Paisley will soon be home to Scotland’s first high street museum store – as part of a wider plan to use culture and creativity to help breathe new life into the town centre.

museum decant team members Stella Hook,Joel Fagan, Cllr Jim Harte and, Archie Henderson

Work is well advanced on the £2.7m facility, expected to open at the end of 2017, which will house tens of thousands of items from Paisley’s internationally-significant museum collection not on display in the main museum.

The store will occupy the basement of the unit at 7 High Street, currently being fitted out, and will be accessible to the public via a shopfront entrance.

Stella is holding the Egyptian Shabti

The work is being taken forward by Renfrewshire Council in connection with Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021

Currently, a team is preparing and packing the items at an existing storage facility elsewhere in the town, ahead of the mammoth decant to take place later in the year.

Archie is holding the mediaeval cross fragment

And some of the team gave a sneak peek of the quality and depth of the collection to be housed in the store, by showing off items including:
– a ceremonial 5,000-year-old hand axe dating back to the Neolithic era;
– a fragment of a 10th-century medieval cross found at Inchinnan;
– a copper mould for a frieze of the Parthenon created by renowned 19th century Paisley sculptor John Henning;
– a Paisley tram driver’s badge from the 1960s;

Also on show was an Egyptian Shabti – a small sculpture buried with a person and expected to serve them in the afterlife – dating back to the 26-27th dynasty.

The museum store is intended to complement plans for a £49m revamp of the main Paisley Museum, further up the High Street, due to be turned into an international-class destination based around the town’s unique heritage story by 2022.

The completed facility will be managed by Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd, and Councillor Jim Harte, chair of RL, joined the decant team to preview the items.

He said: “Other places in Scotland have publicly-accessible museum stores, but this is the first time such a facility has been built on a High Street, and will bring a previously-empty unit back into use.

“High streets everywhere – including Paisley’s – have suffered in recent years from changes in the way people shop.

“But we can’t turn the clock back – we need to be creative in finding new ways to repopulate units, and bring in new footfall which existing traders can benefit from.

“The museum store is part of a wider effort to use cultural attractions to do that, along with the UK City of Culture 2021 bid, the plans to revamp the main museum – which we expect to bring 125,000 visitors a year to the town centre – and the relocation of Paisley Central Library to a vacant unit on the high street.

“It was great to meet the team behind the decant and hear the stories behind some of the fascinating items they are uncovering every day.

“Once opened, the facility will give the people of Renfrewshire a chance to see the full extent of the town’s incredible and internationally-significant collection, while also being a top-class educational resource bringing history to life for our pupils.”

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 has been backed by a famous global name which started life in the town – Coats, the world’s leading industrial thread manufacturer.

The Renfrewshire town is bidding for the title as part of wider plans to transform its future using its heritage and cultural assets.

Coats has strong links with Paisley as its origins can be traced back to the Coats and Clark families that created the weaving and textile industries there during the 1750s.

Rajiv Sharma, Group Chief Executive, Coats, said: ‘Coats is very proud of its heritage and Paisley is where it all began.  This bid will help transform the future of Paisley by bringing much-needed regeneration and opportunities that will give the town the civic pride it rightly deserves once more.’

In the 1880s Paisley was one of the fastest growing towns in the UK and more than 10% of its 60,000 population were employed by the Coats or Clark firms, which came together in the 1890s to form Coats.

The families were major benefactors to the town of Paisley including iconic buildings such as the Coats Observatory – one of only three remaining public observatories in Scotland  – and the A-listed cast-iron Grand Fountain, recently restored to its former glory.

They also funded the building of Paisley Museum and bequeathed many items which remain in the town’s collections. Renfrewshire Council last year revealed plans for a £49m revamp of the museum to turn it into an international-class heritage attraction by 2022.

Coats still retains a presence in the town today through its global Colour Systems Team, which is based in the Mile End Mill building.

