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Renfrewshire information pages

Listed below are details on history and points of interest. All towns and villages in the current county of Renfrewshire are listed.

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Auchentorlie is located 2km (1.2 miles) east of Paisley and south of Glasgow Road.

The area is centred on the council-built tenements, although some late Victorian buildings exist along the western end of Seedhill Road. At this point the area is serviced by Hawkhead station on the Paisley Canal line. There is also some light industry in the area.

The area's southern boundary is marked by the White Cart River. Here can be found the viaduct carrying the Paisley Canal railway line over the White Cart River. This was originally built as an aqueduct for the Glasgow, Paisley and Johnstone Canal in 1806. The canal was filled in and converted to carry a new railway in 1885. It is thought to be the oldest bridge in the world which still actively carries a railway.

Auchentorlie was mentioned on an 1895 Ordnance Survey map with 'Auchentorlie House' which stood on the southside of Seedhill Road near today's Anchor Crescent.

One night, during World War Two, a tenement building at the corner of Seedhill Road and Auchentorlie Quadrant was hit by a German bomb. Two people were killed and several others injured.

  • The Paisley Canal railway line was reopened on the 27th July 1990.

    Bargarran is a residential area of Erskine located north of the town centre, some 8km (5 miles) northwest of Paisley just off the A726.

    The area had been rural until after the second world war. Erskine became one of the first post-war new towns, developed by the Scottish Special Housing Association. There was reference to Bargarran farm on 1865 Ordnance Survey maps.

    Erskine Harbour, once a busy local port, is today mainly silted up. The harbour is a recognised birdwatching spot according to the Scottish Ornithologists' Club. It is surrounded by good wetland and woodland habitats. The Clyde Walkway runs through here and there are good views of the estuary. It is a site of Importance for Nature Conservation according to the Scottish Executive. The Clyde mudflats support wintering waders and wildfowl.

    Ruins of the North Barr farm can be found in the woods adjacent to the Erskine Bridge Hotel carpark.

    In 1696, when witchcraft was against the law in Scotland, Paisley saw a famous case of witch-hunting. Christian Shaw, the ten-year-old daughter of the laird of Bargarran near Erskine, fell mysteriously ill. The girl was reputed to have disgorged fur, feathers, bones and stones from her mouth, floated around her room, and been struck down with fits and seizures which left her screaming and foaming at the mouth as if she was about to die.

    A number of people were accused of witchcreft as a result of this illness and were tried as witches, and seven of them were found guilty. One died in prison and the others were executed on Gallow Green just off Queen Street,at the west end of Paisley. Their remains were buried at a crossroads and a horseshoe set in the road. This was suppose to prevent their spirits from returning to trouble the living. The horseshoe can still be seen where Maxwellton Street crosses George Street. Crossroads were deliberately chosen for burial so the spirits of the victims would not know which direction to go in revengeful pursuit of their executioners. Christian Shaw is buried in the graveyard at Erskine Parish Church.

    Christian Shaw, was responsible for bringing the thread industry to the west of Scotland. She moved to Bargarran around 1720 when widowed. It is thought, some years earlier, she had paid a visit to Holland and managed to smuggle out a twisting machine. With this she spun the linen yard and twisted a strong, white sewing thread on 12 bobbins at a time.

    Bishopton is a large village located 11km (6.8 miles) northwest of Paisley, via the A8 or M8 motorway.

    Situated a short distance from the Erskine Bridge this village has expanded from a predominately farming commuting through the addition of a variety of modern housing estates to one larger centres for commuting.

    In 1900 there were 21 homes in Bishopton and the village continued to grow from then on. By 1920 a further 70 homes and been built, with a further 133 by 1940. Renfrewshire County Council built the first socially rented homes in Bishopton before the second world war. The village saw major housing development throughout the 1960s and 1970s. ln 1988 protests took place in the village to try and stop houses being built on an area of land known as Matey's Field which had once been farmland and later became a children's playground.

    The Blantyre Monument is situated in a field adjacent to the Old Greenock Road on the way to Erskine. It is in memory of Robert Walter Stewart, the 11th Lord Blantyre, who lived at nearby Erskine House. A Major-General in the British Army, Lord Blantyre served with the Duke of Wellington in the Napoleonic Wars. He survived the grim Peninsular campaign in Spain and Portugal where he displayed great bravery. Sadly, Lord Blantyre was accidentally killed by a stray bullet while caught in a street riot in Brussels in 1830. Because of the high esteem with which he was killed, his friends and colleagues erected the towering monument at Bishopton in his memory.

    By 1841 a railway station at the village had opened and many Irish navvies who had come to Scotland to work on the Glasgow to Ayr line decided to stay in the area leading to a growth in the catholic population. There was no Catholic Church in the village so Catholics would travel to St Fillan's in Houston. Our lady of Lourdes Chapel in Old Greenock Road was built in 1926 by a group of volunteers keen to have a place of worship nearer to home.

    There is a long railway tunnel, built by the Glasgow and Greenock Railway. The tunnel and cuttings at either end involved hundreds of workmen for years. The railway line was officially opened on the 1st June 1889. Bishopton Station was opened 1km (0.7 miles) south of the village centre, probably due to the deep railway cutting through the village, and the extra time and money required to widen it to accommodate a station. The hill-ridge which the line passes through separates the Clyde from the low land of the Gryfe valley.

    Roman Occupation
    There was once a number of Roman camps in the area, including one at Whitemoss Farm at Bishopton, The fort was built on 4.5 acres of land at around 80 AD. Around 500 soldiers were based there to patrol the River Clyde as far as Old Kilpatrick where the Antonine Wall ended and to guard the Dumbuck crossing. A major archaeological excavation took place at Whitemoss between 1951 and 1954. The barracks which were excavated held the horsemen during the Roman Occupation.

    Until the early 14th Century the lands of Bishopton were in the hands of the Bishopric of Glasgow. Up until 1671 the estate belonged to the Brisbane family and was then in the hands of the Lords of Blantyre until 1703.

    Bishopton was originally two villages, Blackstown and Easter Rossland and in 1840 the two combined, under the name of Bishopton.

    The Golf Inn is around 200 years old and said to be the oldest remaining building in the village.

    Over the years Bishopton House has been extended and modernised. However some of the old thick walls and vaulted cellars have survived. In 1948 the house became a convent after being taken over by a group of Catholic nuns known as the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. A home for girls, St Euphrasia's was added as was a school, St Gerard's. A Church was also added which was connected to the main house by a corridor. The house was renamed the Good Shepherd Centre in 1985.

    The Bishopton Parish Church was known as the Erskine Parish Church up until the end of 1998. There has been a church in the parish of Erskine since the 12th Century. That church was demolished in 1813 due to the dangerous state it had deteriorated into. The Lords of Blantyre have a special pew in the loft of the church.

    The Brisbane family once lived in Bishopton House, and moved to Largs, in Ayrshire, in the 1700's. Their son, Thomas Makdougall Brisbane was born in 1773, and after a successful career, became Governor of the colony of New South Wales in Australia. A settlement in Queensland was named after him - today's state capital of Brisbane.


    Blackhall is an area of Paisley, 1.6km (1 mile) south of the town centre adjacent to the A726 Barrhead Road.

    The area has a mixture of retail and industrial use, as well as tenement residential and some Victoria villas.

    The highest point in the area is Saucel Hill (42 metres).

    The Paisley Canal railway line crosses the White Cart River near Blackhall. The tracks cross Blackhall Aquaduct at an unusual angle. This was originally built as an aqueduct for the Glasgow, Paisley and Johnstone Canal in 1806. The canal was filled in and converted to carry a new railway in 1885. It is thought to be the oldest bridge in the world which still actively carries a railway.

    There are references to Blackhall on maps dates back to at least 1596. A chapel once stood at Blackhall. The latin name for chapel is sacellum, and this is from where the name Saucel derives.

    The first Blackhall was actually a hunting lodge of the Steward, built around the 14th century.

    The current Blackhall (or Black Hall) Mansion, built in 1832, belonged to Sir Maxwell Stewart, who had many business interests in Paisley and in Glasgow, and who represented the county in Parliament in the 1830’s. The building is now surrounded by a port-war housing estate.

    Ironstone was mined here before 1800 until the accessible seam was exhausted. There was a lime works in the area in the 1880's and the Espedair Dye Works existed [1864] in Espedair Street. There was a large reservoir in existance, centered on today’s Dunearn Place.

    A 1864 map shows the A726 Barrhead Road called ‘Blackhall’ between the Paisley Canal Line and adjacent to Marnock Terrace.

    The Paisley Canal Line

  • 1st July 1885 - Paisley Canal line opened by the Glasgow and South Western Railway on the route of the Ardrossan canal.
  • 10th January 1983 - Passenger services on the Paisley Canal and Kilmacolm line ended.
  • 10th November 1984 - The line from Hawkhead through Paisley Canal to Elderslie was completely closed.
  • 28th July 1990 - The Paisley Canal route was reopened.

    5 miles to the west of Glasgow city centre, the redevelopment of the 200 acre brown field site at Braehead is among the largest major regeneration projects in Europe. Almost 50% of Scotland's population is within 45 minutes travel of Braehead and the Centre attracts over 300,000 visits each week.

    Braehead has two main sections - the shopping centre and the retail park.

    Braehead Shopping Centre has over 100 shops, including Britain's biggest retail names, such as Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury's, Bhs, Boots, Woolworths, Primark, Oasis, Warehouse, WH Smith and Sports Connection. There are many cafes and restaurants. The Big World Cafe look out over the boardwalk and the River Clyde on one side, and the Ice skating rink on the other. The shopping centre was designed to make disabled shopping easy, and a number of information desks will point you in the right direction. There are 6,500 free car parking spaces, as well as transport links with a bus station, a taxi rank and cycle spaces.

    The adjacent retail park includes such major outlets as Ikea, B&Q, PC World, Currys, Halfords plus may more.

    The second phase of the Braehead development plan includes an indoor snow mountain, cinema, ten-pin bowling, business parks, 1,700 new houses and a new public park by the River Clyde built by the Braehead developers. Experts are working on a traffic management scheme to make sure there will be no problems when the ENLARGEMENT scheme is up and running. A spur off the M8 at Bishopton is considered to avoid traffic congestion as people living in Bishopton and Erskine wouldn’t have to cut through Renfrew on their way home from the motorway.

    Braehead is the home of Britain’s largest IKEA store, covering almost 30,000 square metres of floor space. The store cost £34million to build, and after recent extentions, around 2.5m visitors are expected to head for the new-look store within the next 12 months.

    The River Clyde runs through three hundred years of history at CLYDEBUILT. This dynamic new attraction on the River Clyde brings to life the story of Glasgow's development from the tobacco lords in the 1700's right up to the 21st century.

    Kids can steer their own ships in the virtual world of the river pilot, learn to make a fortune as an ocean trader, take control of a real steam engine or go aboard the oldest Clydebuilt vessel still afloat.

    Opening hours and prices: Monday to Saturday 10am - 6pm, Sunday 11am - 5pm, Adult £3.50, Concession £1.75, Family £8.00 Braehead shopping and leisure hours differ from Clydebuilt. For details and to check the above information telephone 0141 885 1441.

    Clyde Waterbus Service Ltd
    For a unique view of Glasgow and the River Clyde try catching the Clyde Waterbus, the Pride O' The Clyde! This extremely comfortable vessel with its own refreshments bar, shows you the sights, ships and shipyards between Braehead Shopping Centre and the very heart of Glasgow at the Central Station bridge. Fares: Adult: £2:00 Children: £1.50 OAPs: £1.50. Please call 07711 250969 to check prices and timetable.

    Skating @ Braehead
    Braehead's indoor skating rink is open daily, and times and costs can be checked by calling 0141 885 4611. In operation are 'Skate UK' courses, which are approved by the National Ice Skating Association, and are suitable for all ages and abilities. Starting from Grade 1 (beginners) and advancing through to Grade 10, this programme is suitable for all disciplines, whether recreational, figure skating or ice hockey. All Braehead coaches are qualified to teach under the BCCP certification programme.

    Scottish Rocks Basketball
    Formerly the Edinburgh Rocks, The Scottich Rocks pro-basketball team have agreed to play at state of the art Braehead Arena. Situated on the waterfront at Braehead shopping centre the facility provides Scotland's only pro-basketball team with a brand new 4,000-seater venue.

    In 2001 the remains of an Iron Age settlement, believed to be more than 2000 years old, was found in a construction site adjacent to today's Ikea store. Archaeologists believed the site was occupied by a large family unit from the Celtic Damninii tribe, who used the site only during the summer months when there was no risk of flooding. It is throught the Damninii tribe were on good terms with the Romans who invaded Scotland in the first and second centuries AD. The site included a three-ditch enclosure with a circular house in the centre. There were remains of wooden fences, known as palisades, a ring-ditch house and numerous post-holes which probably belonged to other houses and stores.

    Braehead was named after a farm which stood until the early 1990's. It was located on the north side of Old Renfrew Road where the shopping centre now stands.

    The Battle of Braehead
    The dispute between Renfrewshire and Glasgow over Braehead stretches back to the 17th century but only came to light in 1985 when Braehead was first mooted as an out of town shopping centre. Strangely enough, both councils opposed the development, but it was approved after an appeal by Capital Shopping to the then Scottish Secretary of State.

    Almost 90% of Braehead lay within the Glasgow city boundaries, but the line between Glasgow and Renfrewshire ran through the middle of Sainsbury’s supermarket, which required a licence from both authorities to sell alcohol. The Boundary Commission decided to recommend returning Braehead to Renfrewshire to remove this anomaly. Renfrewshire Council suggested that Braehead represented a continuation of the Renfrew riverside frontage to a clear physical boundary at King George V Dock and was contiguous with Renfrew's industrial area at Hillington to the south and residential area of Deanpark to the west. The entire area was within 2 km of Renfrew town centre. Historically Renfrew extended into the Braehead area, confirmed by seventeenth century plans of Renfrewshire, which depicted Braehead within Renfrewshire. Early twentieth century Ordnance Survey plans also depicted the Renfrewshire County and Renfrew Burgh boundaries extending to Merlinford, within the Braehead area, some 700m east of the existing administrative boundary. The Council further stated that Braehead is currently located on the western periphery of Glasgow. It is physically separated from the north of the city by the River Clyde, isolated from the adjacent city community of Govan by the King George V Dock area and disconnected from Cardonald by the M8 motorway and Glasgow - Ayr railway line. The more than 230 acres in question was historically part of the former Royal Burgh of Renfrew and was the site of Salmon Fishing Rights granted to the town of Renfrew at the Merlinford Stone. The boundary between Renfrewshire and Glasgow was shifted eastwards on 1st June 2002.

    Town Status Application
    In April 2002 Braehead management approached the Scottish Executive and raised the issue of the area gaining town status, which was the long term objective. The area, however, would have to have it's own doctor's and dentist's surgeries. There are plans for 1000 houses, a hotel, a business centre and an indoor ski slope, which have already been given outline planning permission. The planned waterfront development is to occupy the south bank of the River Clyde from George V dock to Renfrew Ferry. Despite this, the idea was refused.

    Bridge of Weir is a large village located 11km (6.8 miles) west of Paisley on the A761. The village was notes for its 18th and 19th century cotton mills along the River Gryfe and its tanneries, which contributed to the Bridge of Weir's growth. Once the industry declined, its proximity to Glasgow made it an attractive location for merchants who wanted to move out of Glasgow. The legacy of these past residents can be seen in the fine mansions and large houses at Ranfurly, on the higher ground to the south of the railway alignment.

    There is a variety of modern and more traditional housing available within Bridge of Weir and Brookfield, which lies a short distance away.

    The population, according to the 1991 census, was 5151.

    Notable buildings include Castle Terrace (1882 by Robert Raeburn and formerly the Ranfurly Hotel), St Machar's Church (1877-78) and Ranfurly Castle (15th century) which was built by John Knox's ancestors and is now on the golf course.

    Ranfurly is regarded as an Outstanding Conservation Area by Historic Scotland.

    The cycle path from Linwood, through Bridge of Weir, to Kilmacolm (Inverclyde) is a haven for birdwatchers. A reader of Paisley's Gazette newspaper reported in the Autumn of 2003 he had counted 86 species of birds along the track.

    Bridge of Weir gets it's name from ‘Bridge of Vere’s stream’. Vere is a Norman-French proper name, imported to Lanarkshire, from the word ver (Old Norse) which means ‘stance' or 'station’.

    The earliest mention of the name, "Bridge of Weir", in relation to the Village is in Kilbarchan Parish records when George Barr and Margaret Coldwell were resident at Bridge of Weir, in 1707, probably at Mill O' Gryfe, as they had been in Locher Mill 3 years previously. There is no mention of Bridge of Weir in the Poll Tax roll of 1695, though the district was inhabited by small farmers and crofters.

