Sma Shot Day 2019

A crowd of thousands enjoyed an all-day family spectacular of parades, performances and pyrotechnics as one of the world’s oldest workers’ festivals took over Paisley town centre on Saturday.

The annual Sma’ Shot Day event turned the town into a hub of activity as the sun shone, with more than 50 events taking place across 20 outdoor stages and venues.

Sma Shot Day 2019

The event – which celebrates the victory of Paisley’s weavers in a 19th-century industrial dispute – celebrates the town’s rich textile heritage and had the theme ‘let’s party like its 1856’.

The fun began with the colourful parade – featuring colourful characters, floats and costumes and led by the Charleston Drum – from Brodie Park to the town centre.

This year’s event was taking place in a new event site in the streets around the town’s historic Sma’ Shot Cottages.

Sma Shot Day 2019

Huge crowds gathered at Paisley Arts Centre for the spectacular pyrotechnic Burning of the Cork, featuring an effigy of one of the middlemen who demanded payment from the town’s weavers for the Sma’ Shot – the unseen thread which held together the Paisley Patterned shawls.

The outdoor stages saw performances from groups including PACE Youth Theatre, Right2Dance, Starlight Music Theatre and a drumming finale from the Charleston Drummers School of Rock.

Families enjoyed kids’ activities including an outdoor beach, circus skills and carnival workshops in the streets around New Street, Shuttle Street and Brown’s Lane

The pubs and clubs along Shuttle Street opened their doors for the day to join in the fun – with The Bungalow hosting a family ceilidh with local group Fèis Phàislig and kids workshops in Faction nightclub.

Local businesses across the town have been throwing open their doors for the Creative Craft Trail, with designers from Renfrewshire’s InCube creative business incubator showing off their skills at various venues around the town today and tomorrow.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron, who joined the parade on the day, said: “Once again, there was a wonderful family atmosphere along the parade route and at the event itself as we celebrated this important part of Paisley’s heritage.

“The new event site worked really well and helped spread the activity and benefits throughout the town centre.

“We were delighted this year to work with many of the pubs, shops and cafes to make them venues for event activity and drive footfall directly through their doors.”

Sma’ Shot Day is part of Renfrewshire Council’s major events programme which last year brought around 160,000 attendees and an economic boost of around £4.7m to Renfrewshire.

sma shot day 2019

The Sma’ Shot celebration always takes place on the first Saturday in July – to mark the time of year when the weavers and their families would traditionally take their holidays.

This year will be no different – everyone is invited to join the annual party this Saturday 6 July from 12 noon to 5pm. And with almost 50 events taking place across 20 different venues, this year’s celebration promises to be the best yet!

sma shot day 2019

Festivities will get underway at noon as the colourful parade leaves Brodie Park, heading for Paisley Arts Centre led by the tuck of the Charleston Drum. The parade this year will feature local groups, performers, spectacular floats and giant puppets, all co-ordinated by parade specialists Bridgeman Arts.

2019 will also see Sma’ Shot Day return to its roots, quite literally, by moving to the streets around the historic Sma’ Shot Cottages in Paisley’s town centre; with Shuttle Street, New Street, Witherspoon Street and Brown’s Lane all set to come alive with music, theatre, poetry, crafts and lots of family-friendly activities.

sma shot day 2019

Amongst these activities there will of course be the Burning of the Cork (1.20pm within the grounds of Paisley Arts Centre) which sees the ‘Corks’ – the middlemen between the owners and the weavers – meet their fate at the hands of the working weavers in spectacular fashion. Right2Dance will deliver a short pre-Burning of the Cork performance with live music in front of Paisley Arts Centre at 1.15pm.

sma shot day 2019

Plus, there will be lots of opportunities to learn a new craft at a series of artists workshops taking place all over Paisley. Follow the Creative Craft Trail for mural painting, jewellery making, embroidery and loads more.

The Sma’ Shot Cottages will also be open 12 noon til 5pm for your chance to see what life was really like for the weavers in the 19th century. Catch a guided tour and watch live weaving demonstrations with Paisley Museum’s textiles expert, Dan Coughlan. We also recommend a trip to Paisley Thread Mill Museum to complete your weaving experience on the industry’s most celebrated day of the year.

Download the Paisley.is handy event map and start planning your day!

