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A first-of-its kind study with radical ideas for how Paisley town centre could look in a decade has been published – and aims to start a conversation about what might be possible in the town.

The ‘Vision for Paisley Town Centre 2030’ is the result of a unique link-up between Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish Government and Scotland’s Town Partnership – and uses Paisley as a test case for a series of bold ideas imagining how empty retail space could be better used

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Aileen Campbell, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, will officially unveil the report at an event in the town centre today.

The study – produced by Glasgow-based Threesixty Architecture – is based on the idea changes to the way people shop have left towns like Paisley with far more retail space than they need

The authors lay out a series of radical ideas for how the town could be rebalanced to better meet community need – bringing with it new life and footfall. Their suggestions include:

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– introducing hundreds of new town centre residents, including repurposing the Paisley Centre shopping centre into a new residential quarter with ground-floor retail;

– new ‘attractors’ such as a High Street cinema, or European-style food hall housing independent food and drink businesses;

– bolstering remaining retail by concentrating it back on to the High Street and street-fronts;

– new public spaces for outdoor activity, and new lanes and streets creating new views and routes to ‘hidden’ parts of the town centre

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– how key vacant historic buildings such as the Liberal Club, YMCA building and TA Building could be brought back into use;

– other ideas such as shared office spaces or makers’ spaces, a new hotel, and relocating parts of university and college campuses into the heart of the town centre;

Cabinet Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “This study represents another significant milestone in the regeneration of Paisley and is further evidence of the ambition and commitment of the local community and partners.

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“A huge opportunity now exists to use this collaborative vision to create more positive change in the town, as well as sharing learning which can benefit other town centres and communities across Scotland.

“The Scottish Government will continue to work in partnership with local government to support the regeneration of our towns and high streets.”

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “The way people shop has changed forever, and towns everywhere are seeing the same issues with empty retail space.

“We can’t turn the clock back but we can consider how we could change to attract new life and footfall in future – and that’s what Paisley is doing.

“It’s important to stress these are not concrete plans – they are a set of ideas designed to spark a conversation about what might be possible over the next decade.

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“Paisley town centre is already changing for the better – the number of new cafes and restaurants and new housing built in recent years shows it is recognised as a good place to live and invest.

“Current and future council investment will make Paisley even more attractive to the private sector, but change of the scale imagined by the Vision could not be achieved by the council alone – so we want to hear from developers who could make that next stage of the journey happen.”

The contents of the report build on work already happening to use Paisley’s unique cultural and heritage story to transform its future through the Future Paisley programme, which aims to build on the momentum created by the town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

That includes a £100m investment in the town’s venues and outdoor spaces, including turning Paisley Museum into a world-class destination for the town’s internationally-significant collections, which last week saw £3.8m of funding confirmed from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Paisley is already finding new uses for vacant High Street spaces – construction will start soon to bring a formerly-empty retail unit back into use as a new learning and cultural hub housing library services, for which the first images have just been revealed.

That will build on the success of Paisley: The Secret Collection – the UK’s first publicly-accessible High Street museum store, which opened in 2017 – showing Paisley’s ambitions to put culture at the heart of its future high street are already being realised.

The Paisley Vision was produced after gathering feedback from key local partners – including community groups, businesses, educational establishments and private developers.

The idea for a High Street cinema is already being taken forward by a local group – the Paisley Community Trust – who, with support from the council, are developing their own plans to convert an existing building for that purpose.

Gary Kerr, chair of the Paisley Community Trust, said: ““It’s exciting to see such a transformational and radical vision for Paisley’s future revealed. Paisley Community Trust fully back this new vision for Paisley and we congratulate Threesixty Architecture on producing a superb piece of work.

“It’s particularly encouraging to see cinema at the forefront of the vision. This completely aligns with our current plans to bring cinema back to the heart of our town.

“We believe a cinema by and for our community is a vital first step in realising the wider vision for regeneration in the town centre. It’s Project One if you like.

“We’ve been working behind the scenes on it for a while now and will reveal more details very soon. We also look forward to seeing the other concepts from the vision being explored and developed into regeneration projects of their own in the years ahead.”

Colette Cardosi, chair of town centre business improvement district Paisley First, added: “In recent years, Paisley has found itself firmly back on the map with fantastic events for visitors and a growing number of independent businesses.

