Five facts about: Alexander Greek Thomson

1 Although born in Stirlingshire in 1817, eminent architect Alexander Greek Thomson moved to Glasgow at the age of seven, and he has become inextricably linked with the city. His works include the Caledonia Road Free Church, St Vincent Street Church and the villa Holmwood House, now owned by the National Trust for Scotland. He was also responsible for many medium-sized villas and terraces of cottages throughout the city, in areas such as Pollokshields, Shawlands, Crossmyloof and Cathcart, as well as further afield in Langbank, Bothwell and Cove.

Glasgow Times:

2 His nickname ‘Greek’ arose because his style was heavily influenced by Ancient Greek and Egyptian architecture. Glasgow’s Egyptian Halls in Union Street and the Grecian Buildings in Sauchiehall Street are both examples of his finest work. He was inventive and original, using new materials such as cast iron and plate glass.

3 One of his finest works sadly sits derelict and unloved, though still striking in its design and floodlit at night, in the Gorbals. The Caledonia Road Church was Alexander Thomson’s first church in the city, built in 1857. It is unconventional – its asymmetric layout follows the edges of the surrounding roads – and original - its tower, with its intricate carvings, has no historical precedents.

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4 The church closed in 1962 and was scheduled for redevelopment until a fire severely damaged its interior in 1965.

Thomson was among the first architects to look at ‘sustainable’ housing, redeveloping slums and creating space for people to live and breathe.

Glasgow Times:

5 Thomson died in 1875, in his home at number one Moray Place in the terrace he had designed, and is buried in the Southern Necropolis in the Gorbals.

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