Paisley, Renfrewshire 2nd July 2016 :: Sma’ Shot Day - Family Fun in Paisley FREE FIRST USEWarren Media01355 images © Warren Media 2015. Free first use only for editorial in connection with the commissioning client's press-released story. All other rights are reserved. Use in any other context is expressly prohibited without prior permission.

Paisley celebrates its most radical story with two-day festival

Thousands helped Paisley celebrate one of the oldest workers’ festivals in the world – Sma’ Shot Day – with a weekend of history and heritage.

Costume-clad kids, street performers and families joined the parade led by the Charleston Drum – the traditional means of calling the weavers out for their annual festival.

An afternoon-long party of live music and entertainment took place on Abbey Close – featuring performances from PACE youth theatre and Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 – all building up to the traditional Burning of the Cork.

The festival began in 1856 after the Paisley weavers won their dispute with the manufacturers to be paid for the Sma’ Shot – a hidden cotton thread that held the Paisley Pattern shawls together.

It’s one of Paisley’s most spectacular stories and couldn’t be better timed as a new campaign – What’s Our Story? – is launched asking local people to share what makes Paisley and Renfrewshire great and help transform the region’s image.

The campaign aims to capture the everyday moments and tales that make the area one of Britain’s most exciting and diverse to live in.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall says: “Sma’ Shot Day is a fantastic piece of history for the town and a huge boost as momentum builds on our bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

“In celebrating the struggle of the Paisley weavers to receive rightful compensation from their employers – the manufacturers of the Paisley Pattern shawls – it’s an event that shows we are renowned as passionate, radical people.

“Sma’ Shot is just one of the town’s stories and we know there are lots more the people of Paisley and Renfrewshire have to tell. What’s Our Story? is all about capturing the full, authentic warmth and vibrancy of local people.

“A new brand for Renfrewshire must come from the people who live, work and study here. It is for that reason twe are asking everyone in Renfrewshire for their help.”

The weekend’s entertainment continued with the popular poetry slam and two radical theatre productions – From the Calton to Catalonia and specially-commissioned Silver Threads.

Sma’ Shot Day is part of an exciting calendar of events for Renfrewshire that supports Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

The bid is taking place as part of a wider push to transform the town’s future using its unique cultural and heritage offering as the home of the Paisley Pattern and the one-time centre of the global textile industry.

Bids are expected to be lodged with the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport in spring 2017.

For more information on Paisley 2021, visit, like /Paisley2021 on Facebook or follow @Paisley2021 on Twitter and Instagram.

To submit your story about Paisley or Renfrewshire, visit, share your story on social media using #MyStoryMyTown or complete one of the comments cards.



Paisley, Renfrewshire 2nd July 2016 :: Sma’ Shot Day - Family Fun in Paisley FREE FIRST USEWarren Media01355 images © Warren Media 2015. Free first use only for editorial in connection with the commissioning client's press-released story. All other rights are reserved. Use in any other context is expressly prohibited without prior permission.

Paisley, Renfrewshire 2nd July 2016 :: Sma’ Shot Day - Family Fun in Paisley FREE FIRST USEWarren Media01355 images © Warren Media 2015. Free first use only for editorial in connection with the commissioning client's press-released story. All other rights are reserved. Use in any other context is expressly prohibited without prior permission.

Thanks to warrenmedia for the images.

Paisley 2021

Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 will use the town’s unique and fascinating story to transform its future – by putting the town in the international spotlight, attracting visitors, creating jobs and using culture to make people’s lives better.

The one-time global textile hub and birthplace of the Paisley Pattern is also home to stunning architecture, an internationally-significant museum collection, Glasgow Airport, University of the West of Scotland, West College Scotland, PACE Theatre Company and a thriving contemporary cultural scene.

The UK City of Culture competition is run by the UK Government. The shortlisted cities will be announced in spring 2017, and the winner at the end of the year. Find out more about our story at

Sma’ Shot Day

Sma’ Shot Day celebrates the victory of Paisley’s weavers over the town’s mill owners in the 19th century.

The owners refused to pay their staff for the Sma’ (small) Shot thread, which was unseen but held together the famous Paisley Patterned cashmere shawls.