“However, like many towns throughout the country, we need to continuously adapt and evolve and Paisley First welcomes collaboration on any long-term strategy for the future which can help bring in new investment and new footfall to local businesses in Paisley town centre.”

Phil Prentice, chief officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, added: “Paisley has a rich tapestry of heritage and culture, is steeped in industry and tradition, and has many major assets.

“We hope this exciting blueprint can create a high street fit for 21st century citizens and Paisley can become an exemplar for other large towns across Scotland.”

Alan Anthony, managing director of Threesixty Architecture, who authored the Vision, said: “This study shows a people-first approach that reconnects the whole community to their town centre.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to rebalance our High Street back to a place with a rich mix of uses. As a lifelong Paisley Buddy, it’s exciting to think Paisley could lead the way on town centre regeneration in Scotland.”

The council now hopes to hear from developers who are interested in investing in Paisley – with one firm which has already done so believing a template for success already exists.

Brian Clark, managing director of Park Lane Developments, said: “We believe  Park Lane’s partnership with Renfrewshire Council on the regeneration of the former Arnotts department store has already shown the way for how the public and private sector can work together to transform a town centre site.

“That project has already delivered 67 completed private and social rented housing along with the welcome addition of the Pendulum restaurant. The final phase is just about to go for planning and will bring an additional 70  new homes.

“The site was derelict for 10 years and is now back in beneficial use bringing new residents and activity back into the town centre – and shows the potential that exists in Paisley as a place to live and invest.”

Residents and businesses have the chance to see and give their views on the Paisley Vision plans for themselves at a public exhibition open in POP (the former Post Office) in the town’s Piazza shopping centre – on Friday 24 (1 to 4.30pm), Saturday 25 (9.30am to 4.30pm) and Monday 27 January (9.30am to 3pm).

The full report can also be viewed online at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/paisleyvision, along with a Q&A which goes into more details on the ideas it contains and what happens next.

Paisley Museum

Plans to completely transform Paisley Museum into a world-class visitor destination telling the town’s unique stories including that of the globally admired, Paisley pattern, have taken a major step forward as The National Lottery Heritage Fund today announced £3.83million support for the project.

Paisley Museum

The four buildings which make up Scotland’s first municipal museum, including the country’s first public observatory, will be ambitiously re-designed and extended by an award-winning international team, including  the architects AL_A and exhibition designers Opera Amsterdam, to create an exciting new experience for visitors.

Paisley Museum

The new, contemporary galleries and exhibitions will double the number of objects on display and be fully accessible so that visitors can explore the town’s rich heritage and its part in the story of the famous teardrop Paisley pattern textile, from the shawls of Kashmir to the haute couture of rock stars. Inspiring learning zones, improved social spaces, a new cafe, shop and cloakroom facilities will add to the Museum’s appeal, as will a new, welcoming entrance surrounded by a courtyard and gardens.

Paisley Museum

The revamped museum is forecast to attract 125,000 visits a year, almost four times the current numbers, and create a £79m economic boost over 30 years. It is the cornerstone of Renfrewshire Council’s vision to bring new life to the town through investment in heritage and culture. This has included the opening of the UK’s first publicly accessible high street museum store, Paisley: The Secret Collection,  and the conservation and repair of key buildings which make up the town’s historic core through a scheme funded with £2m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Caroline Clark, Director Scotland of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“This project has been driven by the passion of the Paisley community to put their unique heritage on an international stage. With the help of National Lottery funding, new life will be breathed into these heritage buildings giving Paisley’s wonderful textiles and other treasures the prominence they deserve, while also bringing a new confidence to the town.”

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd, said: “We want to thank everyone connected to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for their fantastic support.

“It will help us deliver a world-class museum which will take the town’s unique and fascinating stories to new audiences, showcase Paisley’s internationally-significant collections, and bring new life and footfall to the wider area.

“It will create a new accessible hub at the heart of life in the town for the local community – local groups are already co-producing the incredible stories which will populate the reopened museum, and we look forward to continuing to work with The National Lottery Heritage Fund and others over the years ahead to deliver on that.”

The new museum is expected to open in 2022.

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PAISLEY’S Shawl Collection has been given high praise by the national body that helps develop Scotland’s museums.

