PART of Paisley’s horticultural past is being dug up and brought into the 21st century.
Books of minutes from meetings of the Paisley Florists’ Society dating back to 1797 have been digitised and can now be seen on the paisley.is website.


Claiming to be the oldest horticultural society in the UK, the Paisley Florists was founded in 1782 by the town’s weavers.

David Weir, Heritage Co-ordinator with Renfrewshire Leisure explains: “When the Paisley Florists’ Society was formed, the weavers were at the high point of their trade with stable employment and earnings. This income allowed them to have free time to spend on hobbies.


“Farm produce being sold in towns during the industrial revolution and the weavers spending power also meant they did not have to grow food in their gardens.

“This combination of factors meant they could grow flowers in the weavers’ cottage gardens and the Paisley Florists Society was born.”

Members met every week in a local hotel, exhibiting babs – an old Scots word for a posy – of seasonal flowers to be judged by the society. The florists grew eight show flowers – Auricula, Tulip, Polyanthus, Carnation, Anemone, Hyacinth, Ranunculus and Pink.

In the first minute book, 1797-1833, rule XVII states: “The two flower judges shall be chosen by open vote at a quarter before nine and they are to be ordered down to judge the flowers exactly at nine o’clock.

“It is requested that the landlord will provide a candle and a separate apartment if convenient for the better deliberation of the judges”

And a minute from a meeting in November, 1804 reads: “This night came on the discussion of the important notion of the changing of the place of the meeting. After some discussion, it was unanimously agreed that, as the ale was considerably improved, they remain in the house for some time longer.”
The digitisation project was funded by Arts and Business Scotland and the work carried out by Paisley digital scanning and archiving specialist company, Abergower.

Carl Watt, Head of Programmes at Arts and Business Scotland, said: “We are very pleased to support this partnership between Renfrewshire Leisure and Abergower Ltd through the Culture and Business Fund Scotland.
“Abergower Ltd’s sponsorship of this significant local project to digitise The Paisley Floral Society minute book will help make this unique resource more widely available to the public and raise the profile of the project.
“By matching their sponsorship pound for pound, the Culture & Business Fund Scotland aims to encourage many more businesses in Scotland to sponsor cultural projects in their local community.”
Robin Prior, managing director of Abergower added: “This project was an ideal demonstration of the skill, capability and expertise we have to produce an output of something very delicate and precious. It has allowed the amazing contents of the book to be accessed to a wide community of people interested in this very precious material.

“Each page was physically turned by hand by one of our skilled staff and captured to a very high resolution. The images were then processed through our quality control systems to achieve exact colour matching and crispness of resolution”

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure’s board said: “This project allows people to easily access information about an important part of Paisley’s culture and heritage.
“I’m sure people and especially the many local gardening enthusiasts, will find the digitised minutes of great interest.”

An exhibition of creative work from an art group based at Paisley’s Disability Resource Centre has opened at the town’s Museum.


The Beyond Our Limits exhibition in the Sculpture Court will be the last showing in the space before Paisley Museum closes for a multi-million pound refurbishment.

The event is the result of a partnership between Renfrewshire Leisure, Renfrewshire Disability Arts Forum and the Disability Resource Centre.


Participants have been meeting once a week to create sculptures and artwork using both conventional and re-cycled materials under the guidance of local artist, Kevin Stewart Cantwell.
The Beyond Our Limits exhibition will run until September 8.

Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “Each person taking part in the art group goes on a personal journey of creative discovery, and produces art far beyond what they thought was possible.

“This exhibition displays an amazing range of artwork, illustrating the development of each person’s creative process and increasing self-confidence.

“The exhibition is well worth going along to see.”
David Crichton, Renfrewshire Disability Arts Forum trustee, said “We are naturally proud of the work our artists produce – as rich in variety as in form.

“At the Forum, we are as keen as ever that participatory art should be for all, and we know it benefits health and wellbeing.

“Participation in group activity such as this delivers a boost to mental health, fights isolation and an exhibition such as this raises visibility of capability.

“At the launch event, the excitement of the artists was palpable, and they spoke about how much they enjoy working with local artist Kevin Cantwell.”

Ambitious £42m plans to transform Paisley Museum into an international-class destination have pulled off a major coup, with the appointment of AL_A – the award-winning architects behind some of the world’s most striking buildings.

The firm’s founder Amanda Levete – a former winner of UK architecture’s top honour, the RIBA Stirling Prize – says the Paisley Museum project is ‘one of the most radical briefs she has read’.