A long fight and political battle ensued which the weavers eventually won and renamed the traditional July holiday Sma’ Shot Day

Scottish Property Valuation Rolls for 1920 Go Online.

‘Homes fit for heroes’? New historical records offer a fascinating snapshot of Scottish society in the wake of the First World War

The names and addresses of more than 2.6 million people living in Scotland during the post-WW1 period will be published online at 10am on Monday 28 October, as records of Scottish properties in 1920 are released on, the government’s family history website.

scotlandspeople_logoComprising over 76,000 digital images taken from 169 volumes, these new records – known as Valuation Rolls – cover every type of property in Scotland that was assessed as having a rateable value in 1920. As the records contain details for the owners and occupiers of properties, they will offer genealogists and historians fresh insight into Scottish society in 1920.

Each Valuation Roll entry on the website is fully searchable by name and address, with the records listing the names of owners, tenants and occupiers of each property – in many cases occupations are also included. As the Rolls include all types of property, from castles and mansions to crofts and tenements, in turn, the records also include people from across the whole social spectrum.

The Rolls also reveal some fascinating trends in Scotland’s social history at this time, such as the building of the first council housing estate, and the growth of urban allotments and gardens cultivated by working-class gardeners to achieve self-sufficiency. The Rolls also reveal the widespread disposal of land by owners who faced new tax and other burdens from 1918 onwards, and the opportunities for tenant farmers to buy their own farms.

Researchers at the National Records of Scotland have also been spotting celebrities (and family ancestors of famous people) in the records, and have highlighted entries for Muriel Spark’s father, Sir William Burrell, Sir Harry Lauder, Sir Matt Busby, Bill Shankly, Samuel Peploe and the great-grandparents of The Proclaimers. The researchers have even found a quirky entry for a cottage in Dunblane, named for a poem by Robert Tannahill, the contemporary of Burns.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs in the Scottish Government, said:

“ScotlandsPeople is a wonderful resource that enables Scots, those of Scottish descent and anyone with an interest in Scotland to discover more about our nation’s fascinating family and social history. The release of the Valuation Rolls for 1920 strengthens the digital tapestry of Scotland’s story that is available through Scotland’s national archive.”

Tim Ellis, Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:

“The release of the Valuation Rolls for 1920 will be of enormous help for family and local history research, enabling people to discover ancestors and where and how they were living almost a decade after the Census of 1911. The newly-available records are part of the commitment by the National Records of Scotland to improve our service to the public and provide researchers with the resources that they need.”

Annelies van den Belt, the CEO of DC Thomson Family History (formerly known as brightsolid online publishing), who enable the ScotlandsPeople website on behalf of the National Records of Scotland, said:

“We’re very pleased to add this fourth set of Valuation Roll indexes and images to the ScotlandsPeople website – bringing the current total of index entries on the website to over 94 million. These new records will complement the 1895, 1905 and 1915 Valuation Rolls, which have been published over the past 20 months, and will also help family historians who are looking to fill in gaps after the 1911 Census.”

The 1920 Valuation Rolls will be available on the ScotlandsPeople website (, at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh, and at local family history centres in Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Hawick and Inverness.


“Jessie the Flower o’ Dunblane” – Jenny Tennant, the sweetheart and muse of Robert Tannahill

One of Scotland’s finest love songs is undoubtedly “Jessie, the Flower o’ Dunblane”. The words were composed by the famous weaver-poet, Robert Tannahill. On Tannahill’s untimely death in 1810 at the age of 36, a search began to identify the girl immortalised in the poem. Although there were many contenders, it is believed that the real ‘Jessie’ was Jenny Tennant.

Jessie/Jenny had in fact been Tannahill’s sweetheart and muse for some three years, yet the poet believed she had been unfaithful. Tannahill then composed another poem to Jessie, this time entitled ‘Farewell’.

Jessie/Jenny was born in Braeport, Dunblane. A cottage, erected in 1808 on the site of her birthplace, can still be seen.

In the Valuation Roll entry included below, it’s possible to see the title of the poem in the ‘Description’ column (line number 504). The description reads:

“Cottage site of Birthplace of ‘Jessie, the Flower of Dunblane’, Windyhill Cot.”

We think this is the only Valuation Roll entry for 1920 (or any other year) that contains the title of a poem.