    Until the arrival of cotton spinning in 1790, Bridge of Weir had been no more than a few small houses with a tannery and the Ranfurly Estate's corn mill.

    The name Ranfurly means ‘Portion of the farthing rental’ and comes from the Scottish Gaelic rann which means ‘part' or 'portion’ and feoirlinn ‘farthing’. When the Poll Tax was taken in 1695 the population of Ranfurly, whole, was in the region of 200, while on the north side of the River Gryfe, in the Parish of Kilallen, farms of Gryfe Castle, Burngil & Mill O'Gryfe, covering the present district of Bridge of Weir north registered 9 names.

    The Greenock and Ayrshire Railway was authorised in 1862 and was opened in 1865. The line ran from Greenock to Bridge of Weir. The company was absorbed by the Glasgow and Southwestern Railway in 1872. On the 10th January 1983 railway services on the Paisley Canal and Kilmacolm lines ended , resulting in the closure of Bridge of Weir Station.

    The River Gryfe
    In the 1790's four cotton mills were built along the banks of the Gryfe and various dams and mill lakes were constructed to turn the water wheels and drive the spinning machines. The last of the cotton mills ceased production in 1876 and companies involved in the tanning and working of leather and other skins which had been carried on in the village since the 1770's took over a number of the old buildings. Bridge of Weir acquired a fine reputation for both the tanning and the working of leather and other animal skins and this reputation is upheld to this day by the Bridge of Weir Leather Company which is still based in the village.

    The Ranfurly Knoxes
    The Knoxes acquired the land of Ranfurly about 1440 and constructed the castle which can now be viewed as the current ruins. The family was very active in religious and political affairs and John Knox was a relative of the Ranfurly family. The district on the Kilbarchan side was formerly known as Ranfurly. The Knoxes acquired part of Ranfurly in 1440.

    Ranfurly Hotel [Kilmacolm] was opened in 1882 but due to poor business it closed down before the First World War. It was then used to accommodate the homeless and during the war wounded soldiers were billeted there. In 1920 it became a private school but this closed five years later. After lying empty for some time it was then developed into shops and flats. In its first years as a hotel the Ranfurly's guests were mostly visitors from Glasgow and beyond. By express train it was only 22 minutes from the city and guests could enjoy beautifully kept gardens with panoramic views and a bowling green. Fishing, golf and walking were further attractions and an 1898 advertisement stated that a coffee room, drawing room, billiard room, extra bedrooms and a conservatory had all been recently added to the existing facilities.

    Opened in 1830, the 128-roomed Hydropathic Hotel represented the last word in elegance. But it had an uncertain beginning when the company in ownership collapsed after only 3 years and the building had to be sold at a third of its original cost of £47,000. Nevertheless it survived and was a successful venture for many years until it was severely damaged in the 'hurricane' on 1968. This, allied to the fact that the hotel could not get a full alcohol licence, led to its closure and eventual demolition in 1974.

    Brookfield is recorded as being the smallest community in Renfrewshire. It is located on the A761 2 kilometres (1.5 miles) from Johnstone, roughly half way between Johnstone and Bridge of Weir. It has been described as a small version of the Hampstead garden villages of north London.

    Kilbarchan Cemetery is a well-maintained local graveyard just north of the village. The oldest gravestones date back to just pre-WWI which can be found in the lower section of the cemetery. The newer section, in the hill's summit, dates back over the last few decades only. The cemetery has a local feel, with references to Kilbarchan, Bridge of Weir and Linwood. The most touching are those which have been provided as a sign of respect from fellow employees of the local mills and factories.

    In the mid-1890’s, a Johnstone cuvil engineer and architect named Peter Kerr purchased Boghouse Farm with the aim of building a small village, and settle down with his wife who he married in 1896. His house was called Branscroft. The first villas were built in 1898.

    The village remained isolated until the country-wide building of roads in the 1930’s. The first official mentioning of the name was possibly in the Paisley Directory of 1904/5 and the Ordnance Survey map of 1911.

    On the 10th January 1983 railway services on the Paisley Canal and Kilmacolm lines ended , resulting in the closure of Houston railway station. It located on today’s cycle track behind Merchiston Hospital.

    In 2001 the village had 216 dwellings with a further 18 in outlying areas, but still within the Community Council District. The population in 1991 was about 600.

    Carriagehill is an area of Paisley 1 mile/1.6km south of the town centre on the B774 Neilston Road.

    Although there is some light industry and retail on Neilston Road, the area is primarily residential, and is known for it's fine Victorian villas.

    A man named Brodie bought a large estate in his adopted town of Paisley, where he was a much respected figure. This estate lay in the South End of Paisley and formed part of the old lands of Carriagehill.His mansion, called Carriagehill House, with its well laid-out gardens, stood on Carriagehill (now Braids Road) on land which is now a children's playground. Brodie stayed there happily for the last 15 years of his life. Such was Brodie's love of Paisley, that, in 1870 the year before his death, he made a will conveying the grounds of Carriagehill to the Burgh of Paisley. He stipulated that twenty-two acres of his estate were to be used as "pleasure grounds and places of public recreation for the inhabitants of Paisley".

    The Brodie Park was formally opened in 1877 by his old friend Provost Murray, in the company of 10,000 cheering spectators. Specimen trees were planted around the perimeter of the new park and wide carriageways cut through it.

    It was then the custom for rich Paisley families to ride through the park in horse and carriage displaying their finery. At the Mary Street entrance, ladies could rest and shelter in the specially-built Ladies' waiting-room adjoining the park-keeper's house. The park was adorned with benches, formal flower beds and drinking fountains. Great excitement took place in the park with the arrival of two kangaroos. The animals had been presented to the town in February 1885, by the Marquis of Bute.

    Today, Brodie Park is still popular. The Ladies' waiting-room and the parkie's house have been converted into fine homes. The fine Victorian bandstand, the fine wrought iron gates and railings, the greenhouse and the cast-iron fountains are now gone.

    In 1895 Carriagehill was becoming industrialised, with the Carriagehill Starch Works dominating. Colinslie Print Works were located on the eastern side of Neilston Road. Carriagehill House was located inside the bend of Braids Road where a park exists today.

    There are plans to build a new housing estate at the site of the Hellman’s Mayonnaise plant, after production was transferred to the Netherlands. The plant was formerly owned by Brown and Polson and CPC. The red brick office building is a grade-B listed building, and may be incorporated into the new housing estate.

    The Craw Road Institution was opened as the Asylum of the Abbey Parish Poor House in 1851. This psychiatric institution existed alongside general hospital facilities whhich were erected in 1890. Today, the site is marked by a modern housing development at Polson Crescent.

    Neilston Road was originally a dirt track and the main route south from Paisley. It's route skirted the eastern foothills of the Gleniffer Braes, and originally climbed the hill called Stoney Brae, until an easier route around the hill was created in the early 1800's. The reason for this was the growth of the villages at Neilston and Barrhead, due to the growth in the local textile industry, and the need for a cart-friendly route north to Paisley. Today's Neilston Road still follows the meandering route of the original track.

    Castlehead is a Victorian middle-class housing development, believed to be on the side of a Roman installation, most of which today remains open land in the form of a park. Housing in this area is of the villa variety, and can be accounted for by social pressure for space exerted inside Paisley’s central area. Built between 1860 and 1886. Ruins of a circular fort house have been found on Castlehead , but unlikely that it was Roman, since they never constructed forts in that shape.

    Castlehead Church
    The West Relief Church was opened for the first time in 1782. At that time, the building sat on the corner of Common Loan and Castle Street. Common Loan was rebuilt and today is known as Canal Street. In later years it’s name was changed to Canal Street Church and most recently named Castlehead Church in 1970.

    The Castlehead Church (formerly the West Relief Church) provided land for the burial of 140 victims of the 1823 cholera epidemic which hit Paisley. There is a badly-weathered stone in the churchyard which reveals that ground containing 20 lairs was purchased by funds raised by voluntary subscription for the poor victims of the deadly disease.

    Robert Tannahill, Paisley's most famous poet, was buried in the same churchyard 22 years earlier in 1810 after his tragic death at the age of only 36. His burial had been refused by other churches throughout the town because he allegedly took his own Life, drowning in the Candren Burn. (see photo below)

    A former fiancee of the poet, Jenny Tennant, born in Dunblane and known as Jessie in her home town, is also buried in the churchyard. Many claim that she was the inspiration for Tannahill's famous song, ‘Jessie the Flower of Dunblane‘, from which the poet apparently never received a penny but the publisher was able to retire on the proceeds.

    Three other Paisley poets are buried at Castlehead, including Dr Thomas Lyle who wrote the song ‘Kelvingrove‘, first published in The Harp of Renfrewshire in 1820.

    A map of 1839 refers to the remains of a Roman fortification at Castlehead, located at the site of today's High Road.

    Castlehead was rural as late as 1865, when the only significant building was Castlehead House.

    The Castlehead High School was once the temporary Paisley Police Station, back in 1967. The police had to vacate their offices at the old prison in Gilmour Street, but construction of the new Cotton Street offices had fallen behind. The prison, built between 1805 and 1812 was scheduled for demolition to the police had to move out.

    There was once a colliery located at the present high school's site. It was not successful, resulting in bankruptcy of the mining company.

    Crosslee [lee = grass land] is a residential village located on the B789. It is 1 kilometre south of Houston, 4km (2.5 miles) NW of Johnstone and 9km (5.6 miles) NW of Paisley. The oldest part of the village is adjacent to the main road, although modern homes have been built east of the village on the grounds of the former Crosslee House, Crosslee farm and Back of the Hill Farm.

    Crosslee was an important point on the Scottish West Coast coach line. At this point the main road to Houston once crossed the River Gryfe at the Linning Ford, and a toll booth was set up on the northern side of the river. This ford was eventually replaced by the Linningford Bridge.

    It is possible to follow the Gryfe via a footpath, which runs from near Goldenlea Farm, through Crosslee, and on to Craigends.

    The Crosslee Mill built in 1793, burned down about 1858 and finally demolished 1986) was used for cotton spinning but in 1916-17 a new factory was constructed for 'spinning cordite fuses'. In the late 1800's most villagers were employed in the neighbouring oil-works at Clippens (Linwood).

    Crosslee House existed in 1864. Crosslee Cotton Mills existed prior to 1864.

  • Population: (1861) 383, (1871) 379.

    Dean Park is a residential area southeast of Renfrew town centre. It is located off the A8 Glasgow Road 3 miles/5.0km from Paisley.

    Most of Dean Park is of post-1966 construction, as a result of the closure of the old Renfrew Airport and surrounding area.

    The area on which today's Tesco store and carpark is built was part of the old Renfrew Airport grounds. The long straight of road which is the nearby M8 Motorway follows the course of the former runway.

    In the Tesco carpark is a memorial commemorating the former Renfrew Airport, which was unveiled on 25th October 1997. There is also a memorial cairn to the Scottish Air Ambulance Service and the 1957 Air Ambulance crash at Islay.

    In 1864 there were references to Deanfield farm and Deanside, but no Dean Park.

    Before World War 1 the area was used by pilots using the flat fields to practice take-offs and landings. During WWI the Ministry of Munitions created an airfield between Renfrew and Arkleston for the testing the aircraft built by Glasgow engineering firms. By the 1920's it was used by the newly formed Scottish flying Club where it held its headquarters.

    They were also to later run the newly named Renfrew Airport. It was in 1933 that the first scheduled air service took off from Renfrew bound for Campbeltown, then a London service commenced. On the 14th May 1933, Jimmy Orwell flew from Renfrew to Islay to rescue a fisherman with acute peritonitis, and the Air Ambulance Service was born. Today there is a monument on the corner of Newmains and Sandy Road which contains stones taken from the highlands and Islands, the areas served by the Scottish air Ambulance in tribute to their service to saving so many lives. Air travel increased enormously in the 1950's and the Renfrew airport soon became too small to handle the extra traffic. The airport was then moved to Abbotsinch near Paisley in 1966 and renamed Glasgow Airport. The Renfrew Airport terminal building, was constructed in the early 1950's. It was constructed with the intention of eventual dismantling and reconstruction at the RNAS station at Abbotsinch. The traffic volume quickly exceeded the planners expectations and that move never happened. it was destroyed and the site is now used for a supermarket.

    Dykebar is a primarily residential area 1.8miles/3km southeast of Paisley off the A726. The area remained rural until after World War II.

    The highest point in the area is Dykebar Hill, which has undergone a number of spelling changes. Map references to Dykebar date back from at least 1596 until after 1640. By 1800 the hill was Dikebar, and remained such until the start of the 20th century when the old spelling of Dykebar returned.

    Dykebar Hill, at 168 feet / 58 metres, is the highest point in the area. Access to the summit is possible opposite a small carpark near the end of Glenapp Avenue. The Romas once had a camp here, and it is easy to see why. Views cover Gleniffer Braes to the Kilpatrick Hills, Campsie Fells, Kilsyth Hills and the eastern parts of Renfrewshire.

    Dykebar Hospital opened in 1909 as the Renfrew District Lunatic Asylum. In 1948 it joined the National Health Service under the Renfrewshire Mental Hospitals Board of Management (renamed the Dykebar and Associated Hospitals Board of Management in 1964). From 1968 to 1974 it was under the Paisley and District Hospitals Board of Management. At the reorganisation of 1974 it passed to the Renfrew District of the new Argyll and Clyde Health Board

    Three historic wards at a Paisley Hospital have been placed on an at-risk register. Wards 20, 22, 23, at Dykebar Hospital are cited in the Buildings at Risk Bulletin published by the Scottish Civic Trust on behalf of conservation body Historic Scotland.

    Also on the at-risk list is Mid Dykebar, a large red sandstone building within the grounds of the hospital. Ward 22 - formerly known as Villa 2 - is vacant and has been the target of vandals for some time.

    The remaining two wards - before the new hospital was built in the mid-Seventies ward 20 was known as Villa 1 and ward 23 Villa 5 - are also vacant and boarded up. All four buildings were built in 1909 by renowned architect TG Abercrombie in the Scottish Baroque style. Mid Dykebar was built to house the superintendent of the hospital, which was then Renfrew District Asylum. A notable feature of the building is that the east entrance is unusual in having large areas of walling without windows.

    Elderslie is a large village located 4km (2.5 miles) west of Paisley on the A761.

    The name derives from ‘Alder lea’. Elloern (Old English) ‘alder’; li (Old English) ‘meadow’. It was founded in 1398 as Eldersly, and Timothy Pont’s map of about 1596 makes reference to ‘Ellersley’.

    Wallace Monument
    The Wallace monument was unveiled on 28th September 1912 by Sir Thomas Glen Coats. It was designed by Mr.J.C.Murray of Westminister. It is 37 feet high and the base is 20 feet above street level.

    Every August the Wallace Day parade takes place, with a march from Johnstone town centre to the Monument at Elderslie, where a service takes place.

    William Wallace was born in Elderslie about 1270. The legend of the Wallace Oak says Wallace avoided capture by hiding more than 100 of his men in the giant tree. The tree began to deteriorate in health due to age and souvenir hunters, removing part of the bark. A cutting from the 300-year-old Wallace Yew is to be planted outside the new £400 million Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh. The owner of the sapling wished to remain anonymous.

    Next to the road leading to the Gleniffer Braes is a large rock engraved with a number of circles and hollows known as cup-and-ring markings. Thought to be at least 3,000 years old, the Bronze and Iron age rings and circles symbolised eternity and cups symbolised prosperity and plenty.

    The deepest coal mine shaft in the area’s coal fields was called Snodgrass. The location is thought to have been either in the Barclay Avenue or Abbey Road area.

    A cotton mill existed prior to 1864, located at today’s Glen Gardens.

    It is said the Ring O’Bells pub in Main Street is haunted. Over 160 years ago a horse-drawn coach left the inn, but soon overturned, killing the horses and at least one passenger. Witnesses claim they have heard the sound of horses hooves and images of men in black cloaks.

    Trams were withdrawn from Elderslie in 1932, and the tram service to Linwood Road Toll (Elderslie Depot) withdrawn on 11th May 1957.

    The bore Well was used to provide fresh drinking water for the village. It’s importance was replaced by the Auchenlodment filters on the 27th March 1869.

    Stoddard Carpets opened its Elderslie headquarters in 1862 and had become such an important part of the village and the surrounding area. When the factory’s closure was announced in 2002, 300 jobs were to be lost from the area, including 200 being transferred to the Riverside plant at Kilmarnock. More than 1700 people were employed at Stoddard's Elderslie factory in the 1960s.

