John Laird (
14 June 1805– 29 October 1874) was a Scottish shipbuilder and key figure in the development of the town of Birkenhead. He was the elder brother of Macgregor Laird. He was one of the first to use iron in the construction of ships.
He was born in
Greenock, Scotland, the eldest son of Scottish entrepreneur, William Laird and Agnes Macgregor. In the same year the Lairds moved to Liverpool. John Laird was educated at Liverpool Royal Institution. In 1824 the Laird family moved to Birkenhead, where William Laird and Daniel Horton established the Birkenhead Iron Works. This manufactured boilers near WallaseyPool. This partnership was dissolved in 1828 and William Laird was joined in his business by John Laird, who had been a solicitor's articled clerk. The company was renamed William Laird & Son.
John Laird realised that the techniques of bending iron plates and riveting them together to build ships were similar to the principles involved in making boilers. Laird’s first vessel was a 60ft pre-fabricated iron lighter, "The Wye" in 1829 - displacement sixty tons - which was used on canals and lakes in
Ireland. This was followed by further orders for more lighters and in 1833 the paddle steamer "Lady Lansdowne" was built for the same firm. Many of the orders were for pre-fabricated river steamers. In 1834, he built the paddle steamer "John Randolph" for Savannah, Georgia, stated to be the first iron ship seen in America. For the East India Company, he built in 1839 the " HEIC Nemesis", the first iron vessel carrying guns.
In 1839 Lairds built their first screw-propelled steamer, "Robert F. Stockton", a 63ft tug for use on North American waterways. By 1840, Lairds had built another 21 iron paddle-steamers including four gun boats for anti-piracy patrols for the
British East India Company. Further orders for paddle frigates included the 1,400 ton HMS Birkenhead (1845)(which he designed) of 1848 which was famously wrecked off South Africawith the loss of over 400 soldiers in 1852. Perhaps their most famous vessel was the Confederate raider " CSS Alabama". In 1857 the business moved to a new yard upstream from the Woodside Ferry, where it remained.
In 1844 John Laird started the construction of the Birkenhead Docks in the tidal
WallaseyPool. These were intended to compete with the Port of Liverpoolbut the venture was not a success and the system was merged with Liverpool docks in 1858.
In 1829 Laird married Elizabeth Hurry. In 1860, John Laird was joined in partnership by his three sons, William, John and Henry. However, John Laird retired in 1861 and the business was taken over by his sons. It merged with Charles Cammell & Co to form
Cammell Lairdin 1903.
He was the first mayor of Birkenhead and as chairman of the Birkenhead Improvement Commission, he played a key role in the development of the town. He was one of the first Commissioners in 1833, which were appointed to erect a market, to light and clean the streets and to maintain a police force. When Birkenhead became a Parliamentary Borough in 1861, John Laird retired from shipbuilding to become its first
Member of Parliamentfor Birkenhead. He served from 1861 to 1874 as a Conservative. He was also Deputy Lieutenant of Cheshireand Justice of the Peace.
He contributed a great deal to the continuous improvement of the town as a benefactor. Laird was responsible for the building of the Dock Cottages. He made some generous donations for the erection of Saint James Church, the Borough Hospital and the Laird School of Art [ [http://pmsa.cch.kcl.ac.uk/LL/MSWR0022.htm Notes about his statue] ]
He died at his home, 63
Hamilton Square, Birkenhead, following a riding accident. He is buried in the grounds of Birkenhead Priory, next to his yard.
An appeal for donations for a statue quickly raised more than required from nearly 2,400 donors. The statue was sculpted by
Albert Bruce-Joy. Over 2,000 people walked in procession for the statue's unveiling in 1877. It was unveiled by his friend, Lord Tollemache. The statue now stands in Hamilton Square in the centre of Birkenhead, though it was moved from its original position to make way for a cenotaph.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
John Laird (disambiguation) — John Laird may refer to:* John Laird (1805 ndash;1874), British ship builder and key figure in development of Birkenhead * John Laird (philosopher) (1887 ndash;1946), Scottish philosopher * John Laird (California), California State Assemblymember … Wikipedia
John Laird Mair Lawrence — John Laird Mair Lawrence, 1er Barón Lawrence, GCB, GCSI, PC (4 de marzo de 1811 – 27 de junio de 1879) fue un político británico que sirvió como Virrey de la India entre 1864 y 1869. Biografía Lawrence pasó sus primeros años en Derry (Irlanda del … Wikipedia Español
John Laird (California) — Infobox State Representative name =John Laird height =150 state assembly =California district =27th term start3 =2002 term end3 = preceded3 =Fred Keeley succeeded3 =Incumbent nationality =American date of birth = place of birth = date of death =… … Wikipedia
John Laird (philosopher) — For other John Lairds. see John Laird (disambiguation) John Laird (17 May, 1887 ndash; 5 August, 1946) was a philosopher, in the school of New British Realism, who later turned to metaphysical idealism. John Laird was born at Durris,… … Wikipedia
John Laird, Baron Laird — John Dunn Laird, Baron Laird (born 1944) is an Ulster Unionist life peer and former chairman of the cross border Ulster Scots Agency.CareerWhilst Chairman of the Ulster Young Unionist Council in 1970, he became youngest member of the Parliament… … Wikipedia
Lawrence, John Laird Mair Lawrence, 1st Baron — ▪ British colonial official born March 4, 1811, Richmond, Yorkshire, England died June 27, 1879, London British viceroy and governor general of India whose institution in the Punjab of extensive economic, social, and political reforms… … Universalium
Lawrence, John (Laird Mair) — later Baron Lawrence (of the Punjab and of Grately) born March 4, 1811, Richmond, Yorkshire, Eng. died June 27, 1879, London British viceroy and governor general of India (1864–69). He worked in Delhi as an assistant judge, magistrate, and tax… … Universalium
Lawrence, John (Laird Mair) — post. barón Lawrence (del Punjab y de Grately) (4 mar. 1811, Richmond, Yorkshire, Inglaterra–27 jun. 1879, Londres). Virrey y gobernador general de India (1864–69) de origen británico. Trabajó en Delhi como juez auxiliar, magistrado y recaudador… … Enciclopedia Universal
Laird Brothers — war ein 1824 gegründetes Schiffbauunternehmen in Birkenhead am Fluss Mersey. Die Werft fusionierte im Jahre 1903 mit der Charles Cammell Co. zu Cammell, Laird Company. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Geschichte 1.1 Die Anfänge 1.2 … Deutsch Wikipedia
Laird (surname) — Laird is a surname, and may refer to:*Bruce Laird (b. 1950), Australian cricketer *Carobeth Laird (1895–1983), American anthropologist *David Laird (1833–1914), Canadian politician; Lieutenant Governor of Northwest Territories *Gerald Laird (b.… … Wikipedia