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April 8, 2017, 9:49pm Report to Moderator Report to Moderator

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There is, I think, a very good documentary to be found on BBC 2 at the moment. Well worth catching.

BBC Two - 'Greek' Thomson - Glasgow's Master Builder

David Hayman goes 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.

Given the usual stories of 'Gloom and Doom' over the survival of Thomson buildings in Glasgow usually spread by the media, one could be forgiven for thinking that only two or three remain, and even those are fighting losing battles to stay standing.

It seems nothing could be further from the truth, and while there is no doubt that a number of iconic examples of his work ARE under threat, and a number have been lost, it was truly eye-opening to see the many examples of his work that remain not only standing, but still in magnificent use.

I've been blind-sided by the media, and simply did not think there was enough left to warrant looking closer (I am an eejit).

Of course I know most of his Glasgow examples, at least in the centre of not on the outskirts.

And many years ago (by chance rather than design) I was amongst the first to get into Holmwood House when its doors were finally opened to the public, and we got to see it in an almost unrestored state. I could also say 'almost' got to see it too, as the opening was mobbed and we were like sardines squeezing through the space allowed - which was arrange to make sure we could not accidentally rub against the walls, such was the fragility of the finish then being slowly uncovered as decades of paint and muck were removed.

Biggest surprise probably came at the end, with the story of a fund set up to allow architects to travel abroad to learn of other styles, as Thomson had done with his Greek (and other) influences, and...

In 1890 Mackintosh was the second winner of the Alexander Thomson Travelling Studentship, set up for the "furtherance of the study of ancient classic architecture, with special reference to the principles illustrated in Mr. Thomson's works."
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