  • Elderslie Parish Church opened 9th June 1840
  • The Wallace School was built in 1866
  • Elderslie East Church (Glenpatrick Road) opened about 1900
  • Elderslie Golf Club founded in 1908
  • Elderslie’s first council houses were built in 1924 at Old Road and Ritchie Crescent.
  • Elderslie Baths opened June 1975

    The name comes possibly from ‘high marsh’ from ard (Scottish Gaelic) ‘high’ and sescenn (Scottish Gaelic) ‘marsh’, but a derivation from Cumbric ir ysgyn ‘green ascent’ has also been put forward. The area was noted as Erskin in 1225.

    Erskine is one of the most popular commuter towns in Renfrewshire. It is located 7.5km (4.6 miles) northwest of Paisley on the A726. It was one of the first post-war new towns, developed by the Scottish Special Housing Association. Companies like Yarrows, the Linwood Car Plant, India Rubber at Inchinnan, Royal Ordnance and Rolls Royce all needed a supply of labour close at hand. Construction of the town started in 1971 and was later awarded the Saltire Society award for town planning. The recession of the 1970's shelved the planned 30,000 population town, and since then the population has remained fairly constant. based on the 1991 census the population was 13,186.

    The £1.6 million Erskine Community Sports Hall was opened in 2002. The facility includes a 300-seater sports hall suitable for football, basketball, indoor hockey, netball and volleyball, a 250-seater general purpose hall for community use, three team changing rooms with disabled access, a fitness suite and a café and a multi-purpose room where a creche or meetings can be held.

    Erskine Bridge
    The Erskine Bridge crosses the River Clyde near the villages of Erskine to the south and Old Kilpatrick to the north, linking Renfrewshire to West Dunbartonshire. It is a toll bridge and extends the A898 road from the M8 motorway on the south to the A82 (Great Western Road) on the north. Built between 1967 and 1971 by Freeman Fox, it was opened by HRH The Princess Royal on 2nd July, 1971, and today bears approximately 7,000 crossings per day, a figure which has held steady since the late 1980s.This box girder bridge with cable stays is 524m (1720 feet) in length, not including the two approach spans of 68m (224 feet) each. The masts of the main span are 38m (125 feet) high, while the steelwork weighs some 11,000 tons and runs over 1310m (4300 feet).

    On 4th of August 1996 an oil platform struck the bridge while being towed alon the River Clyde. It became stuck causing some serious damage to the Bridge. The error occurred due to a miscalculation of the platform’s height. For a number of months the bridge was closed to traffic, or restricted from use by heavy vehicles. It opened to traffic again in mid-December 1996.

    Erskine House / Erskine Hospital
    Erskine House, to the north of the town, was formerly the residence of the Lords Blantyre and was built in 1828. It is a magnificent ediface in the Tudor syle, on a wooded eminence overlooking the river. In 1916 it became the Princess Louise Hospital for Limbless Sailors and Soldiers, and was known as this until well after World War 2. It is now known as Erskine Hospital. It houses disabled ex-servicemen and women and is the largest ex-service hospital in the United Kingdom with 290 beds. The structure is a A-grade listed building, and in 2002 a plan to convert it to a 54-room hotel was approved. Part of the grounds are to turned into an 18-hole golf course with a club house. Also planned is the removal of the former nursing buildings and the construction of 20 executive-style homes, as well as an extension of the Clyde walkway through the grounds.

    There is a legend which tells how Erskine got its name. During the Danish raids a young warrior cut off the head of the Danish leader. He impaled it on a stake and, with the battlecry "head on a knife" or "Eris Kyne" he fought fiercely, brandishing his trophy. The defenders carried the day. After the battle, in true legendary fashion, the King granted the warrior the land he had defended and changed his sur­name to Erskine.

    Records show Henry de Erskine was proprietor of the barony in 1225 and the name of Erskine can be found on maps dating back to at least 1596. It was in ancient times the property of the Earls of Mar, and they took their family name from it when surnames began to be used in Scotland. In the middle of the seventeenth century the estate was purchased by the Blantyre family.

    Artifacts dating back 5,000 years have been found, indicating a farming community had been in the area. Finds dated 1,000 BC also indicate human habitation. The remains of heavily defended forts and crannogs were excavated, particularly around where the ferry was later situated. The River Clyde was shallow enough at this point to be forded, and the ford was eventually replaced by a ferry. By the end of the 18th century, stone quays had been built on either bank to enable vehicular traffic to be ferried across.

    Erskine Ferry operated just upstream from the current Erskine Bridge, linking Renfrewshire with Old Kilpatrick and Dunbartonshire. The ferry service ceased when the Erskine Bridge opened in 1971.

    Ferguslie Park is a residential area 2km (1.2 miles) west of Paisley. The area was hit particularly hard by the industrial decline during the 1970's and 1980's, including the closure of the nearby Chrysler Car Plant at Linwood. Ferguslie became a by-word for social disadvantage due to it's high unemployment, poor housing, and low educational achievements. A number of improvements were implemented, but the effects were slow and limited.

    Part of the problem was geographical. The area was almost cut off from nearby Paisley by a circle of railway lines and disused railway embankments. Selective demolition and the lack of a full plan of redevelopment resulted in Ferguslie Park being one third open space or wasteland. There was no central point for the community and therefore no cohesion. Since then, the Tannahill Centre has opened, providing facilities for social activities, a larger library, and the creation of a nursery, surgery, health clinic etc. The Tannahill Centre was opened on 5th July 1995 by HM The Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh. The area's isolation has been addressed by the construction of Barskiven Road, linking Ferguslie Park to Linwood Road and the sprawling Phoenix Retail Park, on the site of the Chrysler Plant.

    In the 1990's a number of private housing estates were built where council homes once stood.

    The Ferguslie Sports Centre is a state of the art sports facility suitable for a variety of activities. Both indoor and outdoor all weather synthetic pitches, Provision of three exhibition standard grass pitches and a training area. The upgraded Ferguslie Sports Centre provides an enhanced facility which can be used by both the general public and private sector sporting organisations. Paisley Partnership has secured funding to resurface the synthetic pitch. As a result, Total Soccer Experience, St Mirren Football Club and a private developer have all approached Paisley Partnership with a view to working in partnership to expand the development.

    Ferguslie Park was built on the estate which belonged for some time to the monks of Paisley, but was afterwards divided. An old castle stood on the estate, and Ferguslie House was located there. Ferguslie is mentioned on maps dating back to at least 1596.

    Close to White's Bridge, Candren Road, on the outskirts of Ferguslie Park was the site of the ironstone-mining community of Inkerman. Built during the 1850's by the Merry and Cunninghame Ironmaster's Company, the village consisted of five rows of houses, known locally as "raws", a school and a grocers shop. The single storey houses were illuminated with candles and parafin lamps and heated with coal fires. At the end of the garden, the outside toilets, or "cludgies" were found. Merry and Cunninghame went into liquidation just before the second world war, due to the decline of the ironstone industry. The village was put up for sale, but there were no buyers, and the buildings were demolished. The occupants were rehoused at Linwood and Elderslie. In a field, just opposite the village, in 1941, a Blenheim bomber crashed.

    The village was named after the indecisive battle in the Crimean War, fought on 5th November 1854. Many of the British soldiers who fought there were from the Paisley area. They trained at the Newton Woods, near Elderslie, where they had a rifle-range for shooting practice on a steep hillside close to what is now Foxbar.

    The Blackstoun pits were owned by the Blackstoun Mineral Company.

    In the first half of the last century, the Queen Mary Block was one of the best-known areas in the scheme. It got its name because it looked like a huge ship. It was also called `The Balconies' because it had verandahs. It was in Ferguslie Park Avenue, but is long demolished. There were big rhubarb parks by The Racecourse, such as Jameson's Rhubarb Park and at Pinkerton's Rhubarb Farm. The construction of the Ferguslie Estate started around 1924, based on the date of an old electricity sub-station.

    The Privey Woods, off Blackstoun Road, are thought to be haunted by the former matron of the old Glen-Coats Auxiliary Hospital. Known as Lady Glen-Coats by staff and patients at the hospital, the restless spirit was often heard playing the piano in the room where dead bodies were kept before the arrival of undertakers.

    Sweet Ferguslie, hail! thou'rt the dear sacred grove,
    Here Nature first wakened me to rapture and love,
    Where first my young Muse spread her wing;
    And taught me her beauties to sing.
    Robert Tannahill, September 1807

    Foxbar derives it's name from 'hill of the foxes', after it's large population of wild foxes. Paisley’s boundaries were extended as a result of The Housing Act of 1946. Provisions were made for the addition to existing estates. Foxbar was built on the former site of the bleachworks, and was initiated in 1952, and completed in 1965, and was the first estate to include high flats.

    Stanely Castle (once spelt Stanley) sits ruinous in the waters of Stanely Reservoir, which was constructed in the first half of the 1800's as a water supply for Paisley by the Paisley Water Company. The castle is thought to have been built in the 15th century. Semple visited the castle in 1782 and noted on the west side "two lions near the base and two boars a little above. Within 70 years these wre almost impossible to decipher. Paisley poet Robert Tannahill wrote on a number of occasions about the castle -

    "Keen blows the wind o'er the braes o' Gleniffer,
    The auld castle turrets are covered wi' snow;
    How changed frae the time when I met wi' my lover
    Amang the broom bushes by Stanley green shaw!"

    In 1804 he wrote to his brother Scadlock in Perth. . .

    "If e'er in musing mood you stray
    Alang the classic banks of Tay,
    Think on our walks by Stanley Tower
    And steep Gleniffer brae."

    A visit in 1856 notes "The castle is about 40 feet high with a rectangular tower. Round the top there is a cornice, the corbels of which project considerably, and seem at one period to have been surmounted by a series of small turrets. These, with the entire roof, have now disappeared..."

    References to Foxbar on maps date back to at least 1596.

    Famous in the 1800's was 'The Sale at Foxbar'. One eyewitness described it as "the crowds of corbies in waggonettes and on foot from Paisley and Glasgow looking for real bargains".

    Robertsons commenced the bleachfields at Foxbar in the late 1700's. It was a flourishing industry and relied heavily on the pure water from Gleniffer Braes. It was one of the first bleachfields in the area. Girls came from the Highlands to work in the field, settling down in the neighbouring towns and villages.

    In 1820 there were uprisings in Johnstone and Paisley. Crowds were protesting about the poor working conditions and bad housing. Paisley was under martial law at that time. On the 3rd April 1820 a number of Radicals, as the protesters were called, decided to raid farms and cottages on the Gleniffer Braes to aquire weapons for their cause. They visited houses at Lounsdale and Millarston where pistols and guns were obtained. After a small skirmish at Foxbar House, on the Elderslie outskirts, the military approached to break up the disorder.

    In 1829, three men from Johnstone were arrested after breaking into old Foxbar House and assaulting a 70 year old man and his sister. The victims were left bruised, bloodied and bound after the pair beat them up with a cudgel then escaped with silver spoons and other valuables. Two of the men, James Brown and John Craig were hanged at County Square in Paisley on October 29, 1829. They have the distinction of being the last in Scotland to be hanged for robbery. Their bodies were buried in Johnstone.

    The Newton Wood was a popular spot in the 18th and 19th century for rifle practice. The Renfrewshire Brigade of Volunteers would practice there in the late 1800's.

    Within the Newton Woods was the Lex [Latin=law] Well, a source of refreshment, complete with a cup attached by a chain. The waters were enjoyed by hikers and ramblers, following in the footsteps of Robert Tannahill. The well is thought to have been revered by Druid priests of the Celts of the iron age. Two thousand years ago the local Strathclyde tribe tried to win favours from the water goddesses by hanging ornaments and trinkets from the surrounding trees. From the 6th century, holy men visited the site, purified of its pagen deities.

    The well aquired a reputation for its healing miracles, and in the 10th century a eight-foot high stone cross was placed nearby. It not only reminded visitors of the well’s religious importance, but pointed the way to the shrine of St. Mirin and the Paisley Abbey. The cross was sculpted with carvings of savage beasts and fighting men. During the 16th century Reformation, the Elderslie Cross, as it came to be known, was broken and dumped in a deep pit in the woods. The cross was discovered in the 19th century and now sits in the Paisley Museum.

    Near the now overgrown Lex Well is a rock locally known as the Druid’s Stone, or Druid’s Altar. This two-foot high stone is probably the base of the Elderslie Cross. [Based on an article by Derek Parker - Paisley Daily Express - 30th April 2001]

    Freeland is an area of Erskine located south of the town centre, some 7km (4.3 miles) northwest of Paisley just off the A726.

    The area was rural until the construction of the Erskine town development in the early 1970's. Today is is entirely residential with pockets of woodland.

    Maps show Freeland Farm existing in 1864. If readers can add to the history of this property, please email HappyHaggis.

    Old Greenock Road (Parkway) is the route of the original road from Renfrew to Greenock. A new, straighter alignment was built in the late 1700's, and forms part of today's A8.

    Gallowhill is a residential and retail area 0.7miles/1km north of Paisley on the A741 Renfrew Road.

    Renfrew Road is lined by a middle class Victorian housing development to the south, and council-built properties to the north.

    The 3 Gallowhill flats were built in the 1960’s to deal with a shortage of houses in the area. Each block is 15 storeys high and contains 90 flats. On the roof of each block are aircraft warning lights, due to their proximity with Glasgow Airport.

    The Gallow Hill was the site during the 17th century where those found guilty of witchcraft were executed.

    Chivas Regal traces its routes back to 1801 in Aberdeen when a grocery store opened for business, selling a range of whiskies. The company used the Paisley site as a warehouse and dispatch location until the opening of the new site at The Phoenix, near Linwood in October 1996. From here Chivas Regal, Royal Salute 21-year-old, The Glenlivet, and Glen Grant Pure Malt Whisky are distributed to over 150 countries. The Chivas Regal worldwide headquarters are still at the Paisley location on Renfrew Road.

    Marjory Bruce was the only daughter of King Robert Bruce. She was killed at Knockhill in 1316, by being thrown from her horse while hunting. She was far advanced in pregnancy at the time, and a caesarean operation resulted in the safe delivery of her child, who became Robert II (the first authentic record of such an operation being performed since the birth of the eponymous Julius Caesar). Marjory died within a few hours. Aged only about 19 years and 3 months, her last words are reported to have been "He's a laddie; I ken he's a laddie; he will be king". Her improbable dying prophecy eventually came true, but not for another fifty-five years."(Quote from The Stewart Society) She is buried in Paisley Abbey and there is a memorial to her as well as one to the other kings and Steward(t)s buried there.

    Tradition says injury to his eyes during the operation gave him the nickname 'Bleary' The spot of the accident was marked by an octagonal pillar known as "Queen Blearie's Cross" until sometime between 1779 and 1782. The monument was destroyed by a local farmer who used the pillar as a door lintel and the supporting steps to repair a fence. There is now a memorial cairn next to the A741 Renfrew Road, near Dundonald Road.

    There are references to Gallowhill on maps as early as 1596. A map of 1925 shows Gallowhill farm still in existance, but missing in the 1930's. The area remained primarily rural until the construction of the first housing estates between 1925 and 1945.

    On 9th September 1880 a passenger train from Glasgow to Paisley crashed into a city-bound good train carrying pig iron. The accident took place near the Arkleston cutting . Farm labourers in nearby fields helped free the trapped passengers, and were helped by coalminers from the nearby Hillington pit. 4 people died.

    Glasgow Airport is located 3km (1.8 miles) north of Paisley, and 13km (8 miles) west of Glasgow adjacent to the M8 Motorway.

    Glasgow Airport is one of seven in the UK operated by the denationalised British Airports Authority, BAA plc. Opened in 1966, and formerly known as Abbotsinch Airport, it is Scotland's busiest airport with more than 6.7 million passengers and 86,000 take-offs and landings annually. The airport has two runways of 2658m (8720 feet) and 1088m (3570 feet) respectively.

    Forming part of Glasgow Airport and bounded by motorway slip roads, Paisley Moss is a hidden oasis for wildlife. A remnant of a larger site, it became a Local Nature Reserve in 1993. It contains ponds, mossy marshes, reeds and sedge beds supporting hundreds of different animals and plants. The site is maintained by careful management organised and carried out by a team of local people and airport staff. The reserve is open to the public throughout the year. An hour is needed to enjoy the circular walk, and welly boots are recommended at all times of the year.
    Directions are signposted from the airport road system. Parking is available on St. Andrews Crescent and the Moss is a ten minute walk from the terminal building.

    This area, between Paisley racecourse and Inchinnan was used for the Navy’s Auxiliary Air Force during the wars. During WW2 the squadron located at Abbotsinch (HMS Sanderling) were involved in the Battle of Britain.