The team is an integral part of the global business and leads the development of cutting-edge colour management technology which drives best practice and productivity improvements across Coats’ 45 thread dyehouse operations around the world.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “We are thrilled to have one of Paisley’s most famous names on board for the bid.

“Paisley’s name is known around the world for the role it played in shaping the global textile industry. But as much as Paisley made textiles, textiles also made Paisley.

“The legacy left by the Coats and Clarks is all around us in the town today in our buildings and in our people – and that legacy will feature strongly in our bid when it is lodged.”

The UK City of Culture competition is run by the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport and bids are due to be lodged in April.

To find out more about Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 go to: http://www.paisley2021.co.uk

A RECORD number of works of art by school pupils has been put on show at the annual Inspired exhibition, at Paisley Museum.

From left artistic pupils, Beth Daly, Ola Muir and Sophie Thompson

The exhibition features more than 120 drawings and paintings from children at local nursery schools to young adults in their final year at secondary school.

It runs from until Tuesday, April 18


Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “The aim of the exhibition is to showcase the art and design skills of pupils in Renfrewshire’s nursery, primary and secondary schools.
“And this year we have a record number of exhibits, which further enhances Paisley’s reputation as a place of culture.
“The exhibition displays how the artistic skills progress from the early works of three and four year olds through to the sophisticated and talented pieces which form a Fifth or Sixth Year pupil’s folio for national qualifications.
“The exhibition is called Inspired as that’s exactly what it shows – a reflection of the personal perspective of the young artist and the things which inspire them.”

Joyce added: “The pieces on display are both humorous and sophisticated. Some of the drawings of the very young children will certainly raise a smile and the work of the older pupils are very impressive and are of a professional standard.”

Organisers of Inspired are also working in partnership with The National Gallery of Scotland, as after the exhibition closes, much of the work featured will be sent for consideration in their National Tesco Bank Art Competition.
And 13 pieces of work will be chosen to feature in the Renfrewshire Provost’s 2018 Calendar

A new feature of the exhibition this year is a cardboard model of an imaginary Paisley City created by students, young people and their families as part of the Made in Paisley programme under the direction of West College Scotland and Ice Cream Architecture.

A wonderful, rare Burns manuscript that was recently rediscovered in the collection of Paisley Museum has gone on display in the museum in time for Burns Night.

The text, which has been authenticated as genuine, is the Bard’s response to a party invitation from friends.

 

Sir,

Yours this moment I unseal,

And faith I’m gay and hearty!

To tell the truth and shame the deil,

I am as fou as Bartie:

But Foorsday, sir, my promise leal,

Expect me o’ your partie,

If on a beastie I can speel

Or hurl in a cartie.

Yours,

Robert Burns

 

Machlin,

Monday Night, 10 o’clock

 

A letter to the Museum from Professor Gerard Carruthers from the Centre for Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow says the poem dates back to 1785 – 1786.

It is on display at Paisley Museum alongside a portrait of Burns by James Tannock (1784 – 1862) until Sunday, 19th February.

For more information on Paisley Museum visit www.renfrewshireleisure.com   

AN art exhibition featuring the work of two Paisley-born brothers, Kevin and Dermott Egan has opened in the town’s Museum and Art Galleries.

Kevin Egan and his brother, Dermott at their art exhibition in Paisley Museum and Art Galleries.

Much of the brothers’ paintings, drawings, carvings and sculptures relate to their working class roots growing up in both Paisley’s Ferguslie Park and Glenburn housing schemes.

The free exhibition, Form and Colour: A Way of Being in the World, runs until February 26.

Kevin, 61 and 57-year-old Dermott come from a very creative family. Their brother Tommy was a well-known folk singer locally and their late brother, Jim was also an accomplished singer of folk music and popular standards of the 1950s and 60s, appearing on radio and television.

Another brother, Joe enjoyed chart success in the music business as one half of the band, Stealer’s Wheel along with fellow-Paisley singer-songwriter, Gerry Rafferty.

