Thomson’s existing works are spread across the four corners of the city, and it would be an arduous task to attempt to visit them all in one go. Instead we have designed three walks covering the three areas where his surviving works are clustered – the City Centre, the West End, and the South Side.
Home to the Alexander Thomson Society, Walmer Crescent is found near the Cessnock Underground Station. The curved terrace block is one of the architect’s plainest designs, and has lost something of its appeal as the gardens designed in front have been removed.
Salisbury Crescent is an unusual convex tenement block that was designed by Thomson, but built posthumously by his partner, Robert Turnbull, four years after the designer’s death in 1875. Although somewhat plain, its imposing curved bulk makes it an interesting study.
Moray Place holds a special appeal to Thomson fans, as he and his family were the first tenants at No.1 when the first row of eleven terraced homes were completed in 1861. It is also sadly where Thomson spent his last days, before passing away in 1875.
The Knowe is a beautiful Italianate Romanesque style villa, originally designed for hat and cap maker John Blair in 1850, completed in 1852. The surrounding wall and coachman’s house remains largely intact, although the abundant gardens have been built over.
This elongated, three storey tenement building was originally called Titwood Place, the street is now known as 18-76 Nithsdale Road. However, former hints at its past name remain, such as the Titwood Bar located in the centre of the block.
One of Thomson’s more unusual and innovative designs, Maria Villa is in fact a double villa, and is often known as simply 'The Double Villa.' One of the two houses has been turned 180° to give the impression of one house from either front or back.
The ornately curved Millbrae Crescent consists of two-storey terraced houses, the curve following the bend in the River Cart, which lies behind them. It is believed to have been designed by Thomson but constructed posthumously by his architectural partner Robert Turnbull.
One of Thomson’s finest residential villas, Holmwood House is also the most inviting, as it is open to the public. It was built for its original owner, paper manufacturer James Couper, in 1857-1858, near his Millholm paper mill. There is a near identical version in Australia.
Thought to be Thomson’s first attempt at designing a church, the Caledonia Road Free Church was mostly destroyed by a fire in 1965. Now Grade A-listed building, the church has lay derelict and abandoned for half a century on an odd traffic island between at Cathcart Road.
The Southern Necropolis lies around the corner from the Caledonia Road Free Church. It is the final resting place of the architect who shaped the landscape for Glasgow’s future designers. His grave is marked by a tombstone of black marble.