, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Renfrewshire and Clydeside’s industrial decline caught on camera

An exhibition of photographs showing the industrial decline of Renfrewshire and Clydeside in the mid Seventies has opened in Paisley Museum.

opening of an exhibition by New York photographer, Larry Herman at paisley museum

New York-born photographer, Larry Herman took the series of pictures between 1974 and 1976 when the once-heavily industrialised region was suffering from many shipyard and factory closures, as the economy foundered.

Herman has hand-printed a new set of 78 black and white gelatin prints for the free exhibition, which is being toured by Street Level Photoworks. The exhibition – Clydeside 1974-76 – runs from June 17 until August 20.

Several of the images were taken in Ferguslie and Linwood giving an intimate glimpse into the lives of local workers four decades ago.

Much of Herman’s work was held in a collection by the Scottish Arts Council, but has now been distributed to various holdings, including the National Galleries of Scotland.

Herman was born in New York, trained as a sculptor and immigrated to the UK during the Vietnam War.

His photography career flourished in the Seventies, but he gave up taking pictures in the Eighties and became a guard and train driver on the London Underground and then worked as a welder in a Sheffield steelworks. He took up photography again in 1993 and returned to London in 1999.

Herman said: “At the time I was shooting these pictures I had no idea they would have some resonance in 2017. I didn’t take the photographs with posterity in mind, but as a documentary of what was happening at the time.

“I photographed people in the situations they found themselves in and I wanted my work to be realistic.”

Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, which runs sports, leisure and cultural facilities locally said: “People coming to see this exhibition will be able to take a step back in time.

“These photographs graphically document what was happening to the working-class of the area during an acute economic decline.


“The exhibition will be of particular interest to Renfrewshire as quite a few of the photographs were taken in Paisley and Linwood.”

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New funding plans revealed for £42m Paisley Museum revamp

A fresh set of funding plans have been unveiled to transform Paisley Museum into an international-class destination based around the town’s unique heritage story.

Councillors will next week be asked to approve a new approach to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £4.9m for the project, which aims to reconnect the globally-recognised Paisley Pattern with the town which gave it its name.

The latest application comes after a previous approach to HLF for £10m narrowly missed out in the latest, highly-competitive, UK-wide round of funding.

The project is a key part of a wider strategy to use Paisley’s unique heritage story to transform its future, including a bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

The refreshed funding plans bring the total cost down to £42m from £49m, but retain the original vision of a visitor experience of international quality, hoped to more than triple current visitor numbers.

Renfrewshire Council has already set aside £24.1m from its own resources towards the revamp.

Members of Renfrewshire Council’s Leadership Board will next week be asked to approve the new bid to HLF and the revised project timeline.

The previous £10m approach to HLF was one of 23 projects making up a £235m funding ask – the largest request for grants over £5m HLF had ever received – with only £40m available.

Paisley Museum made it on to a shortlist from which only four were funded – but earned praise from HLF bosses for its vision and quality.

The plans include an extension to the existing Victorian-era building, creating extra space for internationally-significant exhibits including the world’s largest collection of Paisley shawls.

The proposed timeline remains the same – the museum would close in summer 2018 and reopen in 2022. Work to involve the local community in creating the content of the new museum would feature strongly in any UK City of Culture 2021 programme.

The museum revamp is closely linked to other investment in Paisley’s cultural infrastructure – work is well under way on £3.7m plans to create a publicly-accessible museum store on the town’s high street, to house items not on display in the main museum, due to be complete by end 2017.

Construction is also set to start this year on a new learning and cultural hub in a vacant high-street unit, creating a new modern and accessible facility and allowing the town’s lending library to move from its current home next to the museum.

The museum, store and library will all be operated by Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Our revised plans for Paisley Museum retain our ambition of an international-class museum for Renfrewshire.

“While we are disappointed the previous application to HLF was not a success, the feedback made clear the application was of high quality and had no weaknesses.

“In the end we were extremely unlucky to miss out in an unusually-competitive round of funding at a time where available money was very tight.

“However the important point is we now have a viable set of refreshed funding plans which can still deliver a project meeting the original aims.