Following a college course in commercial art, Dermott worked for different artistic agencies producing posters for venues like The Pavilion and King’s Theatres, in Glasgow. Some of his early artistic work in this field can be found in the Mitchell Library archive.

Kevin’s early work was in polychrome bas relief and free standing sculpture. His relief carvings – produced for the Marquis of Bute – can still be seen at Mount Stuart House, on the Isle of Bute. One of these particular pieces was shortlisted for the Saltire Prize.

Kevin said: “All our family were good at art and at the same time all of us, including Dermott and I were also musical and could sing.
“I suspect that on a subconscious level, Dermott and I decided to take the road of painting, drawing and sculpture, so as not to compete with our older brothers.
“When you’re in such a big family you try to find your own place to be creative and we choose art.”
Dermott adds: “Almost all of my art and much of Kevin’s is based on Paisley and the worthies we knew when we were growing up.
“This is our first joint exhibition and we hope that when people come along they bring their imagination with them and share some of the unexpected discoveries we have made while creating our art.”

2017 programme of the Paisley Art Institute.  Come back soon as more details to follow.

Both exhibitions will be shown in the familiar venue of Paisley Museum and Art Galleries

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has publicly backed Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021, in the latest show of cross-party political support for the town’s ambitions.

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Photos courtesy of Hannah Thomson for Paisley.org.uk

 

The Scottish Labour leader gave her backing during a visit to Paisley Museum where she met young people involved in an award winning creative youth project being funded by the bid.

The bid has received cross-party support, with local politicians hosting events in both the UK and Scottish Parliaments.

The growing support follows on from recent high-profile backers of the campaign, with musician Paolo Nutini and artist John Byrne – who both hail from the town – having done so in recent weeks.

While visiting the town, she was met by Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan, Paisley 2021 Bid Manager Stuart McMillan and by participants in Project Z – which will see young people from the town’s Ferguslie Park area trained to write and create their own graphic novels.

 

The project was part-funded by the area’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund, a £500,000 five-year scheme which aims to boost the capacity of the local creative scene during the Paisley 2021 bid.

It also received funding from Renfrewshire Council’s ground-breaking Tackling Poverty Programme, which covers a wide range of projects aimed at taking on long-term deprivation issues in the area.

The Paisley 2021 bid aims to use the town’s outstanding collection of heritage and cultural assets to improve the area’s prospects and transform its future.

Kezia’s visit to Paisley Museum comes in the week a fundraising strategy was unveiled for a £49m redevelopment of the Victorian-era building which aims to turn it into a visitor experience of international quality, telling the inspirational stories of Paisley, its heritage and its pattern.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said:

“I am delighted to back Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture in 2021. A successful bid can support the work Renfrewshire Council is already doing to transform Paisley and would leave a legacy that could improve the lives of people in the town.

“Culture can change the lives of young people living in poverty. Supporting people to develop new skills means they can grow their confidence and compete for the jobs of the future. I had the privilege of meeting with some very talented and engaging young people. All they need is the right support to have a fair chance in life. Paisley’s bid for City of Culture 2021 can be part of that.

“The Glasgow City Deal also provides an opportunity to regenerate Renfrewshire. The UK and Scottish governments should deliver the necessary funding as soon as possible, so people in Renfrewshire can start to feel the benefit of this investment.”

Councillor Mark Macmillan said:

“It was great to welcome Kezia to Paisley today and talk her through the ambitious and hugely exciting vision we have for the town over the years ahead.

“It was also good to meet some of the young people taking part in one of our innovative tackling poverty projects – ultimately the Paisley 2021 bid is about the power of culture to change people’s lives for the better.

“Paisley Museum was a fitting venue for the visit given its status as the anchor project in our plans – the proposed revamp is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year into the town centre, creating a boost to the local economy and attracting new jobs.

