Basic Biographical Details

Name: Thomson, McCrea & Sanders
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1952
Bio Notes: James Taylor Thomson was born in Edinburgh 1887 or early 1888, the son of Andrew Lindsay Thomson, commercial traveller and Alice Rennie Taylor, and was educated at the Royal High School. He was articled to George Lennox Beattie c.1903. At the end of his articles he joned Robert Stodart Lorimer's office as an assistant. He emigrated to the USA in 1912 and for eight years worked with Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue in New York. In the 1920s he returned to Scotland for medical treatment. He originally intended to return to New York but decided to establish his own practice as architect and civil engineer, joining Burnet Son & Dick part-time at Burnet's invitation to take over the detailing of Glasgow University Chapel. There he fell foul of Norman Dick over the time taken and left, Dick thereafter supervising the detailing himself. Fortunately Thomson's personal practice picked up very quickly to become a serious threat to Dick's. In 1927 he won the competition for St John's Renfield Church, and it was there that he married Wilhelmina Coutts Malcolm on 3 June 1931. Thomas Smith Tait gave him a major share of the Glasgow Empire Exhibition of 1938, from which Dick was excluded. From 1936 to 1937 Taylor Thomson was assisted by William McCrea who appears to have been taken into partnership around that time under the title of James Taylor Thomson & Partner, his name being acknowledged in the practice title as Thomson & McCrea by c. 1942.

William McCrea was born on 4 February 1896 and was articled to David Forbes Smith of Kirkcaldy from 1912 and attended Heriot-Watt College in Edinburgh and the Glasgow School of Architecture where he undertook the full diploma course and was awarded the Diploma of the School. At some point thereafter he spent two periods of three months studying in northern France. In 1920 he entered the office of James Miller followed by a spell in the office of John Burnet, Son & DickHe was admitted ARIBA sometime before 1930. He joined James Taylor Thomson as chief assistant in 1936 and claimed in his FRIBA nomination papers to have commenced independent practice in Glasgow in 1937, but this was presumably as partner to Thomson prior to his name being acknowledged in the practice title. He was elected FRIBA on 22 September 1942, his proposers being Professor William James Smith, Charles Geddes Soutar and Thomas Johnston Beveridge.

William Hamilton Sanders was assumed into the partnership in 1952. He had been born on 22 January 1914 and had studied at Glasgow School of Architecture from September 1933. He had joined the James Taylor Thomson & Partner as assistant in June 1937, and in October the following year he graduated BSc from Glasgow University. He had been admitted ARIBA on 6 March 1939, his proposers being Gavin Lennox, William James Smith and Joseph Weekes. He had remained with the Thomson practice thereafter.

McCrea was active in public life. He was President of the Glasgow Institute of Architects from 1953-54, and was elected President of the RIAS in 1955, having previously sat on the Council for seventeen years in various capacities, as well as serving on the Council and Executive Committee of the RIBA.

James Taylor Thomson was also active in public life. He was vice president of the Glasgow Institute of Architects, Deacon of the Incorporation of Masons and president of Glasgow Art Club.

Thomson died of cancer at 156 Hyndland Road, Glasgow on 15 March 1953, aged sixty-five, after a long period of poor health.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 2212, Bath Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1952After 1957 
Item 2 of 2Market Square House, Obsdale Road, Alness, Ross & Cromarty, ScotlandBusiness1975  

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 8William Geoffrey Jarvis19481953AssistantOffice experience during degree
Item 2 of 8James Taylor Thomson19521953Partner 
Item 3 of 8William McCrea19521955(?)Partner 
Item 4 of 8William Hamilton Sanders1952After 1975Partner 
Item 5 of 8Robert Wilson1970After 1975Partner 
Item 6 of 8David Ritchie Blane FergusonBefore 1975After 1981Partner 
Item 7 of 8William G AlexanderBefore 1975After 1981Partner 
Item 8 of 8John R Russellc. 1981 Partner 

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 startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 341952Titwood Established Church  GlasgowScotlandTaken down and re-erected at Meiklerig Crescent as St James's Pollok
Item 2 of 3423 January 1953Premises of Donaldson & Filer Ltd, Cogan StreetPollokshaws GlasgowScotlandTo prepare plans for new offices
Item 3 of 343 April 1953Premises of Donaldson & Filer Ltd, Cogan StreetPollokshaws GlasgowScotlandTo prepare plans for extensions
Item 4 of 3426 June 1953School, Meiklerig Crescent  GlasgowScotlandExtensions, alterations, and additions
Item 5 of 341954Montrose Old ChurchMontrose AngusScotlandCarried out the alterations which the earlier form of the practice had planned.
Item 6 of 341955South Parish ChurchBearsden Dunbartonshire/GlasgowScotland 
Item 7 of 34Before 1955Houses at KippenKippen StirlingshireScotland 
Item 8 of 34Before 1955Houses, BowlingBowling DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 9 of 34Before 1955Houses, MilngavieMilngavie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 10 of 34Before 1955Scottish Control Station of Central Electricity  GlasgowScotland 
Item 11 of 341957Premises of Mavor & Coulson, Swanston StreetDalmarnock GlasgowScotlandCanteen and baths ('J. Taylor Thomson, McCrea & Sanders, 212 Bath St, WC2' per Builder p294)
Item 12 of 3411 January 1957Offices, Harmony RowGovan GlasgowScotlandBuilder p121
Item 13 of 3429 March 1957HallCathcart GlasgowScotlandper Builder, p614
Item 14 of 341958Lenzie AcademyLenzie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 15 of 341963Glasgow University, Zoology Field Station  GlasgowScotland 
Item 16 of 341964Bonded stores, blending, bottling hall  GlasgowScotland 
Item 17 of 341964Television studios  GlasgowScotland 
Item 18 of 341965Indoor bowling green  GlasgowScotland 
Item 19 of 341965Old people's home  GlasgowScotland 
Item 20 of 341966Garage for McHarg, Rennie & Lindsay  GlasgowScotland 
Item 21 of 341966Geriatric Hospital, Blawarthill  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 22 of 341967Hampden Park Football GroundMount Florida GlasgowScotlandWest terracing covering, grass, TV boxes, dressing rooms. Cost 180,000,
Item 23 of 341967 or 1968Celtic Football GroundParkhead GlasgowScotlandEast terracing covering
Item 24 of 341968Glasgow University, television studio  GlasgowScotland 
Item 25 of 341968Holyrood RC SchoolPolmadie GlasgowScotlandExtensions
Item 26 of 341969Children's Home  GlasgowScotland 
Item 27 of 341969McGhee's Bakery  GlasgowScotland 
Item 28 of 341969North Park HouseKelvinside GlasgowScotlandExtension
Item 29 of 341969Youth Centre for Church of Scotland  GlasgowScotland 
Item 30 of 341973Lenzie AcademyLenzie DunbartonshireScotlandExtension
Item 31 of 341974Boclair AcademyBearsden Glasgow/DunbartonshireScotlandWith Robert Sutherland as County Architect
Item 32 of 341985Old People's Home, Ward  GlasgowScotlandConservatory and ward added for old people's home.
Item 33 of 341987Bonhill Parish ChurchBonhill DunbartonshireScotlandInterior alterations (removal of gallery for 2-storey hall); sanctuary created in N and new galleries S & E. Vestibule and stair in S extension.
Item 34 of 341990Coatbridge workshops, CoatdykeCoatbridge LanarkshireScotland 


Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Builder23 January 1953  p177
Item 2 of 4Builder13 February 1953  p292
Item 3 of 4Builder3 April 1953  p549
Item 4 of 4Builder26 June 1953  p1004