“The museum project is one of several which will help bring new life and footfall into our town centres – helping create a new type of town centre economy and boosting local trade, while also capitalising on everything Renfrewshire has to offer and making the area a key destination for heritage tourism.”

Members of the Leadership Board will consider the new funding plans when they meet on 20 June.

, , , , , , , , , ,

Fun and laughter at marathon Bookbug session

TODDLERS had a marathon session of fun and laughter in the longest ever Bookbug session held at Paisley Central Library.
To celebrate Bookbug Week, Renfrewshire Leisure staged a Gigglethon in the library on Monday.


The theme of the Gigglethon was humour and children under the age of five, along with their parents or carers were invited to come along any time during the day to have some fun and a good laugh.
And everyone at the Gigglethon was given a free book, mask and sticker courtesy of the Scottish Book Trust.


The event, at Central Library is just one of several fun sessions being held in libraries and venues throughout Renfrewshire to celebrate Bookbug’s Big Giggle.
Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “Our libraries are really fun places to go all the year round, but the marathon Gigglethon was extra special.”
Log on to www.renfrewshirelibraries.co.uk for more information about Bookbug Week sessions locally.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Easter Star Wars egg-stravaganza at Paisley Museum

YOUNGSTERS will be heading for a galaxy far, far away with a Star Wars Easter Trail, at Paisley Museum.

ten-year-old Leia Brown, from Paisley at the May The Toys Be With You exhibition also on at Paisley Museum.

Along with the popular May The Toys Be With You exhibition, Renfrewshire Leisure has organised a host of Star Wars activities during the Easter school holidays.

The free Star Wars Easter Trail at the museum runs from Saturday April 1 to Tuesday, April 18 and there are Easter eggs to be won by those taking part.

Activities and workshops are being held on various days between 11am and 3pm and on Tuesday April 4 there’s a chance for youngsters to learn how to code on a computer with a Star Wars theme.

On Wednesday, April 5 kids will be shown how to make their own lightsaber they can then take home and the following day, they’ll be making their own Darth Vader, Stormtrooper and C3PO lanterns.

On Friday, April 7 the Star Wars activity is how to create your own Yoda Head Hat; there’s a 3D Death Star Game on Thursday, April 13 and Star Wars screen printing, on Friday April 14 and Monday April 17.

Chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, Joyce McKellar said: “Not only do we have one of the country’s best Star Wars exhibitions in Paisley just now, but we’ve got lots of exciting activities on the Star Wars theme for youngsters during the Easter holidays.

“There’s no excuse for youngsters feeling bored during the school break as they can take off and land at Paisley Museum for some great fun that’s just out of this world.”

All workshops cost £3 per child and need to be booked in advance at Paisley Museum. Log on to www.renfrewshireleisure.com for more details.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Real-life Princess Leia launches Star Wars toys exhibition

A REAL-LIFE Princess Leia yesterday launched a unique exhibition of Star Wars toys and memorabilia that has come to Scotland for the first time.

Leia Brown, aged 10, from Paisley, who was named after Princess Leia, launches a Star Wars toys exhibition at Paisley Museum

Leia Brown isn’t just named after the space heroine from a galaxy far away, she was also born on May 4, which is known by fans as Star Wars Day – as in ‘may the fourth be with you’!


And the force was definitely with ten-year-old Leia when she got a sneak preview of the May The Toys Be With You exhibition, at Paisley Museum.

Leia Brown, aged 10, from Paisley and Star Wars toys collector, Matt Fox at the launch of the May The Toys Be With You exhibition at Paisley Museum

Shortly after Leia was born, her Star Wars fan dad, Peter persuaded mum, Paula to name her after Princess Leia. And after seeing the movies over the years she was growing up, Leia loves Star Wars as well.

The May The Toys Be With You exhibition is free and open from today, Saturday, March 18 until May 29.
The exhibition features one of the UK’s finest collections of vintage Star Wars toys, original cinema posters and memorabilia. It also includes fun family activities and additional Star-Wars related workshops during the Easter holidays.


