Bicentenary portrait of Alexander Greek Thomson

The noted Scottish architect Alexander Thomson was born in 1817, a couple of years before the birth of the future Queen Victoria in 1819, making him a truly Victorian figure in the world of architecture. The monarch and the architect entered the world in a time before the advent of photography, passenger carrying railways and modern methods of construction utilising iron and steel components which would later be skilfully used by Thomson in his modernistic structures hidden behind classical façades.


The 200th anniversary of Alexander 'Greek' Thomson's birth in the Stirlingshire village of Balfron occurred on 9th April 2017. Throughout the year a variety of exhibitions and events have been planned to mark the architect's bicentenary. A comprehensive listing of proposed events is contained in the Alexander Thomson Society's 2017 - Events & Activities web page.

In April and May 2017 Balfron Library hosted a special Alexander 'Greek' Thomson Bicentenary Exhibition where the life and work of the great architect was celebrated through the beautiful photographs of Phil Sayer, complemented with exhibits from local collections. This was the key event in Balfron's Bicentenary celebrations.

Alexander Greek Thomson Bicentenary Exhibition, Balfron, 2017

Alexander Greek Thomson Bicentenary Exhibition, Balfron, 2017

Alexander Greek Thomson Bicentenary Exhibition, Balfron, 2017

Alexander Greek Thomson Bicentenary Exhibition, Balfron, 2017

Alexander Greek Thomson Bicentenary Exhibition, Balfron, 2017

Alexander Greek Thomson Bicentenary Exhibition, Balfron, 2017

Alexander Greek Thomson Bicentenary Exhibition, Balfron, 2017

Alexander Greek Thomson Bicentenary Exhibition, Balfron, 2017


The BBC Scotland documentary, "Greek Thomson: Glasgow's Master Builder" was broadcast on 2nd April 2017. It was presented by the popular Glaswegian actor, David Hayman, who according to the publicity, went "in search of Alexander 'Greek' Thomson, the visionary architect who, a generation before Charles Rennie Mackintosh, transformed industrial Glasgow with some of the most exotic and exciting buildings in the world".

BBC Scotland documentary - Greek Thomson: Glasgow's Master Builder presented by David Hayman

The programme gave Thomson enthusiasts the chance to see the interiors of his private houses which usually can only be viewed and appreciated from the outside. The internal details of Thomson’s own house at 1 Moray Place were examined along with residences at 4 Great Western Terrace and the rear portion of his celebrated “Double Villa” in Mansionhouse Road, Langside . David Hayman was the ideal presenter of the show, chatting away to various occupiers of Thomson buildings as well as a whole host of experts showing him various Thomson related artefacts and spectacular views of his buildings.

David Hayman, presenter of BBC Scotland documentary - Greek Thomson: Glasgow's Master Builder

David Hayman, presenter of BBC Scotland documentary, "Greek Thomson: Glasgow's Master Builder"


The TV show also illustrated the evolution of Thomson's unique architectural style from his use of arches and other popular common features in buildings such as the Knowe in Pollokshields to his personalised rigid horizontal Greek styling seen in the Double Villa in Langside. Genuine ancient Greek architecture didn't feature towers or glazed windows - Thomson's church towers attached to his Grecian temples were derived from various exotic design sources, as there was very little from ancient Greece for him to draw inspiration.

The Knowe

Evolution of Thomson's style from arches and Italianate stair tower at the Knowe (above) to strict horizontal masonry at the Double Villa (below).

Double Villa


The Alexander Thomson Society's main contribution to the bicentenenary celebrations was the "Double Villa Competition" aimed at architectural professionals.
The winning entry, below, was supposedly inspired by Thomson's Double Villa, above!

Winning entry for Double Villa Competition by Thomas Woodcock

Winning entry for Double Villa Competition by Thomas Woodcock


Exhibition featuring entries for the Alexander Thomson Society's Double Villa Competition, 2017

Exhibition featuring entries for the Alexander Thomson Society's Double Villa Competition, 2017


Ornamental masonry by Gerald Blaikie featured in the 'Takes on Thomson' webpage

Ink & pencil drawing of ornamental masonry by Gerald Blaikie, featured in the 'Takes on Thomson' webpage.

The drawing above by Gerald Blaikie features in the Alexander Thomson Society's Takes on Thomson web page, which was conceived as a way of arousing contemporary interest and artistic angles on the works of the master. There are some fabulous images to be appreciated in this specially created 2017 resource.


Alexander Greek Thomson

Thomson's Villas

Thomson's Terraces

Holmwood House

Thomson Bicentenary - 2017

Alexander Greek Thomson portrait created with graphite and coloured pencils by Gerald Blaikie. Exclusive copyright© G.Blaikie 2011

Thomson's Tenements

Thomson's Churches

Thomson's Warehouses

Inside Egyptian Halls

All original artwork, photography and text © Gerald Blaikie 2017
Unauthorised reproduction of any image on this website is not permitted.

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