    Restrictions of capacity had necessitated the replacement of Renfrew Airport and the new terminal at Abbotsinch was commissioned in 1963. The nearby Inchinnan viaduct, over the River Cart, was agreed upon for the M8 construction in 1966.

    In June 1992 HRH The Princess Royal officially opened the new terminal building. By April 1993 construction work had begun on the second phase of the development, a £40m new international pier. This was officially opened in November 1994 by Ian Grant, Chairman of the Scottish Tourist Board. In March 1995 £2m was spent to improve the east end of the terminal and provide additional offices, seating, retail outlets and upgrade the domestic baggage reclaim hall. This was followed four months later with a £4m expansion of the airport's cargo village, providing an additional 4150 sq m of warehousing.

    By 1998 the airport needed further enlarging and work began to extend the terminal building in November of that year, at a cost of £60m. In April 1998, a further £6m was spent on developing the cargo village to provide new 50,000 sq m warehouse.

    The plan for an airport rail link had been fought by footballers and families who had used St.James Park, known as the Racecourse pitches. The plan was for the rail link to pass over the 22 playing fields. At one point campaigners claimed the carcasses of cattle and sheep buried under the park were infected with anthrax. The livestock were buried there on the site of the old racecourse prior to the First World War. They also mentioned the Paisley Improvement Act of 1877 which stated the ground was "for the use of the inhabitants of the burgh in all time thereafter". A plan to tunnel the line under the pitches was scrapped due to 'technical difficulties'. Eventually the Scottish Executive announced the rail link would be constructed and would cost about £60 million. A start date for construction has yet to be announced. The line will have trains running from the airport, through Paisley to Glasgow Central.

    Victims of the the town's 1832 cholera outbreak, which claimed nearly 450 lives, are also buried there. They are commemorated by a stone plaque near the burial ground.

    Glenburn is a residential area 1.8miles/3.0km south of Paisley off the B775 Gleniffer Road.

    Paisley’s boundaries were extended as a result of The Housing Act of 1946. Provisions were made for the addition to existing estates. Glenburn estate began in 1948.

    The Moredun Flood Control Scheme is one of the most innovative flood control schemes in the country, and involved the creation of a five million gallon water-holding facility at Moredun Playing Fields, off Stanely Road. The football pitches at Moredun hold the excess water from the Espedair Burn and protect nearby homes during a flood situation. The latest floods were in 1991 and 1999. The water can then be stored until the flooding subsides when it will then be slowly released back into the burn. Contractors spent months moving earth at the playing fields to create a 'bowl' effect which effectively makes the area a temporary reservoir.

    A golf course was built was built some time after 1864 but gone by WW2. It was located east of today’s Braehead Road and north of Glenfield Road. The area was named after the Glen Burn.

    Coal mining has been attempted in the Glenburn, but with no success, resulting in bankruptcy of the mining company.

    Glen Villa, in Glenfield Road, was erected in 1888 during the heyday of Victorian wealth and opulence in Paisley when prosperous businessmen who managed their factories and mills in the town wanted prestigious homes in the countryside. The villa doesn’t meet listing requirements, according to the local Council, despite being designed by distinguished architects and showing unique architectural styles. The villa currently lies in a ruinous state.

    Gleniffer Braes [brae = a declivity, hillside, steep road, a knoll, a hill, the bank of a river, the upper part of a country] lookout and carpark is located 6km (3.7 miles) southwest of Paisley on the B775.

    The Gleniffer Braes have been a favourite walking-place for centuries. There there are superb views and walks through the 1,300 acre woodland and moorland Gleniffer Braes Country Park. In the 1930's the park was known as Stanely Braemount Park.


    The Bonnie Wee Well
    "The bonnie wee well on the breist o' the brae.." The Bonnie Wee Well, sitting next to the road up the braes, was erected to the memory of Paisley poets Hugh McDonald and Robert Tannahill. It is now a listed monument.

    Next to the well is the Kingdom House Christian Centre. Construction started in 1972 when the building was planned to be a hotel, but the plan fell through. Several other plans were proposed over the years, but Council permission for the building's eventual completion was granted in 1997 when a spiritual retreat plan was approved.

    A new , three-mile track costing £203,000 has opened, linking Paisley with the historic Bonnie Wee Well on the top of the scenic Gleniffer Braes. It starts at Rannoch Woods, just off the Beith Road, and runs through the popular Bluebell Woods beauty spot once part of the Laird of Johnstone's magnificent Johnstone Castle estate. Crossing Auchenlodment Road, near Elderslie, the trail then spans the picturesque Brandy Burn before climbing steeply uphill through Bardrain Wood on to the majestic Gleniffer Braes which inspired Paisley poet Robert Tannahill 200 years ago. It terminates at the Bonnie Wee Well.

    Ramblers who follow the trail can expect to see a wide range of wildlife, including foxes, squirrels, deer, hares and buzzards. The 5-year project was part of an Urban Fringe Project to provide town-dwellers with more access to the countryside and minimise damage to farmland and livestock. The Project included the installation of ancillary nature trails, benches, viewpoints, fences and footbridges. New trees were planted in suitable areas adjoining the path.

    There is a reference to Gleniffyr on a 1654 map of Renfrewshire. Prior to WW2 the area was known as Stanely Braemount Park.

    The Peesweep Inn was a small tavern on Gleniffer Braes near where today’s Lapwing Lodge scout hall is located. It was built in the early 19th century , and catered to Paisley buddies walking from the town on Sunday afternoons. Also served were weavers on their way to Ayrshire to sell their wares. The fine reputation was known throughout the West of Scotland, and became a popular destination for writers and artists from Glasgow. The Inn was named after the black and white moorland bird called the peesweep, or lapwing, which were once common on the braes. In the late 19th century the liquor licence was withdrawn and by 1925 business had dropped so bad, the inn was converted into a private house. Nearby, in 1910, a sanitorium was built ( today’s Lapwing Lodge). It was used to provide accommodation for patients recovering from tuberculosis, and was financed and run by threadmaker J & P Coats. In 1934 the building and grounds were handed to the former Renfrew County Council Hospital Board, and continued to operate the hospital until 1948 when the National Health Service was founded. It‘s use as a sanitorium ended in 1955. It is now used as a Scouting Lodge.

    At the base of the braes is the Stanely Reservoir, which was constructed between 1837 and 1881. Surrounded by the water is Stanely Castle which is of an unknown date. The rectangular tower is about 40 feet in height and was originally designed to afford protection to the principal entrance. Round the top there is a cornice, the corbels of which project considerably, and seem at one period to have been surmounted by a series of small turrets. These, with the entire roof, was gone by the mid 1800's. Every crevice and seam of the weather-beaten castle is overrun with vegetation - lichens and mosses and ferns.

    During WW2 there was a dummy aerodrome on top of the Braes. It was illuminated at night to trick enemy aircraft into thinking this was a real airport, therefore having this bombed instead of a built-up area. There was also a red light on the Gleniffer Braes hillside, near the Foxbar Rifle Range, to warn country-dwellers of the approach of enemy planes.

    Paisley poet Robert Tannahill would visit the area on weekday evenings or on the Sabbath. He wrote:
    Keen blaws the wind o'er the Braes o' Gleniffer
    The auld castle's turrets are cover'd wi' snaw
    How chang'd frae the time when I met wi' my lover
    Amang the broom bushes by Stanley green shaw...

    The poet Scadlock wrote, in 1804:
    "If e'er in musing mood you stray
    Alang the classic banks of the Tay
    Think on our walks by Stanley tower
    And steep Gleniffer brae"

    Gockston is a residential and industrial area 1 mile/1.6km north of Paisley off the Inchinnan Road.

    Gockston is a pre-fabricated estate, built on weak, peat ground. The area north of Paisley is part of the former raised beach of Clydeside. The weak land prevented the development north of this point until construction of Glasgow Airport in the 1960’s.

    St. James park is located off Greenock Road, and was once Paisley's racecourse. One of the earliest air races, the ‘Circuit of Britain’ in 1911 used the site as one of it’s stopping stages.

    On the 13th February 1832 the first case of cholera, in New Sneddon Street, was recorded ona hawker. 18 people died in this area in the first four days. A total of 446 eventually died. A common graveyard had to be opened on the north east edge of the town off Greenock Road to accommodate the victims.

    In 1864 there was a Gockston farm, loctated at today’s Mosslands Road. An 1832 map refers to a farm called Gonkstane.

    Merksworth High School serving since 1973 was closed in 2002.

    St James’ Park certainly catered for a diversity of interests during the races with its shooting-saloons, boxing-booths, merry-go-rounds and “potatoes and herring served to the mob”! Disapprovingly, the Express also recorded after the opening programme, that a number of bookmakers had mysteriously disappeared when Rhoderick Dhu won the Paisley Plate. One special “invasion danger” – as the Paisley Daily Express put it – was from the “thousands of Glasgow roughs” who flocked to the town for the Paisley Races – an event they described as tending to be “a gathering of the vicious and criminal public of the West of Scotland”. But a little of the enthusiasm of the occasion crept into the report next day, with its account of lively scenes, an improved course and a larger crowd than usual. The estimate was that 50,000 people attended the two-day meeting.

    When Glasgow Airport and the M8 were constructed, Greenock Road was truncated at the end of the St. James playing fields. Another remaining part of Greenock Road can be found at Glasgow Airport, and is today called St. Andrews Crescent. Under the M8 lies the location of Moss Toll.

    Hawkhead is located 2km (1.2 miles) east of Paisley and south of Glasgow Road. The area south of the railway line is dominated by industry, such as the Ciba Chemicals plant, as well as a number of health and educational establishements. The huge Hawkhead Cemetery is found here, as well as some pockets of residential useage. The area north of the railway line (northern end of Hawkhead Road) has some fine Victorian villas.

    Hawkhead Cemetery opened on the 13th April 1891, and covers 23 acres of ground. There is a memorial to the 70 children who were crushed to death at Paisley's Glen Cinema in December 1929. There is also a memorial to the 92 people wo died on the night of 7th May 1941, when a parachute mine hit a First Aid post in Paisley. Many of the dead were buried in a mass grave at the cemetery."To the memory of the civilians and personnel of Paisley First Air Post No. 5 (west) who died in the course of their duty May 1941."

    There is evidence that coal was mined in the Hawkhead area in medieaval times, which was used by Paisley Abbey.

    The Ross family, who were appointed Hereditary Constables of Renfrew Castle in the 1400's held the lands of Hawkhead as their main seat, and King's Inch in Renfrew as one of their lesser seats.

    Reference to Hawkhead on maps dates back to at least 1596, when it was referred to as 'Halkhead'.

    The area of Hawkhead belonged, in the middle of the 15th century, to the doughty Sir John Ross. Hawkhead House, originally a large, ancient tower, underwent enlargement in the time of Charles I to take the form of a triangle. It was visited by the Duke of York in 1681 (who later became James VII). Repaired and improved in 1782, the gardens were originally formed in the Dutch style and the grounds included a finely wooded park. Today, the area is occupied by Hawkhead Hospital, the estate off Ben Nevis Road and the Bull Wood. Hawkhead Hospital was once an infectious diseases hospital.

    Hawkhead Bridge, where Hawkhead Road crosses the White Cart, was known as Hawkheadmill Bridge, as recently as the late 1800's, after the Hawkhead Corn & Flour Mills at the south end of today’s 23-acre Hawkhead Cemetery. It was built around 1750, but reconstructed and widened from 12' to 60' in 1932.

    Notes on the Paisley Canal railway line

  • 1st July 1885 Paisley Canal line opened by the Glasgow and South Western Railway on the route of the Glasgow and Ardrossan Canal. The canal only reached as far as Johnstone due to lack of funds. The planned canal route was later built as a railway from Johnstone to Ardrossan.
  • 23rd January 1984 Goods services to Paisley Canal ended .
  • 10th January 1983 Paisley Canal and Kilmacolm services ended .
  • 10th November 1984 Line from Hawkhead through Paisley Canal to Elderslie closed completely .
  • 28th July 1990 Paisley Canal route (and Hawkhead Station) reopened.

  • The Hawkhead Oil Depot, off Hawkhead Road, has been used as a depot for Glasgow Airport, and is currently owned by Shell.

    Hillington Industrial Estate is located at the eastern extremity of Renfrewshire. It is 4.5km (2.8 miles) east of Paisley, accessible from the A736 or M8 Motorway.

    The estate was opened by HRH The Queen Mother on 3rd May 1938 and was the first industrial estate created in Scotland. It is still one of the largest. Most jobs are in the light industrial sector.

    The estate is divided into two by the Renfrewshire-Glasgow council boundary. It is services by two railway stations, Hillington East (located across the boundary in Glasgow) and Hillington West (in Renfrewshire).


    There is a reference to Hillingtoun on a 1640 map of Renfrewshire.

    In the 1800’s there was a North Hillington farm (near today’s eastern end of Queen Elizabeth Avenue). South Hillington farm existed at today’s Kelhead Avenue and Kelhead Place, Penilee.

    Hillington Indistrial Estate is served by two railway stations. The first station opened on 10th March 1934 and was called Hillington. When a second station opened on 1st April 1940, Hillington was renamed Hillington East, and the new station was to known as Hillington West.

    The world famous maker of top quality aero engines Rolls Royce was based at Hillington prior to it’s move to Inchinnan. The factory was built to manufacture the famous Merlin engine for Spitfires and Hurricanes during World War Two. The company said it wanted to move into a brand new premises as the WWII vintage factory was just getting too old. The Scottish Executive gave Rolls Royce £15 million to temp them to stay in Scotland, as they had allegedly been looking at the Czech Republic as an option.

    Houston is a large village located 6 miles (9.6 km) north-west of Paisley. Houston village, some of the small modern housing schemes and two areas of open space were designated a Conservation Area in 1968, The conservation controls were strengthened in 1987 when it became necessary to have planning permission to carry out works such as the replacement of windows and doors. Houston has grown considerably over the years, but the old village has remained at its heart. Many housing developments have sprung up around the village making it an extremely popular choice for families and commuters looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The ease of access to surrounding towns and cities and the excellent schools make this one of the most popular villages in Renfrewshire.

    The name derived from 'Hugh's town', from Hugh of Padvinan, who owned the land until sometime between 1740 and 1782. The land was divided up five ways by sale or inheritance.

    The old village comprising only a few streets has grown considerable over the years through the addition of a number of modern estates but the collection of traditional properties at its heart remain among the most sought after.

    The Houston Inn was built around 1784 and is one of the oldest buildings in the village. Another famous drinking spot in the village is the Fox and Hounds. This listed building dates even earlier -to 1780. It was bought over in 1978 and converted into a bar and restaurant. The Fox and Hounds has become famous for the ale brewed on-site in the micro brewery and customers can watch the process from the bar. The brewery has paid homage to the area's past with ales named Kilellen, Barochan (named after the Barochan Cross which was erected on the hills of Houston but later relocated to Paisley Abbey) and St Peter's Well {named after the healing well).

    The Parish church was built 1874-5 and is an Early Gothic design. It can accommodate 600 people and has a tower 70 feet high. In 1876 seven stained-glass windows were added.

    Houston was originally known as Kilpeter meaning 'Chapel of Peter'. The chapel has long gone but St Peter's Well, just north of the village, still exists. A stone canopy was built over the well in the 19th Century in a bid to ensure the well was protected from the weather. On a hill farther north originally stood the 11 ft high Celtic Barochan Cross. The cross was carved by the Knights Templar who settled in the area. It was moved to Paisley Abbey in 1981 by Historic Scotland for protection from the elements. Recently there has been a moverment to have it returned to Houston.

    Barochan House (17th century and 1896) is a notable building.

    The Mercat Cross was restored in 1713 and can be found in the village. The location of a Mercat Cross [mercat=market] indicated a proclamation centre, or where criminals were punished.

    There was once a number of Roman camps in the area, at Houston, Barochan Hill and Whitemoss Farm at Bishopton.

    The village was noted around 1200 as Villa Hugonis.

    Originally a cluster of houses around the castle of Hugo de Kilpeter, the population was still only 300 in 1760. In 1781 the castle was partly demolished and the stone from it was used in the building of a New Town of 35 houses. The tower of the castle was so strong that it had to be blown up with gun powder. The new village was originally planned to have 35 houses based on a regular pattern with North and South Street running parallel on either side of the Houston Burn to ensure access to the burn for all householders. As a result of the Houston Bleachfield opening in the area, the population increased to over 2,500 in 1831. The population began to drop by the end of the 19th century, and as the new railway missed the town, Houston was not subjected to the same development as seen in other Renfrewshire villages. The bleachfield had closed by 1905 and the village reverted back to it’s agricultural origins.

