Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||W N Thomson & Co |
|Designation: ||Architectural practice |
|Started: ||1915 |
|Ended: || |
|Bio Notes: ||William Nicholas Thomson was born in 1857, known to his friends as 'Nick Thomson' and educated at George Watson's College. He was articled to Cousin & Ormiston c.1872-3: because of illness and absence abroad his acquaintance with David Cousin may have been brief. There is as yet no record of him having been in any other office and he probably remained with Ormiston as assistant until he set up his own practice as architect and surveyor at 87 Constitution Street, Leith in 1889, his clients being mainly distillers, brewers and publicans. He designed mainly in a partly neo-Jacobean freestyle in which slim pilastered angles and scalloped parapets were featured. |
In 1915 James Dorward was taken into partnership. Dorward had been born on 28 September 1877 and had been articled to an unspecified architect in Edinburgh in 1895, studying at Heriot-Watt College. On completion of his apprenticeship in 1900 he had found employment with the North British Railway Company as an assistant on the North British Station Hotel, presumably in association with George Beattie & Son. He had joined William Nicholas Thomson's practice as an assistant in 1903. The practice title changed to W N Thomson & Co when Dorward was taken into partnership. Dorward was elected FRIAS in 1923.
In 1935 Samuel Edwin Duncan was also taken into partnership, the practice moving to Hope Chambers, 52 Leith Walk in Leith. Duncan had been born on 10 January 1899 and articled to James Bower Bennett of 5 Hill Street, Edinburgh in September 1915. His apprenticeship had been interrupted by war service but he had completed it with William Nicholas Thomson, and had studied at Heriot-Watt College and at Edinburgh College of Art under George Washington Browne. He had remained as assistant in the Thomson practice and had been promoted to principal assistant in 1925, superintending and inspecting all work for the firm, and working principally on domestic buildings, factories, shops, stores and alterations. He had been admitted LRIBA in late 1930 or early 1931, his proposers being George Washington Browne and A Nicol Bruce, the then secretary of the RIAS.
In 1938 Thomson retired at the age of seventy, his interest in the practice passing to his son William Innes Thomson, who had been born in 1910. William Innes Thomson had commenced the diploma course at the School of Architecture, Edinburgh College of Art and Heriot-Watt College in 1928, studying under John Begg and Frank Charles Mears. He had been awarded an exemption from the RIBA intermediate exam in 1931 and had spent the following year gaining experience in an unspecified office. He had continued his studies thereafter and had obtained his diploma in 1934, receiving an exemption from the final exam. He had been admitted ARIBA on 14 January 1935, his proposers being Begg, Frank Charles Mears and James Inch Morrison. His nomination papers state that between 1928 and 1934 he had made visits to traditional buildings throughout Britain and had studied contemporary work in London. At the time of his admittance he had been awarded a post-graduate scholarship in Town Planning and was still at the School of Architecture. In the mid-1930s he worked as an assistant with W Scott Morton & Co probably for practical experience in bar fitting which was the staple business of the Thomson practice.
The younger Thomson's return appears to have unsettled Duncan who withdrew from the partnership in the following year. Dorward was admitted LRIBA late in life on 20 July 1943, his proposers being John Ross McKay, Thomas Forbes Maclennan and William Innes Thomson. He was also a Fellow of the Edinburgh Architectural Association. He retired c.1944 and in 1950 William Innes Thomson, then sole partner, moved the practice to Cambridge House, 13 Castle Terrace where he was joined in 1961 by his son Nicholas Innes Thomson who became a partner in 1968.
William Nicholas Thomson died in 1951; William Innes Thomson on 20 September 1990.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|87, Constitution Street, Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||1889||After 1935|| |
|Hope Chambers/52, Leith Walk, Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||1935||After 1943|| |
|Cambridge/13, Castle Terrace, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||1950 *||After 1975|| |
|8, Manse Road, Aberdour, Fife, Scotland||Business||1980 *|| ||Branch office|
|84, Main Street, Davidson's Mains, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||1981|| || |
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
Employees or Pupils
Buildings and Designs
|This architectural practice was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):|
| ||Date started||Building name||Town, district or village||Island||City or county||Country||Notes|
|1930||Garage and workshops||Leith|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1934||Offices and warehouse for D Buchan||Leith|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1938||Seafield Crematorium||Leith|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1947||Murray's Craigmillar Park Brewery and Cottages||Craigmillar|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Reconstruction and extension, approximate cost £133,000|
|1947||Public House, Easthouses, for William Murray & Co Ltd||Dalkeith|| ||Midlothian||Scotland|| |
|1947||Public House, Holytown, for William Murray & Co Ltd||Holytown|| ||Lanarkshire||Scotland|| |
|1947||Public House, Newtongrange, for William Murray & Co Limited||Newtongrange|| ||Midlothian||Scotland|| |
|1949||Murray's Craigmillar Park Brewery and Cottages||Craigmillar|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Demolitions, additions and extensions costing £30,000|
|1951||Murray's Craigmillar Park Brewery and Cottages||Craigmillar|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland||For extension of tun room|
|1953||The Doocot|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|Before 1975||Automobile Association offices|| || || ||Scotland|| |
|Before 1975||Queene Anne Whisky Plant||Newbridge|| ||West Lothian||Scotland|| |
|Before 1975||Ravelston Court|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|Before 1975||Sports Pavilion||Duddingston|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|The following books contain references to this architectural practice:|
|Municipal Annual||1964||Scottish Municipal Annual||1964-1965|| || |
|RIBA||1980||Directory of Practices 1980|| || || |
|The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|Builder||19 August 1949|| || ||p245|
|Builder||26 October 1951|| || ||p570|