It will be the first Scottish commission for the London-based practice, who have designed landmark projects including the Victoria & Albert Museum Exhibition Road Quarter – for which they this week won the prestigious RIBA London Building of the Year 2018.

They were also this month shortlisted for the competition to redesign the visitor experience at Paris’s iconic Eiffel Tower.

The Paisley Museum transformation is the flagship project in Renfrewshire Council’s planned £100m investment in cultural venues and infrastructure – key to Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid legacy, and the wider plans to use the town’s unique assets to transform its future.

The museum will close this autumn and re-open in 2022 as a revitalised home for Paisley’s internationally-significant textile heritage and outstanding natural history, art and science collections, expected to nearly quadruple current visitor numbers to 125,000 a year.

The project will include a contemporary addition to the existing Victorian-era building, creating a new entrance and museum spaces – including a cafe and shop – landscaping and significantly-improved access.

There will be major revamps to all four museum buildings including the Coats Observatory, while a complete internal redesign will reimagine the visitor experience and double the number of objects on public display.

Current AL_A projects include the revitalisation of the historic Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris; a new centre for the cancer care charity Maggie’s in Southampton; and two new buildings for Wadham College at the University of Oxford. Completed projects include Central Embassy, a 1.5m sq ft luxury shopping mall and hotel in Bangkok, and Sky TV’s new London media campus.

Levete was recently named the winner of the 2018 Jane Drew Prize, an annual lifetime achievement award for an architect who has furthered the progress of women in the industry.

She said: ““This is one of the most radical briefs I have read – it triggered in us a desire to tell the untold history of Paisley and search for a narrative thread that will drive the design. The project is bigger than the building itself and I am excited to re-imagine the relationship between the street and museum.

“This is not only about finding the way to best show the museum’s collection, it’s also about showing the world how an ambitious cultural project can have a profound impact on a community and its identity.”

Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure – which operates the museum – added: “For Paisley to have attracted a design team of such global reputation to come to Scotland for the first time shows we are being noticed around the UK and abroad.

“Being the first ever town on a UK City of Culture shortlist took our profile to new levels – but this appointment also says a lot about the scale and ambition of the museum project, and the worldwide importance of Paisley’s heritage and collections.

“The museum was gifted to the people of Paisley more than a century ago by Peter Coats, at the time his family were building a global thread empire headquartered right here.

“Now, AL_A will honour that legacy by designing a striking 21st-century facility to open up our unique heritage to future generations and be a valuable educational resource for our young people.

“At the same time, the new museum will be the centrepiece of the work to transform the area’s fortunes by using our unique selling points to make us a destination and drive huge volumes of new footfall into the town centre.”

AL_A were among more than 120 firms to tender for the Paisley Museum project and will lead an Anglo-Scottish multi-disciplinary design team including conservation consultants Giles Quarme and Associates, landscape architects GROSS.MAX, and engineers Arup.

They will also provide a wide range of benefits to the Renfrewshire community, including further education and school visits, work experience placements and careers events.

The £100m investment in Paisley town centre over the next four years also includes projects to transform Paisley Town Hall and Arts Centre into 21st-century venues, a new learning and cultural hub on the High Street, major investment in outdoor spaces and the town’s transport links, and new sporting facilities and events space at St James Playing Fields.

The plans build on the investment already made in the publicly-accessible museum store Paisley: The Secret Collection, opened last year on the town’s High Street, and the launch of the new destination brand and website at www.paisley.is

The museum project is also being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

An exhibition at Paisley Museum shows the intricate art of creating pictures from etching.
Etching as a printing method is thought to go as far back as the 15th century and the exhibition features artwork creating by several different forms of the process.


A selection of Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture prints created by etching is now on show at Paisley Museum in a free exhibition, which goes on until June 24.

The exhibition, Ages of Wonder – Art of Etching, includes prints from artists like Alexander Runciman and David Wilkie to Elizabeth Blackadder and Will Maclean.

Visitors can see the best Scottish printmaking of the last two centuries from the RSA’s Recognised Collection of National Significance along with new prints created by contemporary artists.

Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “The prints created from etching that are on display at Paisley Museum are absolutely stunning.

“You can’t help but admire the skill and expertise of the artists and the exhibition is well worth seeing.”

Plans for Paisley to build a legacy of its UK City of Culture 2021 bid are being financially supported by Coats – the company which made the town the centre of a global empire.

Coats Representitives visit Paisley 9.4.18.

Coats – the world’s largest industrial thread manufacturer – was last year one of 15 firms to pledge £20,000 towards the costs of Paisley hosting the cultural title, should it have won.