Leia said: “I love everything about Star Wars and I’m always dressing up as Princess Leia. I’m glad mum and dad gave me that name.

“I’m really excited about May The Toys Be With You and being chosen to launch the exhibition. It’ll be great fun as it’s got lots of amazing toys and things about Star Wars to see.”

The collection of more than 400 exhibits and worth £100,000 is owned by 44-year-old Star Wars enthusiast Matt Fox, from Canterbury, in Kent, who was given his first Star Wars Darth Vader figure by his parents on his fifth birthday.

He said: “I can still remember sitting in the back of the car so excited and ripping open the packaging to get my hands on the Darth Vader figure.

“My love affair with Star Wars began when I saw the first movie in 1977 and from that day all I would ask my parents at birthdays and Christmas as a present would be Star Wars figures.

“This was in the days before we had videos to watch the movies again and again and the only way kids could recreate the adventures they saw in Star Wars movies was to play with the figures.

“My galaxy was under the dining room table!”

As a teenager Matt stopped asking for Star Wars toys, but years later, as a 28-year-old, he was in the loft of his parents’ home and came across a big box. When he opened the box he was amazed to see all his Star Wars toys had been kept safely by his parents.

“I looked into the box and it was like a golden glow of nostalgia beaming up at me,” he revealed. “It was quite an emotional moment and that’s when I started to seriously collect Star Wars memorabilia again.

“They say collecting is an illness and sharing is the cure and that’s what I want to do with this exhibition – let as many people, young and old, experience the same excitement as I have about Star Wars.”

One of the most rare exhibits on show at Paisley Museum is an original painting by artist Tom Beauvais, from 1977, as the poster for the very first Star Wars film.

However, his painting never appeared as the movie poster, as an illustration by his colleague, Tom Chantrell was used instead.

Chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, Joyce McKellar said: “This exhibition is a must-see for all Star Wars fans.
“It’s a celebration of the now highly-collectable vintage toy line and also of the iconic design work and art of the Star Wars movies.”

Paisley City of Culture 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “The Star Wars films remain as iconic and popular as ever and I am sure there will be huge interest in this exhibition at Paisley Museum over the next few months,

“That will bring visitors to the town and help raise awareness of Paisley’s wider cultural offer.
“Our outline programme for Paisley 2021 will be open and accessible, and will bring culture for all – and this exhibition is a great example of what that could mean. May the Force be with Paisley’s bid!”

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Funding boost means green light for £5m High Street library

Work to build a new £5m library in an empty unit on Paisley’s High Street will start this year – in the latest stage of the push to use culture to breathe new life into Paisley’s High Street.

Renfrewshire Council had already made £3.5m available for the project – and the final piece of the funding jigsaw arrived today with confirmation of a £1.5m grant from the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

The project will see the existing Paisley Central Library relocated from its existing home adjoining Paisley Museum to the unit at 22 High Street, formerly the Internacionale store, to form a new learning and cultural centre.

The move is part of a wider effort by the council to use culture to transform the fortunes of the town centre, taking place alongside the UK City of Culture 2021 bid.

Work is already under way on a publicly-accessible museum store in a formerly-empty unit at 9 High Street, due to open later this year.

And plans are moving forward for a £49m revamp of Paisley Museum into an international-class destination based around Renfrewshire’s unique heritage, which would bring an estimated extra 125,000 visitors per year to the town centre.

The library project will involve a major refurbishment of the building and a new shopfront but will retain the historic façade on the upper levels, in keeping with the rest of the High Street.

The new facility would be managed by Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd and is planned to be open by the end of 2019. A consultation with existing, lapsed and non-users of the current library last year showed they were mainly supportive of the principle of relocating to the High Street.

Renfrewshire Council leader Mark Macmillan said: “We are delighted to have attracted the money needed to top up the council’s previously-announced investment in this project.

“I am sure people will welcome the fact this is bringing an empty High Street unit back into use – the new library is just one strand of a wider push to use cultural attractions to transform Paisley town centre.

“Changes in shopping behavior have created tough times for traditional town centres everywhere – but we can’t turn the clock back and we won’t sit back and manage decline either.

