Printed reports, illustrations and other documents on improvements in Dundee, including those proposed by Thomson, and those actually accomplished 1905-1923; material collected and duplicated for exhibition on life and work of Thomson; material prepared and mounted for exhibition on life and work of Thomson; medal presented by the Institution of Municipal and County
Papers relating to James Thomson, City Engineer, City Architect and Housing Director, Dundee
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
James Thomson (1852-1927) was a native of Edinburgh where he trained as a civil engineer and architect. After moving to Dundee he joined the Corporation and became heavily involved with the schemes implemented by the city's 1871 Improvement Act. These included the construction of the Perth Road and the first tramway lines as well as the building of cattle markets, slaughter houses, public baths and hospitals.
In 1906, Thomson was appointed city architect and engineer and was responsible for Dundee being the first city in Scotland to establish large-scale municipal housing schemes. In 1918, the development of city housing was reported as 'a striking example of his daring conceptions.' Gaining an international reputation for his involvement, Thomson was subsequently the first engineer of a Scottish municipality to be elected President of the Institution of Municipal and County Engineers.
In 1922, the offices of architect/engineer became separated and Thomson became Dundee's City Architect and Housing Director. Among his many projects as the City Architect, he designed the Caird Hall and the Square, St Roque's, Coldside and Blackness branch libraries and the Reading Rooms at Ward Road. Thomson retired from his posts in 1924 and moved into private practice with his son, Frank, although he continued to be a Consultant to the Corporation until his death.
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