    The Mercat Cross has a sundial dating from 1713 when the cross was restored, and a shaft which may be 14th century. It is thought the cross was erected by the knights of Houston.

    St. Peter's Fair was held every July in mediaeval times in Houston. It provided the men and women of the parish an opportunity to sell and buy merchandise.

    At the South Mound (shown on today’s Ordnance Survey maps as ‘cairn’ next to the High School) a stone coffin containing human bones was once found here [prior to 1865].

    Houston House, which stood on the land, was largely dismantled in 1780-81 to provide building material for the new village of 35 houses which were built on a regular street pattern. The remaining part of Houston House was built on the site of the former Castle in around 1872 with what was left of the castle making up a wing of the new house. The house remains a magnificent building today and has been renovated recently into flats.

    During the 18th and 19th centuries a number of limestone quarries existed in the area. Limestone was quarried then separated from its ore by being burned with coal in kilns. The lime ashes were then spread on fields to make the land fertile for growing crops. The increasing populations of towns like Paisley and Johnstone required nutritious field-grown food like cereals, potatoes, beans and turnips. It was at the Great Lime Work of Craigends where the wealthy Cuninghame family made their profits from a large quarry.

    In the late 17th century weaving was the main industry in the area. Large quantities of cotton, muslin, lawn and silk gauze were produced in the village. The Crosslee Mill was established in 1793 as a cotton spinning mill and was the biggest mill on the River Gryffe. This tradition continued into the 19th century and Houston became known world wide for its quality embroidery. Initially the area gained a reputation for traditional white-work embroidery, known as flowering, but later this was developed and they began producing coloured work based on the more modern French designs. The embroidery work was so highly regarded that the velvet seats in the House of Lords were made in Houston. In 1851 when Queen Victoria officially opened the Great Exhibition she spoke in front of a richly embroidered curtain made in Houston, which was another example of the type of craftsmanship that emerged from the area. The introduction of machine embroidery took its toll on the specialist Houston industry and by the beginning of the 20th century the industry had all but come to an end.

    The soil of the local area is partly clay and partly loam. Originally hundreds of acres of moss could be found east of Houston. Most have now been reclaimed and have been converted into farmland, such as Fulwood Moss in 1879-80. The two largest of the existing mosses are Barochan Moss, northeast of the village and Linwood moss, east of Crosslee.

    On the 1st June 1889 the Caledonian Railway line opened to Gourock. Houston station was opened at today’s B790 at Georgetown. On 10th January 1983 services on the Kilmacolm line ended . There was a Houston Station located next to today’s B789 adjacent to Merchiston Hospital.

    John Harper was born at Woodside Cottage, Houston on 29th May 1872. He was a local preacher and worked at AF Stoddard’s carpet factory in Elderslie, the Smith and McLaurin paper-mill at Milliken Park and Sir Stephen Bine Renshaw’s garden at Barochan House, near Houston. He was one of the 1,522 victims of the sinking of the RMS Titanic of the Newfoundland coast on 14th April 1912.

    Until the 18th century Kilellan was a separate parish from Houston with its own church Whilst there was no village here as such there was a mill and a smithy. Both were vitally important to the small farms which were sited at Barochan a few miles east of Kilellan. The name Kilellan means 'the chapel of Fillan'. St Fillan was probably an Irish monk who came to the area in the early years of Christianity in Scotland (around 740). The old manse at Kilellan is said to be the oldest inhabited house in Renfrewshire. The building has been carefully restored over the years and parts of it date back to the 17th century.

    The Kilallan Bell originally hung in the 12th century Kilallan Church., and was used to summon the faithful to prayer in the little pre-Reformation chapel between what is now Houston and Kilmacolm. Nearby was St Fillan’s holy well, which was often visited by sick people from the local area. Pieces of cloth were hung on nearby bushes as a sign of prayer and thanksgiving. In 1690 the minister of Kilellan had the well filled with stones in a bid to stop locals practising what he considered was nothing short of paganism. In the same field there was also a large boulder with two hollows in it which was known as St Fillan's Seal. Legend has it that St Fillan preached at the site where he baptised babies, using the bigger hollow as his seat and the smaller as a font. Reference to St Fillan was removed from the bell after the 1560 Reformation to prevent it’s destruction by Reformers determined to remove all references to saints in churches.

    The bell was originally cast in the 12th or 13th centuries, but was recast in 1618 and engraved with the name of its architect, Charles Hogg. The parishes of Houston and Kllellan were joined in 1760 and when the churches at Kilallan and nearby Houston united in 1771, the Kilellan Church fell into ruin and the bell was acquired by land-owner William Fleming of nearby Barochan House.

    The bell was silenced during the Second World War as part of the military effort. The law decreed bells would only be rung in the event of an enemy invasion or to signal a cease-fire. It was bequeathed to the Henderson family, who owned a prestigious jewellery business in Paisley, and succeeded the Flemings at Barochan House.

    When the Henderson’s sold Barochan in 1998, the historic bell was donated to Houston and Killellan Church. Today, it is safely ensconced in an old organ loft at the kirk.

    Craigends: The Cuninghame family of Craigends was a prominent family in the area for many years. Descendants of the ancient family of Cuninghame of Kilmaurs in Ayrshire William Cuninghame, the first Laird of Craigends was granted the lands of Craigends on 4th February 1479. The first mansion house was built at around this time by William and remained there for over four centuries.

    The 1Oth Laird, William Cuninghame, extended the estate by building a large courtyard around 1760 with a barn and stables, as well as office houses. In 1762 an arched bridge was built over the River Locher enclosing much of the land.

    William's son, Alexander, took over the estate in 1765 and added an orchard and garden of around three acres adjacent to the courtyard. At one stage tobacco was one of the crops planted in the estate, although little is known of how the experiment went.

    The house was demolished during the time of Alexander Cuninghame, the 16th Laird and a new mansion house was designed by David Bryce and built in 1857. It was situated nearer to the river Gryffe than the previous house The new house is believed to have influenced architecture by setting the example of having a central hall forming the main lounge and sitting room of the house.

    The last occupent of Craigends House, Alison Cuninghame, widow of John Charles Cuninghame, the 17th and final Laird of Craigends, died in 1958. Three years later the contents of the house were sold by auction and the property lay vacant for many years. Despite efforts to safeguard the house it was finally demolished in 1971. The land, including the gardens, was used for a private housing scheme. The 200 year old stone arch from the property still exists, and can be found in nearby Cuninghame Gardens.

    By 1950 Houston’s population had dropped to 600, hardly even enough to support its three pubs. However a growing problem at the time was the invasion of drinkers from Glasgow and Paisley who travelled in on weekend evenings and then caused havoc on the late buses home. In the fifties there were also plans to build a New Town which would take the overspill from Greenock, Port Glasgow and Renfrew and had these succeded the target population would have been 40,000. But Houston remained a sleepy rural community and even today retains an pack of foxhounds.

    Population: (1841) 623, (1861) 858, (1871) 518, (1881) 553.

    Howwood (formerly also known as Hollow-Wood) is a small village located 11km (6.8 miles) west of Paisley just off the A737.

    The village comprises of the old village, post-war private housing, and some council-built flats and houses.

    The Howwood Inn was built about 1770, and is one of a number of buildings dating to this time, located on and near George Street.

    A wonderful view is available from the hill on the north side of the Black Cart River, on the Howwood-Lochwinnoch Road. Views extend from Paisley to Lochwinnoch and beyond. The curious building on the summit is referred to as a temple on modern ordnance survey maps, and has been for over 150 years. The owner of the property, however, believes it is an ornate shelter, used by hunters in previous centuries. This is supported by the 1864 Ordnance survey map, which names the hill and surrounding lands as 'Deer Park'.

    For many years the Semples were the main family living in the village. They lived in Elliston Castle, the one-wall ruins of the tower house still stand. Around 1500 the family moved to Castle Semple in Lochwinnoch.

    The village was spelled Howood according to a 1864 map of the area.

    Bleaching and finishing of cotton was an important industry during the 18th century. The Bowfield bleaching works were open until the 1960's. The plant was taken over by a leisure company, and is now the site of the Bowfield Country Club. There are some remnants of the Midtownfield Bleachworks (1835-40) to the south. There were limeworks and limekilns east of the village, Midtown Bleachworks and quarries, and quarries to the south. A church was repaired in 1874 and adorned with a memorial window. A vast hill fort can be found on Walls Hill. It has been suggested that this was a Celtic 'oppidium' and possibly the capital of the Damnonii in Roman times.

    Next to the narrow country road between Howwood and Lochwinnoch can be found the Clochoderick Stone, which is made up of volcanic rock different to the rock on which it sits. It is similiar to bedrock found in the hills a few miles north and west, and was deposited here during the last ice age around 18,000 years ago. Legend asserts it's use by the Iron Age druids as a site for dispensation of justice on this rocking stone. Depending on how the stone moved, with the accused in place, innocent or guilty was decreed. It is thought they also used the site to celebrate dates on the pagan calendar like solstices and equinoxes. Legend also states the stone marks the burial place of Rydderick Hael, monarch of the Kingdom of Strathclyde.
    Height 3.6m (12'), Breadth 5.1m (17'),Length 6.7m (22')

    The village had a railway station until 1955. A new station was opened in March 2001.

    pop. 312 (1871), Pop. 333 (1881), Pop. 1035 (1991).

    Hunterhill is a residential area 1 mile/1.6km southeast of Paisley on the A726 Barrhead Road. It is thought the area was named after the High Steward's chief huntsman who had his residence here.

    Paisley’s boundaries were extended as a result of The Housing Act of 1946 and as a result provisions were made for the addition to existing housing estates. As a result, the area is almost entirely residential, without any of the industrial sites evident in other areas of Paisley.

    Jenny's Well Local Nature Reserve is situated on the south bank of the White Cart River, sandwiched between the housing estate of Hunterhill and the industrial complex of Ciba Speciality Chemicals. In the 19th century, much of the area was quarried for limestone and whitestone. The old domestic laundry, at one time also used for the textile trades, was established for well over a century and became disused around about the 1950s. After the laundry closed, a haulage contractor used the buildings as a garage and lived in the house with his large family and several dogs.

    The dam was filled in to make a football pitch and the site of Jenny's well can be found as a pile of rocks on the hillside above. The environmental improvements were originally started in response to the legacy left by 15 years of landfill operations and subsequent disuse of the area during the 1960's and 1970's. Other parts of the site were managed as allotments in the 1950's and 1960's. At this time there was still a railway line running through the middle of the site. At the northern end of the site is the viaduct carrying the Paisley Canal railway line over the White Cart River. This was originally built as an aqueduct for the Glasgow, Paisley and Johnstone Canal in 1806. The canal was filled in and converted to carry a new railway in 1885. It is thought to be the oldest bridge in the world which still actively carries a railway. The reserve is the home of dozens of bird species and countless plant types. There is an area of bogland, where sedges, rushes and wild orchids grow. The reserve is accessible from the cycle track in the south, off Jenny's Well Road to the east, and for pedestrians, access points off Cartha Crescent, Whinhill Road and Todholm Road to the west.

    There are references to Hunterhill on maps dating back to at least 1596 and remained mainly rural until after World War 2.

    The pub on the corner of Lochfield Road and Barrhead Road was the site of Todholm Cottage [1864 map].

    Inchinnan [inch=an island, low-lying land near a river or stream] and [anan = the patron saint] is located 6km (3.7 miles) north of Paisey on the A8. The area is residential, apart from an Arriva Bus Depot on Greenock Road.

    Forlerly known as Inchienun, Inchenane and Inchinan, the village was named after Inan, a confessor at Irvine in the 9th century. He was also patron saint of Beith. The area was primarily rural until after the second world war.

    Sir William Beardmore set up a site to establish a British airship industry. Britain’s one reasonably successful airship, the R34, was built there in a great hangar which later formed The India Rubber Factory. The structure is now a Grade A listed building. While under the control of Dunlop, the company employed 2,500 employees at this site.

    The Bascule swing-bridge over the River Cart was officially opened on 28th March 1923, replacing an earlier swing bridge. See Kirklandneuk for details of the Inchinnan Bascule Bridge.

    The first recorded mention of Park Estate dates from 1496. Of the 550 acres at the start of the 20th century, the most historic part is home to today’s Riverpark private housing scheme, which began in May 1996. park House stood here for about 164 years. It was built about 1782 and demolished in 1945-46. There were quarries in the late 1700’s, and produced freestone of superior quality, and the 1809-1812 bridges across the Black and White Carts at Inchinnan were built of Park Estate stone. The quarries continued to produce well into the 19th century.

    The Church of Scotland (Park Hall) building, on Luckingsford Road, is a C-listed building. It was constructed in 1849 of sandstone. In recent years been used as a community venue and for storage, however, in 2001 there was interest in it's demolition, with the construction of villas or flats in it's place.

    Birds: A reader of Paisley's 'Gazette' newspaper recently reported the following birds in the area - long-tailed tits, siskins, red poll, goldcrest, sparrows, dunnocks, blue tits, great tits, coal tits, chaffinches, thrushes, magpies, rooks, collar doves and woodpigeons. Swans are common along the Gryffe River, and the area was noted for it's wildfowling in the 1800's.

    Next to Inchinnan Bridge, which crosses the Black Cart River, was Old Parich Church which measured 50 feet by 18 feet, with very thick walls. It was built about 1100, and was pulled down in 1823, when the floor was found to be literally paved with skulls. The site was once the property of the Knights Templar.

    The Knights Templar were a fraternity founded in 1118 by Hugo de Payens of Burgandy and eight other 'poor knights of Christ' to protect pilgrims on their way to the holy city of Jerusalem. The secular and ecclesiastical authorities saw the knights as blasphemous heretics, and launched a bloody campain against them on Friday 13th October 1307.

    There are references to Inchinnan on maps dating back to at least 1596.

    A new church, with its heavy square tower which was built by Lord Blythswood on the same site. It was opened in 1828 and demolished in 1904, when a third church was built on the site. This last church was demolished in the 1960's when the Ministry of Aviation deemed the location of the church, directly under the flightpath of the recently opened Glasgow Airport, as unsafe. In the 1970's the sculptured stones which covered the resting places of the Knights, were moved to their current location, at the new Inchinnan Church.

    Nothing remains of 'The Palace of Inchinnan' which was altered and rebuilt about 1506 by Matthew, Lord Darnley, second Earl of Lennox. There were considerable remains of the building in 1710, but these had disappeared by the end of the century. The site is close to Flures Drive, Inchinnan.

    The estate of North Barr was purchased originally in 1670 by Donald McGilchrist who claimed descent from the Lord of Tarbart of Robert the Bruce's time.

    Basalt was excavated as early as 1760 for the construction of jetties, and there have been a number of sandstone and limestone quarries in the past.

    ‘John’s settlement’. John (personal name); tun (Old English) ‘farm, settlement’.... Johnstone is a town located 5.5km (3.4 miles) west of Paisley just off the A737. The town was built to accommodate the mills of landowner George Houston in 1782.

    At one time it was the fastest growing town in Scotland with more than 20 mills in operation. Planned on a formal grid iron basis, there are two civic squares which have been extensively restored in recent years. In the post war years, like many towns in the area, Johnstone built new housing estates to accommodate the overspill from Glasgow. Today, there is a population of about 18,000 people, and is a lively centre with many good shops, bars and restaurants, as well as sports facilities and a modern swimming pool.

    The 16th century tower building of Johnstone Castle is located near Tower Road. It was the home of the lairds of Johnstone and was visited in 1848 by composer Frederic Chopin who was the guest of the Houstoun family.The tower house is all that remains of Johnstone Castle which was substantially increased in 1771 and 1812. It is three stories high and has 210 square metres of floor space.

    The castle was used as a military headquarters during World War 2. Following the death of George Ludovic Houstoun, the last laird of Johnstone in the 1930s, the picturesque castle was acquired by the former Johnstone Town Council who built the present Johnstone Castle housing scheme in its wooded land in 1956. The castle has lain empty since the 1950's, but recently was put on the market by the local council, in an attempt to have it's high restoration costs seen to by a private buyer.

    This is a stone seat and canopy located on the Beith Road near the Bird in the Hand Hotel. It is thought to have been built in the late 19th century by George Ludovic Houstoun, the last Laird of Johnstone. He lived in nearby Johnstone Castle, and was responsible for the construction of many town landmarks, such as the Houston Square bandstand, Gordon Square and Cochrane Tower. The shelter is used by the local Johnstone Wheelers cycle club, who have used it as a starting point for their training runs since the club was founded in 1928.

    The name goes back to the 12th century. A map by Blaue, based on a late 1500’s survey, shows a bridge over the River Cart at Johnstone. This was the first ever bridge over the river and was on the original Glasgow to Clyde Coast road.

