John Burnet & Son with John Oldrid Scott as consultant, 1900-1; extended John Burnet & Son, 1908; extended to rear, Dorward, Matheson, Gleave & Partners, 1977. Single storey front (N) range and 2-storey rear blocks to university teaching and research building (Anatomy Department) with Scottish Renaissance and Baronial details. Deep, near rectangular-plan. Squared and snecked, stugged, blond sandstone; ashlar dressings. Plinth; parapet.
ENTRANCE WING AND STAFF ROOMS: W ELEVATION: simple recessed architraved entrance with commemorative panel over in architrave (partially concealed by later building) balustrade over, bipartite window to left, strapwork pedimented window above, crowstepped gable with stack. N ELEVATION: 5 bays with W gable as W elevation at 1st, simple ground floor windows; 1st floor glazed cat-slide roof with ashlar piers; small turrets to E and W of E 3-bay section. E return plain. OTHER ELEVATIONS (to rear of entrance wing): not seen.
INTERIOR: (seen 1988). Columned, galleried top-lit Anatomical Museum; lecture theatre with raked seating.
Statement of Special Interest
Thomson Building is part of an A-Group with McMillan Reading Room, Gatepiers, Railings, Quincentenary Gates, Hunter Memorial, John McIntyre Building, Lord Kelvin's Sundial, Pearce Lodge, James Watt Building and Gilbert Scott Buildings.
A laboratory building designed by the notable architect, John James Burnet. John Oldrid Scott (second son and successor to the architect of the Main Building, George Gilbert Scott) acted as consultant, providing the initial sketches. The detailing takes its cue not from the Gilbert Scott Building, to which it is attached, but from Pearce Lodge, which incorporates a number of elements from the demolished 17th-century university buildings in the High Street. The contemporary Bower and Thomson Buildings were designed in similar style. In preparation for his work at the University and Western Infirmary, Burnet undertook a tour of the USA in 1896 in order to study American laboratory designs.
John James Burnet was one of Scotland's leading architects in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Son of another architect, John Burnet Senior, he trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Burnet was a pioneer of the stylistic move from historicist styles to a tradition-based, but free-style architecture. He developed enormously successful and influential practices in Glasgow and London, designing a number of eminent buildings including the Fine Art Institute, Athenaeum Theatre, Charing Cross Mansions, Atlantic Chambers and Clyde Navigation Trust Offices in Glasgow and the Kodak Building, the second and third phases of Selfridges, Adelaide House, and the King Edward VII Wing at the British Museum in London. Burnet was knighted for the latter project in 1914. Commissions for the University of Glasgow included: the Bower Building (1900), James Watt Engineering North Building (1901 and 1908), John McIntyre Building (1908), University Chapel (1923-29), Zoology Building (1923), and Hunter Memorial (1925). The neighbouring Glasgow Western Infirmary also employed Burnet Sr and John James Burnet for a number of projects.
The building was named in honour of Allen Thomson, Regius Professor of Anatomy from 1848 to 1877. Thomson was a key figure in the removal of the University from the High Street to the new site at Gilmorehill. He cut the first sod on the Gilmorehill site on 6th June 1866.
The building houses the Anatomy Museum, now known as the Laboratory of Human Anatomy. The building was extended in 1908. A second extension to the rear was designed by the architects Dorward, Matheson, Gleave & Partners and completed in 1977.
Formerly listed as '1D Gilmorehill, University of Glasgow, Anatomical Building'.
List description updated as part of review of the University of Glasgow Hillhead Campus, 2011. The building number is derived from the University of Glasgow Main Campus Map (2007), as published on the University's website www.gla.ac.uk.