And members of the company’s board of directors have confirmed that pledge remains in place for projects promoting the ambitious bid legacy plans of the firm’s birthplace.

Members of the Coats Group plc board, including chairman Mike Clasper CBE and group chief executive Rajiv Sharma, made the announcement during a visit to the town.

Coats Representitives visit Paisley 9.4.18.

While here, they were given a tour of Paisley Museum and Coats Observatory – both built by the Coats family – and Paisley: The Secret Collection – the UK’s first high-street museum store and home to many of the items the mill owners bequeathed to the town.

Paisley is pushing ahead with ambitious plans to deliver on the vision of the 2021 bid to transform the area’s future using its internationally-significant heritage and cultural assets.

That includes a £100m+ investment in town centre venues and infrastructure, including a £42m project to make Paisley Museum into an international-class destination showcasing the town’s rich textile heritage and unique collections.

The Paisley 2021 legacy plan also includes ambitious plans to grow the area’s major events programme, invest in its independent cultural sector, develop as a hub of creative industry, and harness the power of culture to make people’s lives better across health and education services.

The work will be underpinned by the new destination brand paisley.is, which aims to promote Renfrewshire as a great place to live, visit and invest, and help grow the local visitor economy.

While the 19,000 employees of Coats are spread across six continents, the company retains a presence in Paisley – with a high-tech colour management technology team overseeing the dyeing of products manufactured across the globe from its base in the historic Abbey Mills complex.

Members of the Coats board were met at the museum by Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, who operate the museum, and by Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron, who also hosted a short civic reception for the board on Monday evening.

Cllr Hughes said: “We are delighted to have welcomed the Coats board to the town and thank them for their contribution towards Paisley’s ongoing transformation.

“While the modern Coats company is very different from the one which started life in Paisley in the 19th century, the spirit of innovation and creative industry which saw it grow to be one of the biggest companies in the world is still at the core of what it does.

“Just as Paisley made textiles, textiles made Paisley – many of the most striking parts of Paisley’s iconic skyline grew from the generosity of the Coats family, as did the globally-significant collections in our museums.

“With the museum set to undergo a transformation into a major visitor destination over the next few years, it was great to show the board how the shared heritage and creative spirit of Paisley and Coats will be at the heart of the town’s future.”

Rajiv Sharma, Group Chief Executive, Coats said:  ‘Coats is extremely proud of its heritage, which is inextricably linked with Paisley.  We are delighted to confirm that we remain committed to the financial pledge we made when we backed the Paisley 2021 bid last year.  The tremendous energy and focus that emerged during the bid process has created a legacy which we want to support.’

For more information on Paisley, visit www.paisley.is

Plans to secure a exciting future for Paisley will be laid out at a celebration event aimed at highlighting the benefits of bidding for UK City of Culture 2021 and how the town plans to continue to harness the power of culture to transform its fortunes.

The ‘Our Journey Continues’ event, which will take place on Thursday 29 March at Paisley Town Hall from 12.00 – 1.30pm, will examine the key benefits of the town’s bid including helping to raise the town’s profile, raising ambitions for the area, developing a deeper understanding of the excellent work taking place in the community.

The town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 changed the town for the better, and the momentum it generated will continue and this will be discussed in more detail at the event.

In addition to celebrating the work which has already taken place it will also reveal more about the future opportunities. This includes investing in cultural venues and outdoor spaces such as Paisley Museum, Paisley Arts Centre and St James Playing Fields, developing the creative economy and enhancing our cultural events and festivals programme and continuing to build on the support from the community. This investment demonstrates how Renfrewshire continues to buck the trend in terms of cultural investment.

Furthermore it will show that the council and its place partners are still committed to achieving the step changes outlined in the bid – to grow a new dimension to the economy, transform the town’s image, lift Paisley’s communities out of poverty, be recognised for cultural excellence and transform the town into a vibrant cultural centre.

The event will see partners and local community groups come together to find out more about future plans and members of the public are encouraged to come along to learn what will happen next for the town.

Chair of the Paisley Partnership Board, Councillor Iain Nicolson, said: “The Our Journey Continues event is not only a celebration of the excellent work which has already taken place through the bidding process but is a great opportunity for us all to look ahead to the exciting plans for the future.”

