High St Renovations

A formerly-empty building on Paisley High Street has been brought back to life as a new home for businesses and residents – in what is believed to be the first new residential development on the street in decades.

The four-storey building at 30 High Street has been comprehensively refurbished by its owners – local family-owned building firm Calside Contracts – who fitted out two retail units and six flats on the upper floors.

High St Renovations

The ground floor was soon filled by two distinctively Paisley businesses – White Cart Company and Renfrewshire Witch-Hunt Experience – and all the flats above were quickly rented out to residents attracted by the idea of living in the heart of the town centre.

Calside Contracts bought the building at auction in 2016 and soon refurbished it to a high standard. And their work was hailed by Renfrewshire Council’s leader as an example of how other town centre building owners can benefit themselves and the town by investing in their properties.

Cllr Iain Nicolson said: “The team at Calside Contracts have done a fantastic job renovating the inside and outside of this building – it would be fantastic to see other owners follow their example.

“The council is often asked what we can do to bring new business to Paisley High Street but one big challenge is the buildings are privately owned.

High St Renovations

“Old buildings are harder to maintain and in some cases when tenants have left, units were allowed to deteriorate to the point major investment was needed, which made them unattractive for new business to move in.

“Calside on the other hand did invest – and the speed at which they were then able to let out the whole building shows big demand is there from businesses and residents for high-quality commercial and residential accommodation in the town centre.

“Paisley town centre is changing for the better with the council overseeing a once-in-a-generation £100m investment in venues and outdoor spaces, including transformations of Paisley Museum and town hall, and a new learning and cultural hub at 22 High Street.

“That will preserve our heritage buildings and support the ongoing work to make the town a key destination for visitors and events – driving new footfall and life into the town centre.

“And in turn we hope that creates attractive conditions for the private sector to invest – we would call on other town centre property owners to look at what can be achieved here if they do so.”

High St Renovations

The improvements to the ground-floor shopfronts were part-funded through the council’s five-year £4.5m TH.CARS2 scheme, which provides grants to restore buildings and improve shopfronts in the town centre, and a programme of community activity promoting the town’s culture and heritage.

Mary Grogan of Calside Contracts said: “We are a building firm run by myself and my two sons Craig and Christopher Stewart. We are from Paisley and wanted to put something back into the town. The flats were really easy to let – they were all snapped up straight away.

“We appreciate the help we got from the TH.CARS2 team to help finish the shopfront section of the building – and we suggest owners of other buildings in the town centre should get in touch to see what help might be available.”

Renfrewshire Witch-Hunt Experience are a local group helping promote the area’s unique history, inspired by the tale of the Paisley Witch trials – the last mass hanging for witchcraft in Western Europe.

High St Renovations

White Cart Company is an award-winning independent retailer selling niche gifts and artwork – many produced by Renfrewshire artists – and are now operating from two locations in the town, with another shop in Glasgow Road.

Both are delighted with their new homes – and White Cart owner Joe Bisland believes the relocated businesses and residents will bring great benefit to the town as a whole.

He said: “The High Street location has been great for us – we get a lot of footfall here. We are really pleased with the quality of the unit – when you look inside the shops and the flats you can see Mary and her team did everything to a very high standard.

“Paisley town centre is a very good place to live and a good commuter location for Glasgow and elsewhere – putting flats into Paisley High Street is a very positive thing to do and hopefully more building owners will do the same.

“Those new residents will spend their money in the shops, cafes and pubs on their doorstep and that will be great for businesses like us and the town as a whole.”

The TH.CARS2 scheme is funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic Environment Scotland, and council support is available for other owners within the project area. More information can be found at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/thcars2

The council also operates a retail improvement scheme offering grants to improve the frontage of businesses in retail areas throughout all parts of Renfrewshire – more info available at www.investinrenfrewshire.com

MFG Abbey Dig

The biggest-ever exploration of one of Renfrewshire’s most mysterious historical features is now underway – and hopes to unveil some centuries-old secrets.

An archaeological dig has started at Paisley’s Abbey Drain – a complex underground structure which links the town’s 850-year-old Abbey to the River Cart.