“Running alongside the major infrastructure improvements being delivered through the Glasgow City Region City Deal – including our plans for a tram-train link between Glasgow Airport and Paisley Gilmour Street Station – major opportunities lie ahead for Renfrewshire and we want to ensure the future for local communities is a bright one.”

Hayden Chivers, aged 18, and a member of Project Z, said:

“This project is a fantastic opportunity that helps improve our life skills and prepare us for the world of work. We’ve been meeting weekly in the local library in Ferguslie Park and we do activities such as creative writing, drama and visual art.

“The project has really benefited many of us and helped us by encouraging us to either stay on at school or go to college, some of us have part-time jobs or volunteer for other organisations. I’m proud to be from Paisley and delighted to be able to show others how great it is to live in this town.”

The team was successful in its application to the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund as part of Paisley’s City of Culture bid and will involve them working on a social history project based on the punk movement in Paisley and other subcultures popular in the town and the legacy left today. The end product will be an exhibition of film, photography and a graphic novel.

For more information, visit www.paisley2021.co.uk

An original Burns manuscript that has been in Paisley Museum and Art Gallery’s collection for almost 100 years, but was only recently rediscovered and authenticated, is to go on display in the museum every January when light levels are low enough to protect the delicate ink on paper artifact, and to coincide with Burns Night.

burns-letter-paisley-museum

Announcing the month-long exhibit in 2017 (January 17 – February 19) for St. Andrew’s Day (November 30), Renfrewshire Leisure chair, Councillor Jim Harte, said, “I am absolutely delighted that the only existing manuscript of a lovely piece of Burns social verse will be on display in Paisley Museum in the New Year for a limited period and each subsequent January thereafter.

“We are proud to possess this charming piece and thrilled to share it with visitors during what is an extremely important time for Scotland’s largest town. We will be finalising Paisley’s bid for the title UK City of Culture 2021 during the early part of 2017 and this fantastic exhibit reveals yet another layer to our fascinating culture.”

The short verse, written in reply to a party invitation, is in typical Burns style  including wordplay – he combines the tradition for indicating the day of writing with something that suggests he is worse for wear, in “Foorsday”; highlights his joy at the invite, and pledges his attendance whether by horse, or by cart.

The artifact was verified in a letter to the Museum last year by Professor Gerard Carruthers of the Centre for Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow. He said:

“The manuscript is clearly in the handwriting of Robert Burns. The ink and paper are a good match to other authentic Burns manuscript productions. 

“The poem dates from 1785 – 1786. The first publication to give an indication of its origins, and how it came to be in the collection of Paisley Library is ‘The Works of Robert Burns Volumes 1 – 5’ edited by The Ettrick Shepherd and William Motherwell. Motherwell was Secretary of the Paisley Burns Club in 1819 and became President in 1821. This puts him at the centre of Paisley literary life when the poem first surfaces. Motherwell noted that, ‘We are informed it was presented to the library by the late Mr. John Clarkson, of McGavin and Clarkson, threadmakers, Paisley’.”

The manuscript will be displayed alongside a portrait of Burns by James Tannock (1784 – 1862) also in Paisley Museum’s collection. Born in Kilmarnock, Tannock was originally a house painter, but after lessons from Alexander Nasmyth – who was a friend of Burns – became a successful portrait painter.

 

The manuscript reads:

Sir,

Yours this moment I unseal,

And faith I’m gay and hearty!

To tell the truth and shame the deil,

I am as fou as Bartie:

But Foorsday, sir, my promise leal,

Expect me o’ your partie,

If on a beastie I can speel

Or hurl in a cartie.

Yours,

Robert Burns

 

Machlin,

Monday Night, 10 o’clock

For more information on Paisley Museum visit www.renfrewshireleisure.com

Plans for a new Paisley Museum which could bring hundreds of thousands of visitors into the town have taken a leap forward after new funding plans were unveiled.

