An architectural heritage to be proud of
Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture will aim to retell the town’s story to the world – and the town’s buildings are monuments to that tale.
Standing proudly at the heart of the town since 1176 is Paisley Abbey. It was where William Wallace was educated, Robert I of Scotland (the first of the Stewart monarchs) was born, and where many members of Scotland’s former royal families are buried.
Restored in the twentieth century it remains a working church today – and one of the finest in Scotland. It even hosts concerts as part of the town’s annual Spree festival.
When the mills grew to dominate Paisley's landscape in the 19th century, the owners didn't just build an industry, they built the Paisley we know now.
The magnificent Victorian-era Paisley Town Hall was part-funded by £20,000 left in the will of George A Clark of the Clark thread-making family. It opened in 1882 and remains at the heart of the town's civic and cultural life today.
The Coats family – who founded a firm which remains a global giant today (appropriately enough, in Cotton Street) left a lasting legacy.
Thomas Coats paid for the town’s Observatory (which remains one of only three surviving public observatories in Scotland) as well as the Fountain Gardens, the centrepiece of which is a unique and intricate A-listed cast-iron fountain, recently restored to its former glory.
His brother Peter funded the town’s Central Library and Museum, which is in line for a multi-million-pound revamp to become an international-class museum of textiles in time for 2021.
Of course, this is just a small selection.
To fully appreciate a collection of listed buildings second only to Edinburgh, of skyline-dominating churches and towering tenements decorated with intricate details...you’ll just need to come and see for yourself.