The Evening Telegraph, Thursday November 14, 1935: ACCUSED THANKS BRECHIN PROVOST -James Baird, no fixed abode but who stated that he belonged to Montrose, appeared before Provost Dunn at Brechin Police Court today.
In answer to the charge of being drunk and incapable he said: “I believe I’m guilty right enough”.
Regarding previous convictions he said “Oh yes. Oh, yes. I admit them all. I had a drappie ower muckle, but its eight months since I tastit last. Ask Mr Brown, Forfar”.
Inspector Shewan said that he was got in Infirmary Street and appeared to be going to St Drostans. The Provost – I’ll let you off this time. Accused – Oh, thank you very much, Provost.
Back in Court two years later on Monday 26th April, James an inmate of St Drostan’s House (previously known as Brechin poorhouse) pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly at 10.30pm on Saturday night.
“He stated that he was suffering from lumbago, rheumatics and other troubles and a little drink went to his head. He would never touch liquor in his life again”. The benevolent Bailie Ogilvie in holding James to his word, deferred sentence for six months.
And for six months, James remained out of the newspapers until Friday October 22, 1937 –
HE HAD BEEN DRINKING “RED BIDDIE”: James Baird, baker and inmate of St Drostan’s Brechin appeared before Bailie Ogilvie at Brechin Police Court today. He was charged with a breach of the peace. He had been drinking “red biddie” the prosecutor said. A fine of 5s or five days’ imprisonment was imposed.
A google search defines red biddie as “a mixture of cheap red wine and meths”.
In December of 1868, Mary Baird (nee Marquis) wife of Ballastman, John Baird gave birth to James Ferrier Baird, the eighth child, sixth son in a family that would eventually consist of eleven children. James was recorded on the census nights of 1871 and 1881 in the family home but his whereabouts in 1891 and 1911 remain a mystery.
However, the 1901 Scottish Census recorded on the night of 31st March/1st April was a surprise, finding James a guest of HM General Prison in Perth, on what charge or the length of his sentence, I have no idea.
The Evening Telegraph, Wednesday July 3, 1940 Pg 3 under heading: WANTED TO SLEEP ON INFIRMARY VERANDAH: James Baird, baker of no fixed abode, a native of Montrose, created a disturbance at Brechin Infirmary last night. He wanted to sleep in the verandah. At Brechin Police Court today he pleaded guilty to breach of the peace. Bailie Gibb imposed a fine of 5s or five days.
Ironically, in columns adjacent to this clipping are advertisements for Johnnie Walker whiskey and Andrews Liver Salt!!
Had James’ remaining siblings washed their hands of him hence his homelessness; was he drinking to forget a deep dark horror or perhaps he just liked a couple of drinks and occasionally overdid it.
On the afternoon of 28th January 1942 at 2.15pm at 5 Infirmary Street, Brechin, 73 year old James passed away. Dr R M Lang certified his cause of death as cerebral haemorrhage and myocardial degeneration. The occupier of 12a Union Street, Brechin [James usual residence] Archd. Houston informed the authorities of his death.
James was laid to rest at Brechin Cemetery on 31 January 1942. [www.deceasedonline.com]