MFG Abbey Dig

The 100m long underground passageway, thought to be more than 700 years old, was unearthed in the 19th century and rediscovered in the 1990s.

The Big Dig hopes to uncover more about the passageway and to reveal more about life in Paisley hundreds of years ago.

Initial excavations of the site unearthed the earliest polyphonic musical notation and the largest collection of medieval pottery ever found in the west of Scotland – and it is hoped that this two-month long project will uncover many more secrets.

The dig is managed by Renfrewshire Council, run by Guard Archaeology with help from Renfrewshire Local History Forum volunteers, and supported by funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic Environment Scotland.

MFG Abbey Dig

Council leader Iain Nicolson joined the team at the start of the dig.  Cllr Nicolson said: “Paisley has such a rich history and heritage, full of stories and mysteries, and the tale of the Abbey Drain has really captured the attention of the public.

“This is a project that’s of both local and national significance. It has really struck a chord with people who live here who have a genuine interest in Renfrewshire’s social and economic history and will provide us with information on a complex underground system which was operating hundreds of years ago.

“This could be the first step towards opening up the Drain as a permanent visitor attraction in the future – which would fit perfectly with the ongoing work to use Paisley’s unique heritage to make it one of Scotland’s key destinations for visitors and events.”

MFG Abbey Dig

Bob Will, compliance manager at Guard Archaeology, said: “This is such an exciting project for us and for the community, and we’re pleased to be progressing with the next stage.

“Most of the work on the drain so far has been carried out from the inside and has told us a lot about the drain itself.

MFG Abbey Dig

“What’s going on underneath the surface can also tell us about what once stood on the site, so by excavating the drain, we can find out about the drainage system which served what would have once been a bustling community.

“We’re looking forward to continuing the excavations and to finding out what else the Abbey Drain can tell us about life in Paisley hundreds of years ago.”

The Big Dig also includes an extensive programme of activity to involve the local community.

Students at the University of the West of Scotland will create a series of short films and a documentary on the drain, and there will also be school visits, volunteering opportunities, and free talks and workshops for the public.

Members of the public will not have access to the drain during the Big Dig – but there will be a chance for residents and visitors to go inside it, as in previous years, during the Doors Open Days weekend on 7 and 8 September.

To keep an eye on Big Dig progress, visit www.paisley.is

library

Renfrewshire’s cultural scene is in line for a cash boost as groups benefit from the latest rounds of two cultural grants.

Councillors have approved the latest round of awards from the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund – created to support Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 and which has continued as part of a wider plan to use culture and heritage to transform the area’s future.

library

The fund aims to create more chances for people to get involved in cultural activity, help young people develop, boost the local economy, raise Renfrewshire’s profile, and show how creativity can boost education, social inclusion and quality of life.

The current round of funding is the tenth – and five projects have been awarded funding totalling £50,101, from a total funding ask of £96,774. Projects to be supported are:

  • £11,645 to Mandy McIntosh to run a sculptural project with Ferguslie Park Learning Centre including aspects of community art history, practical skill sharing and hands on making
  • £3,935 to musician Linzi Clark to develop a space for young women in Renfrewshire to express their creative identity and develop songwriting skills in a supportive environment
  • £14,890 to PACE Theatre Company to deliver a high-quality participatory theatre experience to young people who may not otherwise be able to experience or access such an activity
  • £14,000 to Loud n Proud for the development of Sma’ Shot the Musical
  • £5,631 to Starlight Youth Theatre to work with young adults who have challenges of autism and learning disabilities to explore and extend their personal and creative interests

This tenth round sees funds awarded through the CHE Fund reach the £1m mark, with 121 projects supported and a total of £1,045,868 spent since launching in 2016.

Successful completed projects to date include teenage animator Morgan Spence’s Lego stop-motion animation about Paisley, and a dance project bringing pupils in schools across Renfrewshire together to perform pieces inspired by Renfrewshire’s architecture at Johnstone Town Hall.

The CHE fund is part of a wider cultural regeneration plan for Paisley which also includes a £100m investment in town centre venues, including the £42m project to turn Paisley Museum into an international-class destination based around the town’s unique heritage and collections.

