Discover the history of Sma' Shot in Paisley

The traditional Sma’ Shot holiday in Paisley takes its name from a famous dispute between the local shawl weavers and manufacturers in the 19th century.

The sma’ shot was a fine weft yarn, woven into Paisley shawls by the weavers, for which they were not paid. At the height of their powers in the mid 19th century, there were more than 7,000 weavers in the town.

Discover the history of Sma' Shot in Paisley

In 1856 an agreement was finally reached to pay for the sma’ shot, and a new table of prices was published on July 1st 1856.

There was a custom at that time for workers to go on an annual outing one Saturday during the summer. 


The Paisley weavers’ practice was to take this holiday and go on a trip on the first Saturday in July. Many weaver’s wives and daughters working in the thread mills naturally asked to have their own holiday on the same day.

In 1856 the annual holiday happened three days after the weavers’ sma’ shot victory. They gathered from each weaving district to the ‘tuck of the drum’ and marched with bands and banners, to the railway station, before departing with their families for destinations including the seaside, known locally as “doon the watter”.

See what amazing events are taking place at this year's Sma Shot Day and special wrap-around cultural programme called ‘Weave’ by clicking: