He worked for John Logie Baird

John Logie Baird
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john_logie_baird381ON June 14 1946, Helensburgh-born TV inventor John Logie Baird died in his sleep at home in Bexhill at the age of 57. Thirty years after his death, a Helensburgh commemorative exhibition had a remarkable visitor.

On May 31 that year a 26-day town celebration began with the opening of the main exhibition in the then Templeton Library in James Street, with the ceremony conducted by a local man and Baird expert, Professor E.S.Fairley, the depute principal of the University of Strathclyde.

One visitor was Colin Graham from Ibrox, who met Baird (pictured) in 1918 when he had a commission agents business in Glasgow, selling boot polish, unsweetened chocolate, Pall Mall cigarettes, secondhand motor cycles, and of course the famous Baird undersocks.

Mr Graham, who was 15 and became his office boy, said: “He never called me Colin. It was always Johnny, and I remember him as a gentleman and a genius, but a very absent-minded genius.

“One day he went out without taking an overcoat and told me he would not be long. But I did not see him again until days later — he had been away in Manchester on business.

“He was always cold, and I sometimes found him sitting in front of a fire in mid-summer. Just before he went abroad he used to pay me one shilling a week just to phone in every day and ask if he needed me. He was that sort of gentleman.”

He told Colin that one day he would be able to pick up the phone and see who he was talking to. At the time he did not believe him, but of course it has turned out to be true.

When Baird left to go to Trinidad to set up a jam factory, he gave his office boy a letter of introduction which got him an apprenticeship in a Glasgow engineering firm.