Valuation Roll entry for “Jessie, the Flower o’ Dunblane” – VR113/66/592

The ScotlandsPeople Media Website

To download images and stories for the launch of the 1920 Valuation Rolls, as well as background information and statistics, visit the ScotlandsPeople Media Website:


sma shot

Do you know about the Sma’ Shot Cottages?

Come along and have a lunchtime cuppa with us and learn more about Paisley’s history and the weaving industry in particular.

A series of three talks will be held in Sma’ Shot Cottages, 2 Sma’ Shot Lane at 1pm on the following three Wednesdays…the 6th, 13th and 20th of March.

Entitled ‘George Place and Shuttle Street in the past’, ‘Sma’ Shot Cottages today’ and ‘Local Studies’, a warm welcome (and a cuppa!) awaits all.

All talks are Free of charge..
Anyone interested should book a place by emailing us at

sma shot

Anna MacDonald


A celebration of Paisley’s industrial and cultural heritage







  • MUSIC     
  • ART…


…four good reasons to celebrate Paisley (as if you needed a reason!) and you’ll find all of them at Musical Mills in the Thread Mill Museum on Saturday 3 November.  Weaving Musical Threads and University of the West of Scotland orchestrate an afternoon of some of the best talent to be found in Renfrewshire. Not to mention a few guests from its sunny Glasgow suburbs.  Here are just some of the names who’ll lend their talents to a symphony of culture and entertainment:


Sandy Stoddart

Yes, you’ve blinked and his name is still there!  Musical Mills hosts the premier of a new, never before revealed artwork from the internationally acclaimed sculptor!


Graham Fulton

Paisley punk poet extraordinaire and author of such collections as The Iron Bar Man and Speed of Dark


Dave Manderson

Author of the critically acclaimed novel, Lost Bodies.  Read this and you’ll never walk alone in the dark again!


Brian Whittingham

Reading poems from his new collection, Clocking in Clocking out, recently launched from the Titan Crane in Clydebank (not Brian, the book)


Anna MacDonald

“…has angelic vocal tones so hair raising, it’s like walking down a cobbled street with a Scottish breeze sneaking up your neck ….” (Ark Magazine); Anna will premier her beautiful new song, based on the Mill Girls poetry – yes indeed – those same mill gals you’ll be meeting!


Pauline Vallance

Winner of the 2009 Glasgow Songwriting Festival, Pauline delivers her own unique and inventive brand of clarsach and vocals.  Eat your heart out, Cowell!!

Throughout the day, the Mill Girl Poets (Tracy Patrick, Gwen McKerrell, Mo Blake and Kathryn Daly) will bring you their perspective in verse of what was good, great or fair to middling about life in the mills for the thousands of women who worked there.   We’ll also have the eloquent Ray Evans, winner of the Renfrewshire Mental Health Arts and Film Festival Poetry competition; G W Colkitto from Read Raw Ltd, Jim Gilbert, one half of musical duo A Wing and a Prayer, and Wullie Purcell, the oldest man in Paisley, reciting songs and poetry on his 200 year old guitar.


And if all that isn’t harmonious enough, we’ll have art from Karen James, and a special film interlude that will take you back in time to the Paisley that was.  Or you could just drop by for a chat and a look round the Museum and its many archives.


Oh yes, and if you’ve never heard Gerry Rafferty performed on a harp before, now’s your chance!


Join the Musical Mills symphony.


And last but not least, another good reason to celebrate Paisley:–



Descendant of Scotland’s ‘Weaver Poet’ found by twitter.

A tweet about Robert Tannahill was the catalyst that helped a woman living in south-east England to

learn that she is a descendant of Scotland’s ‘Weaver Poet’.


Caroline Shelley, a scenic artist from Waterlooville, made the chance discovery through reading a

tweet on the ScotlandsPeople Twitter page.


Caroline was researching her family history on the ScotlandsPeople website and had found that her

4xgreat grandmother was a Tannahill from Paisley. She then visited ScotlandsPeople on Twitter and

saw a tweet about the famous poet, who came a generation after Robert Burns.