“Paisley has a huge amount to offer in terms of architecture, heritage and culture – and we can use all of those to bring people here and generate the footfall through which existing and new businesses can thrive.

“The new library, the museum store and the planned museum revamp will all help do that – and if we were to win UK City of Culture 2021 we could look forward to one million visitors that year.

“But good things are already happening – with free public wifi on its way, a £5m revamp of the Russell Institute nearing completion and work to bring the former Arnotts site back into use as new flats and a restaurant.

“The library project is just the latest piece of good news on that front – and it will also provide a first-class learning resource for the area’s children and young people, with a greater range of new technology for 21st-century learning.

“And the new modern building will be fully equipped to offer improved physical access than is possible at the library’s current location.”

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Paisley celebrates International Women’s Day

A SERIES of events has been organised by Renfrewshire Leisure to celebrate International Women’s Day.


Tonight, Tuesday, March 7, at 7.30pm Paisley Arts Centre hosts a groundbreaking production of If I Had A Girl, which gives an insight into honour-based violence in ethnic minority communities in Scotland. A post-show discussion about the issues raised in the play will take place after the performance.

 

On International Women’s Day, Wednesday, March 8 there will be a free lecture called, Mighty Women of Science, in Paisley Museum, at 1.30pm. This will take an enlightening look at some well-known and not so well-known women who have changed and continue to change the science world.

And the same evening, at 6.45pm, in Paisley Arts Centre, three musicians – Linzi Clark, Heir of the Cursed and Marie Collins will perform.

On Tuesday, March 14, at 7.30pm Paisley Arts Centre stages the play Expensive Sh**. This tells the story of a Nigerian nightclub toilet attendant, working in a fictional club based on the Shimmy Club in Glasgow, who had dreams of becoming a dancer with the revolutionary band of the late Nigerian musician, Fela Kuti.

Tickets for ‘If I Had A Girl’ and ‘Expensive Sh**’ are available at Paisley Arts Centre box office on 0300 300 1210 or online www.renfrewshireleisure.com/arts.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Museum store to bring new life to Paisley High Street

Paisley will soon be home to Scotland’s first high street museum store – as part of a wider plan to use culture and creativity to help breathe new life into the town centre.

museum decant team members Stella Hook,Joel Fagan, Cllr Jim Harte and, Archie Henderson

Work is well advanced on the £2.7m facility, expected to open at the end of 2017, which will house tens of thousands of items from Paisley’s internationally-significant museum collection not on display in the main museum.

The store will occupy the basement of the unit at 7 High Street, currently being fitted out, and will be accessible to the public via a shopfront entrance.

Stella is holding the Egyptian Shabti

The work is being taken forward by Renfrewshire Council in connection with Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021

Currently, a team is preparing and packing the items at an existing storage facility elsewhere in the town, ahead of the mammoth decant to take place later in the year.

Archie is holding the mediaeval cross fragment

And some of the team gave a sneak peek of the quality and depth of the collection to be housed in the store, by showing off items including:
– a ceremonial 5,000-year-old hand axe dating back to the Neolithic era;
– a fragment of a 10th-century medieval cross found at Inchinnan;
– a copper mould for a frieze of the Parthenon created by renowned 19th century Paisley sculptor John Henning;
– a Paisley tram driver’s badge from the 1960s;

Also on show was an Egyptian Shabti – a small sculpture buried with a person and expected to serve them in the afterlife – dating back to the 26-27th dynasty.

The museum store is intended to complement plans for a £49m revamp of the main Paisley Museum, further up the High Street, due to be turned into an international-class destination based around the town’s unique heritage story by 2022.

The completed facility will be managed by Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd, and Councillor Jim Harte, chair of RL, joined the decant team to preview the items.

He said: “Other places in Scotland have publicly-accessible museum stores, but this is the first time such a facility has been built on a High Street, and will bring a previously-empty unit back into use.

“High streets everywhere – including Paisley’s – have suffered in recent years from changes in the way people shop.

“But we can’t turn the clock back – we need to be creative in finding new ways to repopulate units, and bring in new footfall which existing traders can benefit from.

