Cultural Services Update
Work is well under way on a £100m investment in Paisley town centre venues and cultural infrastructure over the next few years. This is being led by Renfrewshire Council and its partners as part of wider plans to change the area’s fortunes using heritage and culture.
The aim is to turn our historic venues into 21st century facilities which can host the new visitors, events and cultural activity the area is attracting. Work on venues operated by Renfrewshire Leisure includes:
- a £42m transformation of Paisley Museum into a world-class destination showcasing the town’s unique heritage and collections.
- a £22m revamp to make Paisley Town Hall a flagship performance venue for Renfrewshire and the west of Scotland, and preserve its place at the heart of life in the town;
- an extension and refurbishment of Paisley Arts Centre
- a new learning and cultural hub housing library services in a formerly-vacant High Street unit,
- investment to create new outdoor events space and sporting facilities at St James Playing Fields
This complements investment by the council in town centre transport links and outdoor spaces, and ongoing work to help owners restore historic buildings;
What are the benefits?
The venue investment is central to the wider work to use the power of Paisley’s internationally-significant heritage and cultural assets to change its future by making us one of Scotland’s key destinations for culture and events.
Aside from preserving our precious architectural legacy and museum collections, the revamped venues will host activity which will bring huge volumes of new visitors and footfall to the town, bringing new life to the town centre and creating chances for business to thrive.
The museum alone is forecast to attract 125,000 visitors a year and create hundreds of new jobs during construction and once it opens. The revamped town hall will double attendees to 100,000 and – along with the arts centre – will be able to attract more and bigger shows, bringing more footfall into the town. The revamped St James will be able to host major outdoor events – such as big outdoor music gigs. And the investment in outdoor spaces will make the town more attractive for visitors, residents, workers and students to spend their time and money.
What is the timetable for closures?
For investment of this scale, we do have to close some of the venues while work is ongoing. Paisley Museum, Paisley Central Library and the Heritage Centre are planned to close on 20 September and reopen in 2022. Paisley Town Hall shuts at the end of 2018 and reopens in 2021, and Paisley Arts Centre will close in summer 2019 and reopen in autumn 2020.
PAISLEY TOWN HALL
What will the redevelopment involve?
Paisley Town Hall will receive a £22m internal refurbishment to become one of the landmark entertainment venues in the West of Scotland. The redesign will broaden the range of events the town hall can offer, and transform the performance facilities and visitor experience, as well as improved catering and conference facilities, better physical access, and replacement of the mechanical and electrical systems. It will close at the end of the year and reopen in 2021.
It’s a beautiful building – will this keep it that way?
Paisley Town Hall has been at the heart of life in the town for the past 140 years – this revamp is aimed at keeping it that way for the future. It will preserve the beautiful architectural features inside and outside the building but add 21st-century facilities and upgrade elements of the building which need replaced for the building to remain viable over the long term.
Where will town hall events go while the building is shut?
Many regular events will be relocated to other venues. Renfrewshire Leisure also manages Renfrew Town Hall, Johnstone Town Hall and Tweedie Town Hall (Linwood). All of these venues can cater for a wide variety of events such are private hire, weddings, musical performances and much more.
How can I contact the venues while closed?
You can still contact Paisley Museum, Coats Observatory , the Heritage Centre and Paisley Central Library through 0300 300 1210 or via the contact ussection on the website.
Paisley Town Hall.
Paisley Town Hall is a popular entertainment and conference venue that is host to a variety of concerts, shows and conferences. The main auditorium of the building can seat up to 750 people with a balcony, gallery and stalls area. A resident technician and a team of experienced staff are on hand to ensure the success of your event.
Paisley Town Hall History: In 1873 George A.Clark, a member of the famous thread family, left £20,000 in his will to build a Town Hall in his native Paisley.
A site was found next to the Abbey which was suitable under the terms of the will; the hall was to be in the New Town, east of the Cart, where George Clark had been born and where his family’s thread mills were.
The George A. Clark Town Hall was officially opened in January 1882 among great celebrations. A procession made its way through the decorated streets, and at night there was a firework display from the High Church steeple.
The impressive building became a landmark in Paisley. The taller of the two towers, with its sculptured figures representing the four seasons, housed a clock and a chime of bells which could play a different tune for every day of the month.
The many rooms of the Town Hall proved ideal for meetings and social events. By the 1980s, however, the chimes no longer worked and the halls and rooms were shabby and run-down. Plans for repair and modernisation were drawn up.
By 1988, in time for the celebration of Paisley 500, the chiming mechanism in the bell-tower was restored. In 1990 work began on renovating the interior of the building, and as this continues we can see the Town Hall, over a hundred years old, ready to plan its full part again in Paisley life.
Abbey Close Paisley
Tel: 0300 300 1210