Based on the success of the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund, in 2018 Renfrewshire Council introduced the Cultural Organisations Development Fund and awards for this new cultural grant have also been approved by Councillors.

The Cultural Organisations Development Fund is a three-year fund with the purpose of strengthening and building the capacity of local cultural and creative organisations.

The fund can support a range of organisational development opportunities, such as board recruitment, creating new staff posts, developing programmes for internships or apprentices, and supporting new partnerships.

Five applications to the Cultural Organisations Development Fund have been approved totalling £302,318, from a total funding request of £539,312. These are:

  • £72,000 to Erskine Music and Media Studio over three years to develop the workforce within the organisation and to enable them to continue to support the development of cultural opportunities in Erskine
  • £8,500 to STAR Project to allow the organisation to work with external consultants with the aim of improving the reach and reputation of the organisation and allowing them to continue delivering services and positive social change in Renfrewshire
  • £70,000 to Outspoken Arts over two years to fund two new posts, allowing the organisation to grow and support multiple projects in the ongoing programme
  • £71,778 to CREATE Paisley over three years to address identified organisational challenges that currently limit the organisations ability to deliver its strategic goals and vision
  • £80,040 to PACE Theatre Company over three years to build fundraising capacity, allowing the company to pursue projects that are not viably supported by fees, ticket sales or other incomes.

Projects supported by both funds will benefit communities across Renfrewshire.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Since the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund launched it has succeeded in increasing the number of people getting involved in creative activity across Renfrewshire and I am pleased to see the interest in the fund is still strong as we announce the groups benefiting in this tenth round.

“The new Cultural Organisations Development Fund is designed as an opportunity for organisations to further develop their capacity and progress with longer term planning, and I am pleased to see that some of our previous CHE Fund recipients have progressed to this stage of their development and will benefit greatly from these further opportunities for funding.”

Are you interested in applying for funding? You can find out more by visiting http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/culturalgrants

SMA SHOT 2019

This year’s Sma’ Shot Day celebration will see day-long spectacular of parades and partying in Paisley town centre – as the event returns to its roots in a new location.

The programme has been confirmed for this year’s event on Saturday 6 July –  with almost 50 events taking place across more 20 venues in a town-wide celebration for one of the world’s oldest worker’s festivals.

SMA SHOT 2019

This year’s main events will move to the streets around the historic Sma’ Shot Cottage – meaning Shuttle Street, New Street, Witherspoon Street and Brown’s Lane will come alive with activity.

Sma’ Shot Day celebrates a 19th-century victory by the town’s weavers over their bosses in an industrial dispute – and this year’s event will have the theme of ‘Let’s party like its 1856’, bringing to life the traditional weavers’ celebration.

SMA SHOT 2019

Members of local groups PACE Youth Theatre, Loud n Proud school of rock and the Old Paisley Society helped launch the programme for the 2019 event – which can be seen now at www.paisley.is

The day’s activity starts with a colourful parade – this year co-ordinated by parade specialists Bridgeman Arts in collaboration with local groups and performers – featuring spectacular floats and giant puppets. The parade leaves Brodie Park at noon, led by sound of the Charleston Drum.

Once it arrives in the main event site in and around Paisley Arts Centre the party will get under way – with traditional event favourites including the Burning of the Cork, the re-enactment of the Sma’ Shot story by PACE Youth Theatre, and speeches by trade unions.

SMA SHOT 2019

This year’s programme also includes a wide range of free performances and workshops showcasing Paisley’s thriving local cultural scene, unique heritage, and status as a creative hub, including:

– live performances from Starlight Music Theatre’s rock choir and swing band, drummers of Loud ‘n’ Proud rock school, and some of Scotland’s top traditional musicians with Gaelic group Fèis Phàislig;

– The InCube creative craft trail with some of the area’s best designers showing off their skills with family-friendly workshops in local cafes and venues, plus a makers’ markets and kids’ art workshops;

– kids’ entertainment around Paisley Arts Centre and Brown’s Lane including an outdoor beach, storytelling yurt, face-painting, puppet shows, and circus skills and carnival craft workshops;

SMA SHOT 2019

– a programme of poetry, spoken word and live music on the Dooslan Stane Stage at Browns’ Lane, featuring local performers and the young people of Create Paisley performing songs specially-written with local musician Michael Cassidy inspired by Paisley’s musical heritage;

– a chance to see how a 19th-century weaver lived with tours of the Sma’ Shot Cottages and traditional weaving demonstrations by Paisley Museum’s Dr Dan Coughlan;

– a series of events celebrating Paisley’s heritage run by the TH2/CARS programme to restore historic buildings in the town centre – including textile exhibitions, film screenings and street theatre performances.

