On Saturday the 28th January the Alexander Thomson Society held their 9th Annual General Meeting, our second year occupying the bright and spacious Grace and Clark Fyfe Gallery in Glasgow School of Art’s Bourdon Building. As is expected on a typical January day in Glasgow, the weather was unpleasant, and we were really grateful to the 20 or so people who joined the ATS Board to discuss both the success of the previous year, and the excitement of the coming.

At this year’s AGM the Society put on a modest exhibition of images around the gallery, as well displaying the replica bust of Thomson from the original marble sculpture by John Mossman (1877, currently in Kelvingrove Museum) and a scale model of Caledonia Road Church created by GSoA students. The focus of the display was around a selection of drawings from the ongoing survey of Thomson’s residential buildings in Glasgow, a project that was initially, and most generously, grant funded by the Glasgow City Heritage Trust. The scaled drawings showed a number of recently surveyed external details at various existing Thomson villas, tenements and terraces, including The Knowe, Castlehill and what’s remaining of his tenements on Eglinton Street (more information on the residential building survey is available in the Alexander Thomson Society Journal – Edition 01). In addition to this, we displayed a grid of images highlighting some of the upcoming bicentenary events and projects we are hosting throughout the year, and had available a new leaflet we were launching that day that explains more about the Society, becoming a member and the 2017 programme of events.



Aside from the usual AGM discussions regarding our finances, structure and day-to-day running, each Society director stood up and spoke about their key projects of the year. Scott Abercrombie began with a very exciting update on the recent registration phase and submission to the [ideas] Competition for a Double Villa that was launched back in September 2016. The Society is extremely pleased with the number of submissions we received to this stimulating ideas competition, and at a glance over some of the drawings and models (all submitted anonymously via a coding system) we have received a really diverse spread of approaches to the design. The competition entries are all being exhibited at The Lighthouse, with the opening night being held on the 6th April 2017 and then running until 26th April. The judging will take place prior to this and the announcement of the winner and runners up will happen at the drinks reception on the opening night. At the AGM, we were delighted to confirm the following additions to the judging panel:


Head Judges: Charlie Sutherland and Charlie Hussey (Principals of Sutherland Hussey Harris, internationally renowned Scottish Practice)

Evelyn Silber – Owner and resident of one half of Thomson’s Double Villa


alongside the previously announced panel of:


Mark Baines – Chair Alexander Thomson Society

John Gerrard – Architect

Tim Gray – GIA President

Niall Murphy – Pollokshields Heritage / Glasgow City Heritage Trust


We would encourage people to visit the exhibition during this time and see some amazing pieces of architectural imagination, inspired, of course, by Thomson and his beautiful Double Villa. For more information on the opening night and exhibition, please visit their respective pages by visiting www.Thomson2017.org.uk

In addition to this fantastic news on the success of the ideas competition, we also reported on a few other highlights of the year, the St Vincent Street Church Thanksgiving service, being held on Thomson’s birthday (April 9th), our Lines of Thought Exhibition on at The Lighthouse from 17th August to 1st October and the year-long Takes on Thomson drawing series. We were also lucky to be joined by various members of other organisations who are also holding events throughout the year in celebration of Thomson’s birth; Jim Thomson from the Balfron Heritage Group, Iain McGillivray who works for the National Trust for Scotland looking after Holmwood and Ruth Johnston of the Friends of the Glasgow Necropolis. Their events relating to Thomson are, or will be, added to our own website in the 2017 programme.

Other highlights of this year include a trip to Rothesay in collaboration with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings Scotland, where we will visit Thomson’s Tor House, and the South Side Fringe Film Festival.



At the end of the afternoon session, all of our board of directors put themselves forward for re-election, with the exception of Beth Crozier who stood down from the Board but intends to remain actively involved as a member, particularly with the 1ATP project. Our current board (Mark Baines, Sally White, Joanne Moss, Scott Abercrombie, Roger Guthrie, Colin McCluskey and Zoë Herbert) was then joined by Brigit Luffingham, who works at John Gilbert Architects. The proposal was warmly accepted and we look forward to welcoming Brigit properly to the board at the next meeting.

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our members for their support over the years, many of which have regularly attended our AGMs and taken a keen interest in the success and development of the Society. The Society could not continue our valuable work without your support. We look forward to seeing many of you at our upcoming events, and hope to welcome lots of new members throughout the year.

To keep up with all our latest news and events, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and our new Facebook page (links below).

The 2017 Bicentenary calendar will be regularly updated when we finalise details and add any further events being held by ourselves and other organisations, so be sure to bookmark the page www.Thomson2017.org.uk and check in for new and upcoming events.

As always, if you have any questions, suggestions or comments for anyone at the Society, please email info@alexanderthomsonsociety.org.uk.


by Zoë Herbert