“It was fate!” Caroline said. “I’d just learned that my Scottish ancestors were called Tannahill,

but I’d never heard of Robert Tannahill, so the surname didn’t mean anything to me. But then I

visited the ScotlandsPeople Twitter page and the first tweet was about Robert Tannahill! I did some

more digging using parish records and found that my 4xgreat grandmother’s father, also called

Robert, was the poet’s cousin. I’m thrilled – connecting the dots like this is amazing! I’m hoping

to visit Robert Tannahill’s cottage in Paisley on a future visit to Scotland.”


Dee Williams, Head of the ScotlandsPeople Centre, said: “We’re delighted that Caroline has made this

connection with such an important figure in Scottish history and literature. Caroline’s online

journey to reach Robert Tannahill used BMD certificates, census papers and then parish records. So

it’s great to know that these documents helped Caroline with her ancestral jigsaw.”


With one poet now residing in “Poets’ Corner” of Caroline’s family tree, Ms Shelley is now hoping

that she might be related to other famous poets. “I haven’t found a connection to Percy Bysshe

Shelley yet”, Caroline said, “but would love to be related to both poets!”



Now’s the Day and Now’s the Hour!


Bringing Paisley’s History into the 21st Century


For many years, the town of Paisley has suffered from a steady decline. Many of the shops that once dominated the town’s high street and shopping centre have closed. This has left many of the town’s shop fronts empty and unused. In the process, Scotland’s largest town has become rundown and is now a shadow of its former self. Despite this, Paisley does have a proud history. It was home to one of the most powerful and influential monasteries in Scotland. It is said to have had connections with William Wallace. It was the birthplace of Robert II, the first of the Stewart kings, and it was also an industrial power house, which went on to produce the now world famous Paisley shawls.

Read more

One of our visitors asked me the other day why our guestbook which has been going for over ten years wasn’t on the website. The answer to that is I simply forgot to add it and much like the message board which is being upgraded at the moment and some pages in the famous people section the website is still a work in progress.

If you notice anything on the website that is out of place or has missing images or links then don’t be shy, use our contact page to tell us, if there is something wrong with the page it’s more than likely we don’t know about it.
Read more

Why are People from Paisley called Paisley Buddies?

We have posted this before but its a question I am still asked even by Paisley Buddies.

As far as I can read up on in the books that I have its an old Scottish Quote saying that people from the Highlands called themselves Highland Gentlemen and they also mentioned Lowland Farmers and Paisley ‘Bodies’ “pronounced Buddie” it was just a way that described someone from a town.

It has nothing to do with the American saying of Buddy “Pal, Friend” it is an old Scottish word simply meaning people, or folk.

We are apparently more reserved than our City neighbours Glasgow and suspicious of strangers but I think that’s rubbish and that we are the most friendliest wee ‘Toon’ in Scotland with a rich and colourful History. Discover more of Paisley’s History here.

“Buddie” is the old local prononciation for “body”. It is said that during a local meeting, in the past, the speaker referred to Paisley as a town of 10,000 souls. He was corrected by a shout of ” you mean 10,000 bodies” from the crowd.
( taken from: Paisley, a history by Sylvia Clark, suggested on Facebook by Anne Marie Fraser)

Also another visitor to our Facebook page George Adam said that through Family history he heard that there was a political meeting in the town- no idea who, what, where or why. But during this meeting one of the speakers said something that caused some discussion. A member of the audience was then alledged to have asked,” what about aw buddie?”. Which was incorrectly interpreted to mean ,”what about all the buddies?”. What was meant was, “what about everybody else?”. Since then we’ve all been called buddies


Medieval times come to life for Cluny celebrations

Medieval knights, strolling minstrels, and the chance to be trained as a soldier in the army of William Wallace, will be some of the attractions on offer in Paisley this weekend as part of a three-day celebration of the town’s ancient abbey.

Abbey Close will travel back in time on Saturday 15 May when a medieval fair takes place in and around the Abbey.

Re-enactors in medieval costume will set up camp with a fletcher (arrow-maker), women demonstrating tapestry, wool work and making children’s bracelets, a selection of children’s costumes and medieval games as well as a display of ancient weapons including a replica of Wallace’s sword.

