Paisley’s Future!!

The other day I posted a picture of Paisley High Street. It was immediately met with negative comments about how empty the High Street looked, however in reality the hustle and bustle of shoppers and people out enjoying a rare sunny day in town was much more the case. It got me thinking, we look back at days gone by when in our memories the High Street was a bustling shopping heaven, so what has changed and how can we get back to that happy place again?

Renfrewshires provost charity abseil

Well things will never be the same as they were, there are various reasons for this; the financial climate is probably the biggest one overshadowing not only Paisley but every shopping heartland in the country. With the banks restricting lending to small business and new start up traders what hope is there for changing the shops from ‘To Let’ to ‘Shop Here’?  In addition, so called private landlords with empty properties not being renovated or marketed properly is another challenge, some of the landlords and developers really should hang their heads in shame. Something should be done to make them lease the shops at a fair price and be fully supported financially by local government. Pop up shops, seasonal shops etc could temporarily fill the void.

We all have our own thoughts on what has gone wrong; bad town planning, out of town shopping centres and a change of trends, i.e. more internet shopping.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great when people show passion for the town although sometimes it can come across negatively, but in the vast majority of comments and posts I see so many people with a soft spot for the town and want to see it thrive again, and why not?

Paisley has so much to give. Any outsider coming to the town can see we have some amazing looking buildings. We have a community based SPL Football team who this year brought Paisley to a standstill with thousands lining the streets to see them lift the Scottish League Cup. We also have the Royal National MoD coming to town this year as well as the many events staged in and around Paisley every single week. We have so much to actually be proud of, we don’t have to start from scratch and build on nothing. We need political will, not political point scoring, so much good is done, but why in the West of Scotland do we not celebrate success rather than focus on the negative, there should be focus on the positive.

So where do we begin to get the town back on track? Can the trend of decline be bucked and a potential niche market rise from the ashes of the blight that is the empty shop, like rotting teeth on our once proud High Street. I firmly believe we can buck the trend.

Individuals who have the town at heart are thinking and acting positively but it seems to be the same old faces. Once more there are plans to bring a cinema or leisure based complex to the site of the former Arnott’s store. Included is a possible bus station with the idea of Paisley becoming a first class transport hub, and with it the foresight for us to be a destination town or outlet town. (These are just ideas at this moment)

The big question is, are we prepared to promote Paisley and not put it down at the first chance we get? I don’t have the answers but I know that there is a growing number of people who are getting behind the town.

The Paisley BID (Business Improvement District) is a concept used by the likes of Falkirk and which has worked well, but this may be a few months or a good year away from happening and it still has to be voted through. Websites like who have been promoting the town positively for more than 13 years, as well as groups like the Paisley Development Trust and the Creative Renfrewshire Network are trying their hardest to bring groups and organisations together so we have some joined up thinking to move the town forward. All these things take time, but they also require commitment and dedication, and we are under no illusion that it is an uphill battle, but not impossible.

Get behind the town, don’t knock it, memories are great but the future is far more important…

Please let us know your opinions and thoughts on what we have said either by commenting below or on our Paisley Facebook Group or Paisley Active Forum.

(Photograph of Paisley Abbey above part of the set of Paisley Photographs for the Renfrewshire Provost Abseil, taken by Alex Kyle for )


Causeyside improvements create jobs for local young people

Three young, unemployed Renfrewshire men have been helped to develop new skills and get jobs through an innovative partnership between Renfrewshire Council and one of its contractors, construction company Land Engineering (Scotland) Ltd.

Kyle Mills from Inchinnan, William Fulton from Ferguslie, and Robert MacMillan from Renfrew have been employed since February in Land Engineering’s construction team who are carrying out a £1m improvement programme in Paisley’s Causeyside area as part of the Paisley Township Heritage Initiative.

All three were unemployed before being taken on to work on the project which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Renfrewshire Council.

Speaking about his experience of working on the Causeyside project, Kyle, 23, said “Working on this project has been a great opportunity.

“We’ve all had paid work and a lot of on-the-job training in specialist construction techniques such as laying out granite paving which will help us stay in work in the long term. And we’ve all managed to get full-time jobs with Land Engineering.”

Councillor Roy Glen, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Economy and Jobs Policy Board, said “It’s great that council projects are helping to create jobs and opportunities for local people.

“Tackling unemployment in the area, particularly among young people, is one of the council’s top priorities.

“Projects like this are complementing our Invest in Renfrewshire programme which has been successful in getting our local businesses to take on young people from the local area and provide them with work experience to help them find jobs.”

Councillor Terry Kelly, convener of the council’s Planning and Property Policy Board, said “I am really pleased that regeneration projects like this which are helping to make Renfrewshire’s towns more attractive places to live in, work in and visit, are also providing training and experience for young people that will help them into work.”

The Causeyside project has also provided a career opportunity for Reid Kerr College student, Darren Ligget.

Darren, 19, from Hillington, was working on the project as a six-week work placement as part of his NCLP Intermediate course in construction. He impressed his supervisors at Land Engineering so much that they offered him a full-time job at the end of his course.

