Basic Biographical Details

Name: William Aitken Thomson
Designation: Architect
Born: 21 September 1871
Died: 26 November 1947
Bio Notes: William Aitken Thomson, born on 21 September 1871, was the second son of James Thomson of the firm Baird & Thomson and his first wife Isobel Miller Aitken. Like his brother James Baird Thomson (born c.1870 ) he was educated at Albany Academy. William was articled to his father in 1888 and became an assistant in 1892 when he undertook the working drawings for the Schaw Convalescent Home at Bearsden, presumably from sketch designs by his father. Both sons were made partners in May 1899, and both were admitted FRIBA as part of a wider programme of admission of the leading practices to the RIBA on 3 December 1906, their proposers being James Milne Monro, William Leiper and John James Burnet. Their nomination papers helpfully list their work separately indicating that James Baird Thomson was responsible for the free Renaissance Cambridge buildings and the severe warehouse designs and William Aitken Thomson the German Renaissance elevator buildings. There is no indication of either brother having studied at Glasgow School of Art or having travelled, although William probably had as contemporary accounts correctly state that the details of the Council building were taken from the Ritter Inn at Heidelberg.

Some time before 1914 James Baird Thomson's health failed and he retired to Florida Mount, New Brighton, Cheshire, where he died in 1917. William Aitken Thomson continued the practice from the same office at 88 Bath Street until 1929 when he relocated it to 150 Holland Street, probably to cut costs in the recession. In 1942-43 the practice was taken over by Weddel & Thomson on William Aitken Thomson's retirement. His most important client in the inter-war years was the Clydesdale Bank, his last buildings being in a modern manner.

William Aitken Thomson died of cancer of the larynx on 26 November 1947 at 2 Queen's Gate, 125 Dowanhill Street, and was buried in the family lair in Glasgow Necropolis. He was survived by his wife Margaret Watson Christie (who died on 6 February 1952) and a son, Alexander M S Thomson. Another son, William James Thomson, had died on 25 February 1927 at the early age of seventeen.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 488, Bath Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 18881928 or 1929 
Item 2 of 419, Queen's Gate, Dowanhill, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1914 *  
Item 3 of 4150, Holland Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1928 or 1929After 1940 
Item 4 of 42 Queen's Gate/125, Dowanhill Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1947 * Now 125 Dowanhill Street

* earliest date known from documented sources.

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 3James Thomson18881892Apprentice 
Item 2 of 3James Thomson18921899Assistant 
Item 3 of 3Baird & Thomson18991942 or 1943Partner 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3(Sir) John James Burnet3 December 1906for Fellowship
Item 2 of 3William Leiper3 December 1906for Fellowship
Item 3 of 3James Milne Monro3 December 1906for Fellowship

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3James Allen FrewLate 1921for Associateship
Item 2 of 3Hugh McMaster16 April 1940Associateship
Item 3 of 3Hamilton NeilEarly 1921for Fellowship

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 441891British Linen BankWhiteinch GlasgowScotland 
Item 2 of 441891Schaw Convalescent HomeBearsden GlasgowScotland 
Item 3 of 441894Kinnaird HouseLarbert StirlingshireScotlandSupervised the work from design by the firm
Item 4 of 441895Woodfield Mansion House  Edinburgh (near)Scotland 
Item 5 of 441896Lancashire Insurance Company Offices, West George Street  GlasgowScotlandClaims specific responsibility
Item 6 of 441898Building for William Connall & Co  GlasgowScotlandIn partnership
Item 7 of 441898Cambridge Buildings, 202-212 Sauchiehall Street  GlasgowScotlandIn partnership
Item 8 of 441899Clydesdale BankGreenock RenfrewshireScotlandIn partnership
Item 9 of 441899Clydesdale BankStirling StirlingshireScotlandJames Baird Thomson mainly responsible
Item 10 of 441899Dumbarton Municipal BuildingsDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandIn partnership but claims to have superintended the work
Item 11 of 441899Liverpool London and Globe Insurance Office  GlasgowScotlandClaims specific responsibility
Item 12 of 441900Bridgegate Parish Church  GlasgowScotlandDesign made. In partnership
Item 13 of 441900Feuing plan of Mirrlees estateKelvinside GlasgowScotlandIn partnership
Item 14 of 441900Great Western Hotel and TerraceOban ArgyllScotlandAlterations and installation of lift (with electric motor house at rear of hotel)
Item 15 of 441900Standard Life Buildings  GlasgowScotlandMinor alterations
Item 16 of 441902Clydesdale BankDunfermline FifeScotlandIn partnership
Item 17 of 441902UF Church HallDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandChurch hall and link to church
Item 18 of 441903North British Hotel  GlasgowScotlandAlterations and top floor. In partnership but claims specific responsibility
Item 19 of 441904Clydesdale BankBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandIn partnership
Item 20 of 441904Tobacco Warehouse, James Watt Street  GlasgowScotlandAdditions - new Brown Street fašade
Item 21 of 441905Clydesdale BankAlloa ClackmannanshireScotlandAlterations - in partnership
Item 22 of 441905Clydesdale BankLarbert StirlingshireScotlandAddition - in partnership
Item 23 of 441906Buildings for the McAlpin Nursing Home  GlasgowScotland 
Item 24 of 44190836 Jamaica Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 25 of 441908Royal Glasgow Cancer Hospital, McAlpin Nursing Home  GlasgowScotland 
Item 26 of 441909Standard Life Buildings  GlasgowScotlandTop storeys added
Item 27 of 441913Clydesdale Bank, 10-12 James StreetHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotlandReconstruction and enlargement
Item 28 of 441914Wire Rope Factory  GlasgowScotland 
Item 29 of 441915Clydesdale BankOban ArgyllScotlandNew premises
Item 30 of 441920Clydesdale BankKilbirnie AyrshireScotland 
Item 31 of 441924UF Church, Berryknowes Road  GlasgowScotland 
Item 32 of 441930George Todd Memorial HallOld Dailly AyrshireScotland 
Item 33 of 441932Clydesdale BankGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 34 of 441933Clydesdale BankFalkirk StirlingshireScotland 
Item 35 of 441934Clydesdale Bank, 163-165 Argyle Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 36 of 441934Clydesdale Bank, St Enoch Square  GlasgowScotland 
Item 37 of 441934Clydesdale Bank, Wellington Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 38 of 441935Bank of ScotlandCrieff PerthshireScotland 
Item 39 of 441935Clydesdale BankAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 40 of 441935Clydesdale BankHamilton LanarkshireScotland 
Item 41 of 441936Clydesdale BankOban ArgyllScotlandAlterations
Item 42 of 441936Clydesdale BankTroon AyrshireScotland 
Item 43 of 441938Clydesdale BankSaltcoats AyrshireScotland 
Item 44 of 441939Clydesdale BankDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2Post Office Directories     
Item 2 of 2RIBA1930The RIBA Kalendar 1930-1931 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Architect and Building News5 December 1947   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Information on family and death from research by Iain Paterson
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers F v18 no 1193 p 30 (microfilm reel 12)