Basic Biographical Details
|Henry ('Harry') Thomson
|2 November 1921
|Henry ('Harry') Thomson was born in Dundee in 1880, the son of James Thomson, then an assistant in the Burgh Engineer's office in Dundee, and educated at Dundee High School. He was articled to John Murray Robertson in 1896, and took classes at the Technical Institute. He remained with Murray Robertson until the latter's death in early 1901 when he commenced practice in Dundee on his own account, but continued to assist Robertson's successor James Findlay part-time with the completion of Robertson's Medical School building until 1902.
In 1906, having obtained the commission for the King's Theatre in Dundee, Harry engaged his brother Frank, then in London, to design it. Some time before the opening on 15 March 1909 Frank was taken into partnership by his brother, enabling him to marry and set up house in Cupar. Some time previously Harry had set up his own household at 5 Yew Bank Avenue, Broughty Ferry. Before the theatre was completed the original promoter, who had a link with the D'Oyly Carte Company, had embarrassed himself and his backers deserted him, the project being taken over by another local syndicate, United County Theatres, who brought in an untraced English consultant named Ward (perhaps an assistant in one of the larger theatre architects' offices) to complete it with more elaborate plasterwork ('all right if you like that kind of thing').
Harry was admitted LRIBA in the mass intake of 20 July 1911, proposed by William Fleming Wilkie and the Dundee Institute of Architects. In that year the partnership won the competition for St John's Cross Church, a burgh church transferred to the Blackness area and shortly thereafter Frank moved to Daisybank, Maryfield where he lived for the rest of his life. But by the beginning of the First World War the partnership had run into difficulty. Harry was more socialite than worker, and although the practice had prospered he had borrowed heavily from his brother, partly to finance his move from Yew Bank Avenue to Oakley Place in Queen Street. Their problems came to a head over unpaid tradesmen, a matter which went to court where Frank had to give evidence which contradicted that of his brother. The practice was damaged by the publicity the case received and the partnership was dissolved: 'he broke it, I didn't, I always regretted it' Frank observed some forty years later, although Harry's debts had never been repaid. After the war Harry and Frank practised independently but on 2 November 1921 Harry died from a fall in the stairwell of a Broughty Ferry hotel.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
|26, Castle Street, Dundee, Scotland
|5, Yewbank Avenue, Broughty Ferry, Dundee, Scotland
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
|The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this (click on an item to view details):
|John Murray Robertson
|Worked as part-time assistant to complete Medical School, whilst also carrying out independent practice
|H & F Thomson
|The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
|William Fleming Wilkie
|20 July 1911
|for Licentiateship - as President of the Dundee Institute of Architects
Buildings and Designs
|The following books contain references to this :
|The King's, God's and Commoners
|The following archives hold material relating to this :
|Source Catalogue No.
|Professor David M Walker personal archive
|Professor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material
|Copy of letter from Trixie Thomson to Historic Buildings and Monuments, 10 July 1990; personal information from Frank Thomson, Gertie and Trixie Thomson and W Sinclair Gauldie
|RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert Museum
|RIBA Nomination Papers
|L v21 no1625