Neale Thomson was a forward-thinking social reformer, who realised many of his employees at the Adelphi Cotton Works in the Gorbals could not afford to buy a decent loaf of bread.

As a result, he set up Crossmyloof Bakery, which became famous for the Crossmyloof loaf. Ten bread shops providing good quality, cheaper loaves, eventually opened across the city.

Glasgow Times: Baker Street in Crossmyloof, 1964. Picture - Virtual Mitchell

Thomson donated land from his family estate to build a church (on land now occupied by St Helen’s RC Church) and a school (now a coffee shop and restaurant on Skirving Street.)

Bakers in those days were often expected to work 20-hour shifts and many slept on the premises. In 1855, he commissioned Glasgow architect Alexander Greek Thomson to build a row of houses for workers. Baker Street was demolished in the 1980s. He also sold land to the city at much less than its value, for what would become Queen’s Park. Thomson’s family home Camphill House, has been converted into flats in the park.

Glasgow Times: Baker Street, now demolished, was home to the bakery workers. Pic: Virtual Mitchell

Born in 1807, Thomson, who studied at Glasgow University, was not destined to take over the Cotton Works because he was the third son, but after his father and brothers died, he found himself in charge.

Rivals accused Thomson of making sub-standard bread in smear campaigns and a debate in parliament in London surrounded capital workers trying to get the same rights as the Glasgow ones. Thomson also helped his employees open their own bank accounts and matched their savings at the end of the year. He brought in a 12 hour working day and a day off every second Sunday.

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Thomson died in 1857 and is buried in Cathcart Old Parish Church cemetery, alongside his wife Helen and several of their children, who carried on the business after his death in 1857. The bakery survived until 1880.