Darren said “I’m really happy about being offered a full-time job. I’ll be able to put all of the skills and knowledge I’ve gained through my college study and my placement here into practice and I’ll be earning a wage.”

Tommy Campbell, Reid Kerr’s head of construction, said “I am delighted to see a student like Darren impressing employers with his skills and knowledge and securing a job. It shows that we are providing local young people with the skills they need to succeed in a very tough job market.”

The Causeyside project, which is due for completion in August, will bring wider pavements, landscaping, new trees in Johnston Street and improved parking and loading bays for residents, shoppers and businesses.

We are having a fundraising folk evening at the Cottages on Thursday 6th June at 7.30pm.

Collins and Collins (formerly of Clydebuilt) will be performing.

It’s a ‘bring your own bottle’ arrangement with tea & coffee etc. at the break.

Tickets are £10 and can be bought at the Cottages or people can call Susan Reid at 0141 887 2273.

Doors Open Day 2013 will be chance to get into buildings

An annual celebration of Renfrewshire’s fascinating architectural history will return later this year – and organisers are looking for buildings to add to the list.

Doors Open Day is a showcase of the country’s built heritage, where visitors take a peek through the keyhole at hundreds of Scotland’s buildings for free.

This year’s event takes place on 14 and 15 September and will be the 20th anniversary of Renfrewshire’s participation.

Paisley Abbey interior

Local buildings set to throw open their doors on the day include Paisley Abbey, the council chambers at Renfrewshire House, local churches and fire stations.

But organisers are looking for local buildings of historical or architectural significance which have not taken part before to come forward for this year’s event, which is supported by Renfrewshire Council.

Councillor Terry Kelly, Convener of the council’s Planning and Property Policy Board, said: “The idea behind Doors Open Day is to show people the hidden gems that link present-day Renfrewshire to its past.

“Renfrewshire has an architectural heritage to be proud of, and Doors Open Day gives residents a glimpse of the fascinating history on their own doorstep.

“While there are many local buildings that prove popular with visitors every Doors Open Day, we would love to add new attractions to our list.

“We are keen to hear from the owners or managers of interesting buildings throughout Renfrewshire.

“If you would like to offer or recommend a building to add to Doors Open Day, please call 0141 618 6794 or email by the end of May.”

Doors Open Day is part of a wider Europe-wide celebration of built heritage, and sees over 50 countries take part, with over 20 million visits annually.

The Renfrewshire event will feature a competition for children to have their passport ‘stamped’ as they visit different venues, and will have a fun historical theme.

The council will also be running a photo competition with visitors encouraged to share their pictures of the buildings on social media.

For more information about the national event, visit


You can download the Doors Open Day Leaflet for the Renfrewshire area by clicking here..

Paisley Piazza Photographs 1967/68

Paisley Prison still stands and the River Cart is wide open in these pictures taken during the construction of the Piazza Shopping Centre, Paisley.

If you have any photographs of Old Paisley and would like to see them published online, please email full credit will be given.


An internationally famous gospel group is to perform at the Oakshaw Trinity Church Paisley on Saturday 18th May. The group, Tessera, perform regularly on BBC TV Songs of Praise . In 2007, as part of the London Adventist Chorale, they sang at the bicentenary  celebrations of the End of Slavery in Westminster Abbey.  In 2012, they were invited to take part in the Queen’s Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace.

Introduced by Adventist Chorale  Director, Ken Burton, they will be performing throughout the day, commencing at 11.15.  Entry is free with donations to ADRA – the Adventist Development & Relief Agency”.

Download the Tessera Poster


50 years of derision but the Imp is back on road to success

(Get down to Linwood St James Centre just now to see the parade)

THEY were hailed as Scotland’s answer to the Mini, but quickly turned into a national laughing stock – famed for breaking down and seizing up.

But this week, champions of the Hillman Imp – manufactured during the 1960s and 1970s at the Rootes Group car plant in Linwood, Renfrewshire – will celebrate the 50th anniversary of a car that some believe was ahead of its time.

About 20 former workers will join Renfrewshire’s provost Anne Hall on Thursday as she unveils a commemorative plaque at the St James Business Centre in Paisley – formerly the offices of the Linwood car plant – to mark the factory’s opening by the Duke of Edinburgh on May 2, 1963.

Meanwhile, a convoy of 50 classic cars manufactured at the plant, including the Hillman Imp, will set off from Paisley to Coventry – once the headquarters of the Rootes Group. Organisers have appealed to any owners of a Hillman Hunter to get in touch to help complete the rally.

The event will be a chance for enthusiasts to honour a forgotten icon of Scottish motoring, scrapped in 1976 and followed in 1981 by the shutdown of the Linwood plant, which at its peak employed 9000 workers.

The Hillman Imp was born out of a post-war car boom. The Conservative government of the day introduced a scheme banning new car plants in areas which already had them. At the same time, grants were offered to companies willing to set up shop or relocate to deprived areas.