Cllr Mark Macmillan at Paisley Museum with a Paisley shawl

Cllr Mark Macmillan at Paisley Museum with a Paisley shawl

The museum revamp is central to Renfrewshire Council’s ambitious plans to use Paisley’s unique heritage and cultural assets to transform its future, including a bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

And councillors will this week run the rule over a refreshed funding strategy aimed at turning the museum into an international-class visitor destination.

It is predicted the museum will triple current visitor numbers to 125,000 a year, be worth £75m to the local economy over the next 30 years and create 160 new jobs.

Under the new plans, the overall project cost has been reduced from the initial £56.7m to £49m – achieved by working with the architects to reduce the scale of the proposed building work, in a way which still delivers the original aims.

That total is made up by:
– Renfrewshire Council increasing its contribution to £26m from the initial £15m. The bulk of this will come from money already set aside for town centre regeneration;
– an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £10m, with councilors being asked to authorise that approach;
– applications for £4m funding from Scotland-wide funding sources;
– an ask of a further £4m of direct funding from UK and Scottish Government;

That would leave a gap of £5m, to be raised through a major fundraising campaign, and which has been assessed as a realistic target over a five-year period.

The new project plans were developed after extensive discussion with experts in museum and major infrastructure projects, and feedback from likely funders.

An initial application to HLF for £15m earlier this year was unsuccessful – with them advising the project needed a greater degree of guaranteed funding to have a better chance of lottery money at a later date.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “We have already made huge steps forward in recent years with our ambitious plans to use Paisley’s unique heritage assets to drive a transformation of Renfrewshire’s future.

“The proposals to revamp Paisley Museum are the signature project of that and will create a lasting legacy for the town and wider area.

“That will include major tourist footfall to the High Street, and a multi-million-pound boost to the local economy, supporting new jobs and opportunities for local people.

“The project will also retell the inspirational stories of Paisley’s heritage and Pattern by involving local people, provide an outstanding learning resource, and help change perceptions of the town at home and abroad.

“But transformation of that scale and ambition cannot be achieved without major investment and there is no option but for to the council to find its share of that.

“Major projects of this scale are rarely funded on the first ask, but the application process saw us receive some positive feedback about the ambition and viability of the project from funders.

“We also learned what we need to do to have a better chance of being funded next time – and that was to have a greater proportion of the project cost in place.

“The near-£7m reduction in cost and increased contribution from council resources will bridge that gap, while we now have a more robust fundraising strategy in place to bring in the rest of the investment needed from government and other sources.

“We remain excited by what this project will mean for Renfrewshire and believe the plans we are putting in place today will make it a reality.”

The proposals would see an extension to the existing museum, which is operated by Renfrewshire Leisure, to contain a reception, café, shop and weaving studio.

There would also be an extensive refurbishment of the current Victorian-era building, doubling the amount of the town’s collection which could go on view and fixing current issues with disabled access.

If the funding is secured, the museum would close to the public in 2018 and fully reopen in 2022, with development of the project playing a key part in the programme for UK City of Culture 2021, should Paisley win the title.

Related work includes the new publicly-accessible museum store currently being constructed on Paisley’s High Street and due to open in 2017, as well as the plans to move Paisley Central Library from its current home in the museum building to a new facility on the High Street.

The proposals will be considered by members of the council’s Leadership Board on Wednesday 30 November.

Paisley Natural History Society is continuing its winter programme of evening talks with an illustrated talk by Tom Byars on Thursday 1 December at 7.30pm at Paisley Museum.

pnhs
 
Covering 843 acres, two and a half miles long by half a mile wide, Central Park is an oasis for migrating birds travelling the east coast during spring and autumn. Central Park is considered one of the best birding spots in the United States, attracting birders from all over the world. More than 280 species have been recorded here in iconic bird-watching sites, such as the Ramble, Cherry Hill, Azalea Pond and Strawberry Fields.

This talk is free of charge and open to everyone, just come along.