David Cleghorn Thomson
|David Cleghorn Thomson|
Photographed for Radio Pictorial in 1935
9 October 1900|
14 Coates Crescent, Edinburgh
23 April 1980 (aged 79)|
Western General Hospital, Edinburgh
Cause of death
|Bronchopneumonia, immobilisation, recurrent sigmoid volvulus and dementia|
|Predecessor||David Millar Craig|
David Cleghorn Thomson (9 October 1900—23 April 1980) was director of the BBC's Scottish Region from October 1926 to April 1933, when he was dismissed due to 'policy differences' with head office.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Attempts to stand for Parliament: 1923–1926
- 3 BBC career: 1925–1933
- 4 Public role outside broadcasting
- 5 Poetry
- 6 The Arts
- 7 Playwright
- 8 Resignation
- 9 Nationalist leanings?
- 10 Activities after leaving the BBC
- 11 Evidence to the Ullswater Committee
- 12 Further attempts at a political career
- 13 Industrial and labour relations: 1940–
- 14 Later broadcasting
- 15 Engagement to marry
- 16 Death
- 17 Publications
- 18 Links
- 19 References
David Cleghorn Thomson was born in 14 Coates Crescent, Edinburgh, the son of John and Isobel Thomson (nee. Macphail). His father was a doctor of medicine and a noted and skilled specialist in children's diseases in Edinburgh. He was the grandson of Rev Dr Macphail, one time minister of Benbecula following upon his ministry in Skye.
He was privately educated at the Edinburgh Academy, where he won prizes for drawing, music and essay writing. He was also secretary of the debating society.
He graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an MA. During his time there he had served on the Students' Representative Council and was on the editorial committee of the student newspaper, The Student.
At Oxford University's Balliol College he was awarded a second class BA (Hons) in history and was the Senior Domus Exhibitioner in history. While at Oxford Thomson had been a pupil of the composer Dr Ernest Walker.
After graduating, Thomson moved to London and received a legal training at the Inner Temple.
Instead of proceeding to the Bar, he entered journalism and worked as a trainee on the Oxford Chronicle and the English Review as well as gaining extensive freelance experience with the Sunday Times, London Mercury, Daily Express and Daily Record.
Thomson's brother, Mr John S. M. Thomson, became the education secretary for the YMCA in Scotland.
Attempts to stand for Parliament: 1923–1926
Thomson was a member of the Liberal Party and was the first secretary of the Liberal and Radical Candidates' Association, a grouping of candidates in the 1923 and 1924 elections who supported Asquith and sought to block David Lloyd George's election. He stood himself in both general elections, but failed to be elected.
At the age of 23, he was the youngest candidate in the General Election of December 1923, standing for the Greater London constituency of West Willesden.
The following year, he stood in South Edinburgh as the Liberal Party's youngest candidate in Scotland. At a public meeting ahead of polling day it was reported that he said "Scotland should have a Parliament of some sort in which to discuss matters purely concerning herself, but he was not in favour of repeal of the Union". On election day he was beaten nearly 2:1 by his Unionist opponent.
In January 1925, following his failed attempts to stand for parliament, Thomson sailed from Glasgow to New York where he spent a few weeks before returning to Glasgow on 9th March.
Thomson remained the Liberal Pary's prospective candidate for South Edinburgh throughout his first 18 months working for the BBC, but resigned his candidature upon being promoted to Northern Area Director in October 1926.
BBC career: 1925–1933
Thomson joined the BBC's publicity department as an assistant on 6 April 1925, working mainly in the literary section where he wrote special articles for the Radio Times, earning a salary of £300 per annum. He worked under the Director of Publicity, W. E. Gladstone Murray, and Assistant Director, Major C.F. Atkinson. After his three-month probationary period he became one of the magazine's two sub-editors, earning him a pay rise to £350 per annum. When the BBC seized full editorial control of the Radio Times in February 1926, Thomson became the magazine's assistant editor and musical editor.
In March, however, Thomson was transferred to Glasgow as Scottish Liaison Officer on a salary of £600 per annum. His brief was to do all in his power to 'assist in the development of the scope and influence of broadcasting in Scotland and Ulster'. From October of that year he was promoted to the new position of Northern Area Director, in charge of Scotland and Ulster and thereby re-establishing a senior post in Scotland.