“The museum store is part of a wider effort to use cultural attractions to do that, along with the UK City of Culture 2021 bid, the plans to revamp the main museum – which we expect to bring 125,000 visitors a year to the town centre – and the relocation of Paisley Central Library to a vacant unit on the high street.

“It was great to meet the team behind the decant and hear the stories behind some of the fascinating items they are uncovering every day.

“Once opened, the facility will give the people of Renfrewshire a chance to see the full extent of the town’s incredible and internationally-significant collection, while also being a top-class educational resource bringing history to life for our pupils.”

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Coats supports Paisley bid to become UK city of Culture 2021

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 has been backed by a famous global name which started life in the town – Coats, the world’s leading industrial thread manufacturer.

The Renfrewshire town is bidding for the title as part of wider plans to transform its future using its heritage and cultural assets.

Coats has strong links with Paisley as its origins can be traced back to the Coats and Clark families that created the weaving and textile industries there during the 1750s.

Rajiv Sharma, Group Chief Executive, Coats, said: ‘Coats is very proud of its heritage and Paisley is where it all began.  This bid will help transform the future of Paisley by bringing much-needed regeneration and opportunities that will give the town the civic pride it rightly deserves once more.’

In the 1880s Paisley was one of the fastest growing towns in the UK and more than 10% of its 60,000 population were employed by the Coats or Clark firms, which came together in the 1890s to form Coats.

The families were major benefactors to the town of Paisley including iconic buildings such as the Coats Observatory – one of only three remaining public observatories in Scotland  – and the A-listed cast-iron Grand Fountain, recently restored to its former glory.

They also funded the building of Paisley Museum and bequeathed many items which remain in the town’s collections. Renfrewshire Council last year revealed plans for a £49m revamp of the museum to turn it into an international-class heritage attraction by 2022.

Coats still retains a presence in the town today through its global Colour Systems Team, which is based in the Mile End Mill building.

The team is an integral part of the global business and leads the development of cutting-edge colour management technology which drives best practice and productivity improvements across Coats’ 45 thread dyehouse operations around the world.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “We are thrilled to have one of Paisley’s most famous names on board for the bid.

“Paisley’s name is known around the world for the role it played in shaping the global textile industry. But as much as Paisley made textiles, textiles also made Paisley.

“The legacy left by the Coats and Clarks is all around us in the town today in our buildings and in our people – and that legacy will feature strongly in our bid when it is lodged.”

The UK City of Culture competition is run by the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport and bids are due to be lodged in April.

To find out more about Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 go to: http://www.paisley2021.co.uk

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pupils show their artistic side for major exhibition

A RECORD number of works of art by school pupils has been put on show at the annual Inspired exhibition, at Paisley Museum.

From left artistic pupils, Beth Daly, Ola Muir and Sophie Thompson

The exhibition features more than 120 drawings and paintings from children at local nursery schools to young adults in their final year at secondary school.

It runs from until Tuesday, April 18


Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “The aim of the exhibition is to showcase the art and design skills of pupils in Renfrewshire’s nursery, primary and secondary schools.
“And this year we have a record number of exhibits, which further enhances Paisley’s reputation as a place of culture.
“The exhibition displays how the artistic skills progress from the early works of three and four year olds through to the sophisticated and talented pieces which form a Fifth or Sixth Year pupil’s folio for national qualifications.
“The exhibition is called Inspired as that’s exactly what it shows – a reflection of the personal perspective of the young artist and the things which inspire them.”

Joyce added: “The pieces on display are both humorous and sophisticated. Some of the drawings of the very young children will certainly raise a smile and the work of the older pupils are very impressive and are of a professional standard.”

Organisers of Inspired are also working in partnership with The National Gallery of Scotland, as after the exhibition closes, much of the work featured will be sent for consideration in their National Tesco Bank Art Competition.
And 13 pieces of work will be chosen to feature in the Renfrewshire Provost’s 2018 Calendar

A new feature of the exhibition this year is a cardboard model of an imaginary Paisley City created by students, young people and their families as part of the Made in Paisley programme under the direction of West College Scotland and Ice Cream Architecture.