, William||2011||Robert Turnbull IA of Lenzie|| || || |
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|Professor David M Walker personal archive||Professor 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|