From 28 February 1927, he took on the additional role of interim Glasgow station director, following George Marshall’s transfer to Newcastle. He relinquished the extra responsibility on 5 July 1927 when his deputy, Henry Fitch, became permanent station director.
Immediately prior to the start of the new Scottish Regional Programme in November 1928, his title changed again to Scottish Regional Director. From April 1929 he was paid £900 per annum.
Thomson showed himself 'an ardent advocate of Scottish interests, of the employment of Scottish talent and of the formation of a national sentiment'. He instituted a number of popular Scottish programmes under series titles such as Frae a' the Airts, What's Intil't? and What's Wrong with Scotland?. Under his direction, Scotland was the first part of the BBC to transition to a 'Region' and gradually Thomson gathered round him a hand-picked administrative staff, every member of which was appointed by himself. Thomson was responsible for the whole policy of broadcasting in Scotland, including the move of the BBC's Scottish headquarters from Glasgow to Edinburgh in 1930 and the conversion of premises at 5 Queen Street into what would become Scottish Broadcasting House, Edinburgh. Thomson moved his permanent office to the new Edinburgh headquarters from 14 July 1930. By this point he still had not reached his 30th birthday and was the youngest regional director in the BBC.
Public role outside broadcasting
Thomson took on a number of roles outside the BBC in a bid to help advance the Scottish renaissance.
- Scottish National Theatre Society: elected to the executive committee in 1927, he was convener of the publicity & propaganda committee; when it became a limited company in February 1928 he became, in turn, a member of the first board of directors. He was re-elected in October 1929 but resigned from his position in 1930.
- Scottish Community Drama Festivals: adjudicator.
- Scots Vernacular Association.
- Scottish Association for the Speaking of Verse.
- Scottish Council of Music Festivals Association: part-founder.
- Fellow, Royal Society of Edinburgh, elected 2 March 1931.
- Scottish Philharmonic Orchestra: part-founder.
- Scottish Committee of the British Institute of Adult Education: executive member (as a private individual).
- Scottish Travel Association: Thomson was one of its founders and was involved in creating the organisation and its procedures. He was subsequently invited to be its Honorary Secretary, but BBC head office objected on the basis that they regarded his role as Scottish Regional Director a full-time one.
Thomson kept in touch with the National Theatre, the project for a Little Theatre and the efforts to establish a National Orchestra and an annual exhibition of modernist art.
Of all his artistic endeavours, poetry was Cleghorn Thomson's strongest. His early works appeared in a number of publications associated with Oxford University, including the student newspaper, The Cherwell, The Oxford Magazine, The Oxford Chronicle, The Oxford Outlook, and Oxford Poetry, the latter of which he was editor in 1922/3. Some poems were also published in the literary magazines The London Mercury and The Fugitive.
In 1923, many of his poems were collected together in an anthology, Far and Few, published in Oxford by Basil Blackwell as part of the new 'Adventures All' series which was designed to promote "the more original among the poets of the rising generation". Reviews were positive: The Times noted that "the pictorial gift is in evidence"; the Glasgow Herald called the poems "very beautiful" and "pure in emotional conception and unforced in expression". The Scottish Chapbook said:
Mr Thomson is unquestionably one of the most promising of our younger Scottish poets. It is safe to prophesy that he will do work of quite exceptional beauty if he continues to devote himself to poetry.
In 1930, while working as the BBC's Scottish Regional Director, he put together a new anthology, Doges in the Ice-Box: And Other Poems Grave and Gay. It was published by Edinburgh-based Porpoise Press, which had been founded as an outlet for contemporary Scottish writing (although none of Thomson's poems were in the Scots dialect). Following publication, a writer in the Press and Journal described Thomson as "another Scot of the modern type", "a satirist in a usually composed way, and a bit of an experimenter in metres and rhythms".
Doges in the Ice-Box was one of many poems which also featured in Thomson's 1960 anthology, I Would Be Acolyte, which collected together the best of his earlier works, some of which had been published in newspapers and journals including the Scotsman, the Observer, the Chambers Journal, and the US publication, Lines and Poetry.
