Basic Biographical Details

Name: Thomson & Menzies
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1890
Ended: 1955
Bio Notes: David Thomson was born c.1830. His RIBA nomination paper does not state to whom he was originally articled only that he had been for many years assistant and principal assistant to Charles Wilson whose partner he became in March 1862. During that period he studied at the Government School of Design under the unrelated Charles Heath Wilson. When Charles Wilson died in February of the following year he continued the practice which thereafter consisted principally of church, school and country house work. Later in that same year, 1863, Charles Heath Wilson's tenure as headmaster of the Government School of Design ended when the institution was transferred from the Board of Trade to the Department of Science and Art. He set up business as an architect although his practice was limited to monuments and ship interiors rather than buildings. Nevertheless he had some influential patrons and he became both Honorary Director of the School (which thereafter became the School of Art) and a trustee of the Haldane Academy. Wilson and Thomson went into partnership some time in that year as C H Wilson & D Thomson, but in 1868 Wilson withdrew to live and work in Florence.

Thomson thereafter practised alone until July 1876 when Alexander Thomson's partner Robert Turnbull requested permission from Alexander Thomson's trustees to take a partner to handle the design work, Turnbull being clerk of works rather than architect. The request was eventually agreed to later in that year. No name was mentioned but Turnbull had probably already discussed the possibility of a partnership with David Thomson. The firm became D Thomson & Turnbull later that year. Thomson and Turnbull were not, however, really compatible and the partnership was dissolved in 1883, probably primarily because of the severe recession from 1881 onwards.

Thomson was admitted FRIBA on 17 December 1877, his proposers being John Carrick, John Burnet Senior and John Honeyman, the latter noting in particular the active part Thomson had taken in 'encouraging schemes for mutual improvement among pupils & draughtsmen' and stating that he had written 'several good papers on subjects connected with architecture'.

In 1890 Thomson took into partnership Colin Menzies. Menzies had been born at 8 Hyndland Street, Partick on 15 June 1861, the son of Colin Menzies, engine fitter and his wife Margaret Scotland; his family is believed to have originated in Perthshire. He had studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1885 to 1888; it is not known in which offices he had been articled or employed as an assistant.

Thomson retired in 1897 and died in 1910. Menzies continued the practice thereafter. His work was mostly commercial and industrial, his most important client being the National Telephone Company until its compulsory acquisition by the Post Office in 1911, although for much of that time he had to work in association with Leonard Stokes as main architect to that company.

Menzies was an enthusiastic volunteer in the 1st LRV and took part of the Wet Review in 1881. He was also a keen sportsman, particularly cricket, golfing and fishing. For a time he had a residence on the Benmore estate, partly to deal with estate work, and partly for the fishing. He died of pancreatic cancer on 31 March 1935. At that date he was living at 31 Peel Street, Partick, to which he had moved from The Oriels, the handsome house he had built for himself in Nithsdale Road. He left a widow, Jean Rennie from Falkirk, and the then fairly substantial moveable estate of 11,282 0s 8d.

After Menzies' death the practice was continued by David Thomson's grandson, John David Moore Thomson, who had presumably trained with Menzies. The Charles Wilson archive was deposited with NMRS and the David Thomson and Thomson & Menzies records were taken over by Weddell & Thomson, David L Thomson's son, John David Moore Thomson, having been taken into partnership by James Wilkie Weddell in 1948.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 52, West Regent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1890  
Item 2 of 558, Renfield Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1918 or 19191930 or 1931 
Item 3 of 579, West Regent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1930 or 19311936 or 1937 
Item 4 of 5204, Bath Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1937 or 19381945 or 1946 
Item 5 of 5248, West George Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1946 or 19471954 or 1955 

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 10Andrew Rennie Crawford1890c. 1893ApprenticeUnder David Thomson
Item 2 of 10David Thomson18901897Partner 
Item 3 of 10David Lockerbie Thomson1890(?)Before 1905(?)Assistant(?)Unclear at which stage he became a partner
Item 4 of 10Colin Menzies18901935Partner 
Item 5 of 10Andrew Rennie Crawfordc. 18931896AssistantUnder David Thomson
Item 6 of 10John (Ian) Shaw BoydDecember 1912October 1914Draughtsman 
Item 7 of 10Norval Rowallan Paxton6 March 191420 September 1914Draughtsman 
Item 8 of 10John (Ian) Shaw BoydMay 1919c. 1923Draughtsman 
Item 9 of 10John James Bayne GibbFebruary 1921c. 1826Apprentice 
Item 10 of 10John James Bayne Gibbc. 1926March 1928Draughtsman 

