BORN in Falkirk in 1848, educated at Gorbals Youths School and the Mercantile Academy, Mr. Laird was apprenticed in 1863 to Mr. Robert M'Tear of the well-known Glasgow firm of auctioneers. There he imbibed from the head of the business the advanced views of liberty and reform which made M'Tear the friend of men like Mazzini, Garibaldi, Karl Blind, and Louis Blanc. He has taken a strenuous share in the affairs of his political party, having been Chairman of Glasgow Liberal Council and of the Glasgow Central Division Liberal Association, and being at present Chairman of the North-West Lanarkshire Liberal Association and of Shettleston Liberal Association. He is also chairman of the Citizens' Union, and has been vice-chairman of the Scottish Society of Literature and art. Of late years he has taken less to do with the auction part of the business in which he is a partner, and has occupied himself more with the work of fire loss assessing, in which he is largely employed by the Insurance Companies. He has made himself thoroughly conversant with the intricate workings of the average clause; and his short treatise on "The Conditions of Average and Independent Liability" is regarded as an authority by those dealing with the subject. Apart from business, in his youth he was an enthusiastic shorthand writer, and in 1869 founded the Glasgow Shorthand Writers' Association. He has always taken a keen interest in art, literature, and science, and was one of the chief movers in the Glasgow science lectures. He is an ex-president of the Mount Vernon Bowling Club, and spends his summers in Iona, where he is an ardent deep-sea fisher. Of his family of two, his son James has charge of the firm's Edinburgh and East of Scotland branch.

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