Thomson published a number of one-act plays, two volumes of verse and several orchestral compositions and song settings. He adjudicated at drama and verse-speaking festivals in England, Ireland and Scotland. He wrote a number of books and edited a scrutiny into Scottish questions under the title of Scotland in Quest of Her Youth, to which a number of well-known Scotsmen contributed.
Thomson's first play, War Memorial, billed as 'a satire of parochial life', was written in Scots dialect and was first performed by the Edinburgh Philosophical Institution Dramatic Society at The Hall, 4 Queen Street, Edinburgh, on 31 October 1929.
It was subsequently performed by the Glasgow-based 'Blythswood Players' at the Scottish Community Drama Association's fourth annual festival in March 1930, where it came runner-up in the competition. The adjudicator concluded:
This was an original play, very well written and with well drawn characters. The production was in many respects excellent, but required some tightening up. The setting was quite good, but all the cast were slow on queues and consequently now and again the play sagged a bit.
Along with Falkirk High School FP Dramatic Circle (B), the Blythswood Players went on to represent Scotland at the British Drama League Festival in London on 25 April 1930 — but while the former gained distinction and was awarded joint runners up, the latter was not placed and the adjudicators complained that War Memorial was difficult to understand — the Falkirk Herald's theatre critic suggested that "our Scottish teams suffered from lack of good staging".
War Memorial was published in May 1930 by the Glasgow firm Walter Wilson as part of the 'Scottish National Plays Series', created under the auspices of the St Andrew Society (Glasgow) o provide an inexpensive and accessible library of plays suitable for presentation by amateur dramatic societies throughout the country. It was subsequently performed many times at local drama festivals. The published notes describe the play's setting:
The scene is in the manse garden in Rathie, a sea-coast village, on a summer afternoon, some years after the War. The War Memorial Committee are meeting in the manse to decide the form of the local memorial.
The playwright James Bridie described it:
A very poignant, witty play. It tells skilfully and without over-emphasis a truth that wants telling. The drama, the characterisation and the satire are first rate.
Later that same year, Cleghorn Thomson's Five One-Act Plays: For a Scots Theatre was published by Oliver and Boyd. It contained the following plays:
- No Room at the Inn: A Christmas Morality — a Scots dialect play first performed on the BBC's 5SC on Xmas Day 1928 and repeated a year later;
- The Kipper: A Charade of Clay Feet — a play written in English; first performed publicly by by the Studio Players at the Atheneum Theatre, Glasgow, on 22 January 1930, for the Scottish Community Drama Association's competition for South-West of Scotland. On that occasion it was produced by Martyn C Webster and the author;
- The Mainlander: A Hebridean Tragedy — a Scots dialect play set 80 years prior to publication, the main theme of which was an island girl's longing to leave the island and see the mainland and the big town. First produced in Edinburgh, 16 May 1930, by Andrew P. Wilson
- War Memorial: A Parochial Satire — as above;
- The Cateran’s Heir: A Highland Melodrama — a play founded on Sir Walter Scott’s story The Highland Widow.
On 11 May 1933, another of Thomson's Scottish plays, Our Father was produced for radio by Gordon Gildard. "The scene is laid in the living room of a manse on the Island of Ranna, in the Outer Hebrides, and beneath the Sabbath calm of the play there is a clash between the old order and the new, war between inclination and duty."
Cleghorn Thomson resigned from the BBC, after exactly eight years with the Corporation, on 7 April 1933, owing to what he described as "disagreement between myself and my chiefs on matters of policy in Scotland". The resignation, albeit more of a dismissal, was duly accepted. His official leaving date was 30 April, allowing Moray McLaren to succeed him on a temporary basis from 1 May. Thomson continued to be paid until 7 July 1933 during his three-month notice period. He was succeeded by Melville Dinwiddie who became Scottish Regional Director in the autumn of 1933.
Nationalist writers, such as George McKechnie, have suggested that Thomson was a Nationalist himself.
Given Thomson's move from the Liberal Party to Labour, when he could easily have joined the Scottish Nationalist Party, there is little to substantiate this claim. And some of his writings post-BBC put paid to any sympathies with political nationalism. For example, reviewing the Nationalist periodical, The Modern Scot, he wrote:
The editorial articles on the basis of nationalism provide an able survey of the ground, however little one agrees with some of the judgements, historical and political, expressed in them.
