EVERY time he sees the grand façade of Templeton’s Carpet Factory on Glasgow Green, Tom Laird is taken back to a special time in his life.

“Templeton’s had faith in me,” he says. “I feel a big part of the place whenever I see it and it has a special place in my heart.”

Now a business centre, the striking building in the city’s east end features in Tom’s book, Tales of a Carpet Fitter II, the second volume in a series he started writing at the beginning of last year’s lockdown.

It’s full of fascinating, funny stories and photos from his career as a carpet-fitter – and all the other jobs he did to support himself while trying to build up his business.

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“I started writing because I had some time on my hands, and I’m not getting any younger,” he smiles. “My late brother-in-law, who was an established author, always said I should write a book, because he was sure I had a few good stories in me.

“I was born in Glasgow Stobhill hospital in 1949, and brought up in Shettleston above the Kirkhouse pub, where I lived until my late teens.

“The books are small snippets of periods in my life. I have vivid memories of my childhood and upbringing in the east end of Glasgow. I hope to write an autobiography sometime in the future.”

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Tom’s first job was a van boy at Welma Bakeries in 1964 when he was 15.

“My favourite memory is going into the back of a bread van first thing in the morning, - that was an aroma to die for,” he says.

“After a year, my brother-in-law got me an apprenticeship as a joiner in Cumbernauld but they went bankrupt a year later. So I was looking for a job, and tried Templeton Carpets because my pal worked there. They gave me a chance to change direction and learn a new skill.”

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Templeton’s was modelled on Venice’s famous Doge’s Palace and its beautiful façade matched the elegance and grandeur of the upmarket carpets it produced. The company was started by James Templeton, who collaborated with an Irish weaver named William Quiglay to adapt chenille (a material more commonly used for shawls and curtains) into a base for soft yet strong carpets. It was famous all over the world - even Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of US president Abraham, was said to have a Templeton carpet in her home.

Templeton’s is only part of Tom’s story – he was a self-employed fitter for a while, trading as Glendale Carpets, worked as a bus conductor, a milkman and a part-time taxi driver. He moved to South Africa to work for a building firm in the 80s. A serious accident – roof sheeting dropped by a crane from the 13th floor of a building left him with a broken arm and a dislocated shoulder – and the death of his father made him decide to return to Scotland. He worked for Welma Bakeries, now Sunblest, again and then returned to carpet fitting.

Tom and his wife Marion, who have been married for 52 years, now live in Douglas, Lanarkshire and they have a son, Tom, and daughter Denise.

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“My family think the books are funny,” he says. “They helped me out from time to time, and know a few of the stories. It’s good because it allows me to leave some insight into my early life, it helps keep these memories alive.

“It is always too late to ask someone something once they have gone.”