Linwood – with its high unemployment, proximity to Glasgow, motorways, air and rail links – seemed the ideal site. The plant would go on to manufacture 440,000 Imps. Unfortunately, the move proved disastrous for Rootes. The commercial failure of the Imp, first produced in 1963, ushered in a gradual takeover of the company by America’s Chrysler corporation. read more on the Herald Scotland website here…

paisley patter

Paisley Patter are looking for anyone willing to volunteer their time for the fabulous Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry Exhibition at Paisley’s Anchor Mill (The Atrium), Thread Street.

We need people who could cover the following shifts:

Wednesday (1st), Thursday (2nd) or Friday (3rd May), 5pm-8pm.  There will be one other volunteer with you so you are not alone.

Sunday 5th May, 1pm – help with dismantling the tapestry and loading it into Arran’s van – some lifting of boxes etc required, (I’m a girl and I managed to do it so no wimping out!)

It’s a fantastic way to get involved in your community and meet new people.

The tapestry is world-famous so having it here in Paisley is a great thing for our town.

Paisley Patter is a project which involves the stitching of the Paisley Panel of The Great Tapestry of Scotland, also the gathering of stories from anyone who has one to tell about Paisley in the 1930s. We meet 1-3pm Wednesdays and Saturdays and you would be made most welcome at any of our meetings. This week’s meetings are at Anchor Mill, Thread Street and after that we meet at the Thread Mill, Seedhill Road.

Contact for details on any of the above which interests you.

paisley abbey flower festival

Paisley Abbey 850 Flower and Fabric Festival

Abbey’s 850 anniversary Flower and Fabric Festival which is taking place in the Abbey from Thursday 9 May, – Saturday 11 May from 10am to 4pm each day. On display will be hangings made over the last 18 months by the Abbey Stitcher’s and these will be complimented by floral art displays. The Accord Hospice art exhibition will be on during that time, too, so there should be something for everyone.

9,10 and 11 May 2013Tickets £5 from the Abbey shop or at the door

Tea and Coffee available

Open from 10 am till 4pm

Find out more about Paisley Abbey here



Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry

The Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry Exhibition Launch Photographs

The Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry is exhibited in the atrium of Anchor Mill, Thread Street, Paisley from 27th April-4th May 2013, weekdays from 2pm-8pm and weekends from 11am-4pm. Free entry.

The exhibition was opened by Paisley MSP George Adam, all photographs taken for Paisley on the web by Brian McGuire.

You can also find a lot more information about Paisley Patter by visiting and also the Paisley Development Trust by visiting

Paisley (BattleTap) poster

Paisley Development Trust in partnership with the Paisley Thread Mill Museum Present

The Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry Exhibition (Please note this event has already happened in 2013)

The home of the thread industry in Scotland is on the map once again as the Atrium in the Anchor Finishing Mill (Anchor Mill) plays host to the world famous

Paisley (BattleTap) posterBattle of Prestonpans Tapestry 

Next week, from 27 April to 4 May, this amazing artwork and heritage resource which has been touring all over Europe, will be on display from 2 pm till 8 pm Monday to Friday and from 11 am till 4 pm each Saturday and Sunday. Admission is FREE (although donations to support the Prestonpans Tapestry and the Thread Mill Museum will be very welcome).

The Tapestry exhibition is part of Paisley Patter, an intergenerational project from the Paisley Development Trust funded by the Heritage Lottery (All Our Stories) being delivered in partnership with the Paisley Thread Mill Museum and the Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry.

Bringing the famous Tapestry to Paisley was the ambition of two of the founding members of the Thread Mill Museum, Eleanor McAllister and Ellen Farmer – both of whom have sadly passed away within a month of each other. The Paisley Development Trust is determined to ensure the project goes ahead exactly as they had planned.

“PDT is proud to be supporting the Thread Mill Museum at this difficult time” said Piero Pierachini, Chair, Paisley Development Trust.

The Paisley Patter Project is designed to bring the Museum to life as local “stitchers” (volunteers with some embroidery skills or with an interest in learning them) gather each Wednesday and Saturday afternoons (1 pm till 4 pm) to complete our very own panel: the Paisley panel for the Great Scottish Tapestry

The group meets in the Thread Mill Museum to share stories and memories of Paisley between the Wars that are then translated into images for the Tapestry. Anyone who is interested, who has family stories or memories of the 1930s or who is young and would like to learn about Paisley’s history from those who lived through it, is very welcome to come along and join us.

For further information about the Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry Exhibition, the Paisley Patter Project or to get involved contact: Marie Connolly on 07743 166098.

Click here for the tour dates poster. (PDF)


RWH1697 seek volunteers for our shop unit which will be opening in the next month,

Volunteers can participate in a number of activities including costume making, talking to the general public about the history of the Renfrewshire Witches Story and Selling RWH1697 Crafts and Merchandise,

The Shop is number Unit 17 and is based on the top floor of the Paisley Shopping Centre,

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer in the shop unit please contact Dale Irvine, Shop Manager at who will gladly assist you,”