This event precedes the Future Forward: Culture in Renfrewshire collaborative discussion which will ask attendees what directions culture in Renfrewshire should take, and what successes people would like to build on.  The event will be held in Paisley Town Hall from 2-4pm.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s Head of Cultural Services, Morag Macpherson, said: “The thank you event is a great introduction to the Culture in Renfrewshire discussion which will allow everyone to have their say on what the priorities for culture in Renfrewshire should be in the years to come.

“I’m sure the plans unveiled through Our Journey Continues, and the ideas and ambitions which people come along with, will create a really rich inspirational mix. We will discuss how we best focus our aspirations and collectively create a really exciting cultural environment over the next few years.”

There will also be another Future Forward session on Tues 17 April 6-8pm, places can be booked here.

Plans to turn Paisley Museum into a world-class destination showcasing the town’s globally-significant textile heritage and unique collections have been awarded £4m by the Scottish Government.

The funding was confirmed today by Scottish Government Minister Kevin Stewart on a visit to the museum to announce a £26 million investment in projects across Scotland.

The boost for the town comes just days after the launch of a new destination brand and website at paisley.is designed to sell Paisley and Renfrewshire as a great place to visit, live and invest.

The revamped museum is expected to bring 125,000 visits a year and build on the town’s fast-growing reputation as a key destination within Scotland.

The £42m project is central to a planned £100m-plus investment in Paisley town centre venues and infrastructure and part of a wider plan to transform the area’s future using Paisley’s cultural and heritage assets and build on the legacy of the town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “We are delighted the Scottish Government has confirmed this contribution towards the £42m project to transform Paisley Museum

“Between now and 2022 we will work with the local community to create a world-class destination showcasing Paisley’s outstanding art, science and natural history collections, and globally-significant textile heritage.

“The news has come at a great time – coming as we launch Paisley Is…a new destination brand and website dedicated to selling the area as a great place to visit, live and invest.

“Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 raised awareness of our unique story to a worldwide audience, and the museum project is central to a wider set of plans to build on that momentum and make the town one of Scotland’s key visitor destinations.”

Paisley Museum – operated by Renfrewshire Leisure – is due to close this year and reopen in 2022.

The project will see an extension to the current Victorian-era building housing a cafe and shop, improvements to all four museum buildings including the Coats Observatory, changes to physical access, and an internal redesign which will double the number of objects on public display.

It is expected the new building will quadruple current visitor numbers, create a £72m economic boost, and support 138 jobs during the construction phase – and the equivalent of 42 new permanent jobs after that through increased visitor spend.

The plans build on the investment already made in the publicly-accessible museum store Paisley: The Secret Collection, opened last year on the town’s High Street.

Paisley Museum is one 24 projects to benefit from funding announced today through the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF), which supports projects that engage and involve local communities in disadvantaged areas, tackle inequality and support inclusive growth.

The joint Scottish Government and COSLA investment will help to support or create more than 1,400 jobs, refurbish or bring back into use 23 local buildings, support over 300 businesses and community enterprises as well as more than 84 community facilities and services.

Local Government Minister Kevin Stewart said: “I’m really pleased that 24 fantastic, locally-driven projects will benefit from this major injection of funding.

“Spanning the length and breadth of the country, they will help regenerate local areas, stimulate inclusive growth and create new jobs.

“The focus of the projects range from tackling social isolation, mitigating welfare cuts, providing training opportunities, creating business space and increasing tourism – to name but a few.

“They are an excellent example of how national and local government are working together on shared priorities that benefit local communities.”

ALL sports and leisure facilities run by Renfrewshire Leisure will re-open tomorrow. (Saturday, March 3)
The facilities, which had been closed because of the recent severe weather, includes sports centres, swimming pools, libraries, Paisley Museum, Paisley Arts Centre, community centres and town halls.


Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “Thankfully, it appears we have seen the worst of the extreme weather and we are now able to re-open our facilities.

“We’d like to thank our customers for their patience while we made adjustments to our services during this exceptional bad weather.

“But I would urge people to please continue to take care when travelling over the next few days.
”Customers can keep up to date on their fitness classes and other events by logging on to www.renfrewshireleisure.com or by calling the sports and leisure facilities on 0300 300 0250 and all cultural venues on 0300 300 1210.

Due to the ongoing severe weather, all sports and leisure facilities along with libraries, Paisley Museum, community centres and town halls operated by Renfrewshire Leisure will remain closed on Friday, March 2.

As the weather warning is expected to be downgraded by the Met Office, a decision on whether events taking place at Paisley Town Hall and Paisley Arts Centre on Friday night should go ahead is to be taken during the day, on Friday.

Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “We’d like to thank our staff and our customers for their patience and understanding during this unusually severe weather.

