Thomas Graham Abercrombie lived from 1862 to 16 February 1926. He was a renowned Paisley architect whose buildings are still very much in evidence in Paisley and the surrounding area. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Abercrombie was born in Paisley, the son of a banker, William Abercrombie and his wife Robina Andrews Graham. In 1876 at the age of 14 he became an apprentice in the practice of Glasgow architect John Hutchison. After completing his apprenticeship in 1882, Abercrombie spent four years in the United States.
He returned to Paisley in May 1886 and set up a practice in County Square with financial support from his father. In 1888, Abercrombie's firm won a competition to design Greenlaw Church, Paisley. Abercrombie buildings reflected a range of styles ranging from Scots Baronial to Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau, and he established a reputation as being one of the best, and most flexible, architects of his generation practicing in the Paisley area. As a result he was always able to choose the best apprentices and assistants from a long list of applicants and his firm went from strength to strength.
Outside architecture, the young Abercrombie was a keen rugby player. He later went on to found the Boys' Brigade in Paisley and served as a territorial army captain in the 2nd Renfrewshire Rifle Volunteers, which would later become part of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. In 1923 Abercrombie took into partnership James Steel Maitland. Thomas Graham Abercrombie died in 1926 at the age of 65 at the home he had designed for himself in Paisley, Redholme. James Steel Maitland carried on the practice under the name it had had since 1923: Abercrombie & Maitland.
Many of Abercrombie's buildings survive today. As well as the Victory Baths in Renfrew, illustrated at the top of the page, his works included the Royal Alexandria Infirmary in Paisley; Paisley Grammar School; Paisley Drill Hall; Union Bank, Paisley; Paisley YMCA; Wallneuk Church in Paisley. In all he undertook work on around 130 buildings during his career, ranging from tenements, houses and villas to shops, offices and public buildings: the majority of which were Paisley itself.