This fascinating event will offer children the chance to try old-fashioned games, hunt for gargoyles, make masks and design a stained glass window. There will also be demonstrations of tapestry-making, and designing a stained glass window. All events and activities on the day are free.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Celia Lawson said: “This is going to be a fantastic, exciting family event with activities and demonstrations taking places covering all aspects of medieval life. Paisley Abbey has such an interesting history and this event will literally be bringing that history to life. So don’t be surprised if you see a medieval knight or a strolling minstrel wandering through the town this weekend!”

The medieval fair is part of a three-day programme of events celebrating the 1,100th anniversary of the founding of the abbey at Cluny, France.

Eventually over 1500 Cluniac priories and monasteries were established, from Portugal to Italy, from Scotland to Switzerland. Paisley Abbey and Crossraguel in North Ayrshire were the only two Cluniac monasteries in Scotland and the two farthest flung from Cluny itself.
Events celebrating the anniversary are taking place all over Europe throughout 2010. A delegation of 30 visitors from Cluny, including the Mayor of Cluny Jean-Luc Delpleuch and the Chairmanof the Federation of Cluniac Sites, Michel Gaudard, will visit Paisley for the events.

These will also include a concert in Paisley Abbey on Saturday 15 May, and a conference in Paisley Town Hall. Leading historians and archeologists will present papers on various aspects of monastic life in the abbeys of Paisley and Crossraguel and consider French influences in Scotland from the 12th to 16th centuries.
There will also be coach tours on Saturday 15 May departing from Paisley to Crossraguel, also visiting Dundonald Castle and Kelburn Castle with historic re-enactments at each venue.
For full details pick up a programme from Paisley Abbey or any Renfrewshire Council building. Alternatively log onto


£30,000 study aims to find a future for world’s oldest machine factory

A £30,000 architectural, structural and financial investigation could be the key to restoring a crucial piece of Scotland’s industrial heritage to its former glory.

Renfrewshire Council has commissioned The Prince’s Regeneration Trust to carry out a major feasibility study into finding a new future for Paton’s Mill in Johnstone.

The 227 year old mill, believed to be the world’s oldest surviving machine factory, has been empty and increasingly derelict since production stopped in 2004. The Category A Listed mill was the first building to be constructed in the new town of Johnstone in the 18th century.

The feasibility study follows a £25,000 investment by Renfrewshire Council to seal the mill’s windows and doors. The move is designed to protect the iconic building from fire-raisers and thieves, who had started to remove lead flashing from the roof.

The Prince’s Regeneration Trust was invited to get involved by the Council following its highly acclaimed regeneration work at the Anchor Mill and Seedhill Bridge in Paisley. The £12million project saw the historic mill and surrounding area comprehensively regenerated into a vibrant hub for the local community.

Cllr Iain Nicolson, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Planning and Economic Development Policy Board, said, “The Prince’s Regeneration Trust is unique. It is the only agency in Scotland that has the capacity and the remit to undertake a feasibility study of this nature on such an important part of our built heritage.

“Renfrewshire Council worked very closely with The Prince’s Regeneration Trust on restoring Paisley’s Anchor Mill and we hope that we can achieve a similar success with Paton’s Mill.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, said, “We at the Trust have enjoyed a fantastic relationship with Renfrewshire Council working on the magnificent £12 million restoration of the 19th-century Anchor Mill and Seedhill Footbridge in Paisley. Together we have really set the gold standard for heritage regeneration work of this type. We’re thrilled to be able to help rewrite the future for Paton’s Mill which is part of Scotland’s industrial soul and of enormous historical significance.

“The options appraisal is the first step on the ladder for the mill and will hopefully bring forward a scheme that results in the sensitive regeneration of this fantastic building that will help revive the area and give a boost to the local community, as well as help save one of the world’s oldest mills.”

Paton’s Mill is the earliest surviving cotton mill in Scotland and one of the earliest in Britain. It was built on the banks of the Black Cart River in 1782 by the Corse and Burns Company.  The mill was a fully operational textile factory continuously for nearly 220 years.
It is also known as the Bootlace Factory due to its most recent use making shoe laces. At its peak, the mill produced around 25 million pairs of laces a year. Production finally ended in 2004 when Paton’s moved its operation to a nearby business park.

The Prince’s Regeneration Trust is a charity established by HRH The Duke of Rothesay which focuses on heritage-led regeneration.  The Trust’s projects enable under used or redundant buildings to perform a new function, unlocking a regeneration of the wider community.

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