The Madras College Archive


Former Pupil Biographies

Patrick William Thomson (1860 - 1907)

Patrick William Thomson was born in Edinburgh on 12 December 1860 to Thomas and Elizabeth Thomson.  His father at that time was a draper employing 6 men. By 1881 Patrick was a Silk Mercer. He died in Edinburgh in 1907.

In 'The Madras College' Dr Thompson wrote:

"In business probably the best known names are those of Patrick Thomson, whose initials in the possessive became a household word among shoppers in east Scotland."

Patrick Thomson was a department store located at the southern end of North Bridge in Edinburgh

Patrick Thomson opened a small haberdashery and drapery shop on South Bridge in 1889. The shop was so popular they moved from the South Bridge site to a larger store at 15 North Bridge. This allowed the business to grow to become a larger department store expanding to 60 departments, competing with rivals Jenners, R W Forsyth and Robert Maule & Son on Princes Street, J & R Allan and Peter Allan on South Bridge, Goldbergs on Tollcross and Parkers on Bristo Street.

In 1926, the store was purchased by the newly formed holding company Scottish Drapery Corporation, and Patrick Thomson's or PTs. as it was affectionately known marketed itself as The Shopping Centre of Scotland. In 1952, the Scottish Drapery Corporation was purchased by House of Fraser and Patrick Thomson continued to operate.

However, with the re-organisation of House of Fraser in the 1970s to several operating brands, Patrick Thomson was closed and re-opened as an Arnotts in 1976. The store continued to operate as an Arnotts until it was closed in 1982. In 1984 the building was re-opened as the Carlton Hotel.