John Baird

John Baird was born at Lugar Street in Cumnock in 1812. His father David had tenanted the farm at Longmore in Logan Estate. David Baird met and married Jean Vallance and together they ran the Tup Inn in Cumnock. John, an only son, trained and became a very able joiner. He was also a well read and cultured man with interests in science, art, photography, literature and mechanical and technical drawing. This led him to produce architectural plans and drawings for many buildings in and around Cumnock including his own home adjacent to the Baird Institute which stands on what was once Baird's garden. The area was commonly known as 'Baird's Corner' or 'Baird's Place'.

Following his father's death, he inherited a row of thatched cottages in Lugar Street. Life as a working joiner did not suit him and he took this opportunity to make changes. He demolished the houses and replaced them with new handsome business premises and ventured into the drapery trade. On retiring, the drapery business passed to John Goldie and later became James Livingstone's grocery business. 

The Baird Institute 

In his will, John Baird bequeathed money for the erection of a public building in Cumnock that would provide leisure facilities for the use of the inhabitants of the town. This was to include a museum, a billiard room and reading rooms with newspapers, periodicals, magazines, reviews, books and curiosities. 

The building was designed by Mr Robert Ingram of Kilmarnock, the son of John Baird's early instructor in engineering drawing. It was opened in March 1891 and is in the Scottish Baronial style, constructed from local Mauchline and Auchinleck pink sandstone. All rooms were illuminated with gas lighting, each with Irish white marble fireplaces except for the one in the Billiards Room which was made from Italian black and gold marble. 

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