George Laird & Son

Wrights and joiners

B/W Advertisement for George Laird & Son, 'Glasgow Building Trades Exchange', 1898, p. 144

George Laird & Son were Glasgow builders, joiners, cartwrights, cabinetmakers and upholsterers, based for over 50 years at Ann Street, Bridgeton. The street was later renamed 'Laird Street' after the family. 1 In addition to those trades, they were also timber merchants, and ran Bridgeton Saw Mills.

The first George Laird (c. 1821–1897) established the company around 1857, employing 85 men in 1871, and similar numbers in 1881. 2 Under George Holms Laird (c. 1859–1924) and brother Matthew James Donald Laird (c. 1875–1916) the firm prospered so much that their considerably younger siblings were able to enter the professions. John (1868–1937) and James William Laird (c. 1880–1939) became architects, and Thomas a doctor. 3 Matthew J. D. Laird, and his nephew (and fellow company-director) Arthur D. Laird (1890–1916) both died during the First World War. 4 Company Secretary John T. Ferguson also became a director in the late 1930s. 5

Among the firm's projects were furniture for Broomhill Home for Incurables, Kirkintilloch (J. Salmon & Son, 1884); the 'fine open roof' for Greenhead Parish Church, Glasgow (alterations D. Wylie, 1894–5); joinery for the Southern Christian Institute, Pollokshaws (R. Miller, 1896); and a Queen Anne-style dining suite, overmantel and fitted cabinets for the 1888 Glasgow International Exhibition. 6

The firm suffered setbacks: in 1893, they were found liable when a cabinetmaker was killed using a circular saw; there were labour disputes in 1898; and a fire in their polishing shop in 1908. However, they recovered sufficiently to become a limited company in 1912. 7

Notes:

1: Glasgow Post Office directories, 1850–1910; T. McCann, 'Janefield Merchants', Parkhead History, 2011, www.parkheadhistory.com [accessed 20 February 2013].

2: Census data, www.ancestry.co.uk; Wills search, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [both accessed 20 February 2013].

3: Census data, www.ancestry.co.uk; Wills search, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk; Architect Biography Reports, Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org [all accessed 20 February 2013].

4: Scotsman, 5 May 1916, p. 6; 13 July 1916, p. 6; R. Brown, 'Cambuslang War Heroes', 2006, on Edward Boyle's Cambuslang website, www.edwardboyle.com/EB/cambuslang/cambuslang_war_memorial.htm[accessed 20 February 2013].

5: Glasgow Post Ofice directories, 1920–40; Edinburgh Gazette, 27 November 1923, p. 1586; 5 November 1938, p. 917–8; Scotsman, 1 April 1939, p. 10.

6: Glasgow Herald, 3 November 1884, p. 9; 1 September 1888, p. 9; 7 October 1895, p. 8; 14 November 1896, p. 8.

7: Scotsman, 18 October 1893, p. 9; Glasgow Herald, 11 December 1893, p. 4; 2 April 1898, p. 10; Scotsman, 13 July 1908, p. 6; 18 May 1912, p. 6.