paisley from drone

“Mission X” feature film by local filmmaker screens at the Paisley Arts Centre. For more information please click here.

Video Trailer:

For more information on the Paisley Film Society please click here.

Mission X Blog here

fair trade

Renfrewshire residents looking to find out more about Fairtrade and how to get involved in local campaigns are invited to a special event this weekend.

As part of Fairtrade Fortnight (Feb 22 – March 7) a special Fairtrade Tea Party is being held on Saturday 27 February in Paisley Town Hall.

The event will include a talk by Haitham Hasasneh, a livelihood development officer in the occupied Palestinian Territory working for Oxfam.

Haitham is a Palestinian agronomist with 20 years experience. His role is focused on increasing the quantity and quality of olive oil produced for markets and developing good cooperative governance and management by and for the farmers. He also focuses on promoting access of small scale farmers to international fair trade markets and producers like those in Scotland.

The Tea Party is also an opportunity for people to find out more about Fairtrade in their town or village and how to set up a local Fairtrade group. Members of Lochwinnoch, Bishopton and Erskine’s local Fairtrade groups will be on hand to give information and advice.

There will also be representatives of the Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group, who have lead the campaign to make Renfrewshire a Fairtrade zone.

Councillor Brian Lawson, chair of the Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group, said: “This event is open to everyone and is a good way to encourage people to hear about Fairtrade. However we are also specifically appealing to people who may have thought about getting involved in supporting Fairtrade in Renfrewshire but are not sure how to do this. We are really pleased to welcome Haitham to Renfrewshire and I am really interested to hear more about his Fairtrade work.

“On the day we will also be encouraging people to sign up to Renfrewshire’s I Swap Campaign running throughout Fairtrade Fortnight. We are aiming to get as many people as possible to sign a pledge to swap one of their regular shopping items for a Fairtrade version.”
The Fairtrade Tea Party starts at 10am in the Alexander Wilson Suite in Paisley Town Hall.

paisley from drone

This is probably an old page, certainly the news is old but I hadn’t seen this page before, this shows you the artists impression of the new Paisley Cultural building to be designed and built into the space that currently is the Museum and Art Galleries.

here is some text which is on the page.

Page Park has recently completed a pre-feasibility study for Renfrewshire Council. The practice has drawn up plans for a new cultural centre in the town following a brief from the Public-Private Partnership ‘Paisley Vision’. The proposals entail refurbishing the existing Town Hall, Library and refurbishing and extending the Museum to provide improved cultural facilities, with the designs forming part of the wider regeneration strategy for Paisley Town Centre.

The first Phase of the £30m proposals will be the £7m refurbishment and enhancement of the existing town hall. The designs include plans to relocate the central lending library into a wing of the town hall, this would allow the existing library space to be incorporated into a new cultural centre. The Cultural Centre will comprise gallery facilities as well as providing a new 175 seat auditorium with cafe and bar.

read more on this link here.

paisley from drone

I feel I have to write this post just to show the state of one of our main shopping centre’s in Paisley right on the main high street, the doors have been out of operation for some time, (the doors broke in November 2009) I have had a few complaints from disabled people not being able to gain access properly and other people telling me how disgraceful the entrance looks, it wasnt until I went in myself last week I noticed just how bad it looked…

We always try to promote the town centre and the town itself, as it really does not deserve all the bad press it generally gets, but when you see the Paisley Shopping centre in such a mess it begs me to ask the question, do they really care about the business’s inside the centre who are trying their best to compete in this time of recession?

Now inside the centre, its always very clean, and its a pleasant and modern looking shopping centre, I am only trying to get the owners to do something about the appearance and this is not a campaign against the centre itself.. Paisley should be the place to do business and it should be thriving….

(here are pictures of the Paisley Shopping centre of how it used to look)

picture taken by Brian McGuire

(Here is a picture of how it looks today with the doors boarded up)

picture taken by

Here are the emails that I have written and received …

Feb 17th 2010: Hi there I had been told weeks ago that the Paisley Centres main doors on the high street had been boarded up and the person thought the centre was closed for business, they then told me the centre was open for business as usual, I didnt think anything off it until I passed today and seen they were still boarded up and looked as though the entrance was closed apart from the side doors..

I am just wondering why our main shopping centre is allowed to be like this? Is there a reason why the doors are boarded up and are they to remain boarded up?

I run the local Paisley website and have near on 2million visitors from all over the world interested in Paisley, I promote the town and hate to see any part of it being abused or in this case not being showcased.