Museums Galleries Scotland made the comments as they unanimously renewed the Recognised Status of the shawl collection held by Renfrewshire Museums.

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Chair of the Recognition Committee, Dr Katie Stevenson also said that the review submitted by Renfrewshire Leisure, who operates museums locally, was of such a high quality, it may be sent to other museums as a model for them to follow.

Dr Stevenson said: “The committee felt that throughout the report there was a strong cultural voice, a clear curatorial succession plan and that digitisation of the collection was impressive.

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“Committee members noted that the importance of curatorial and research expertise was very strong in the work of the Paisley Shawl Collection and highly commended the approach to supporting the collection.”

Feedback to Renfrewshire Leisure from Museums Galleries Scotland also said that the approach to Recognised Status was commendable; the enhanced collection knowledge and international visits and links were impressive, as was the curatorial expertise and the committee welcomed the strong entrepreneurial approach.

The Recognition Scheme is run by Museums Galleries Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government to celebrate, promote and invest in Nationally Significant Collections.

Susan Jeffrey, Research and Collections Co-Ordinator for Renfrewshire Leisure said: “This is an important recognition of what an amazing collection we have.

“It’s fantastic that our Paisley Shawl Collection continues to merit Recognised Status.”

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes added:

“Our staff work extremely hard to share their knowledge of the collections with visitors both at home and from all over the world, by carrying out research, giving talks and providing learning activities.

“We’re delighted to see their work to promote and preserve the Paisley Shawls collection being recognised.”

The Paisley Shawl Collection is a central part of the Paisley Museum Reimagined Project and the public will have the chance to see enhanced displays of the collection, as well as other collections, when the museum reopens in 2022.

People can see examples of Paisley Shawls together with looms and other weaving equipment by booking a tour of Paisley: The Secret Collection museum store, at 9 High Street Paisley by emailing tours@renfrewshireleisure.com or by phoning 0141 618 5129.

Entrance_Exterior

The £42m project to turn Paisley Museum into a world-class destination expected to bring huge volumes of new life and footfall to the town have taken a step forward – after planning permission was granted.

The Category A-listed Victorian building is being transformed into a leading European museum telling the unique stories of a town known around the world for the Pattern which carries its name.

Members of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Board today gave the green light to planning permission for an extension and external alterations plus listed building consent – meaning work can start next year.

The reimagined museum is expected to draw audiences of 125,000 people a year – almost four times current numbers – from Scotland, the UK and abroad when it reopens in 2022.

Entrance_Exterior

The designs produced by international architects AL_A – led by Stirling Prize winner Amanda Levete – include:

– a fully-accessible entrance courtyard and dramatic red glazed entrance hall, creating a dynamic and inviting presence on the High Street and a contemporary face for the museum;

– a new wing to the west of the existing building providing step-free access through the museum to the Coats Observatory (the oldest public observatory in Scotland);

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– an attractive outdoor garden, creating a new public space for the town, and opening up previously-hidden views of the observatory while reconnecting it and the museum to the town’s High Street;

– internal renovations to improve accessibility and circulation and extend the museum into the space formerly occupied by Paisley Central Library, allowing the museum to more than double the number of objects on display to 1,200;

– an interactive weaving studio keeping alive the town’s traditional textile skills;

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In their response to the consultation, Historic Environment Scotland welcomed the proposal, which they described as ‘very positive, well justified’, and said the plans ‘sensitively respond to the building and the requirement to provide step-free access’.

The Paisley Museum Reimagined scheme is the flagship project within Renfrewshire Council’s £100m investment in cultural venues and outdoor spaces – designed to use the town’s internationally-significant cultural and heritage story to change its future.

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Cllr Marie McGurk, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Board, said: “The Paisley Museum Reimagined project is at the heart of our bold plans to transform Paisley town centre in the years ahead – we are delighted it was able to pass this important milestone today.

“The designs which have been produced blend the old and the new – they will create a 21st-century visitor experience while preserving a key part of our fantastic architectural legacy, and ensure this much-loved building can stay at the heart of life in the area for generations to come.

“Paisley’s name is already known around the world – and when the museum reopens in 2022 it will allow us to invite the world to come back to Paisley, providing new opportunities, life and footfall for the town centre and wider Renfrewshire area.”