In a 1953 article about promotion of the arts in Scotland he emphasised the need for an internationalist outlook:
At an hour when the most forceful impulse operative in the direction of Scottish cultural and artistic regeneration is so closely allied with political separatism, and is largely dependent for its dynamic energy on the personalities of the nationalist movement, it is as well to remark how cosmopolitan was the outlook of the group of Scottish artists who last placed Scotland on the artistic map of Europe.
Later in the same article, however, he writes of his desire for a greater amount of devolution to Scotland:
A greater measure of Home Rule would better the conditions of patronage and encourage artists and writers and musicians to stay at home. A lot will depend on the continuation of the lead given by the BBC and the Press in the stimulation of national interest.
Activities after leaving the BBC
After leaving the BBC in April 1933, Thomson did a variety of things, including a visit to Poland (a country he returned to after the war in 1945).
He went to work in London, but six months later he resigned and returned to Scotland to work at the Pearce Institute in the Govan district of Glasgow, which facilitated a range of activities with the provision of reading rooms, a gymnasium for sports and games, boys' and girls' clubs, and workshops including cooking classes. The Institute's activities were carried out as part of the work of Govan Parish Church and Thomson worked under its minister, the Rev George F. Macleod, in the study of unemployment problems Thomson had a great respect for Macleod's modern attitude to the church and his efforts to revitalise it.
Between 1933 and 1934 he contributed a daily column to the Daily Record newspaper.
From 1933 to 1935 he ran his own company, the 'Scottish Contacts Service', a publicity business based at 10 Queensferry Street, Edinburgh, which specialised in writing press releases, acting as a literary agency, and as an agent for musicians and lecturers. It handled editorial publicity for the Royal Scottish Academy, the Society of Scottish Artists, and a number of firms and societies. His company published a monthly magazine, The Scottish Bookman, between September 1935 and February 1936, which Thomson himself edited. Designed to reflect contemporary Scotland and help support the Scottish Renaissance, it contained articles and criticism related to "art and letters, drama and the film, the dance and architecture, music and education". Its contributors included Dylan Thomas, Hugh MacDiarmid, Naomi Mitchison, James Bridie, Eric Linklater, and some of the earliest works of Norman MacCaig. The publication was scrapped after its first six editions.
On 18 June 1934 he attended the Twelfth International Congress of PEN (Poets, Essayists, Novelists) — a non-governmental organisation that fights for freedom of literature — in Edinburgh on its first visit to Scotland.
Evidence to the Ullswater Committee
Thomson was invited to submit evidence to the Broadcasting Committee chaired by Lord Ullswater, which was established to consider the future of the BBC. His written submission, made on 9 June 1935, criticised staff policy and conditions in the Corporation, including: the practice of head office officials telling the regions how to run their affairs; the division of radio officials and departments into 'creative' and 'administrative' categories; and the emphasis on administration to the detriment of programme ideas. He accused Reith of interference and favouritism, and claimed a 'check telephone system' was instituted for a time "whereby the conversations of specified members of the staff were taped".
Later, in a newspaper article, Thomson expressed his disappointment that the Committee was sitting 'in camera' (in private), thus keeping the public "in the dark as to the evidence". He wrote that Britain had a wireless service better than in any other country and that "it will be a pity if we cannot help it to become even better".
Further attempts at a political career
Thomson resumed his political ambitions after leaving the BBC, becoming active in the Socialist movement in Edinburgh. In the municipal elections of 5 November 1935 he was elected to represent the city's Canongate ward, holding that seat for the Socialists with a 793 majority over the Protestant Action candidate.
At the same time Thomson stood as a parliamentary candidate in Leith in the general election of 14 November 1935, but this was a relatively safe seat for the incumbent Ernest Brown who, as the serving minister in the National Government, had a strong personal following in the constituency. Furthermore, Thomson had been largely occupied by his municipal candidature and therefore had limited time in which to make any significant impression. Local hustings were said to have a certain amount of "liveliness" however, according to The Scotsman newspaper:
Mr Thomson makes it a considerable point in his case that the policy of tariffs and quotas "has crippled the Port of Leith", and he draws a rather lurid picture of the great majority of the people living "hunted, insecure, and unhappy lives, devoid of proper activities".