I look forward to your reply..


and the reply


Feb 21st 2010: The doors are boarded up for health & safety reasons whilst we await delivery of new doors. I believe there is a notice apologising for any inconvenience in having to use the side entrance doors.

Please be assured we take a lot of pride in our Shopping Centre and Paisley. The new doors will be a welcome addition and will put a stop to doors being out of order and not providing the service we strive to give our shoppers.

Thank you for taking an interest.

Update 21st Feb 2010: Paisley Shopping Centre said that the doors shall be replaced within the next few weeks…

Please add your comments below, or use the message board to give your opinion.

Thanks to for the use of their image.

paisley from drone

I am currently helping organise an online auction in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care.
This appeal is on behalf of a friend of the Paisley website.

I am trying to raise as much as I can for this very worthwhile charity, following their help with an immediate family member in her final stages of life.
I obtained permission from Marie Curie to do the fund raising, and received both a written letter & email letter of authorisation. I have approached various “Celebs” via Twitter, asking if they would be willing to donate something to be auctioned.

Angela says, I have received quite a number of replies with promises of help, so far I have managed to secure 10 signed books, music goodies, a signed limited edition print from an artist, & a one off piece of handmade costume jewellery, along with other bit and pieces being sent to me, (such as signed pics etc) A friend of mine has helped out by enlisting the help of 2 other very well known “Celebs” and I have secured items from them. And may also have secured the rugby ball from the forthcoming Scotland v England 6 nations game.
The online auction is planned for the end of March, once I have gathered everything up to auction, as I want to do one big auction.

I am looking for items that the public might not ordinarily be able to obtain, and as a huge Robbie Williams fan have recently purchased a limited edition of a Robbie Williams Commemorative 2010 Brit award plaque that is limited to 250 copies, which I plan to auction in aid of Marie Curie in my auction.
Any help would be very gratefully received.

If you can help please email Angela Heaney

If you cant donate something yourself then please pass this on to someone that can help…
Remember all proceeds will go to a very worthwhile charity, The Marie Curie Cancer Care charity.

fair trade


Dancers at a special Fairtrade tea dance in Paisley swapped their usual cuppa for giant mugs of Fairtrade tea to launch Renfrewshire’s “I Swap” Campaign.

The Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group are launching the campaign as part of the upcoming worldwide Fairtrade Fortnight (February 22 – March 7).

The “I Swap” campaign will see people across Renfrewshire asked to sign a pledge to swap one regular purchase for a Fairtrade version. All those who sign a pledge will be entered into a prize draw to win a special Fairtrade prize at the end of Fairtrade Fortnight.

As part of the campaign Renfrewshire Council have already pledged to swap to using only Fairtrade tea and coffee at all future tea dances in the town hall.

Councillor Brian Lawson, Chair of the Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group, said: “The national theme for Fairtrade Fortnight is ‘the big swap’, so our campaign is asking people to pledge to making one small swap, whether it’s tea, coffee, bananas, chocolate, because lots of small changes can make a big difference.

“The tea dances are a really popular, regular event, so this is taking Fairtrade to a different audience in Renfrewshire. We have made our swap, now we’re asking everyone in Renfrewshire to do the same.”

The Fairtrade Tea Dance also saw the launch of Renfrewshire’s 2010 Fairtrade Guide, which provides information on where to buy Fairtrade products in Renfrewshire and how to get involved in the campaign.

Provost Celia Lawson said: “Buying Fairtrade products helps to tackle poverty and injustice by giving producers in the developing world a better deal for the work they do and putting them in control of their own lives. Renfrewshire is already leading the way as a Fairtrade county, with a number of Fairtrade villages, towns and schools. Now we want to push that even further and get everyone in Renfrewshire supporting Fairtrade.”

A wide range of events will be taking place across Renfrewshire during Fairtrade Fortnight including:

– Fairtrade Tea Party in Paisley Town Hall on Saturday 27 February from 10am

– A Fairtrade football tournament hosted by the University of the West of Scotland on Saturday 27 February

– A tour of Renfrewshire schools by Fairtrade walnut producers

– Coffee mornings in Lochwinnoch at The Junction on Wednesday 24 February, 9am – 12pm, and at the RSPB Reserve on Thursday 25 February, 11am – 1pm.

– “Big Swap” events and Fairtrade display in Bishopton Library from Monday 22 February until Monday 8th March.

– Fairtrade event at Bishopton Primary school on Friday 5 March with pupils presenting information on Fairtrade through music and song. Proceeds will go to Mary’s Meals.

