The Liberal Club Paisley

Liberal Club, which still stands proudly at the corner of the High Street and Church Hill.

When Paisley’s Liberal Club was formed in 1881, Queen Victoria still had 20 years left of her 64-year reign, and in the same year, a seventh attempt to assassinate her failed.

Both the Czar of Russia and President of the United States weren’t so fortunate though, as they were cut down while performing public duties.

Prior to the opening of the Liberal Club, businessmen and landed gentry met in the YMCA building in the High Street to discuss the latest topics, read newspapers and puff on pipes and cigars.

liberal-club

They decided to seek out their own premises and initially rented rooms in a building in Forbes Place at a cost of £40 per year.

Initially, the club had 380 members and one of the first topics they discussed was the merits of Sunday opening.

Many members were against this as it ‘may encourage some of the younger members to smoke on a Sunday!’

But the motion was passed and no doubt this helped swell funds and enabled them to build their own premises, in the High Street, in 1886.

When the Marquis of Ripon inaugurated the premises, membership stood at 1,200, and the new building cost £11,000 to build.

And after 99 years of ‘healthy’ debate, the club finally allowed women to join in 1980.

Prior to 1751, Buddies could only access Meetinghouse Lane by way of School Wynd (then called the Barn Yard), but council bosses changed that.

They disposed of a property situated in Moss Row (now Moss Street), to Thomas Kerr, then postmaster, for £102, reserved an alternative piece of ground at the south end of the building and built a new road which people could then use as a shortcut to access other areas of Paisley, and especially, the train station.

At the moment October 2016 the Liberal Club is up for sale, the inside of the building has been left just like it was almost locked up yesterday as you can see in the video from below. Let’s hope there is a buyer for this glorious and historical gem of a building soon.