The project is expected to create a £79m boost for the local economy over 30 years, with 138 jobs supported during construction, and 48.5 jobs per year through revenue and visitor spending.

It already includes Round One funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with funding confirmed from the Scottish Government, and their Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

Paisley Museum Reimagined Ltd has been set up as a new fundraising company to oversee the project’s fundraising strategy and capital appeal.

The project is being co-designed in partnership with the community – the project team have already worked with hundreds of local people and groups to capture and help tell their stories.

Paisley Museum was opened in 1871, designed by renowned Glasgow architect Sir John Honeyman. The building was gifted to the town by Sir Peter Coats of the Coats family, whose Paisley-based thread-making empire stretched around the world.

Renfrewshire’s collections are among the best in Scotland and include the world’s largest collection of Paisley shawls and pattern books, artwork from the world-renowned Glasgow Boys, one of Scotland’s best collections of studio ceramics, and a unique offering of mediaeval manuscripts dating back to before the Reformation.

Paisley’s collections remain available to the public while the work is happening – at Paisley: The Secret Collection, the only publicly-accessible museum store on a UK high street.

The museum transformation is the flagship project within Renfrewshire Council’s £100m investment in venues and outdoor spaces aimed at using Paisley’s unique and internationally-significant cultural and heritage story to transform the area’s future.

Other current investments in Paisley include turning the town’s Victorian Town Hall into a landmark entertainment venue to preserve its place at the heart of life in the town, a new learning and cultural hub offering library services in a formerly-vacant retail unit on the town’s High St, and an extension and upgrade to the town’s Arts Centre, for which designs have just been released.

Paisley Halloween Festival - Big Grey

For the first time, this year’s Paisley Halloween Festival will feature a spooky silent disco where party-goers can show off their best Monster Mash and Thriller dance moves.

Part of the award-winning annual festival, taking place on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 October, the open-air silent disco, delivered by Silent Knights, is a family-friendly activity promising plenty of dancing, DJs, singing and a whole lot of Halloween fun.

Paisley Halloween Festival - Big Grey

Taking place in the heart of the town in Dunn Square, there will be a series of 40-minute sessions for families and festival-goers to head along to over the two-day event. They will be provided with wireless headphones and can select their tunes of choice.

There will also be two relaxed disco slots suitable for those with additional support needs and their families and carers. During these time slots the music will be turned down in the headphones and there will be more room to dance around. These sessions will take place on Friday from 5pm to 5.40pm and Saturday 2pm to 2.40pm. A walk-in Sensory Safe Space will also be available in the POP store in the Piazza Shopping Centre during the festival. This will be a relaxed space specially created for individuals with additional support needs and their carers.

Paisley Halloween Festival - Big Grey

Event DJs will be spinning tracks over three channels from Halloween hits to classic Ibiza dance anthems and pro-dancers will be on hand with classic dance moves that will keep everyone moving all day long.

The festival is being delivered in partnership with acclaimed outdoor theatre specialists, Cirque Bijou. There will be plenty of opportunities for people to join in the fun with a huge range of Halloween-themed activities including the dark circus style Halloween parade, aerial performances, workshops, street theatre and musical performances, scary movie screenings, live stage acts, creepy installations and a Halloween Fun Fair.

Paisley Halloween Festival - Big Grey

Louisa Mahon, Head of Marketing, Communications and Events at Renfrewshire Council, said: “The popular Paisley Halloween Festival is one of the most highly anticipated events in Renfrewshire’s annual calendar. Every year it gets bigger and bolder and this year is no exception.

Paisley Halloween Festival - Big Grey

“The Silent Disco is sure to be another exciting addition to the creative programme, drawing festival-goers right into the heart of Paisley town centre and offering a fantastic, fun, family experience.

“The support of partners like EventScotland has helped us grow our ambitious major events programme and establish the town as one of Scotland’s key cultural destinations in recent years. We look forward to continuing to deliver top class events in Renfrewshire in the future.”

The Paisley Halloween Festival, which was supported in 2018 through the Year of Young People event fund, was awarded £16,950 of National Programme funding from EventScotland part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate for this year’s event.

The Silent Disco is accessible for all abilities and is recommended for ages 4 and over but all ages are welcome. Under 2s do not require a ticket but cannot be provided with headphones.

