Stirling has marked the 200th anniversary of the execution of Scottish radicals John Baird and Andrew Hardie.
Baird and Hardie

Provost Christine Simpson laid flowers at a memorial on Broad Street to the two weavers who were hanged at the Tolbooth in front of around 2,000 people on 8 September, 1820, after standing up for civil liberties and political reform.  

The Provost was joined by Bailies – Cllr Chris Kane and Cllr Alasdair Tollemache – for the ceremony on Tuesday (8 Sep), with other commemorations taking place during the day, including one from the 1820 Historical Society.

On social media, the Tolbooth and Albert Halls Facebook channels are marking the anniversary this week by focusing on the theme of civil rights and how it relates to Baird and Hardie. 

Bravery and sacrifice

Provost Simpson said: “It was an honour to represent the people of Stirling to mark this important anniversary when two brave men were executed in our city for standing up for their democratic rights and to improve the lives of ordinary people.

“We must continue to remember people such as Baird and Hardie whose bravery and sacrifice helped pave the way for the civil liberties and rights we enjoy today and take for granted.”

Baird and Hardie had played leading roles in the Radical War, also known as the Scottish Insurrection, a week of strikes and unrest in search of reform involving artisan workers, particularly weavers.

As work stopped in a wide area of Central Scotland, a small group led by Baird and Hardie marched towards the Carron Company Ironworks, near Falkirk, to seize weapons.

They were attacked by Government forces at Bonnymuir and of those seized, Baird and Hardie, were held in Stirling and then executed after making defiant speeches.

Both men were granted a Royal pardon in 1835 and their remains were disinterred and transferred to Sighthill Cemetery, Glasgow, in 1847, where a monument to them and those involved in the uprising was erected.

You can read more information about the execution of Baird and Hardie on the Stirling Council Archives website.