Scottish aerospace ingenuity celebrated in new lecture series

Aeroplane built by Andrew Blain Baird in the Rothesay Drill Hall, August 1910

Scotland’s ingenuity and role in the aerospace sector is the focus of a new lecture series being launched by the Baird of Bute Society.

The Society is named in honour of Andrew Blain Baird, a blacksmith who carried out the first attempted all-Scottish heavier-than-air powered flight.

The Society employs the example of Andrew Baird to inspire the youth of Scotland to aspire to achievement in their lives through awards and recognitions, school programmes, scholarships and the support of educational activities.

No limits

The Lord Smith of Kelvin lecture series, named after the Patron of the Society – and the Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde – will begin on Thursday 7 September at the University with presentations on Scottish minister William Leitch, the first person believed to have proposed rockets as a means of space exploration, and Scotland’s contribution to aviation and aerospace.

Lord Smith said: “Scotland’s interest and involvement in aviation and aerospace goes back to its earliest days – as embodied by Andrew Baird and William Leitch: two men whose imaginations knew no limits.

“Flight, whether in the skies above our heads, or into the depths of space, continues to fascinate and inspire.

“And it is our aim in particular, with this new lecture series, to foster interest in these fields amongst young people to encourage them to aim for the stars with their own aspirations.”

The lectures will be presented by Professor Eleanor Campbell of the University of Edinburgh, and Prof Iain Gray, of Cranfield University and Vice President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, respectively.

Anyone wishing to attend the free lecture in the McCance Building on 16 Richmond Street, Glasgow should register via