    The town started to expand in 1781, when a large cotton mill was built there. The industrial success of the town in the mid to late 19th century was not surprising. It had coal for the new steam engines, foundry work, and heating. It had plenty of water from the River Cart for textile production, dyeing , bleaching and finishing, for engineering cooling purposes, and drinking water for the growing population. It did, however, become a victim of it’s commercial success resulting in inadequate housing and facilities .

    The crow-stepped, quadrangular Cochrane Tower is close to the site of the Benston coal-pit disaster (see below). A mile away is the site of the Battle of Muirdykes, which took place on the 18th June 1685. The family of Sir John Cochrane, the Covenanters' leader, lived at Cochrane Castle on the site of Cochrane tower.Sir John and his army were looking for refuge in the medieval stronghold when they were intercepted and forced to fight against the dragoons within sight of their destination. The Cochranes were related to the Earls of Dundonald in Ayrshire who owned the historic Renfrewshire castle, which bears their name. The powerful Earls were involved in the fierce family feuds and political intrigues which ravaged Scotland for hundreds of years.The original Cochrane Castle was demolished during the late 18th century. In 1896, George Ludovic Houstoun, the last laird of Johnstone, erected Cochrane Tower where it once stood. The site is now in a private garden.

    Johnstone was home of globally-renowned machine tool factories such as John Lang, Alban, Loudon's, Clifton and Baird, Craig and Donald, Thomas Shanks, Davie and Horne, and Ferguson's, as well as the flax-spinning mills of Finlayson and Bousfield and William Paton's thread-manufacturing works. Stewart's Mill was engulfed by flames in 1828.

    Famous Johnstone people include poet Alexander McLachlan, who was born at the Brig in 1818 and who emigrated to North America where he was revered as the Robert Burns of Canada. John Fraser, the 19th century Radical schoolmaster and political reformer, lived at nearby Newfield House and used revolutionary teaching methods to educate young children at his George Street school. Sir William Arrol worked as a boy at the Johnstone mills before becoming the architect of the Forth Road Bridge and the Tower Bridge in London.

    George Houston, the founder and Laird of Johnstone, had by the late 18th century earned for himself a glowing reputation throughout Scotland as an expert on textile and mining matters. George, who lived at Johnstone Castle, was a man of vision who owned cotton-mills in Clark Street, lime-works at Floors Street, coal-mines at Auchenlodment, Quarrelton and the Benston, and sandstone quarries at Craigenfe och at the edge of his vast estate on the south side of the town. A leading light in the financing of Thomas Telford's famous canal which ran from Glasgow to Paisley and Johnstone, his knowledge of industrial processes was so great his testimonies as an expert witness were mich in demand by lawyers in mining controversies which went to court. In 1766, about 30 years before the introduction of high-pressure steam engines at Ironbrldge Gorge, George Houstoun brought to Johnstone the legendary Greenock-born engineer and inventor James Watt, to test an air pump which would extract dangerous combustible gases from hiS Quarrelton coal mine at the junction of Beith Road and Rannoch Road. A historic account book contains an entry in Mr Houstoun's own hand-writing confirming the installation of James Watt's new pumping-engine. But, before the system could be developed further at the Quarrelton colliery, James Watt left for England to team up with Matthew Boulton at the Soho Works, near Birmingham, where he patented his new invention. The air-pump first used at Johnstone later fulfilled an important role at Ironbridge Gorge and other hives of burgeoning industry all over the world.
    Our thanks to the Paisley Daily Express for the above text.

    Mining disasters: On Tuesday 25th October 1860 the north side of the Benstone Mine was flooded with water from the old workings in the area. Some 50 workers were in the pit at the time. The underground mine was flooded and five miners drowned. Their bodies were never recovered. Most miners were having breakfast at the time otherwise the death toll would have been higher. On 20th September 1873, an accident occurred at the Merry and Cuninghame's New Moss Pit between Johnstone and Linwood. Blasting powder caught alight, causing an explosion which killed two miners. Ironmasters Merry and Cuninghame went into liquidation in the 1930s but their New Moss Pit, near what is now the Barochan Interchange, closed years earlier.

    Johnstone once was two railway stations; one at today’s location and another east of Barrochan Road next to today’s A737 (cycle track).The Glasgow & SouthWestern Railway line, which ran from Glasgow, through Johnstone, to Ayr was built in 1840.

    The well-known landmark in Ludovic Square, with its granite base, pillars and canopy, was erected in 1886 at the request of an anonymous donor. After the fountain was handed over to the town by the donor's agent, William Borland of Glasgow, Provost John Love turned on the water and drank to its success. Following the ceremony, there was a cake and wine banquet for invited guests in the nearby Town Hall. One of the red granite slabs is engraved with the inscription: “To the people of Johnstone, the gift of Tempus Actium“.

    The historic Paton’s Mill is an A-listed building. The six-storey mill, with its white facade, is currently empty, but there have been suggestions on it being converted into a industrial museum or 79 flats. The Old Mill section of the huge factory dates back to 1782 and is thought to be the first machine factory in the world, and it’s original lathe is still in place. The mill in High Street was opened originally as a cotton-spinning factory but was later used for lace manufacture.
    Built by the Corse and Burns Company, it predates by four years the New Lanark cotton-mill which was founded by David Dale, the Stewarton-born industrialist who was apprenticed to a weaver in Paisley. Paton's took over the mill in 1896 when their first factory in Clark Street was destroyed by fire.

    In 1820 there were uprisings in Johnstone and Paisley. Crowds were protesting about the poor working conditions and bad housing. Paisley was under martial law at that time. On the 3rd April 1820 a number of Radicals, as the protesters were called, decided to raid farms and cottages on the Gleniffer Braes to aquire weapons for their cause. They visited houses at Lounsdale and Millarston where pistols and guns were obtained. After a small skirmish at Foxbar House, on the Elderslie outskirts, the military approached to break up the disorder.

    St. Margaret’s Church: Because of their proximity to Ireland, west of Scotland towns, with their textile mills, engineering factories, coal and ironstone mines, and road and railway construction projects, became home to Irish potato blight fugitives. To cater for the town’s Catholic population, a hayloft in a cotton mill in McDowall Street was converted into a place of worship, on 31st October 1852. St.Margaret’s church in Graham Street opened on 26th December 1875, and this remained the only Johnstone parish until 1948.

    The name is probably from ‘the place of St Berchan’s church’. Cill (Scottish Gaelic) ‘church’; Berchan (personal name) of a 7th century Irish saint. Found in this form 1246 and Timothy Pont’s map of about 1600 makes reference to ’Kilbachan’. Saint Barchan was, according to MacKenzie, a Scoto-Irish saint who lived between 550 and 650. He pursued his clerical calling both in Ireland and in Scotland, at Clonsast, King’s County and at Kilbarchan. In his old age, being stricken with blindness, he received as a compensation from heaven, the gift of prophecy. On his death his body was borne to Inishmore, Galway Bay, where he was buried beside three other saints in the church which was thereafter known as the Church of the Four Illustrious or the Church of the Four Comely Saints.

    Kilbarchan is located approximately half way between Johnstone and Bridge of Weir, 2.5 kilometres (2 miles) from Johnstone town centre. It is an attractive village regarded as an Outstanding Conservation Area by Historic Scotland. Although rather spoiled in part by property demolitions occasioned by the demands of roads engineers, it nevertheless retains an old world charm. Today many of the original terraced houses survive, together with old names such as Shuttle Street and Ewing Street, although many of the outlying mansions were demolished as needs changed. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries trams and trains introduced links to Glasgow. Today a dual carriageway bypass speeds traffic into Paisley and Glasgow and Kilbarchan is a dormitory and tourist town with a population of about 4000. The town centre is

    Weaver's Cottage is perhaps Kilbarchan's best-known historical building. It is located at the Cross, and has been restored and managed by the National Trust for Scotland. The cottage has interesting lintel inscriptions and displayed inside are a two-century-old working loom and various weavers' tools and belongings.

    The Kilbarchan Church steeple, built in 1755 by James Milliken, dominates the village skyline. When built, the building acted as a combined school and meal market. The door on the west side was also the entrance to the schoolroom. This entrance was closed when the school was enlarged in 1782 and another door made. It has been suggested the pupils could not resist the temptation of pulling the bell rope which hung down the side of the staircase. The bell was rung by the church at 6am, and 6pm and again at 10pm. The church was originally built with only one clock face - facing Kilbarchan cross. The other three faces were put in 27 years later. It has a square shaped spire about 75 feet high. On the building is a niche containing a bronze statue of Robert 'Habbie' Simpson (1550-1620), a famous local piper. This statue was added in 1822. The nickname 'habbie' derives from the old nickname of a native of Kilbarchan. A ballustrade was also placed above the clocks having 5 balusters in each square, for the safety of people wishing to walk around the belfry and enjoy the view of the village, although today it is not open to the public. The steeple building plays an important part in the village's annual Lilas Day celebrations, held in early June.

    There are references to Kilbarchan on maps dating back to at least 1596.

    Formerly known as Kylberhan or Kilberchan, the village was a religious centre named after the 7th century saint. St. Barchan spent part of his life in a cell on the site of the present Kilbarchan West Parish Church (built 1901). The site was originally the Chapel of St. Katrine, founded about 1483. Next to the church is the Old Parich Church (see photo below), which dates from 1724. It is now used as a church hall. In the grounds is a flat sandstone gravestone (shown with an arrow on the above picture). This is thought to be the resting place of Hobbie Simpson. There is a carving on the stone of a butcher's cleaver - Habble was a butcher to trade - and the initials H.S. and I.C.

    Kilbarchan has seen mixed fortunes over the centuries. Before 1560 the monks of Paisley Abbey owned much of the parish and agriculture was the main industry. At the time of the 1695 Poll Tax, agriculture still dominated, but other trades of masonry, carpentry, weaving, tailors and smithies were apparent. In 1695 there were 30 or 40 weavers but the 18th century brought rapid expansion due to the introduction of improved methods of weaving and bleaching. John Barbour built a factory, probably at Stack Yard, in 1739 making thick linen, and this was followed by a bleaching factory using water from the burn. There was also a candle factory and John Houston owned a brewery in 1782. In 1742 Allan Speirs started manufacturing higher class goods (lawns, cambrics etc) mainly for the Dublin market, since transport by sea was easier than by land. In 1782 Alexander Speir, John and Humphrey Barbour in company, John How, John Barbour Jr., and John Houston employed 360 weaving looms. Muslin and gingham were the early home-made products, then the hand looms were used for tartans.

    Linen weaving began in 1739 by John Barbour of Forehouse, and others, such as Spiers, How and Houston. In 1774 there were 180 hand looms in the village, rising to 383 in 1791, and increasing to about 800 by 1836. A preserved example of a weavers cottage, owned by the National Trust for Scotland, is at Kilbarchan Cross, and is open for viewing. The advent of the power-loom in the 1880's saw the prosperity of the village decline dramatically.

    The triangle of Johnstone, Bridge of Weir and Houston has supported widespread commercial quarrying of sandstone for building, and whinstone for roadmaking. The parish had 7 coal mines, and lime and freestone resources. In 1713 Thomas Kennedy of Pennel was mining coal and lime, William Cunninghame [1742-65] mined coal, with water being removed by a water engine, and in 1755 there were coal pits in the lands of Kaimhill. James Milliken used waste from his coal pits at Barrhill to improve his roads. Around 1794 Kilbarchan coal was only used for burning lime, with household coal coming from Paisley. Today Barr Hill Quarry is still worked, with the stone used for road construction and maintenance.

    James Milliken did a great amount of good to the village of Kilbarchan and made several of the neighbouring roads, particularly those between Johnstone and Kilbarchan on both sides of the estate. He built, in 1761, the two-arch bridge over the Cart, near to where the railway station now stands, and contributed largely to the building of the old coach road (today's Park View and Branscroft) and the rebuilding of the bridge on the main road between Johnstone and Kilbarchan. He died in 1776.

    Robert Allan was born in 1774 in the Townfoot area of Kilbarchan where he spent most of his life. He died on 7th June 1841, after catching a cold just days before landing in the United States of America where he was emigrating to at the time of his death. Like most local weavers, the poet was inspired by the beautiful countryside around Paisley and Kilbarchan. He sympathised with Radical reformers who agitated for political reform, and condemned economic trends heralding the death knell of cottage hand-looms and transferring textile patterns to mechanised power-looms in massive factories throughout Renfrewshire. Allan was friends with Paisley poet Robert Tannahill, and they both belonged to a coterie of craftsmen priding themselves on their learning. They helped to establish Paisley’s earliest libraries for working-class readers. In 1935 a fountain was erected in memory of Robert Allan adjoining the wall of the Glentyne Estate.

    At the extreme south end of the Old Parich Church graveyeard is the site of the old market-place, which was the scene of Kilbarchan's first right-of-way contest. When the proprietor of the Glentyne Estate built a new boundary wall encroaching a few feet on common ground, the excitement was so great the whole village rose up in arms against the 'land grabbers'. Armed with picks and crowbars, the villagers marched to the scene, tore down the newly-built wall and hurled the stones among the trees of the woods. The villagers won their case.

    Kilbarchan sent 50 Militia to assist in the opposition to the 1745 rising.

    A 1774 survey showed a population of 1,184. The 1961 census had the population at 3,910 and in 1991 a population of 3,726.

    On the northern side of Barrhill, today dominated by the quarry, was the site of a Roman camp in the shape of an oval. There was once a large stone called the 'Wallace Seat' by locals. It's name was probably derived from the family of Wallace who owned the lands of Milliken for several generations, and was descended from the house of Elderslie. A visit in June 2002 to the area revealed the access road heavily overgrown. There were no signs of the camp or the stone, but rusting ruins of quarry equipment and a ruined building all dating from the 1970's could be found. Tradition speaks of a victory by William Wallace at Barrhill, but there is no definite evidence to uphold this claim. The story says he enticed several enemy soldiers into a marsh and killed them as they struggled to escape.

    During an archaeological dig at the rear of Kilbarchan's Weaver's Cottage in May 2002, 18th and 19th century pottery and china was discovered. Bits of animal bones and a human skull were also uncovered. It was estimated the skull was 200 years old and belonged to a man aged 25 to 40. A stone age axe head was also found dating back 4000 to 5000 years. The Weavers Cottage in Church Street, built in 1723, lies less than 200 yards from the graveyard at Kilbarchan West Parish Church. They were working beside the remaining wall of an old building in the hope of finding a floor or foundation to establish if it was an old weaver's cottage, workhouse or washhouse.

    Kirklandneuk is an area of Renfrew, west of the town centre. It is 5km (3.1 miles) north of Paisley on the A8.

    It was named after a farm which was located near today's Ard Road and there are references on maps to Kirkland dating back to at least 1596. The area remained rural until after the second world war.

    According to tradition, St. Conval was resting on a stone on the Irish shores looking towards Scotland, when he felt he was called to establish a church. The stone he was sitting on floated across the Irish Sea, up the River Clyde, and rested by the River Cart. This 2 ton stone is located adjacent to the A8 outside the Normandy Hotel. St Conval went on to found the church in Inchinnan in 597 A.D. The ruins of this church can be found on the opposite side of the River Cart, righ under the Glasgow Airport flightpath. The hollow on top of the stone was where a cross once stood. It was erected to the memory of St Cobval after his death in 612 A.D. The stone became a shrine for pilgrims and sick people as rainwater from the hollow was believed to have healing powers.

    It is now known as the Argyle Stone as it was the spot where the 9th Earl of Argyle was wounded and taken prisoner after the failure of his expedition of April 1685. After the dispersal of his troops in Dumbartonshire, the Earl crossed the Clyde, and , dressed as a peasant, was making his way to Renfrew from Inchinnan. He had just crossed the Cart and was resting on St Conval's stone when he was attacked by two militiamen who had been guarding the ford where the bridge now stands. He spent the first night of his captivity on one of the rooms in the Palace of Paisley which was attached to the Abbey. He was then taken to Edinburgh and beheaded at the Mercat Cross on 30th June 1685. Tradition says the stone was figured with red-coloured veins, which represented stains from the Earl's blood. By the 1850's they were reported as no longer visible.

    You might spot otters travelling up and down the river and it's banks. This protected species is a regular visited to the River Cart at this spot.

    There was once a public ferry crossing the Cart near the current bridge. In 1759 a nine-arch bridge was constructed, but the foundations were poor, and the entire structure gave way in 1809. Another bridge was built in 1812 and again in 1923 when the current Bascule Swing Bridge was constructed. The original wooden decking decking was replaced with steel in 1967.

    In the 1880's it was possible to stand on the bridge crossing the White Cart River, look north, and make out the time on the Singers clock at Kilbowie sewing machine works.

