Charlie and Molly Baird.

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Chas and Molly Baird – an appreciation

I first met “the Bairds” in 1976. There were a couple of occasions when we had a car going to Edinburgh, and arranged to pick up their son in Milton in North Glasgow. Molly was always wanting to “feed me up”, offering me a fry-up. I hit it off with them right away. Chas was more soft spoken, but with a quiet authority. Molly more bubbly. They attended various Public Meetings in the late 70s. We learnt from them of their role in the Glasgow Anarchists of the 1940s, during and after the war. Molly's parents had connections with the Anti-Parliamentary Communist Federation in the 1920s. Chas once was a “Conchy”, who became the Secretary of the Glasgow Anarchist group, around 1942. The group had 3 “stars” in terms of public speaking in Brunswick Street: Leech, Shaw and Raeside. Chas & Molly were closest to Jimmy Raeside. Eddie Shaw was described by the Bairds as a diminutive Billy Connolly of his era: great for attracting & amusing a crowd (he later emigrated to Canada). Raeside had more theory & logic in his argument. They fell out with Frank Leech in particular, because of his links to War Commentary paper in London and his tendency to bypass the Group office-bearers. The group also gave sanctuary at the time to Army & other deserters, and Leech preferred to put up officers. After the war, they created a syndicalist group, Direct Action and cooperated with Willie McDougall in his Worker Open Forums, They had a child in 1950 and Chas became known as the “Anarchist Barber”, from his shop n Garscube Road . They turned out for the anti electioneering during the Hilhead by election in the mid 80s when Roy Jenkins was elected. In 1987 in the first “Free University” talk Jimmy & Babs Raeside were visiting from Perth, Australia. Chas & Molly along with JT Caldwell took part in the forum discussing the era. Afterwards, Molly insisted “Caldy” join us in the Arlington Pub in Woodlands Road, a practice he avoided. Molly died just before Chas they were inseparable & devoted to each other. An edited transcript of the 1987 meeting appeared in Scottish Anarchist, see Spirit of Revolt K.M.

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