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Alexander Thomson

Mitchell Library, Glasgow Collection

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Alexander Thomson

Alexander Thomson, Governor of Barlinnie Prison.

Born in Grange, Banffshire, Thomson entered the prison service in Edinburgh Prison in 1866. He was appointed Governor of Dumbarton Prison in 1876, and of Dumfries Prison in 1887, where he was credited with improving both the buildings and the administration. He became Governor of Barlinnie in 1898.

Barlinnie had opened in 1882 as a "General Prison for Scotland". Thomson's reputation as a rigid but fair disciplinarian fitted the prevailing ethos of submitting prisoners to a strict regime where comforts and privileges could be earned by good behaviour and hard labour. The prison was greatly enlarged, mainly using inmate labour. During Thomson's time as Governor, a large workshop was built and E block was altered to accommodate a rise in short-term prisoners. In 1903 Thomson was awarded a Companionship of the Imperial Service Order.

Reference: Mitchell Library, Gf 920.04 WHO

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning

Barlinnie Prison, governors, Imperial Service Order, prisoners, prisons

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