Thomson also stood as a Socialist for the Combined Scottish Universities by-election of January 1936, against the National Government candidate, the former Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald, and the SNP's Professor Andrew Dewar Gibb. Thomson however was beaten into a poor third place with just 12.4 per cent of the vote, forfeiting his deposit by the narrow margin of 31 votes.
After serving only a year as a councillor, Thomson retired at the municipal election of 3 November 1936, upon receiving a business appointment in the south.
In July 1938, Thomson was appointed general secretary to the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning, a charitable organisation set-up in 1933 to assist academics who were forced to flee the Nazi regime because of their race, political, or religious opinions. 322 scholars had been placed in academic institutions, with Aberdeen, St Andrews, Glasgow, and Edinburgh Universities all playing their part in this work.
Around 1939 he was selected by the Labour Party for the parliamentary seat of Western Renfrewshire, where he was to stand against his Balliol contemporary, Henry Scrymgeour-Wedderburn, 11th Earl of Dundee, who had been Unionist MP for that seat since 1931. Throughout 1939 the political parties had been making preparations for a general election, which was required to take place before the end of 1940, but the intervention of the Second World War put paid to that.
Industrial and labour relations: 1940–
Earlier in his life, both as a student at Oxford and, following his graduation, in London, Thomson had closely studied the relationship between capital and labour in great industrial countries under the guidance of the economic historian, Mr R. H. Tawney, and the Liberal Party politician and thinker, Mr Ramsay Muir, who made a significant contribution to the development of liberal political philosophy through his work on domestic industrial policy. He began to put this theory to practice during the Second World War.
At the age of 40 upon the outbreak of war he would still have been eligible for conscription, but he ended-up working at Lewis & Company department stores in Manchester and Birmingham between 1940 and 1942 where he was staff manager and assistant general manager (administration). In a 1949 article for The Fortnightly periodical, entitled 'Industry and the Good Citizen' he reflected on some of his forward-thinking ideas:
[T]he staff manager let it be known to sales managers that he would be glad to have a chat with young members of the sales staff who were interested in music, journalism, films or drama. A weekly period, after shop-closing, was selected for the talks, and, after the early disposal of those "wide boys" and "scrimshankers" who thought that this was an easy way to get time off, the talks had a remarkable effect on the outlook of the abler young "promotables" in the store. It had never occurred to many of them that the staff manager would be interested, for instance, in helping them place articles or join local film societies, or indeed that he was interested in anything except sales figures and checking-in charts. After a few months a completely different atmosphere was noticeable, and the staff manager found himself more able to select candidates for such jobs as 'contact-salesmen' from his improved knowledge of his personnel's social and hobby backgrounds.
By 1942 he was assistant director of personnel to the John Lewis Partnership across its 17 stores but remained in this position for only 7 months before taking up the position of chairman of the Hanley Manpower Board. At the same time he was chairman (Midland Region) of the selection board for engineering cadetships and state bursaries.
In March 1944 he became adviser on training and recruitment, Production Facilities (Films) Ltd. (part of the J. Arthur Rank Central Organization).
From September 1946 to July 1949, Thomson was chief education officer at Richard Thomas and Baldwins Ltd, which owned a group of steel works. As part of what was essentially a two-year experiment he set up an education and training department of 11, established a comprehensive policy for training, and apprenticeships for 30,000 employees. In his article for The Fortnightly he advocated ideas such as allowing employees to participate in shared control of organisations, and suggesting that managers take an interest in employees as individuals. He also shared his knowledge as a member of the recruitment and training committee of the British Iron and Steel Federation and was selected to describe and explain the committee's basic training scheme to employers in South Wales and the Midlands.
At the end of this period, in 1949, he edited a book, Training Worker Citizens, which was subtitled "an exposition by experts of some modern educational methods designed to equip youth for the service of Industry and the State".
- July 1949–?: Part-time Research Officer for The Association for Education in Citizenship, London.
By 1957 he was director of welfare at the Central Electricity Authority, responsible for health and safety, education and training, and joint consultation with the trade unions. In a forward to another book he edited that year, Management, Labour, and Community, Thomson linked his philosophy of management with Christianity:
The fundamental change of heart involved is an acceptance of the basic principle of Christianity, that people really matter, that the recognition of the importance and sanctity of individuals is vital to harmonious and fruitful human relations.