Local businesses will be involved – with The Bungalow, The Lane and Factionvenues in Shuttle Street, local cafes Bianco e Nero, Blend, Brew and Fairfull Collection, and Helen’s Haberdashery on the High St and The Workshop in the Old Fire Station among those hosting activity.

SMA SHOT 2019

Other venues include a sensory safe space in the Russell Institute, and tours of the Paisley Thread Mill Museum, as well as Paisley Abbey and the InCube business incubator.

Sma’ Shot Day is organised by Renfrewshire Council as part of the area’s successful major events programme which brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area each year

In recent years Sma’ Shot Day has taken place in Abbey Close but as initial construction work to transform Paisley Town Hall into a landmark performance venue and preserve its place at the heart of life in the town will be under way by the summer, organisers opted to move this year’s event.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Sma’ Shot Day is always one of the highlights of the annual events calendar – and this year sees an exciting development as it moves to a new location.

“The Sma’ Shot Cottages is one of Paisley’s hidden treasures – so it is fitting the event is going back to its roots and taking place in the streets surrounding the unique attraction it shares a name with.

“The programme has something for everyone and combines all the traditional elements people know and love with a full day of contemporary events showing off Paisley’s creativity and history.

“One of the main aims of the events programme is to bring footfall to town centre traders so we are delighted so many of them have agreed to host parts of the event and give it a real town-wide feel.”

The next major event in Paisley is the British Pipe Band Championships, at St James Playing Fields on Saturday 18 May, which sees thousands of the world’s top pipers and drummers descend on the town for a full day of free entertainment with free transport from the town centre.

For more info on all local events visit www.paisley.is.

eddi-reader

Live at Thomas Coats Memorial as part of the 100 Days to Save Coats, LNP Promotions put on a gig which just blew all 700 members of the audience away with her intimate connection with the public through music, there was wit, storytelling and even history about the Bard himself Robert Burns all in the setting of the Gothic style Thomas Coats Memorial.

The Building is doing lots of events and next weekend is the penultimate weekend with mass choirs all with an aim to ask the public for donations to save this historic and beautiful building. Here is some footage from last night thanks to Paisley Buddie Drones and Brian McGuire.

We must thank LNP Promotions, Gary Kerr, Tommy McGrory and so many more volunteers for giving us access last night so we could promote the event afterwards via video and photographs to the public. I hope you enjoy this small video we made last night.

Ope Doors at Renfrewshire. 8.9.18

A team of intrepid experts will go underground to solve a centuries-old mystery this summer during the biggest exploration yet of Paisley’s unique medieval Abbey Drain.

The intricate underground structure is believed to have carried material from Paisley’s 850-year-old Abbey to the nearby River Cart – but no one has ever established where and how it met the river.

Ope Doors at Renfrewshire. 8.9.18

Now, a team of archaeologists will excavate an area next to Abbey Close to try to answer that – with the hope their findings could help the drain become a bigger visitor attraction in future.

The two-month project (running from May until July) is being managed by Renfrewshire Council and includes an extensive programme of activity to involve the local community.

The dig is being run by Guard Archaeology with volunteers from Renfrewshire Local History Forum, supported by funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic Environment Scotland.

Paisley’s Abbey Drain is an ornate underground passageway, around 100m long and believed to be more than 700 years old, which was discovered in the 19thcentury and rediscovered in the 1990s.

Previous archaeological digs have revealed carved slates featuring the earliest written polyphonic music – and largest collection of medieval pottery – ever found in Scotland.