– Coffee morning in Our Lady of Lourdes new church hall, Bishopton, Saturday 6 March, 10.30am to 1pm.

– Fairtrade event at Reid Kerr College on Wednesday 3 March between 11am and 3pm, offering a range of Fairtrade products for people to swap their usual purchases.

– Rainbow Turtle will be running the 90Kg Rice Challenge, urging people to help them sell 90 bags of Kilombero rice from Malawi. The sale of 90 1kg bags of rice, for a fair price, would give a farmer sufficient income to send a child to secondary school for one year in Malawi, where only one third of children go to high school because their families can’t afford the fees.

To find out more information about Fairtrade in Renfrewshire or to get a copy of the guide please email or phone 0141 840 3611.

for more news please visit

paisley from drone

The Following article was written and published on nrc handelsblad

Not just any rock: curling stones’ special granite comes from Scotland

Curling, perhaps the oddest sport at the winter Olympics currently under way in Vancouver, probably originated in Scotland. The stones used to play it are made from the granite of one tiny volcanic island there: Ailsa Craig.
By Henk Stouwdam in Troon/Mauchline

From the study of his decrepit house, David B. Smith pointed to where the sea crashed against the west coast of Scotland. “Out there,” he said, “is Ailsa Craig.” Not even a dot on the horizon could be spotted, but the 73-year-old retired judge and curling historian extraordinaire knew the exactlocation of the island that supplies the granite for the Olympic curling stones.

Ailsa Craig is little more than a one square kilometre volcanic plug in a nature reserve in the Firth of Clyde coastal waters, but it has mythical status in curling circles. Ailsa Craig equals Common Green plus Blue Hone: the two types of granite needed to make superior curling stones. Aficionados deem all other rocks inferior to their black dotted ‘gold’ from this Scottish island.

Smith’s garden on the sea was riddled with curling rocks. Not the ones made from Ailsa Craig’s granite, those pearls he keeps inside as part of his collection of 3,000 stones with a handle. His love for the sport goes beyond collecting curiosities, Smith gives lectures and writes articles about curling and has studied Ailsa Craig, where the perfect curling granite was discovered 200 years ago.

Its unique molecular structure makes the granite elastic enough to mold and firm enough not to crumble when it bumps against other stones. It absorbs very little water, which prevents freezing and melting water from eroding the stone. The combination of a Common Green granite body with a piece of Blue Hone as the bottom ‘running edge’ makes the Scottish stone unbeatable, experts say.

Despite the Scottish pride in the sport, Smith is “not 100 percent sure” they invented curling (rules in box below). “Little has been written about the origins, but it is certain it is an old sport. Latin writings show curling was played in Paisley, near Glasgow, as early as 1541. I presume the popularity of curling had to do with the ban on golf and football at the time. The Scots had to spend their time killing the English. Curling was allowed because it was only played in winter and was therefore not seen as a threat to national security.”

Today, the Scots play alongside the English as Great Britain at the Olympic games in Vancouver. On Tuesday, the first day of play, Canada took the lead in the men’s competition and Sweden preformed best amongst the women teams. The finals are played on February 27.

Scotland definitely developed the game. Curling, whisky and golf are the three great gifts from Scotland to the world, according to Smith.

About 50 kilometres inland lies the village Mauchline, where time seems to have stood still. This is where the local factory Kays of Scotland makes the exclusive Ailsa curling stones. Ten men, covered in dust, were working amidst the grinding and polishing machines. Cars were parked outside between large blocks of granite. , The office was situated in a container. Director Donald Macrae took time to tell about the exclusive connection between his factory and Ailsa Craig.

In the 1980s, many people were complaining about the quality of curling stones, Macrae said. The stones absorbed to much water, they crumbled too fast and they didn’t move in a good line. These stones were made from Trefor granite, harvested in Wales, because it had become too expensive to mine the rocks of Ailsa Craig by hand.

“We wanted to survive and had to get access to the granite of Ailsa Craig again,” Macrae said. “We got in touch with Lord Ailsa, whose family has owned the island since 1560, and after some tough negotiations, we got the exclusive rights to the granite for an annual fee – a pricey sum.”

The new stones were indeed of the quality they had been in the old days, but sale of the 20-kilo stones, which cost between 1,500 and 4,000 euros, didn’t meet expectations. Kays of Scotland was on the verge of bankruptcy in the early 1990s, when a two-step rescue operation saved its life.

