Hello, let me introduce myself my name is Lucas, I am one of the newest journalists for Paisley.org.uk. I am so pleased to be able to share my first article with you guys and I hope you enjoy this article as much as I enjoyed writing it for you. Just so you can all get to know me a little better I am a new journalist starting out. I have always had an interest in journalism and I love writing. I am not originally from Paisley nor do I currently live there. I live in a different region however; Paisley was a large part of my teenage years.
Paisley is a town that people are drawn to; it is a town that people are happy to call home even when some people are negative about it. Paisley is a town that has a lot to offer from its Shopping Centres, High Street and parks to the Paisley Abbey and Paisley fountain gardens. There is so much to see and do and most of it is free. Paisley is a very welcoming town full of people who are more than happy to help if you need directions or if you just need to know where a certain place is. As previously stated I did not grow up in Paisley but I did go to high school there so it was a town that I spent 4 years getting to know and that I still go back to even to this day. When I first started school in Paisley, I had no knowledge about the town and I did not know anything about it. Now many years on it is a town I have grown to become quite fond of in many ways.
When I think of Paisley the first thing that comes to mind is its transport system. I,have no knowledge on the buses of Paisley as I am a rail traveller. I love using the trains and that is always the one thing that sticks out to me when I think of Paisley is the train stations. Paisley has three train stations Paisley Gilmour Street, Paisley St James, and Paisley Canal. Paisley Gilmour Street sits in the town centre of Paisley and is most likely the busiest due to its location. Paisley St James is situated right across from St Mirren Football Club and is at its busiest when St Mirren are playing a home game. Sadly this won’t be the case just now due to COVID-19 but it is still popular with regular commuters. Paisley Canal is a five- or ten-minutes’ walk from the Royal Alexandra Hospital. So, as you can see Paisley has a good rail network in terms of getting you to different parts of the town.
This is one of many positives about Paisley, Paisley is a historical town and it is popular with tourists. People near and far come to see the Paisley Abbey, The Paisley Horseshoe, Coats Observatory just to name a few things. So, let me tell you a little information about these sights I have mentioned.
Paisley Abbey is still an active abbey, services take place there and people can just go to pray. Services take place on a Sunday but you do need to contact the abbey to check if you can attend due to the COVID-19 restrictions. During this pandemic the café is closed and the gift shop is only open for a few hours on certain days. When the Abbey is open however, you can go in and see what the Abbey has to offer from its beautifully designed windows to its magnificent organ. After exploring the building you can enjoy a light lunch or just a coffee in the tearoom or buy a souvenir from the gift shop. Although the Paisley Abbey is free to enter, donations would be appreciated. . The Abbey relies on public donations to keep running and to remain open. The profit from the gift shop and café also go towards its upkeep. Just because the Abbey itself is currently closed to the public this does not mean you still can’t go see the outside of the Abbey, the building is beautifully built…just don’t get too freaked out by the gargoyles.
Moving on from creepy gargoyles to a lovely metal horseshoe plaque surrounded by cobblestones in the middle of the crossroads where Maxwellton Street and George Street cross. You may think that this is a nice lovely little plaque but, this plaque tells the story of a very dark but interesting part of Paisleys past. On the plaque the words are embedded Pain Inflicted, Suffering Endured, Injustice Done. I remember one day walking over this plaque while crossing the road and having no idea the story behind it, most folk might just think it is a drain cover. The story behind this horseshoe plaque is back some time ago in Paisley in the 17th century when a little girl called Christian Shaw became unwell, a few days before this a woman named Katherine Campbell has shouted curses at Christian. This led Christian to accuse Katherine of witchcraft along with six men and women. At this time witchcraft was illegal in Scotland so when the case went to court all seven of them were sentenced to be executed. Although it is said that one of the men took his own life in prison before the law could.
The six remaining people including Katherine were strangled and burned at the stake in the park within Paisley named Gallow Green, one of the women burned is said to have cursed all of the people at the execution and their descendants. The charred remains of the six bodies were buried at the crossroads where Maxwellton Street meets George Street. The horseshoe and plaque were supposedly to stop the witch’s spirits coming back. The story might seem a bit dark and glum but this is a big part of Paisley’s history, unfortunately you can’t get a close up look of the horseshoe plaque due to it being situated in the middle of the busy crossroads but you will still be able to see it from a distance. If you do want to surround yourself with that part of Paisley’s history you can go have a look around Gallow Green Park where the executions took place all those years ago.
From scary gargoyles and witch trials to the very last place I am going to tell you about. Barshaw Park is a lovely big park located within Paisley There are a few things to see and do in this lovely park. If you have children then there is a playpark for them , there is a safe play area for younger children too.
The park is not only for children. For those who just want a bit of peace and quiet then take a walk around the Walled Peace Garden which has paved paths for you to follow. Depending on how energetic you feel you could always climb to the top of the hilltop and look at the stunning views of Paisley. Great photo opportunity if you are a budding photographer maybe take some pictures from the hilltop as the sun rises or sets over Paisley. It’s also a great place to walk your dog. We should not forget about the miniature railway, loved by people young and old , however due to vandalism the engines were destroyed in an arson attack. Funds are being raised to help the volunteers with the repairs. If none of that sounds like your thing then why not just take a walk round the park, or maybe even grab a coffee and go and sit on one of the benches within the park and watch the world go by.
The park is not only for children. For those who just want a bit of peace and quiet then take a walk around the Walled Peace Garden which has paved paths for you to follow. Depending on how energetic you feel you could always climb to the top of the hilltop and look at the stunning views of Paisley. Great photo opportunity if you are a budding photographer maybe take some pictures from the hilltop as the sun rises or sets over Paisley. It’s also a great place to walk your dog. We should not forget about the miniature railway, loved by people young and old, however due to vandalism the engines were destroyed in an arson attack. Funds are being raised to help the volunteers with the repairs. If none of that sounds like your thing then why not just take a walk round the park, or maybe even grab a coffee and go and sit on one of the benches within the park and watch the world go by.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article about some of the sights and history of Paisley. I want to finish this article by giving you some lovely comments I received about Paisley.
“Something positive about Paisley is actors like Gerald Butler and musicians like Paolo Nutini come from there and having people like that come from a small town really promotes the town itself and its creative industries.” Laura, Hertfordshire.
“The people of Paisley are proud of their heritage, their culture and their identity. Paisley is widely known for its textiles, its architecture and its talent” Gavin, former teacher at Kibble Education and Care Centre.
“I like Paisley because it has really good bus connections and it is easy to get from one place to another.” Ewan, Glasgow