Alexander Thomson was one of the two great architects of international stature produced by Victorian Glasgow.
Thomson was born in Balfron, Stirlingshire, on 9th April 1817 and died in Glasgow on 22nd March 1875 at his home at no.1 Moray Place in the terrace he had himself designed.
Thomson was extremely successful with a large clientele for medium-sized villas and terraces of cottages in Pollokshields, Shawlands, Crossmyloof, Cathcart, Langbank, Bothwell and Cove and Kilcreggan.
In his day, Thomson was conspicuous for his originality in producing a distinctive modern architecture from the lessons and precedents provided by the Greeks, Egyptians and other ancient civilisations, and made extensive use of new materials like cast-iron and plate-glass.
His personal Graeco-Egyptian style was almost entirely confined to Glasgow, where he designed commercial warehouses, blocks of tenements, terraces of houses, suburban villas and three extraordinary Presbyterian churches, of which the St. Vincent Street Church is the only intact survivor.
Other important works still standing include Moray Place, Great Western Terrace, Egyptian Halls in Union Street, Grecian Buildings in Sauchiehall Street, and his villa, Holmwood, at Cathcart, which is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland.
Following his death in 1875, a marble bust of the architect by John Mossman was presented to the Corporation (now in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery) and the Alexander Thomson Travelling Studentship established, of which the second winner was Charles Rennie Mackintosh.