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 691891Benmore HouseKilmun ArgyllScotlandEast wing etc
Item 2 of 691893Houston House  RenfrewshireScotlandStable offices and addition
Item 3 of 691894Eastwood Parish ChurchPollokshaws GlasgowScotlandAdditions and church officer's house
Item 4 of 691894Springburn SchoolSpringburn GlasgowScotlandBlock facing Crichton Street added
Item 5 of 691895Lanrick Shooting LodgeLoch Venachar StirlingshireScotland 
Item 6 of 691895VillaThornliebank RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 7 of 691896Dalziel Parish ChurchMotherwell LanarkshireScotlandAdditions and halls
Item 8 of 691896Girthon Parish ChurchGatehouse of Fleet KirkcudbrightshireScotlandReconstruction
Item 9 of 691896Royal Exchange  GlasgowScotlandPartial reconstruction for the National Telephone Co
Item 10 of 691896Thornliebank Parish Church and hallThornliebank RenfrewshireScotlandHall etc. Also further work up to 1903
Item 11 of 691897Cranston's Picture House and Tea Rooms, Renfield Street  GlasgowScotlandOriginal building
Item 12 of 691897VillaAberfeldy PerthshireScotland 
Item 13 of 691897VillaAberfeldy PerthshireScotland 
Item 14 of 691898Cranston's Tea Rooms Ltd, Morrison Court (Argyle Arcade)  GlasgowScotlandReconstruction (smoke room etc)
Item 15 of 691898McCorquodale's Printing Works  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 16 of 691898The MainsGiffnock RenfrewshireScotlandAdditions
Item 17 of 691898The PeelBusby LanarkshireScotlandAdditions
Item 18 of 691899Villa, BalshagrayPartick GlasgowScotland 
Item 19 of 691900Central Telephone Exchange  GlasgowScotland 
Item 20 of 691900Keppochhill SchoolKeppochhill GlasgowScotlandAddition
Item 21 of 691900Royal Exchange  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 22 of 691900Royal Scottish National Hospital, nurses' homeLarbert StirlingshireScotland 
Item 23 of 69c. 1900The Oriels  GlasgowScotland 
Item 24 of 691902Stuart Cranston's Tea Rooms, Argyll Arcade (within Argyll Chambers)  GlasgowScotlandShops and warehouses
Item 25 of 691903McCorquodale's Printing Works  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 26 of 691903Royal Exchange  GlasgowScotlandOffices and test room
Item 27 of 691904Kennedy Street School  GlasgowScotlandAddition
Item 28 of 691904Larbert HouseLarbert StirlingshireScotlandAddition
Item 29 of 691904Warehouses, counting houses etc  GlasgowScotlandCompleted - eastern part
Item 30 of 691905Ardencaple HouseHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotlandAdditional floor
Item 31 of 691905Cathedral Street and North Hanover Street corner  GlasgowScotland 
Item 32 of 691905Country houseKillearn StirlingshireScotland 
Item 33 of 691905Infant SchoolSpringburn GlasgowScotland 
Item 34 of 691905Larbert HouseLarbert StirlingshireScotlandGate lodge, avenue etc
Item 35 of 691905VillaBusby LanarkshireScotland 
Item 36 of 691906Cranston's Tea Rooms  GlasgowScotland 
Item 37 of 691906Soldiers' Home, Barry CampBarry AngusScotland 
Item 38 of 691906Wellesley Tea Rooms  GlasgowScotlandAlterations for conversion to Cranston's tea rooms
Item 39 of 691907Soldiers' Home, Stobs CampHawick RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 40 of 691907Western Telephone ExchangeHillhead GlasgowScotlandDesign by Leonard Stokes but with Menzies as executant architect
Item 41 of 691909Free Church College  GlasgowScotlandLibrary, hall, classrooms etc after fire
Item 42 of 691911Larbert house, model dairy and byreLarbert StirlingshireScotland 
Item 43 of 691911Norwich Union Fire Insurance Company premises  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 44 of 691911Younger HallKilmun ArgyllScotlandDesigner?
Item 45 of 691912Dalrachney Shooting LodgeCarrbridge Inverness-shireScotland 
Item 46 of 691913Larbert HouseLarbert StirlingshireScotlandAdditions
Item 47 of 691913Orangefield HousePrestwick (near) AyrshireScotlandAdditions/alterations
Item 48 of 691913Royal Exchange  GlasgowScotlandReconstruction for Directors of Royal Exchange
Item 49 of 691914Premises for the General Electric Co  GlasgowScotlandWarehouse, showrooms and counting house for General Electric Co
Item 50 of 691914Thornliebank War MemorialThornliebank RenfrewshireScotlandDesign only?
Item 51 of 691915Royal Exchange  GlasgowScotlandRestaurant
Item 52 of 691919McCorquodale's Printing Works  GlasgowScotlandReconstruction of two properties
Item 53 of 691920OrlingtonNorth Mount Vernon GlasgowScotland 
Item 54 of 691920Tea Rooms  GlasgowScotlandExtension
Item 55 of 691921Premises for the General Electric Co  GlasgowScotlandShowrooms
Item 56 of 691922McCorquodale's Printing Works  GlasgowScotlandReconditioning of three properties
Item 57 of 691923Boots the Chemist, Argyle Street and Union Street (1)  GlasgowScotland 
Item 58 of 691924Engineering WorksScotstoun GlasgowScotland 
Item 59 of 691924McCorquodale's Printing Works  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 60 of 691925Warehouse, Fox Street  GlasgowScotlandAttribution to Menzies by HS
Item 61 of 691926McCorquodale's Printing Works  GlasgowScotlandNew building in Fox Street
Item 62 of 691928Shops and office premises  GlasgowScotland 
Item 63 of 691929Carpet Factory for John E Lyle & CoMile End GlasgowScotland 
Item 64 of 691930Country houseKillearn StirlingshireScotland 
Item 65 of 69c. 1930Dolcis Building  GlasgowScotland 
Item 66 of 691936Colston Wellpark Parish Church Hall  GlasgowScotland 
Item 67 of 691936House for W E McCaigHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 68 of 691938House for W H StephensonMilngavie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 69 of 691939Bungalow and piggeriesAuchenairn LanarkshireScotland 


Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1RIAS Quarterly1935 Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)Obituary check date

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architectural practice:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Information per Elspeth Dennis via website.