Tickets are on sale now and cost £5 for adults and £3 for kids (under 14 years old). A family ticket (two adults and two kids) is available for £14. Prices include booking fees.

To book tickets for the Paisley Halloween Festival Silent Disco please visit: www.paisley.is/discover/silentdisco/.  To find out more about the event please visit www.paisley.is/halloween.

Ambitious plans to grow Renfrewshire’s visitor economy have been boosted – as the Scottish Government confirmed £2million support for the ongoing transformation of Paisley Museum into a world-class destination.

(l-r) James Lang, Chair of Renfrewshire Economic Leadership Panel and Director of Scottish Leather Group; Derek Mackay, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work; Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop and Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson, with a model showing what Paisley Museum will look like once reopened in 2022.

Today saw the launch of Renfrewshire’s Economic Strategy 2020-2030 which lays out plans to grow the area’s economy over the next decade and includes tourism as one of its key sectors.

Paisley Museum will reopen in 2022 as a leading European museum telling the town’s internationally-significant story, expected to draw audiences from Scotland, the UK and abroad and almost quadruple visitor numbers to 125,000 a year.

The Scottish Government’s support for the museum was revealed during the launch of the strategy by Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop at an event also attended by Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work Derek Mackay.

It comes as Renfrewshire-based Scottish Leather Group – already the UK’s largest leather manufacturer – announced they are to open a new Paisley hub by autumn 2020, creating 100 new skilled manufacturing jobs in the town.

Renfrewshire’s Economic Strategy 2020-2030 has been developed by the region’s Economic Leadership Panel, which draws together leaders from across the private and public sector, enterprise agencies and education and skills experts.

It sets out how the area will benefit from a £1.4billion investment in economic infrastructure, innovation and skills, and details a series of actions to add more than 9,000 jobs to the economy and reduce economic inactivity by 15% by bringing 3,000 local people into the workforce.

There is a major focus on growing the tourism and visitor sectors through projects like the museum and by expanding Renfrewshire’s creative industries. The area already attracts around 2.25million day visitors each year – worth a combined £62.5million to the local economy.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “I am pleased to announce that the Scottish Government is contributing £2 million to the ambitious Paisley Museum project, which will engage the local community and showcase the design heritage of this town to the wider world, while contributing to the overall regeneration of Paisley.”

The £42m Paisley Museum Reimagined project is being taken forward by Renfrewshire Council and includes Round One support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

The project is expected to create a £79million boost for the local economy over 30 years, with 138 jobs supported during construction, and more than 48 jobs per year through revenue and visitor spending.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Paisley Museum Reimagined will enable us to share our story with the world and create a world-class destination that will attract more visitors to Renfrewshire.

“I am delighted that the Scottish Government is fully behind the project and welcome their support as we invest in our unique culture and heritage to transform our future.

“Growing our tourism and visitor numbers is a key focus of our work to create a strong, thriving local economy, bringing more people into work, with more secure jobs and better wages.

“We have set out our ambitions in a new economic strategy developed through close collaboration between the private and public sector and this partnership approach will be central to achieving Renfrewshire’s inclusive economic growth.”

The museum is being redesigned by international architects AL_A – led by Stirling Prize winner Amanda Levete, and the first images showing what it will look like were revealed last month.

The transformation includes a new wing to the existing building and attractive outdoor garden – opening up access to the Coats Observatory and reconnecting it and the museum to the town’s High Street – as well as internal renovations to improve accessibility and allow the museum to double the number of objects on show.

The museum is part of Renfrewshire Council’s £100million investment in venues and outdoor spaces aimed at using Paisley’s unique and internationally-significant cultural and heritage story to transform the area’s future.

That includes turning Paisley Town Hall into a landmark entertainment venue to preserve its place at the heart of life in the town, and finding new cultural uses for former retail units – including a new learning and cultural hub offering library services at the heart of the town’s High Street.

paisley museum

The first images showing how Paisley Museum will become a world-class destination telling the town’s globally-significant stories and bringing huge volumes of new footfall to the town centre are today revealed.

The museum is undergoing a £42m transformation into a leading European museum telling the stories of Paisley’s people and Pattern, and home to its internationally-significant collections.

paisley museum

When it reopens in 2022, the reimagined museum is expected to draw audiences from Scotland, the UK and abroad – almost quadrupling visitor numbers to 125,000 a year.