    The Inchinnan Bascule Bridge was built in 1923 and is a grade A listed structure. It is the only surviving rolling lift bridge in Scotland. When the bridge lifts to the vertical position to let river traffic past, the structure is carefully counter balanced by a heavy weight at the Renfrew end. This means very little mechanical effort or energy is required to make the 500 tonne bridge roll back. There has been periodic work to the road surface and electrical components over the last 10 years. Due to it's age, there is a 17 tonne weight restriction imposed. The Bascule Bridge was opened for river traffic in July 2003 - the first time in years. This was to allow a hydrographic survey vessel access to the upper part of the river for two days. While there, the boat checked the depth and shape of the river. The plan is to use barges to transport material from factories at Westway in Renfrew to foreign markets.

    Laigh Park [Laigh=low] is primarily an industrial area imediately north of Paisley town centre.

    The area was named after Laigh Park Farm. The main house was located on Abercorn Street at the junction of Harbour Road. Although still existing in the late 1890's, by the 1920's the industrial development of the area had surrounded the property and the building was demolished.

    The old Laighpark Harbour still exists, but is not accessible to the public.

    The eastern bank of the River Cart is viewable from the western bank.

    The best area is Nethercommon Harbour, which was reconstructed a number of years ago. This is an ideal spot for birdwatching.

    Because of it's proximity to the River Cart, Laigh Park has been an important industrial area since the late 18th century. In the late 1700’s the area was built up as far north as Lang Street (now gone due to construction of railway yards) located just north of today’s Hamilton Street. There were only two wood yards further north of this point. The expansion of Paisley along the east bank of the Cart was halted, due to the growth of dye works and small foundries, and the planned construction of the town’s first sewage disposal unit. There was a plan for a large sewerage treatment plant in the area, but World War 2 diverted funds elsewhere and it was never built, although a smaller version was opened in 1953 - now crossed by the M8. The land further north remained green until after World War I, when industrial expansion took hold of the River Cart's east bank.

  • On 5th June 1967 Paisley Abercorn station closed.
  • On 1st March 1965 Paisley Abercorn - Cart Harbour closed to freight.

    The name is thought to come from ‘long bank’. Lang (Scots) ‘long’; ‘bank’ (English). The name is apt for this straggling residential village on the raised bank of the Clyde. It is 9.3 miles/15km northwest from Paisley and 3.4 miles/5.5km east from Port Glasgow (Inverclyde) on the A8.

    Langbank started as a village after the opening of the Glasgow and Greenock Railway in 1841. Prior to that it was a scattered collection of farms. An 1800 map makes reference to Longbank.

    The estate of Finlaystone [Inverclyde] was bestowed upon Sir John de Danyelstoun by King Robert II in 1373. From 1488 to 1796 the owners were the 15 Earls of Glencairn, one of whom rescued Robert Burns from poverty and hardship and whose generous patronage persuaded the poet to live in Scotland and not go abroad to seek his fortune. Burns visited his patron, the 14th Earl, at Finlaystone and left evidence of having dined there by scratching his name with a ring on a window pane. Finlaystone Castle was designed by Sir John Burnet and built in the early 19th century on the site of an ancient castle of the same name. It is now the home of the chief of Clan MacMillan and is open to the public. There are gardens with River Clyde views, a woodland complete with waterfall, a Celtic art display, Doll Museum and Clan Centre.

    There was once a ferry service from a point just east of the village across the Clyde.

    The St. Vincent's Conference Centre and Holiday Home was previously known as 'The Hollies' and until 1980 functioned as a Roman Catholic boarding school for boys.

    Nearby, at a place called Chapelhill, overlooking Finlaystone, is the site of the Kilmalig monastic cell founded by Celtic christiam missionaries at the time of St. Columba. Around 1872 an Iron Age canoe made from a hollowed-out tree trunk was discovered at Chapelhill. It was used by the inhabitants of at least five lake-island dwellings, or crannogs, found by the archaeologists along the Clyde shoreline between Erskine and Langbank. These crannogs date to around 100BC, and consisted of wooden houses constructed on floating piles of timber anchored in the middle of the water to protect their inhabitants from the attacks of wild animals or rival tribesmen. Another crannog was excavated in 1902.

    Gleddoch House was once home of Glasgow shipping baron, Sir James Lithgow. After the downturn in the shipbuilding industry in the 1920's, he was seen as a spokesman for the whole industry. The house was built in 1926, and he lived there until his death in the 1950's. His widow later moved out and the property was used for guests for Scott-Lithgow shipyards until it became a 4-star hotel in 1974. It was famed for it's important visitors, and as a special place for wedding receptions. This fine building was destroyed by a kitchen fire on 23rd January 2004.

    The population of the village in 1882 was 322.

    Linburn is a residential area of Erskine located west of the town centre, some 8km (5 miles) northwest of Paisley off the Old Greenock Road.

    Residential development has been restricted to the north side of Old Greenock Road, while the south side has remained rural.


    The Old Greenock Road is the route of the original road from Renfrew to Greenock. A new, straighter alignment was built in the late 1700's, and forms part of today's A8.

    Early maps of the area show Linburn farm existing as of 1864, but not on an 1832 map. This fine old farm still exists, as well as the West Lodge, which has been converted into a private home. The south side of the Old Greenock Road was originally the lands of the Southbar Estate.

    The village name is a hybrid meaning ‘wood by the pool’ Llyn (Cumbric) ‘pool’; wudu (Old English) ‘wood’. Linwood is located 4.5km (3 miles) west of Paisley just off the A737. Originally known as ‘The Linwood’, the settlement dates back to the fourteenth century when Linwood consisted of a small collection of farms and dwellings concentrated on the banks of the River Black Cart. It was given the collective name The Linwood, with early mails showing it as 'Ye Lynwode'.

    The village saw it's greatest growth in the 1960's with the establishment of the Rootes Motor Works located at the site of today's Phoenix Retail Park. The factory had a workforce of 7,000 in the 1960’s. During this time the village's population grew, and several housing estates were constructed, primarily to house the motor work's employees. Today it is a mixture of council houses and flats, private dwellings and light industry. Being mainly a modern, planned village, Linwood has no outstanding architecture or historical happenings. Very little of the old Linwood remains.

    St Conval's Church was opened on 6th November 1932 as a place of worship for the local ironstone miners and their families, most of whom were Irish. They worked at the nearby Inkerman ironstone mines. The church is dedicated to the Irish monk St. Conval, who is said to have crossed the sea from Northern Ireland to Scotland on a floating stone. This rock, once known as St. Convals Chariot, can still be seen near the Normandy Hotel by the A8 at Kirklandneuk, near Renfrew. This is the area which St. Conval is thought to have landed, near the junctions of the Clyde, White Cart and Black Cart Rivers. St. Conval is thought to have travelled along the banks of the Black Cart River towards Linwood. Above the altar of the church was a wooden arch with the words 'Domus Dei Porta Coeli' (This is the House of God, the Gate of Heaven). The adjacent wooden hall was constructed in the nearby mining village of Inkerman (now demolished) in 1896, and was moved to it's present location due to the increase in Irish catholic immigrants. When the second church in Linwood was opened in 1967, St. Conval's was converted to a Social Club.

    There are references to Linwood on maps dating back to at least 1596.

    The Linwood Moss is thought to have been created when the Romans burned or felled the woods to prevent them from being used by the local as hiding places.

    The land on which Linwood stood was owned Paisley Abbey, which was founded in the twelfth century. One of its many assets was the fishing rights on the River Black Cart. Granted by the charter of William the Lion, they in turn rented them to the people of Linwood who had a cruive (salmon trap) at the weir at Linclive.

    The village consisted of two streets, Napier Street and Bridge Street, until further houses were built in the 1920s and 1930s. Another industry that began developing was ironstone mining. Pits soon began to spring up in and around the village. The employment provided by these industries was soon taken up by immigrants, mostly from the Highlands and Ireland, the latter arriving to escape the terrible famine caused by the failure of their crops due to potato blight. In 1855 several rows of houses were built just off Bridge Street and named The Redan after the battle in the Crimean War, About a half a mile north-west (now today's Clippens area) was another mining community named Balaclava, while yet another mining village, this time a mile to the east was born. This too was named after a battle in the Crimea, Inkerman, and like the other two it consisted of four rows of houses, a school and a company store.

    The village of Inkerman stood about one mile east of Linwood. Built in 1854-55, by Messrs Merry & Cunningham, who were local coal and ironmasters, the village was named after the Battle of Inkerman in the Crimean War. There were sixteen mines in the area with seven in Inkerman, which was rich in ironstone. The village consisted of five rows of houses, a company store, and later a school and schoolhouse were added along with reading rooms. There was no electricity, lighting was with paraffin lamps, heating was coal fires and the toilet was out the back. When the pits closed at the turn of the century, brickworks opened up at Blackston, Walkinshaw and Inkerman. In the 1930's, Merry & Cunningham went into liquidation and the village was put up for sale. The school closed in 1938 with the pupils being transferred to Linwood. When no one bought the village it was demolished and the population was split between Linwood and Elderslie, where they settled down. The school and its house remain just off Candren Road.

    With the coming of the American Civil War the cotton trade was denied its supplies of raw material and this brought about a slump in trade followed by the closure of some mills. Linwood mill survived until 1872, when it finally closed down. Later that year it reopened as a paper mill under the ownership of R. & W. Watson, who manufactured all manner of papers, including one called LINSON, which joins the first three letters of LINwood and the last three letters of WatSON.

    Linwood at the time was an agricultural community and remained so for centuries, but all was soon to change with the coming of the Industrial Revolution. In 1792 work began on the cotton mill in Napier Street, described at the time as 'the most splendid establishment in the cotton spinning business, perhaps in Britain.' The mill burned down in 1802, and was rebuilt in 1805. The power to work the mill came from two water wheels. One was an overshot wheel and it call be seen in the foreground in a cloud of spray. The other wheel was on the other side of the building and was operated by the tide coming up the River Black Cart.

    The original population of the village either worked in the cotton mill, or in the neighbouring mines. Fresh water was first received in 1872. The village had a small ironstone industry. Also known as semiporcelain, opaque porcelain, English porcelain and stone china, Ironstone China was a hard white earthenware, manufactured as a cheap alternative to porcelain. The village and surrounding areas were serviced by light railways, used to transport the clay.

    Before the old Cart bridge was built in 1776 the only way across the River Cart was by stepping stones. After it’s construction the way to trade was opened up and industry followed in the shape of two cotton mills, a print mill and engineering works. On Saturday 12th July 1859 the miners from The Redan in Linwood and the rivals from Inkerman met in the Battle of Linwood Bridge when factions from both sides fought out a bloody fight. One man was killed and several were badly injured, with weapons varying from mining tools, swords and cudgels, to anything which came to hand. The bridge was renovated in 1911 and is still in use today linking Bridge Street with Candren Road.

    The pits around the Clippens area were mostly mining ironstone, with the primary goal being blackband and blueband ironstone. Shale was a by-product. and thought worthless until James ‘Paraffin’ Young discovered that mineral oil could be extracted by a process of distillation and by the mid-1880’s the Clippens Shale Oil Company was in full swing. His discovery lead to the development of the paraffin lamp. He lived for a while at the Clippens Villa. By 1900 the factory had vanished but the local brickworks used the spent shale, after the oil had been extracted from it, to make blaes bricks. Shale-oil mining in the area resulted in many narrow-gauge mineral railway lines being laid across Linwood Moss.

    In 1961 the population of Linwood was still 2,500. By 1975 it stood at 16,000. This population explosion brought major change to the face of town. The expansion was quick and housing built to the north of the old village. The residents needed facilities and shops, church and schools began to appear.

    Craigends House became unoccupied about 1961. There were terraces, gardens, avenues, lawns and orchards. It was all flattened and a private housing estate built there (near the Gryffe riverbank). There are some surviving trees which had a preservation order. There is a cedar tree and a 600 year old yew - the oldest grove, or layering, yew in Scotland. It canopy is nearly 90 fete wide and the trunk 25 feet in circumference.

    The population of Linwood has grown slowly since its's birth: 910 (1831), 1514 (1861), 1250 (1871), 1393 (1881). The latest census (1991) had Linwood's population at 9,995.

    Loanhead is primarily a residential area of Renfrew. It is south of the town centre on the A741 Paisley Road, 2 miles /3.5km north of Paisley.

    The area features some fine Victorian villas and red sandstone tenements.

    Robertson Park was opened in 1912 as an open space for the children of Renfrew. It was gifted by William Robertson, a successful local businessman, to the Royal Burgh of Renfrew. There is a pets corner, play area, sensory garden and a skateboard ramp. The bowling green, tennis courts, putting green, model traffic area and bouncy castle have charges. Outside the Inchinnan Road entrance is a fountain with the inscription "Presented to the Burgh Of Renfrew by A.C.Bryce in memory of Andrew Crawford, Provost of Renfrew 1846-49.

    Ordnance survey maps of the area show Loanend as rural as on 1864, but with the construction of private housing on the east side of Paisley Road by 1895. The word Loanhead refers to the upper end of a loan. Loan means a lane or narrow street, the space between the middle of a street and the houses on either side, an opening between fields of corn for driving cattle home, a small piece of ground near a farm or village where cows are milked, a milking-park, a paddock or a small common.

    Lochfield is an area of Paisley 1.2 miles/2km south of Paisley off the B774 Neilston Road.

    The area is dominated by council-built houses, although new housing has appeared in recent years. Fine Victorian villas can be found in the area of Neilston road.

    Became built-up sometime prior to the Second World War. It was rural in 1864, although the Colinslie Print Works sat on the east side of Neilston Road, by Esperdair Burn.

    Few of the buildings from the area's past exist. One of the best examples is found in a lane off Rowan Street next to Esperdair Burn. These buildings were built between 1828 and 1839, and were part of the Royal Starch Works, which used the fast-flowing Esperdair Burn for it's water supply.

    The name originates from 'Loch of St Wynnin' or Finnian. Noted as lochynoc 1158. There are map references to kirk of Lochwinnoch on maps dating back to at least 1654.

    Lochwinnoch is located 5 miles/8km west of Paisley on the A760 and B786. The village is Situated on the banks of the River Calder which once powered its grain and cotton mills and was also a centre for bleaching and the manufacturing of furniture. In 1795, there were nine mills located here and the village was developed principally to accommodate the work force. It is now mainly a residential village. Being a conservation area, much of he character of this 17th century village has been retained. The village's small size means that many properties look out over the adjacent countryside and there are a variety of properties available. Commuters find easy access to the A737 and Lochwinnoch railway station brings it within commuting distance to Glasgow.

    The Brown Bull (pub) was originally built as a coaching inn in 1809, used by traders involved in the transportation of cotton and wool to the Paisley mills. The interior is very 'olde worlde' with its wood-beams and two centuries of wood smoke on the ceiling.

    The front gable of St. Winnoc's church, known as 'Auld Simon', still stands at the east end of the High Street. Its early 19th century replacement complements the formal open space of Harvey Square.

    The village is close to the large Muirshiel Regional Park which includes the Lochwinnoch Nature Reserve and Castle Semple Country Park, a nationally recognised wildfowl sanctuary and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). About 160 species of birds have been recorded here The Loch is also popular for a variety of watersports. The regional park caters for a range of tastes, including boating, cycling, windsurfing, canoeing, fishing and walking, and is home to the Castle Semple Regatta. Woodland walks are available, as well as walks to the moorland areas and to Calder River Waterfalls and Windy Hill. Clyde Muirshiel is one of Scotland's four Regional Parks. It covers over 100 square miles and includes moorland, farmland, glens, lochs, woodland and coast. The Muirshiel Visitor Centre is the ideal starting point for moorland walks or a climb to the summit of the aptly named Windy Hill. The Centre lies 4 miles north-west of Lochwinnoch at the end of a sign posted single track road off the B786 Lochwinnoch to Kilmacolm road. Hourly trains run to Lochwinnoch from Glasgow Central. The Castle Semple Visitor Centre is also in Lochwinnoch, on Lochlip Road. It is the Regional Park's focal point for water sports and has full access for wheelchair users.

    The grouse shooting season starts on the 'glorious 12th of August' and continues through to December. Apart from red grouse, rare black grouse and foxes make their homes in the hills.

    The beginnings of Lochwinnoch go back to the stone age about 3000BC. Well preserved bronze age artefacts have been found and an iron age fort can still be seen on Knockmade Hill. Hollowed out tree trunks used as canoes in the shallow lochs have also been found.

    The remains of Barr Castle, and early 16th-century square tower can be found near Lochwinnoch.