On Boxing Day 1942, Thomson made his first broadcast on the BBC since being dismissed as Scottish Director. The talk on 'Ceilidhs in the Western Isles' was broadcast from the Edinburgh studio and was part of the Home Service series Well-Remembered Places. According to the Evening Sentinel newspaper: "It was fascinatingly picturesque, descriptive and cultured, and exuded the atmosphere of those wild but beautiful islands." The Oban Times said the talk was "phrased in the graceful language of a poet".
Thomson also sometimes appeared on the panel of A Matter of Opinion circa 1952.
Engagement to marry
In 1928 it was reported that Thomson was engaged to marry 20 year-old Miss (Caroline) Virginia Fain of New York. Their marriage was due to take place in 1929, and Thomson had sailed to New York in late March to visit his fiancee and to deliver a series of lectures about the work of the BBC, but Fain broke off the engagement and married an American man, Charles Dickerman Williams, the following year.
David Cleghorn Thomson retired to the Greenlea Old People's Home at 1 Glenlockhart Road, Edinburgh. He died on 23 April 1980 in the city's Western General Hospital, aged 79. His death certificate records the causes of death as bronchopneumonia, immobilisation, recurrent sigmoid volvulus and dementia.
- Far and Few: A Series of Young Poets Unknown to Fame (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1923)
- Oxford Poetry: 1923, edited by David Cleghorn Thomson and F. W. Bateson (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1924)
- Doges in the Ice-Box, and other poems grave and gay (Edinburgh: Porpoise Press, 1928)
- The Hidden Path: Poems 1922-1942 (Glasgow: W. Maclellan, 1943)
- I Would Be Acolyte (Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1960)
- Two Victorian lyrics (Glasgow: Paterson's Publications, 1927)
- No Room at the Inn: or, The calling of bride: a Christmas morality in one act (Edinburgh: W. Hodge, 1928)
- The Cateran's Heir : a Highland melodrama in one act (1929)
- War Memorial: A Parochial Satire in One Act, The Scottish National Plays Series, No. 4 (Glasgow: Walter Wilson & Co, 1930) — probably his best-known play.
- Five One-Act Plays: For a Scots Theatre, with a foreword by Compton Mackenzie (Edinburgh & London: Oliver and Boyd, 1930). The five plays were No Room at the Inn, The Kipper, The Mainlander, War Memorial, and The Cateran’s Heir.
- Our Father: a Scots play in one act (London: H.F.W. Deane, 1931)
- The Cateran's heir: a highland melodrama in one act (Glasgow: Brown, Son & Ferguson, 1932)
- The Lad o' Pairts. A comedy in one act (Galashiels, ca. 1950)
- Scotland in Quest of Her Youth: A Scrutiny (Edinburgh; London: Oliver and Boyd, 1932)
- Radio is Changing Us: A Survey of Radio Development and its Problems in Our Changing World (London: Watts & Co, 1937)
- Towards Industrial Peace: An Address (Edinburgh & London: Oliver and Boyd, 1924)
- Training Worker Citizens: An Exposition by Experts of Some Modern Educational Methods designed to Equip Youth for the Service of Industry and the State (London: Macdonald & Evans, 1949)
- Management, Labour, and Community (London: Pitman, 1957)
- George McKechnie, 'Nationalism and the BBC', Scottish Review of Books, Volume 9 Issue 3, 27 March 2013.
- Oban Times, 2 January 1943.
- Evening Telegraph, 10 May 1928, 4.
- C.V., BBC WAC L1/421/4.
- 'The Liberal Faith', Scotsman, 23 September 1924, 8.
- 'Wikipedia: Edinburgh South (UK Parliament constituency)'
- Ship passenger records.
- 'Political Farewell', Scotsman, 12 November 1926, 12.
- Secretary to David Cleghorn Thomson, 9 April 1925, BBC WAC L1/421/1.
- Secretary to David Cleghorn Thomson, 26 June 1925, BBC WAC L1/421/1.
- Secretary to David Cleghorn Thomson, 8 March 1926, BBC WAC L1/421/1.
- Assistant Controller to Station Director, 'Staff changes', 26 February 1927, BBC WAC R13/369/1.