 

Derek Mckay at Paisley Museum 21.6.19-0650

Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work Derek Mackay was given a behind-the-scenes tour of the ongoing work to transform Paisley Museum into a world-class destination driving new visitors to the town.

The museum is currently undergoing a £42m revamp as the flagship project within wider work to transform Paisley’s future through its internationally-significant cultural and heritage story.

When it reopens in 2022, the museum is expected to almost quadruple previous visitor numbers to 125,000 a year, bringing new footfall into the town centre.

Derek Mckay at Paisley Museum 21.6.19-0650

And Mr Mackay and Scottish Government officials were joined by Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson and chief executive Sandra Black to see the work taking place for himself, on a tour led by members of the museum project team.

The museum transformation will create the following:

– a leading European museum telling the stories of how Paisley’s people and pattern helped change the world, drawing audiences from Scotland, the UK and abroad;

– an extension plus complete internal redesign and restoration of all museum buildings – including the Coats Observatory. The design team is headed by international architects AL_A, led by Stirling-Prize-winner Amanda Levete, who have worked on landmark projects across the world;

– doubled capacity for Paisley’s internationally-significant collections to go on show – with local communities helping shape how the collections are reinterpreted and displayed;

– a community resource and major educational institution at the heart of life in Paisley;

– an interactive weaving studio keeping alive Paisley’s traditional textile skills, a heritage centre to study local history, and attractive outdoor museum garden;

Advance works started on the site earlier this year, including the demolition of the 1970s block to the rear of the museum, and work to prepare outdoor spaces and the interior of the existing buildings for main construction starting next year.

Other projects within the current £100m investment in Paisley town centre include a transformation of Paisley Town Hall to turn it into a landmark entertainment venue and keep it at the heart of life in the town for future generations; a new learning and cultural hub housing library services at the heart of the High Street; and a transformation of the town’s key outdoor spaces.

Paisley’s museum collections are still available to view at Paisley: The Secret Collection – the only publicly-accessible museum store on a UK high street.

The museum project is being led by Renfrewshire Council, and the reopened museum will be operated by Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd.

Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work, Derek Mackay, said: “I enjoyed seeing the ongoing transformation of the museum and all the hard work taking place to develop it for Paisley and the wider area.

“The museum will help tell the story of Paisley and ensure its heritage is preserved.”

Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “I was delighted to welcome the cabinet secretary to the town to show him the life-changing impact this project will have for Paisley, Renfrewshire and Scotland.

“As the one-time centre of the global textile industry, the museum will help reconnect Paisley to the stories – and pattern – which once took its name around the world, and help bring visitors to Scotland from outwith these shores to hear those unique tales for themselves

“It will also be the centrepiece of a transformed town centre, building on the work already done to make the town one of Scotland’s key destinations, and create a thriving community resource for the people of Paisley, driving footfall up our High Street.”

For more information on what’s happening in Paisley, see www.paisley.is

Barshaw Gala Day

People from all over Renfrewshire will be heading to one of Paisley’s prettiest parks this weekend for a gala day for all the family.

This year’s Barshaw Gala Day takes place at Barshaw Park on Saturday 22 June, from 11am until 4pm.

Barshaw Gala Day

The Barshaw party is one of the most popular events in Renfrewshire’s events calendar – and this year, it’s packed with more activities and entertainment than ever before.

Talented musicians and dancers from the McCallum School of Music, Vision Dance Academy, Razzamataz, RockUs Choir, Inspire School of Dance, and Spangled Cabaret will be wowing the crowds from the Community Stage, alongside indie rockers Atomic and Zoe Tait.

Magic Daze and Cheeko are all set to entertain with their tricks, and nature fans will love Frog Life – a pond wildlife and conservation virtual reality experience.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will be on hand with a safety demonstration, and youngsters can have a go on the go-karts, take part in freestyle football sessions, and enjoy pirate walkabouts.

And of course, the gala day favourites of inflatables, stalls, and funfair rides will keep everyone entertained.

The park will also have designated smoke-free zones on the day.

Barshaw Park also has play areas, a nature corner, a pond, a BMX area and the ever-popular ride-on train.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming people from all over Renfrewshire to Barshaw Park on Saturday to celebrate our local area.

“Our gala days are very important for our communities, as they encourage people of all ages to get together and enjoy some fantastic free activities on this family day out.

“We hope to see people of all ages having fun on the day.”

Find out more at www.paisley.is

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.

Download the Paisley.is handy event map and start planning your day!

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