First, the International Olympic Committee decided curling would be added to the list of competition sports at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano. Next, the World Curling Federation came to the aid of the factory. “It is in their interest too that we make good curling stones,” Macrae said of the partnership. “WCF invested over 250,000 euros in 2002 to get 1,500 tonnes of Common Green and 200 tonnes of Blue Hone from the island and bring them to Mauchline. Enough material to make 8,000 curling stones over ten years.”

Kays of Scotland was chosen as purveyor to the games, the 64 curling stones used during the Winter Olympics all hail from Mauchline. A competitor from Canada, where curling is very popular, made a bid as supplier of this year’s games, but they could not deliver Ailsa rocks. “Fortunately, our quality prevailed,” Macrae said with relief.

But Olympic status does not guarantee the factory’s future. It needs to boost its production to stay in business and is making plans to do so in association with the curling federation. “We hope to tap a market in eastern Europe, looking ahead to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. But we see growth opportunities especially in the United States. This is a country with about 6,000 hockey stadiums. How wonderful would it be if every one of those accommodations had a curling rink? The World Curling Federation is making great efforts to promote curling in the United States, but that is not going smoothly. The Americans are what we Scots call ‘can’t-do-people’, they are difficult to excite for new sports. ”

But Ailsa Craig is patient. A new excavation of granite is planned a few years from now and after that, the supply will be far from exhausted. “We can go on for centuries,” Macrae said.

read more

paisley from drone

A little bit of history from the High Church otherwise known as Oakshaw Trinity Church, all information is on their website,

High Church

From the Reformation until 1736, the Abbey was the only church in the burgh and parish of Paisley. During that year, however, the Laigh Kirk was built in New Street, followed by the High Kirk in 1754, adding a significant feature to Paisley’s skyline, especially when the steeple was erected between 1767 and 1770.

In 1872, the Town Council promoted a Bill of Parliament “to secure by legislative enacment the town’s financial affairs”. This Bill proposed to pay each of the ministers of the town’s three churches £266-13s-4d per annum, being one third of the interest of 4% on £20,000, the sum in which the churches ranked in the estate of the Burgh.

Over the intervening years, extensive repairs involving excavating, asphaltic for ventilation and dry-rot prevention, erection of light cast-iron pillars to support the balcony, new seating and pulpit, hot water heating, new ornamental ceiling, plastering of all walls, a new entrace to the north side as well as new stairs to both sides of the gallery formed the grand scheme.

Substantial refurbishment was undertaken in the final years of the century in concert with the organ installation and re-siting of the original church hall, opened in 1880, now recognised as too small to cater for the needs of an expanded congregation. After negotiation for adjoining land in Oakshaw Street, the long-awaited new church hall was built in 1913 at a cost of £2000. The Session House was used for the first time that year, and the initial suite completed with the McLachlan Hall in 1924.

The complex was eventually extended by the gift of the Hutcheson School by William Lang, in memory of his sister, Margaret, in 1935. Incandescent lighting was installed in the church in 1906 and electric lighting in 1935 and 1967. The gift of a sound system was donated anonymously in 1971.

paisley from drone

Paisley Abbey has selected top Scottish architectural firm Simpson and Brown ( to design a new entrance and visitor facilities for the Abbey and renovations to the Place of Paisley. The firm was selected from ten who were invited to compete for this prestigious commission. The selection panel included representatives from the Abbey, the Church of Scotland, Renfrewshire Council and Historic Scotland.

The Abbey and the Place of Paisley have a long and varied history at the heart of the town’s church and community life. The Abbey wishes to continue to strengthen its role in Paisley’s cultural life.

A key part of the Abbey’s strategy is to create new indoor space between the Abbey and the Place, as well as to adapt existing accommodation in the Place of Paisley. These improvements will provide better facilities for visitors, the local community and the congregation, and help the Abbey to become more financially sustainable in the future.

The Abbey wishes to create an inspirational new public space which both the congregation and the local community will use, share and feel proud of. The intention is to conserve the Abbey and Place as special places – in terms of their religious, architectural and historical significance – and create an extension of the very best architectural quality.

This is an exciting opportunity to create something which is open and welcoming to all the people of Paisley – something which not only they will be proud of, but which will be of international quality.

The Minister of Paisley Abbey, the Reverend Alan Birss, said:

“As minister, I am very excited about the proposed development. We have a long tradition in the Abbey of welcoming pilgrims and visitors and of serving the parish and community around the Abbey. This development, when completed, will greatly enhance our work in these areas and reaffirm for a new generation the Abbey’s central place in the life of the whole community. Our hope is that the new and upgraded facilities will enable visitor and local resident alike to feel ‘at home’ in the Abbey and that, in a real sense, the Abbey ‘belongs’ to all.”