- Assistant Controller to Station Directors, 'Northern Area', 4 July 1927, BBC WAC R13/369/1.
- Unidentified letter, 25 March 1929, BBC WAC L1/421/1.
- 'Insuperable obstacles', Scotsman, 11 April 1933, 9.
- 'Scottish Headquarters', memo from Assistant Controller, 16 June 1930, BBC WAC R13/369/2.
- Popular Wireless, 11 July 1931.
- Scottish National Theatre Society Limited, prospectus, 21 February 1928, BBC WAC L1/421/1.
- List of former RSE fellows, 1783–2002 (PDF)
- Quoted in the introductory pages of the pamphlet Towards Industrial Peace (Edinburgh & London: Oliver and Boyd, 1924)
- 'Porpoise Press Poetry', Press and Journal, 7 January 1929, 5.
- 'Insuperable obstacles', Scotsman, 11 April 1933, 9.
- 'Community Drama Festival', Falkirk Herald, 22 March 1930, 4.
- 'Community Drama Festival', Falkirk Herald, 19 March 1930, 5.
- 'Falkirk Players in London', Falkirk Herald, 30 April 1930, 3.
- Proceeding plays in 'The Scottish National Plays Series' were George Blake's The Mother, The Money's The Thing by George Woden, and Clyde-Built, also by George Blake.
- 'Scottish Community Drama', The Stage, 23 January 1930.
- 'New Short Plays: Edinburgh Performance', Scotsman, 17 May 1930, 15.
- 'Wireless Programmes', Scotsman, 11 May 1933, 2.
- George McKechnie, 'Nationalism and the BBC', Scottish Review of Books, Volume 9 Issue 3, 27 March 2013.
- 'The Modern Scot', The Spectator, 26 May 1933, 773–4.
- 'Is Scotland Artistically Backward', Scots Magazine, July 1953, 268–272.
- 'New Life in Poland', New Statesman and Nation, 27 October 1945.
- Scotsman, 13 October 1933, 8.
- 'New Trends in the Scottish Church', Spectator, 26 April 1934, 112.
- Christopher Grieve ('Hugh MacDiarmid') was the first secretary of the Scottish PEN.
- David Cleghorn Thomson, 'Memorandum of evidence with regard to Staff Policy and Conditions in the Broadcasting Service in Great Britain', 9 June 1935, BBC WAC R4/77/7.
- 'The future of broadcasting in Scotland', Radio Number, 7 September 1935.
- 'Scottish Town Council Elections: Edinburgh', Scotsman, 6 November 1935, 13.
- Ernest Brown was a Liberal National, a distinctive group within the Liberal Party when the main body of Liberals were maintaining in office the second Labour government of Ramsay MacDonald, who lacked a majority in Parliament. A growing number of Liberal MPs led by Sir John Simon declared their total opposition to this policy and began to co-operate more closely with the Conservative Party, eventually merging with them.
- 'The Edinburgh Contests', Scotsman, 9 November 1935, 18.
- 'Socialist's Address', Scotsman, 18 January 1936, 16.
- 'Mr MacDonald In', Scotsman', 4 February 1936, 9. Result: The Rt Hon James Ramsay MacDonald (Nat Govt) 16,393; Prof A Dewar Gibb (Sco Nat) 9,034; Mr David Cleghorn Thomson (Soc) 3,597.
- 'General Notices', Scotsman, 14 October 1936, 1; 'Scottish Municipal Elections: Edinburgh', Scotsman, 4 November 1936, 13.
- 'Refugee Problem: Mr Cleghorn Thomson's Appointment', Scotsman, 9 July 1938, 15; 'Call to Universities', Edinburgh Evening News, 13 March 1939, 9.
- 'London Day By Day: Academic Refugees', Edinburgh Evening News, 21 March 1939, 6.
- David Cleghorn Thomson & Richard Blythe, 'Industry and the Good Citizen', The Fortnightly, July-December 1949, 396.
- Management, Labour, and Community (London: Pitman, 1957), vi.
- 'Cultured broadcast', Evening Sentinel, 2 January 1943.
- 'Ceilidhs in Western Isles', Oban Times, 2 January 1943.
- 'Popular Adjudicator to Marry', Courier, 1 December 1928, 10.
David Millar Craig
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