Ope Doors at Renfrewshire. 8.9.18

Community activity planned for during the Big Dig will include a series of short films and a documentary made by students from the University of the West of Scotland, school visits, volunteering opportunities, and free talks and workshops for the general public.

The drain itself won’t be accessible to the public during the dig – but there will be a chance for residents and visitors to go inside it, as in previous years, during Doors Open Day in September.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “Paisley’s Abbey Drain is a hidden treasure and people are rightly fascinated by it – so we are delighted to be able to run a project which will engage the community and bring the stories of the Abbey Drain to life for residents and visitors.

Ope Doors at Renfrewshire. 8.9.18

“The team behind the Big Dig hope to solve some of the unanswered questions around it and that may lead to further exploration or even a more permanent visitor attraction in future.

“If so, that would be a perfect fit for the wider push to use Paisley’s rich heritage and culture to bring new footfall to the town and build on our growing reputation as one of Scotland’s top visitor destinations.”

Riona McMorrow, Acting Head of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Scotland, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to think that the Big Dig might uncover the long held mysteries of Paisley’s Abbey Drain.

“It is thanks to National Lottery players that we have been able to help fund this innovative programme of activities which will nurture and build the community groups interested in improving Paisley through their heritage.”

Caroline Clark, Acting Head of Grants at Historic Environment Scotland (HES), said: “We’re delighted to have contributed funding to support the Paisley Abbey Drain Big Dig through our Historic Environment Support Fund.

“This is a fantastic project that will not only explore the hidden history of Paisley Abbey and help enhance our understanding of this fascinating site, but also provide an opportunity for the local community to get involved in archaeology and engage with the rich heritage on their doorstep.”

You will be able to keep up to date with the Big Dig and see the full programme of activity via www.paisley.is

Fair Trade tartan in NY Tartan Parade

A historic dye vat, once used in Paisley’s famous Coats mills, is being gifted to fair trade thread maker Villageworks who create products using the Coats thread, as well as producing the world’s first fair trade tartan.

A piece of Paisley’s illustrious thread making past is set to transform production for a fair trade organisation in Cambodia.

Clarke Wallace, wearing fair trade tartan, with the historic dye vat (2)

The historic dye vat, once used in Paisley’s famous Coats mills, is being gifted to fair trade thread maker Villageworks, who create products using the Coats thread, as well as producing the world’s first fair trade tartan.

The artefact has been an exhibit at Paisley Thread Mill Museum since the closure of the Coats mill in Newton Mearns when it was gifted to the museum to protect its history.

On a visit to Renfrewshire to mark World Fair Trade Day last year, fair trade producer Noum Bunnak, also known as Anak, visited Paisley Thread Mill Museum to celebrate her links using Paisley’s famous Coats Thread in her products.

The dye vat exhibit caught her eye as having the potential to revolutionise production for her artisans in Cambodia in contrast to its status as a museum exhibit in Renfrewshire, as currently dyes are mixed in a large bowl in a slow, time-consuming process.

Subsequently, the Thread Mill Museum decommissioned the dye vat from the museum which then prompted arrangements to be made through Renfrewshire Council and Fair Trade Scotland to donate the vat to Villageworks.

Anak said: “We’re extremely happy to be receiving this gift from the Paisley Thread Mill Museum and it’s great that Renfrewshire is a supporter of fair trade.

“As a social business, fair trade is very important to us as we strive to raise the fairness and living wage for Cambodian artisans.

“The dye vat will be used to make a range of products including dyeing the world’s first fair trade tartan, further enhancing and maintaining its links to Scotland.

“We hope that the dye vat will improve our production by giving a better colour matching and uniformity and allow us to produce a better quality product.”

The vat has been exhibited as an example of Paisley’s historic thread making past before being decommissioned to allow other items to be showcased in the museum.

Mary McKeown, Vice-Chair of Paisley Thread Mill Museum, said: “We’re delighted that this historic dye vat will be brought back to life when it reaches Cambodia.

“It was used for generations by Paisley’s famous thread makers Coats at their mills here in Paisley and it is fitting that it will used by Villageworks to create fantastic products in Cambodia which use the Coats thread.

