Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

CatsWhiskersTours provide unique tour experiences tailored to suit you. Call +44 (0) 141 638 5500

Today, I continued with my visits to Greek Thomson designed buildings but before addressing the latest visit it is worthy of mention that Glasgow has just won the 2014 Commonwealth Games bid-which is excellent news for the City.

Holmwood House building. (1857-58) is currently closed for the winter but a visit to the site and grounds is still possible.This elaborate villa is arguably Thomson’s finest and most important residentialHolmwood House was built for beside the River Cart for the owner of a local paper mill.Thomson appears to have been the first modern architect to design houses in the Greek style asymmetrically according to Picturesque principles. Thomson designed everything in this house, including the rich polychromatic wall decoration which is now being uncovered and restored.

Here are a few images:





Today, I decided to explore some of Glasgow’s famous buildings with a ‘Greek’ Thomson theme.

Alexander Thomson was, arguably, the greatest architect of Victorian Glasgow. He obtained the sobriquet ‘Greek’ because he believed that the architecture of ancient Greece could be the basis of modern architecture. Notwithstanding Thomson’s fascination for Greece, he never actually visited the country. He was born in Balfron in 1817 and died in 1875 at his home in Moray Place, the terrace he had designed.

Here are some images of the Caledonia Road Church 1856-57. This was Thomson’s first church but now a vandalised ruin on the edge of the Gorbals. However, the remains have a certain dignity and distinction with an elevated portico and a most unusual tower, probably inspired by modern German architecture.




Bucks Head Building-1863. This is located at 59-61 Argyle Street & Dunlop Street. A commercial building in which the iron construction is expressed externally.



The Gordon Street, Warehouse, opposite Central Station.

There is an Edwardian era superstructure placed on top. However, the Thomson facade is very visible; it is full of subtleties and distinctive ornament.



Egyptian Halls, Union Street. 1870-72.

Exterior looks sad/tired. This building was built as a bazaar or shopping centre and named after the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly, London. Interior constructed of iron; exterior of stone and was designed in a series of rich horizontal layers building up to a colonnade.


Grecian Buildings
, 336-356 Sauchiehall Street. 1867-68
Originally a commercial warehouse but now the Centre for Contemporary Arts.


This is the famous Willow Tea Rooms, Sauchiehall Street. Nothing to do with Thomson but took the pic as I was passing.

St. Vincent Street Church 1857-59 (Cnr. of Pitt St.)

The only surviving intact Thomson church. It is raised up on its own man-made Acropolis on the steeply sloping site. The ionic porticoes raised up are purely symbolic while the tall steeple is believed to be Indian inspired.Cast iron columns with extraordinary capitals are found inside.
This building still appears to be in use a living Church ( Free Presbyterian). The exterior would benefit from a good clean!!




Acknowledgement: For this tour and information I am indebted to a brochure: ‘Glasgow Architectural Guide 1’.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Stratford upon Avon


Shakespeare’s School, Stratford upon Avon

Shakespeare’s Tomb, Stratford Upon Avon


Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford Upon Avon


Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shottery, near Straford Upon Avon


Palmer’s Farm, Wilmcote


Mary Arden’s House, Wilmcote, near Stratford

16th century farming at Palmer’s Farm.

Pigs at Old Farm, near Moreton in Marsh. Excellent B&B in 300 acre organic farm.


Bodleian Library, Oxford

The following images are of Oxford Colleges and associated buildings








Hypocaust System at Chedworth Roman Villa


Roman Mosaic at Chedworth

Dusk at Bourton on the Hill, Cotswolds

15th century barn at Swalcliffe.
Interior of Swalcliffe Barn.
The Castle Inn at Edgehill, famous English civil war battle site.

View from Edgehill
Thatched Cottage near Hidcote Manor

Gardens at Hidcote

Quaint cottage at Chipping Campden

17th century Market Hall at Chipping Campden

Broadway Tower

Chastleton House

Burford Church

English pub at Burford
Old water mill at Lower Slaughter
Village scene at Lower Slaughter
St. Mary’s Church at Lower Slaughter
Views of Bourton on the Water


Country scene near Lanacost Priory

Hadrian’s Wall at Birdoswald Roman Fort

Views at Rosslyn Chapel




Edinburgh Castle
Royal Mile at Edinburgh
Views inside St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh




External view of St.Giles Cathedral

Royal High School, Edinburgh
Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

View of Edinburgh from Calton Hill
At Swilken Bridge, St. Andrews
Royal and Ancient at St. Andrews

St. Andrew’s Cathedral
View of St Andrews with castle
Abernethy Tower
St Rule’s Church, St Andrew’s
Unusual funghi on tree

Ossian’s Hall, near Dunkeld
Bridge at Ossian’s Hall

View of river Braan at Ossian’s Hall
Living archaeology at the Crannog Centre, Kenmore

Stone circle above Kenmore
Acharn Burn
Falls of Acharn
Croft Moraig stone circle
General Wade’s Bridge at Aberfeldy

River Tay at Hilton Hotel, Dunkeld

Edradour Distillery
Derelict Church near Dalwhinnie
Eilean Donan Castle

Rainbow at Broadford, Isle of Skye

Remains of a Broch on Isle of Skye




Views at Quaraing, Isle of Skye





Mealt Falls, Isle of Skye
Kilt Rock, Isle of Skye
Falls near Glencoe
Glenfinnan Monument