Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see 'About Listed Buildings' below for more information. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Group Category Details
100000019 - See Notes
Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NS 57010 66623
257010, 666623


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



Ordnance Survey, Large Scale Town Plan: Glasgow, 1909-10; Glasgow University Archives, Drawings Collection Ref. GB 0248 GUA BUL/6/7/1-34; Mitchell Library, Dean of Guild Collections, drawings ref. 1/7702; Builder (29.06.1901); D Walker 'Scotland at the Turn of the Century' in Edwardian Architecture & its Origins (A Service, ed.), (1975) p. 201 and p. 214, n39; E Williamson, A Riches, M Higgs, The Buildings of Scotland: Glasgow, (1990) p. 341; 'University Glasgow Anatomy' search at (accessed 03-03-2010).

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 26/05/2022 03:38