And today sees the first reveal of images, showing how international architects AL_A – led by Stirling Prize winner Amanda Levete – plan to restore and reinvigorate the museum, including:

– fully accessible entrance courtyard and a dramatic red glazed entrance hall, creating a dynamic and inviting presence on the High Street and a contemporary face for the museum;

– a new wing to the west of the existing building providing step-free access through the museum up to the Coats Observatory (the oldest public observatory in Scotland), containing learning spaces and with views onto the new museum garden;

– an attractive outdoor garden, creating a new public space for the town, and opening up previously-hidden views of the observatory while reconnecting it and the museum to the town’s High Street;

– internal renovations will improve accessibility and circulation, deliver international environmental standards for gallery spaces, and allow the museum to more than double the number of objects on display to 1,200;

– an interactive weaving studio keeping alive the town’s traditional textile skills;

paisley museum

The renovated museum and library buildings will be in conversation with the new. Together they create a cohesive museum campus and a visitor experience of international quality.

The project is expected to create a £79m boost for the local economy over 30 years, with 138 jobs supported during construction, and 48.5 jobs per year through revenue and visitor spending.

Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “The transformation of Paisley Museum will create a world-class destination right here in the heart of the town, delivering huge volumes of new footfall to our High Street, and boosting local traders.

paisley museum

“The work is part of a wider investment by the council in Paisley’s venues to transform the town centre, and take the work already making us a key destination within Scotland for culture and events to a new level.

“Paisley is a town whose people and pattern influenced the world – the revamped museum will use our unique – and in some cases untold – stories to put Paisley back on the map.

“The project team have already worked with hundreds of local people and groups to capture their stories. And we will be working closely with neighbours and surrounding businesses to make sure they are involved throughout construction and ready to benefit from the massive boost this will bring.”

paisley museum

Amanda Levete, principal of AL_A, said: “The brief for Paisley Museum is one of the most radical I’ve encountered. Paisley has a proud industrial past and a history of innovation and radical thinking. We have embedded this into our design to create an extraordinary place for the community of Paisley.”

Professor John Hume OBE, former Chair of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments Scotland, said: “I am thoroughly impressed by the thoughtful and sensitive approach of the architects to a remarkable group of buildings in a critical location for this unique place.

“At a time when there is a real risk of erosion of cultural experience, such interventions are of the utmost importance, and it is fitting Paisley should be at the forefront of what will be not just regeneration but also in the best sense, renaissance.”

The Paisley Museum Reimagined project includes Round One funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

Paisley Museum was opened in 1871, designed by renowned Glasgow architect Sir John Honeyman. The building was gifted to the town by Sir Peter Coats of the Coats family, whose Paisley-based thread-making empire stretched around the world.

Renfrewshire’s collections are among the best in Scotland and include the world’s largest collection of Paisley shawls and pattern books, artwork from the world-renowned Glasgow Boys, one of Scotland’s best collections of studio ceramics, and a unique offering of mediaeval manuscripts dating back to before the Reformation.

The project is being co-designed in partnership with the community – the project team have already worked with hundreds of local people and groups to capture and help tell their stories.

The museum transformation is the flagship project within Renfrewshire Council’s £100m investment in venues and outdoor spaces aimed at using Paisley’s unique and internationally-significant cultural and heritage story to transform the area’s future.

The programme includes turning Paisley Town Hall into a landmark entertainment venue to preserve its place at the heart of life in the town, and finding new cultural uses for former retail units – including a new learning and cultural hub offering library services at the heart of the town’s High St.

Paisley’s collections remain available to the public while the work is happening – at Paisley: The Secret Collection, the only publicly-accessible museum store on a UK high street.

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

CELEBRATED artist and playwright John Byrne came back to his roots for the opening of his annual drawing competition exhibition.

John, aged 79, was born in Paisley’s Ferguslie Park and went to school in the town’s St Mirin’s Academy.

john byrne

And on Wednesday (March 27) he returned to Ferguslie for the launch of the 2019 John Byrne Drawing Competition exhibition being held in The Tannahill Centre, in Blackstoun Road.

John – who found fame through his paintings, artwork for album record covers, along with creating and writing theatre and television shows – met two talented local school pupils who were runners-up in the competition.