“It is yet another piece of Paisley’s rich history which is helping to retell the town’s unique story of culture and heritage to the world.”

Fair Trade tartan in NY Tartan Parade

The World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) and Fair Trade Scotland have been working closely with Villageworks and textile designers House of Edgar to produce the world’s first fair trade tartan, which has been recognised by the Keeper of Scottish Tartans Register.

Tania Pramschufer, Director of World Fair Trade Tartan & Hand Up Events, who created the fair trade tartan said: “It’s incredible that this dye vat is headed to Cambodia where the first World Fair Trade Tartan is woven and I look forward to seeing it in action when the World Fair Trade Tartan clan visit in October.

“I created this tartan to weave connections around the world through fair trade, to support WFTO GS members and support Scotland as a Fair Trade Nation, and this dye vat will make a huge positive impact.”

The dye vat will facilitate quicker, more efficient production of the tartan in Cambodia.

Eve Broadis, Director at Fair Trade Scotland, said: “While it may seem a small gesture, the dye vat will make production easier and more efficient which can make a huge difference to these producers.

“We work closely with Anak to help her, and her community, produce high-quality products which can be sold not just for a fair price, but one which ensures a living wage is paid to the artisans.

“As a mission-led organisation, we want to make a positive difference wherever we can and projects such as this are a fantastic way to change the lives of those involved.”

The transport of the vat to Cambodia is being funded by the Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group as the group sets out to raise awareness of the importance of fair trade and encourage local people to support the cause.

Chair of the Steering Group, Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson, said: “We’re delighted to play our part in transporting this historic piece of Paisley’s history to Cambodia to allow our famous thread making industry to continue.

“While it was purely an illustration of our past, it will make a real difference to the lives of the artisans in Cambodia in the present and we’re happy we can make a positive difference to those who need it.

“Providing this dye vat will increase and improve production which will mean the producers can get a fairer price for the fantastic work they do, creating a better life for them and their communities.”

The dye vat will be shipped to Cambodia in mid-March to allow Villageworks to bring the historic piece back to life and implement it into their production process.

coats memorial

One of Scotland’s most iconic structures could be saved from ruin – with an expert team of place makers gearing up to raise £1.5million for its preservation.

coats memorial

Coats Memorial, widely recognised as the exclamation mark of Paisley’s skyline, is looking for a new purpose since holding its last church ceremony in August 2018. Now with the support of a new Steering Group it is hoped it will once again become a cherished place where people will enjoy life’s biggest celebrations.

Led by philanthropist, businessman and Paisley native Ian Henderson, the revival of Coats Memorial could see the building compete with the likes of Glasgow’s Oran Mor and Edinburgh’s Mansfield Traquair as a multi-purpose venue. But charitable support from communities in Scotland and the rest of the world will be crucial to its future success.

Ian Henderson, Coats Memorial Steering Group, said: “Coats Memorial is an architectural marvel. As proud local people, the team holds a firm belief that if we do not do everything in our power to save this magnificent building then we have failed our ancestors and future generations who have and will go on to create wonderful memories here.

“If we achieve what we have set out to do in the New Year, Coats Memorial will be the exclamation mark in grand gatherings. We have a host of events planned as part of our campaign to safeguard the building, and look forward to announcing those in due course.

I would urge anyone who values their heritage and community values to please get behind this cause. We have the potential to do something really spectacular here, but we need the support of the community.”

Built in 1885 by Hippolyte Jean Blanc in the Gothic Revival period, Thomas Coats Memorial Church has a capacity of 1,000. Its features include a vaulted ceiling, mosaics, stencilled decoration, carved marble and alabaster. Above the chancel, the ceiling is adorned with paintings of angels and has an incredibly rare 3,040 pipe organ designed by William Hill & Sons. This stunning instrument has never been modified.

Sheenagh Gray, Chartered Architect of Framed Estates Limited said: “We are working closely with Historic Environment Scotland and local authorities and are overseeing the plans to ensure that we create a venue that pays homage to Coats Memorial’s heritage but also exceeds the expectation people have in iconic multi-purpose entertainment venues.”

