Thomas Davidson Thomson (1911 - 1989)
Thomas Davidson Thomson - C.M.G., O.B.E., M.A., LLB, FSA Scot
Colonial District Commissioner, Historian, Representative for Eastern Borders
Born in Edinburgh and coming from a family that had lived at The Hill House in Coldingham for around 170 years, he completed university in Cambridge and Edinburgh before joining the Colonial Service to work in Nyasaland (now Malawi) for over 30 years including the transition to independence.
He wrote extensively on Nyasaland history, customs and place-names and a language course “A Practical Guide to Chinyanja”.
Upon returning from East Africa in 1962, he became the Treasurer of Coldingham Priory and oversaw the internal restoration of the building.
He persuaded the department of archaeology at Glasgow University to do some excavation work in the 1970s, and further excavations took place in 1967 and 1970 by the Berwickshire Naturalists Club of which he was the President and, in conjunction with his wife Marjory, contributed many articles to The Proceedings of the B.N.C. including "A Postal History of Berwickshire".
He wrote “Coldingham Priory by T.D. Thomson" in 1972, revised in 1981. This is still the standard guide to the Priory. The Guide may be read online here.
In 1969 he became "Brain of Britain" on the general knowledge radio programme.
"T.D." as he was often referred to, was very much behind the formation of the Eastern Borders Development Association (EBDA). Along with EBDA’s field officer, he was responsible for attracting Dexters (now Ahlstrom), the non-woven fabrics manufacturer to the Chirnside paper mill, improving Eyemouth harbour, researching the possibility of farmers growing vegetables commercially in The Borders, setting up the processing plant at Eyemouth and in totally reversing a near-20% loss in the population of Berwickshire during the first 20 years of the post-war era. His and EBDA's contribution to the welfare and tourism of Berwickshire, Kelso and North Northumberland was a remarkable achievement.
He was buried in the Davidson-Thomson plot at the Priory.