“Indications are that our facilities should re-open on Saturday, March 3. However I would ask that customers check our social media channels to confirm facilities opening again.”

St Mirren fans can now cast their votes on which club legends they want to name a street after when new housing is built on the site of the club’s old Love Street ground.

Earlier this month Renfrewshire Council launched the #SaintsStreets competition, inviting fans to submit suggestions for St-Mirren-related street names – and there was an incredible response, with more than 1,000 submissions made.

Those have now been sorted through and a final shortlist chosen – meaning fans have until the weekend to make the final call on which names will be honoured.

The £17million Love Street housing project is being delivered by Sanctuary Scotland in partnership with Renfrewshire Council and the Scottish Government – with work to start soon on 132 new affordable homes.

There are five streets to be named on the site – two have already been named North Bank and Cairter’s Corner after well-known sections of the old ground they sit on the locations of.

The expert panel which picked the shortlist was Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board; Pat Cahill, director of Sanctuary Scotland; St Mirren chairman Gordon Scott; celebrity Saints fan and broadcaster Chick Young, and the club’s fan-elected director David Nicol, of the St Mirren Independent Supporters Association, which part-owns the club.

They picked the following 15 names, from which the five most popular will be chosen during the final vote. Fans have until 4.45pm on Saturday 3 March to cast their votes via www.surveymonkey.com/r/SaintsStreets

– Abercromby Avenue (cult-hero midfielder Billy Abercromby came through the youth ranks and won the 1987 Scottish Cup);

– Bryceland Avenue (the late Tommy Bryceland won the 1959 Scottish Cup and had two spells at the club);

– Copland Lane (Paisley-born defender Jackie Copland had two spells at the club and later became the club’s general manager);

– Fitzpatrick Way (current club chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick is a club legend, winning the 1987 Scottish Cup and enjoying two spells as manager);

– Gemmell Gardens (forward Tommy Gemmell spent his whole career at St Mirren and was part of the 1959 Scottish Cup winning team);

– McCrae Crescent (David McCrae is St Mirren’s all-time record goalscorer, with 222 goals from 1923 to 1934);

– McGarry Terrace  (local lad Steven McGarry helped the club he supports to the 2000 First Division title, while his late father Tam was a well-known supporter);

– McWhirter Street (Johnstone-born defender Norrie McWhirter dedicated his whole 15-year career to the buddies);

– Money Street (one-club goalkeeper Campbell Money spent 15 years at the club and was part of the 1987 Scottish Cup Final winning team)

– Saints Street (affectionate name for all St Mirren supporters);

– Somner Street (Dougie Somner played for St Mirren from 1979-1983 and scored plenty goals, including the Saints first ever UEFA Cup goal);

– Telfer Street (stalwart defender Willie Telfer played for St Mirren from 1943 to 1957);

– Torfason Terrace (Icelandic international Guðmundur Torfason was a cult hero at the club, top scorer in each of his three seasons from 1989-1992);

– Van Zanten View (David van Zanten enjoyed two spells at St Mirren, helping the side to the 2006 First Division title and the 2013 League Cup);

– Yardley Avenue (striker Mark Yardley scored crucial goals en route to the 2000 First Division title and is warmly remembered for his eight-year spell);

There were a number of suggestions the panel couldn’t consider due to Royal Mail requirements intended to stop clashes with existing streets in the area.

That ruled out a number of notable past players and managers, including Jim Clunie, James ‘Daddy’ Dunlop, Sir Alex Ferguson, David Lapsley, Hugh Murray, Alex Smith, Steven Thompson and John Cockles Wilson.

They were also unable to name streets after numbers – with key dates such as 1959 and 1987 having been put forward – or after St Mirren itself.

Sanctuary Scotland will also name the children’s play area at the new housing development after Paisley Panda.

Councillor McGurk said: “We are pleased to be working with Sanctuary to bring the Love Street site back into use – with the new housing making a big contribution towards the council’s target of 200 high-quality affordable homes being built in Renfrewshire each year.

“Given how much the Love Street site means to so many people, we wanted to be able to let St Mirren fans decide how best their club’s history should be reflected within it.

“The panel had a tough task to whittle the names down but after some very lively discussion we arrived at a shortlist which spans the generations and different eras of the club’s history.”

The development will provide 103 houses for social rent. A further 29 houses are available for affordable sale through the New Supply Shared Equity scheme.

Sanctuary is also building homes for social rent in Station Road, Renfrew and at the former Co-op site in Wellmeadow Street, Paisley.