The Abbey’s aspiration is that the extension and renovations will open their doors to the public on the 850th anniversary of the founding of the Abbey: 15th September 2013, St Mirin’s Day. The architects will be starting design work shortly with this target date in mind.

For further information please contact:

Rev. Alan D. Birss (Minister of Paisley Abbey)
Paisley Abbey
Abbey Close
tel: 0141 889 7654

paisley from drone

Photography exhibition by Rankin


Famous for his portraits of Kylie Minogue, Kate Moss and the Queen, portrait photographer Rankin presents images from his visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo with Oxfam. Rankin’s photographs currently feature in a huge exhibition on London’s South Bank. Entry is free.

The images focus on the love and solidarity found in the midst of one of the world’s worst conflict zones. There are images and stories exploring romantic love, love lost, mother’s love and the kindness of strangers, as well as photos taken by Congolese villagers with Rankin’s guidance, providing an extraordinary insight into their everyday life.

for more of Rankin click here

For the Oxfam charity page click here

paisley from drone

Just a reminder that at the Arts Centre this week is our first matinee. Starting at 2pm sharp, get your legwarmers looked out, limber up and come see Step Up 2 The Streets.

Next Tuesday is our second week-day screening. Is Anybody There? starring Michael Caine. For more information on this, and the other screenings we have coming up, visit our webpage; . Click here too to keep up to date with whats going on behind the scenes via our blog.

Members £3 entry, non members £5 (£4 conc).

paisley from drone

Residents of Brediland House, Paisley, 1949 – 1952

Image sent in by two of our visitors Ken and Rita Berry, the picture was taken at Brediland House and show the “Gang” at Brediland’s. The names of the group members were researched by Ken and Rita as the group were scattered worldwide. (thanks for sending this in to if you have any old images you would like to show then please send them in to

Back Row
1 Peter Barker Ponteland, Northumberland. Worked in Babcock London office
2 Derek Vigor Surrey, died circa 1980 in Saltdean
3 Denis Hoare Kent, Kuwait, Banchory
4 Alex Geddes Edinburgh
5 Ken Berry Liverpool, New Zealand
Centre Row
6 John Vaughan Regina, Canada.
7 Frank Jones Sites Girawal, Nova Friburgo, Brazil, NE of Rio de Janeiro
8 Cliff? Haynes?
9 John Raby
10 Ian Norris Chislehurst, Kent
11 Roderick Ross W. Highlands, Aberdeen
12 Peter Hurcomb
13 Mike Greaves Bruxelles. Worked for English Electric, Leics.
Front Row
14 Peter Broadbent
15 John Applebe Clapham, London
16 Peter Sheehan Battersea, London
17 Bill Kerr Australia
18 Amar? Singh? India
19 Derek? Johnson?
20 Alexander McKenzie Dr.? S. Africa, Cromarty
21 Fred Rowe
22 Terrence McCabe Bexleyheath, Kent. Died circa 1985. Married a Paisley girl
23 Ian Wood Wick
24 Frank Ireland Paisley. Died circa 2007. Stayed with Babcocks until he retired. Married a Paisley girl
25 Chrighton Wilkinson Glasgow, died circa 1989. Was with Foster Wheeler
Not In Photograph
A Austin Aitken Surrey, Kuwait, Hampshire. Married a Paisley girl. Joined MN Anchor Line? Worked in Kuwait. Lives in Hampshire
B Ken Saunders Merton Park, Tipton
C Geoff Lake Essex
D Rob Herbert Kent. Met him in Kuwait late 1980s he was on his way to Singapore working with Babcock Construction
E Bob Blake ?
F Stan Williams Essex
G Malcolm Cunningham Huddersfield, played rugby for Melrose?
H Tony Shaw-Davis Cheam, Surrey
I Jim Dickson Sorbie, Wigtonshire. Married a Paisley girl
J Ted Liddle N. Ireland, died circa 1970 Met him in Kuwait when he was there on business in circa 1968
K Doug Brazier
L Peter Rogers Surrey
M Reg Granville
N ? Forbes-Gore
O Mike Butcher Babcocks Research 1958, from which retired 1992
Lives in Paisley, married Paisley girl 1956

“Ken adds that, Denis Hoare and his wife Greta (Paisley girl) who met while at Bredilands and are now living out of Aberdeen between them  did 99% of the hard work, with Ken doing  a little recognising of a few of the guys.  He says ” its time to say a little thank you to Paisley for looking after us all.”