The Coats Memorial Steering Group intends to launch its fundraising campaign, “100 days to save Coats Memorial” on 1 February.

paisley town hall

Paisley Town Hall has played a huge part in the lives of generations of Buddies.

Now a new project to gather people’s memories and photographs of the much-loved iconic building has been launched.

paisley town hall

Renfrewshire Leisure wants to hear from anyone who has a special memory of the Town Hall whether it involved a dance or concert held there, a first date, wedding, formal dinner, graduation or a special event.

The Memories of Paisley Town Hall project is being run as the building is about to be closed at the end of this year for a major refurbishment, which will see it re-open in 2021 as a major venue attracting events and people to the town.

paisley town hall

All you have to do is log on to www.renfrewshireleisure.com/townhallmemories and post your memories and pictures of the Town Hall. People can also pop into the Town Hall before it closes at the end of this month and complete a postcard.

Victoria Hollows, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “While the Town Hall is closed we want to keep it alive in the hearts and minds of Paisley Buddies.

paisley town hall

“We want to hear everyone’s Town Hall tales, from funny stories to how the building has played a part in their lives and memories of some of the shows and famous bands they have seen there.

paisley town hall

“It’s well-known that music star Paolo Nutini was discovered by his first manager at Paisley Town Hall when he stepped in to give an impromptu performance on the stage while hundreds of teenagers were waiting for Fame Academy TV show winner, David Sneddon to appear. Were you there?”

Victoria added: “When we gather people’s stories and photographs we’ll publish them online so everyone can enjoy each others memories of the building over the generations.”

The refurbishment of the Town Hall is one of the key projects within Renfrewshire Council’s £100 million investment in venues and infrastructure over the next few years, as part of a wider plan to use the town’s unique heritage and cultural assets to transform its future.

Paisley Secret Collection MFG

Industry leaders have praised Paisley: The Secret Collection after it just missed out on the Cultural Project of the Year Award at the 2018 Architects’ Journal Architecture Awards

Paisley Secret Collection MFG

The project was ‘Highly Commended’ by the judges for the inventive nature of its aim to revitalise the high street by bringing the area’s historic collections to life.

Scooping the top prize was the third phase of works to remodel Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre which saw the refurbishment of its basement into an open performance studio capable of hosting a range of events from comedy to jazz.

stella-shabti

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, Convener of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “The Secret Collection has been a fantastic addition to Paisley as we aim to transform our High Street and bring people into the area.

“The collection includes some of Paisley’s world-famous textiles, plus a mix of ceramics, world cultures, social history, art and sculpture, natural history and local archives – with many of those items unseen by the general public in decades or longer.

“It’s fantastic that everyone involved with this wonderful project has received industry recognition as it really is one of Renfrewshire’s hidden gems and I would encourage everyone to take the time to visit and see the outstanding exhibits.”

Paisley Secret Collection MFG

Paisley: The Secret Collection is the first publicly accessible museum store on a UK High Street and contains thousands of objects which reflect Renfrewshire’s amazing heritage and culture.

The state-of-the-art storage facility is a space where everyone can explore, learn, research and discover hidden treasures in the collection.

Brought to life by Collective Architecture, the project was a key highlight of the work they have carried out transforming buildings using modest budgets to achieve maximum impact.

Ewan Imrie, Project Architect, said: “We are absolutely delighted that this project has gained national recognition through the Architects’ Journal Awards.

“The judges recognised the vision and bravery of the client in placing this precious facility within a very difficult central site, so that it is both accessible and a catalyst for regeneration.

“They were also very impressed by the creative and collaborative working relationship that developed between ourselves and Renfrewshire Council which allowed a bleak former shop unit to be converted into a hidden jewel on the High Street.”

The Secret Collection was one of several successful projects which saw Collective take home the coveted prize of Architect of the Year at the Awards ceremony.

Councillor Hughes added: “Collective brought imagination and an inspired sense of style to what could have been a purely functional space.

“They also had an enormous commitment to getting every detail right in a complex state of the art facility and we’re delighted that their work on the project has been recognised in this way.”

The Secret Collection is open to the public and free guided tours should be booked in advance.

For more information on The Secret Collection, visit www.renfrewshireleisure.com/thesecretcollection