The artwork of Marie McNicol, from Paisley Grammar School and Rachel Bryceland from Trinity High School, in Renfrew has been chosen to be shown in the free exhibition, which is open to the public until Monday, April 15.

The exhibition, organised by Education Scotland in partnership with Renfrewshire Leisure, showcases the highlights of the fifth annual John Byrne Drawing Competition, open to young people from Primary 4 to S3 from all over Scotland.

John joined pupils from St Fergus and Glencoats Primary Schools in a drawing workshop at The Tannahill Centre before the official launch of the exhibition.

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “This annual drawing competition is a great way to encourage young people to fulfil their artistic potential.

“John Byrne is one of Paisley’s famous sons and his paintings and plays are enjoyed by many generations.

“And for all we know, we might find a new John Byrne in our midst among the young artists whose work is on show at the exhibition.

“I’m particularly pleased to congratulate the two pupils from Renfrewshire whose work has been chosen to feature in the exhibition.”

Alan Armstrong, Strategic Director for Education Scotland said: “Art and design are important parts of the Scottish curriculum.

“For years, this competition has encouraged many thousands of children to use their artistic talents to create inspiring and unique drawings.

“Education Scotland is proud to support the competition and its ethos of keeping the art of drawing alive.”

Paisley museum

Renfrewshire’s future is bright, despite tough challenges facing all local economies, says Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson.

More than £100million is currently being invested in Paisley town centre cultural venues as part of plans to use the region’s rich heritage to drive its economic regeneration.

Paisley museum

And 2019 signals the start of construction of an advanced manufacturing innovation district next to Glasgow Airport which is set to bring thousands of highly skilled jobs to the region.

“Every high street in every town and in every city is facing tough challenges, but we have a bold vision and are already taking significant steps towards securing Renfrewshire’s long-term economic future,” said Councillor Nicolson.

“This year will see us take the next steps on this exciting journey, working together with the business community and skills agencies as every organisation has an important part to play in delivering a bright economic future for Renfrewshire.”

Glasgow Airport Investment Area manufacturing district

Celebrating the region’s rich traditions – from weaving the paisley pattern to the iconic Paisley Abbey – and establishing Renfrewshire as a key visitor destination are at the centre of the regeneration plans.

New figures show great progress, with visitor numbers more than doubling to 5.3million between 2015 and 2017, while hosting major events attracted record numbers and ploughed £3.5million into the local economy this winter.

Paisley town centre cultural venues are about to undergo a total transformation – including the flagship project turning Paisley Museum into an international-class destination anticipated to attract 125,000 visitors each year.

There’s also been the launch of destination brand Paisley Is showcasing all the area has to offer and new funds rolled out to help grow the cultural sector, encouraging the sustainable growth of local arts, music and other creative organisations.

Alongside this are major infrastructure projects funded through the Glasgow City Region City Deal, including the £39.1million Glasgow Airport Investment Area project, with construction starting in spring on new connections underpinning the site which has already been confirmed as home to two multi-million pound national innovation centres.

Councillor Nicolson added: “I’m immensely proud that Renfrewshire will once again be the beating heart of Scottish manufacturing, soon to be home to national innovation centres transforming the future of manufacturing and inspiring future generations.

“And as the town centre cultural venue work progresses, we are already seeing the positive impact of our focus on culture and tourism as visitor numbers have increased exponentially and events like Paisley’s Halloween Festival are proving immensely popular, drawing on our rich history and attracting large local, national and international audiences.”

Renfrewshire already boasts an employment rate outstripping its city region neighbours, while weekly earnings for Renfrewshire residents exceed the national average.

And the council has committed a further £4.5million until 2022 to provide business support and help people into employment.

Building on the success of business incubator InCube, 2019 will see the launch of Start-Up Street – providing low cost workspaces helping companies make the leap into their first commercial premises.

Councillor Nicolson added: “We’ve committed long-term funding for business development and to help people find and sustain employment. Our focus is on inclusive growth, ensuring we target support to the people and places most in need so that we can make the greatest difference and improve the opportunities for future generations of Renfrewshire residents.

“Renfrewshire has so much to offer and it is our priority to make it a place people want to visit, live, work and invest in. The next year will see more houses built and we will continue to listen to what our communities tell us they want and need, ensuring everyone benefits as the economy grows.”