    The village of Lochwinnoch grew up around it's church and by the thirteenth century the chapel of Lochwinnoch was under control of monks of nearby Paisley Abbey. A new church was built in 1729. Part of it, now known as 'Auld Simon', still stands in the old churchyard. An old house, built in 1731 and thought to be the manse can still be seen in Jonshill.

    The Semples of Elliston fought for Robert the Bruce and came to Lochwinnoch area in 1474. They were appointed Hereditary Sheriffs of Renfrewshire and Hereditary Baillies of Paisley, and later created Lords Semple. Their lands of Castle Semple and Elliston guarded another land route south. The Semples steadily grew in power to become the Steward's hereditary Baillies of Renfrewshire and their extensive land holdings were around Lochwinnoch, where the High Steward had jealously preserved fishing rights - to the extent that Paisley Abbey could only take fish from that Loch when the High Steward himself was fishing.

    Nothing remains of Castle Semple and its 18th century successor. Castle Semple House remains only as buildings such as the west gate and a hexagonal folly known as The Temple, which was built in 1770.

    The Peel is an historic tower, built around 1560 by Robert, the third Lord Semple when fierce family feuds were gong on between his kinsfolk and their enemies. Originally on a small island, it now stands on a wooded causeway between Castle Semple Loch and the Aird Meadow RSPB reserve. The Scottish Office recently added it to the Schedule of Monuments considered to be of national importance, thereby ensuring its protection. The Peel can be viewed from the Loch by hiring a row boat and rowing over the Loch. No land access is available.

    In 1504 John, the first Lord Semple built the Collegiate Church which became one of Scotlands finest schools and whose ruins are still to be seen. He was killed at the Battle of Flodden. In 1727 the Semples sold the estate to the MacDowalls of Garthland whose mansion house (1735) burned down in 1924.

    The village was primarily agricultural until 1740 when the first linen factory was built. The industrial revolution at the end of the eighteenth century with it's mills and factories generated a demand for new housing and a planned extension or new town was built. It centred on the current cross and involved the creation of a new High Street and Main Street with Calder Street and Church Street at right angles to them. Two new churches were built and are still in use today. The streams rushing down from the moors north of the village provided water power for early industry, At one time there were twenty thread mills in the parish. Large weaving mills were established in the 1780's and Calderhugh Mill (now converted into attractive flats) employed 240 by 1791. In 1900 silk weaving began in Lochwinnoch and continued very successfully until 1985. Furniture making also established in the village in the 1800's, and Lochwinnoch furniture was to be found in the great Clyde built liners such as the Lusitania, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth and the Belfast built Titanic.

    The former Muirshiel barytes mine, situated in rugged moorland about 2.5 miles beyond the car park at Muirshiel Centre, was worked more or less continuously for over 200 years beginning in the mid-18th century. Barytes, or barium sulphate, is a high density mineral used in oil drilling, paint and paper-making, and - as a 'barium meal', in x-ray procedures. During the early years of production, all mineral extraction was done by open cast working, leaving rocky gullies which are still evident today. Later excavations took place to a depth of 660 feet. The mine closed in 1969, unable to compete with the quality or cost of barytes produced abroad, and the shafts were sealed off. The area around the mine remains a fascinating excursion for the amateur geologist, with a variety of rocks including strontianite, calcite, pyrite, quartz and celestine.

    Located in the Renfrewshire hills, mainly on Duchal Moor, was once a narrow gauge railway line, known as the Grouse Railway Line, by locals. The line was about 5 miles long and crossed hundreds of acres of boggy moorland in the hills between Lochwinnoch and Kilmacolm. It was constructed in 1922 by shipping magnate Henry Lithgow and it provided rail access to the shooting butts for field sportsmen from all over Britain who descended on the moors to test their shooting skills against the fast-flying game birds which skimmed low across the heather to escape the cracking guns. Supported on wooden sleepers, the line had three branches - one northwards to the Laverock Stone, another westwards to the Laird's Seat and the third southwards to Smeath Hill. The line started at Hardridge Farm, where the engines and passenger-wagons were stored in a corrugated-iron shed. The 24-inch gauge tracks were a combination of ex-First World War and former colliery light railway lines. The sleepers were from dismantled warships while the two petrol-driven engines had been in use at an ordnance factory at Gretna. Among the many visitors said to have ridden on the Grouse Railway was King Edward VIII during a shooting excursion to Scotland. The line remained in use until the 1970’s. The engines and wagons remain preserved, and sections of track, points and buffers remain in place. The grouse-shooting season starts annually on 12th August.

    The railway came to Lochwinnoch in 1840, and the village is still fortunate to retain a station on the busy electrified Glasgow to Ayr line. A second line which came through the village on it's way to Kilburnie has now been converted to a cycle track which forms part of the National Cycling network.

    The village population has been recorded as 1192 (1881), 3885 (1961) and 2275 (1991).

    Lounsdale is a residential area 1.5 miles/2.5km southwest of Paisley.

    The area was named after Lounsdale House and estate, which was located near today's Melrose Avenue. Nearby, at the southern end of today's Meikleriggs Drive, was the location of the Lounsdale Bleach Works, whose buildings remained until at least the 1930's. Although references to Lounsdale can be found further north, such as Lord Lounsdale Pub and Lounsdale Road, the area of Lounsdale Road and Cross Street, marked as Lounsdale on modern Ordnance Survey-based maps, was listed as Meikleriggs on maps up to WWI.

    The Half Time School is a state-listed category B building sited at the junction of Lounsdale Road and Maxwellton Road. It was built in 1887 and was originally part of the Ferguslie Mills complex. It was most recently used as a nightclub but was gutted by fire in July 1997 and was further damaged by storms in December 1998. Renfrewshire Council had always insisted the Half-Time School’s original bricks and stonework must be used for the restoration, but developers had said the 116-year-old materials were too badly damaged and instead wanted to build an exact replica using new bricks. The application approved by Renfrewshire Council will see the original materials used for around 80 per cent of the restoration of the building’s walls. And a steel structure will be erected inside the existing walls to support a new roof. As well as transforming the main building into 16 flats, developers will also convert an outbuilding into two flats and build a new detached lodge house on the site. Council permission for the building to be transformed into 16 luxury flats was granted in the summer of 2003.

    The Lounds family became weavers’ employers and merchants and bleachfield owners and landowners. Before chemicals, such as chlorine, were available to bleach raw flax, a steeping process in a solution of natural vegetable potash then sour buttermilk (lactic acid) and then applying as much daylight as possible. The goods would lye out on clean grass and would be constantly watered throughout the summer (stages were called ashing, souring and grassing).

    Paisley's illustrious Five Bob Mansion was Cardell House, and it was sold for just five shillings It was dubbed the Five Bob Mansion by Paisley Buddies. Surrounded by trees and with a beautiful lily-pond in the gardens, the two-storey, rectangular dwelling stood at the corner of Lounsdale Drive and Morar Drive, near the long-demolished McNair's Farm. The house was purchased in 1932 by Mrs Mary Reid of 7 Hunterhill Road, Paisley, after being auctioned by local firm Paterson's. Why she got it for such a knockdown price was a mystery because the assessed rental was just £90 and the duty was £37. This was well within the budget of industrial magnates from Paisley and Glasgow. Mrs Reid was the widow of a contractor and had two sons and daughters. Up until 1931, Cardell House was owned by the Coats family of thread-making fame. When WH Coats and his wife moved to Woodside in the West End, it was taken over by company directors Mr Neil Buchanan.Mr Buchanan then sold it to Mrs Reid for the bargain price of five shillings. It was later let as flats before being acquired by Paisley Town Council who subsequently demolished it.

    In 1820 there were uprisings in Johnstone and Paisley. Crowds were protesting about the poor working conditions and bad housing. Paisley was under martial law at that time. On the 3rd April 1820 a number of Radicals, as the protesters were called, decided to raid farms and cottages on the Gleniffer Braes to aquire weapons for their cause. They visited houses at Lounsdale and Millarston where pistols and guns were obtained. After a small skirmish at Foxbar House, on the Elderslie outskirts, the military approached to break up the disorder.

    some railway history...

  • 1st July 1885 Paisley Canal line opened by the Glasgow and SouthWestern Railway on the route of the Ardrossan canal
  • 1st June 1897 Paisley West station opened
  • 14th February 1966 Paisley West station closed
  • 10th November 1984 Line from Hawkhead through Paisley Canal to Elderslie closed completely
  • 10th January 1983 Paisley Canal and Kilmacolm services ended

    The name probably derives from meikle obsolete form of mickle, often used by Scottish writers meaning great, as a distinctive epithet for a place and rigg a ridge or measure of land.

    Meikleriggs is a residential area 1.5miles/2.5km southwest of Paisley off the B775 Corsebar Road.

    The Royal Alexandra Hospital was first opened in 1986 at a cost of £57 million. At the time the hospital opened, it had 2,500 staff and around 700 beds. The plaque inside the building states the hospital was officially opened by HRH Princess Alexandra on 3rd May 1988, but the actual formalities took place on 31st May 1988. The date was chosen to coincide with the exact month 88 years earlier when the old Royal Alexandra Infirmary, which the RAH replaced, was opened. The hospital was built on the original site of the Riccartsbar Mental Hospital. The old Riccartsbar Farm was demolished to make way for today's RAH.

    There are references to Meikleriggs on maps dating back to at least 1596.

    Meikleriggs farm existed on a 1781 farm, and existed until demolished to make way for the Royal Alexandra Hospital. The area remained rural until at least WW2. Meikleridge Bleachfields and Meikleridge Farm are mentioned on an 1839 mapOn a map of 1864 Meikleriggs field appears (near today’s Cross Road), and no other buildings. Riccartsbar Asylum appears on a 1909 map, along with scattered houses along Cross Road and Corsebar Road Junctions (25 houses in total). Off Crow Road and Calside (RAH side) was the lunatic Asylum, poor house and hospital (1909). In the late 1800’s, rows of houses were built, designed for key workers, foremen and mechanics.

    Corsebar means 'hill of the cross'. Riccartsbar means 'Richard's Hill.

    Millarston is a residential and light industrial area 1.5 miles/2.5km west of Paisley.

    The village was no more than a handful of buildings up until the late 1860's, when kilns were built near today's Arc car-wash. The majority of the buildings, consisting of farmhouses and villas, were further up the hill towards Station Road. The growth in the textile industry, and prosperity brought by the railway helped the village grow. Housing in the village today is dominated by 1930's, council-built flats and sandstone tenements at Newton Terrace.

    The huge Ferguslie Mill closed in the 1970's. The condition of the A-listed No. 1 Spinning Mill gradually deteriorated, with the local council having to exterminate a large rat populartion in 1988.

    The building was finally demolished in 1994(?) and part of the masonary can be found at the corner of Turners Avenue and Station Road.

    Once an agricultural village, Millarston had given over to the weavers or dyers and bleachers by the 1840’s.

    The original plan for The Paisley, Johnstone and Ardrossan Canal was for cargo to be unloaded at Ardrossan and brought by canal to the Tradeston area of Glasgow. The canal route was surveyed and approved in 1806 by Telford to construct the 32 mile navigation. Work started at Port Eglington, named in honour of the Earl of Eglington, one of the main supporters of the plan. By 1811 the canal had reached Johnstone. It was 4.5 feet deep and 10 miles long, and avoided locks due to its circuitous route.

    The canal was particularly popular as a passenger route. The fast boats would be pulled by two trotting horses. To give an example of its popularity, 425,000 people enjoyed this transport in 1813.

    Unfortunately the canal's construction was too late to compete with the railway mania which hit Britain in the 1800's, and the section between Johnstone and Ardrossan was replaced by a railway line. The canal struggled financially, and in 1869 it was bought by the Glasgow and South Western Railway Company. 16 years later the canal was filed in and a railway line built along the route. The Paisley Canal Line had been born. The largest existing part of the canal can be found at Millarston, just off Station Road. The basin and canal leads as far as Maxwellton Road, and is now part of a private housing estate, built on the site of the Ferguslie Mills.

    On a stone wall at the corner of West Lane and Main Road, Ferguslie is a cauldron-and-spirtle sculpture. It was originally on the wall of the canteen for workers at J & P Coats Ferguslie Thread Mills. It was an ornamental device to identify the building as the West Canteen to distinguish it from the East Canteen in Maxwellton Street.. The building stood on the Main Road, just opposite the former John Neilson High School, until it was demolished in the late 1990's. The engraving was saved and built into the wall to preserve an important piece of Paisley's history.

    The building is thought to have been erected in 1886. In 1939, it was converted into a depot for thread dispersal and remained in use until it was pulled down to make way for a housing development on the site of an adjacent football field.

    In 1820 there were uprisings in Johnstone and Paisley. Crowds were protesting about the poor working conditions and bad housing. Paisley was under martial law at that time. On the 3rd April 1820 a number of Radicals, as the protesters were called, decided to raid farms and cottages on the Gleniffer Braes to aquire weapons for their cause. They visited houses at Lounsdale and Millarston where pistols and guns were obtained. After a small skirmish at Foxbar House, on the Elderslie outskirts, the military approached to break up the disorder.

    On Fulbar Road was the plant of William Forrest and Son Ltd who manufactured bonemeal and tallow, a fatty substance consisting of glycerides extracted from the suet of sheep and cattle and used, among other things, for making soap and candles. The factory was built in the 1860's, long before houses were erected nearby, but the resulting smell from the plant was well known in Paisley.

    Residents in Foxbar, Millarston and Green Road had previously been forced to close windows and doors in an effort to keep the odour from the plant out of their homes. The company had transferred their operation to Lanarkshire in 1978, having failed to control the smell. The decision to move came after they were being forced to put in new drainage and other equipment to try to stop the smell, but the cost was prohibitive and even after that there was no guarantee the problem would be eradicated.

    Members of nearby Elderslie Golf Club hated playing the par five 14th hole when an East wind was blowing. New homes were built on the lands of Balgonie with Old Balgonie House, a former home of the Coats family of thread fame, as the central feature, the development attracted a staggering 500 enquiries within days of the announcement of the plans. Ironically, years later, the site of the famous Forrest factory would also become a prestigious housing development.

    A family from Millarston were list in the Titanic distaster on the night of April 14th and 15th 1912.Mr and Mrs Johnston, were sailing to New York with their son. The family. who lived at 6 Newton Terrace are thought to have been escaping from poverty to make a new life for themselves in the USA when disaster struck. The red-bricked tenement which they left is still standing today.

    Today’s BP service station was the site of Ferguslie Fireclay Works and south of the canal basin was a goods yard - based on a map of 1909. From a 1781 map, Main Road was built up on both sides between West Lane and Station Road. Ferguslie railway station was located next to Newton Terrace off Main Road.

    Milliken Park is located 5.3miles/8.5km west of Paisley off the A737 and 1.2miles/2.0km west of Johnstone.

    The area is residential, apart from a large Arriva bus depot on Cochrane Mill Road. The area is dominated by council-built housing and flats. Some fine Victorian villas can be found close to the Black Cart River.

    Milliken Park has a fine industrial heritage, although most has now sadly disappeared.

    At the point where Milliken Park Road crosses the Black Cart River, a path leads to the river's edge. The visitor can find traces of the Milliken Mill weir and sluices. The remaining building from the Milliken Mill, now a farmhouse, can be seen below.

    By the early 1800's a few mills, such as Cochrane, Millikenmill and Gartside had been built. There were two railway stations in the area. One was called Milliken Park and the other called Kilbarchan.

    The Milliken mansion was built in 1829, in the Grecian Style, along with extensive and beautiful grounds. The estate formed part part of the ancient barony of Johnstone, belonging to a branch of the Houston family. It was purchased in 1733 by James Milliken. A 1754 map of Renfrewshire by Charles Ross mentions a Millikenhall country house.

    Moorpark is an area of Renfrew located 1 kilometre south of the town centre, and 3 kilometres north of Paisley. It is located just off the A741 Paisley Road.

    The area was named after Moorpark farm located at today's Third Avenue. It is primarily a residential area with a mixture of council-built and private homes.

    Renfrew has some distinctive housing estates, and this is down to one man - James Steel Maitland.

    He was responsible for the former Renfrew Burgh's most interesting architecture, including that of Moorpark. The commission started in 1931.

    His other works include Paisley's Russell Institute (1923), Arnott's Department Store (1924), 35 High Street (1932), 50 High Street (1934), Kelvin House, Riverside Walk (1937), 26-28 Moss Street (1921), 14 St. James Street (1926) and the Janitor's House at Paisley Grammar School (1938).

    There was once a farm on the northern slope of Knock Hill called 'Butts' just off today's Wright Street. It is thought in earlier times this was the place where the burghers of Renfrew practised archery.

    In the 1870's Moorpark consisted of two clachans [hamlets or villages]. One was called High Moorpark and the other was Low Moorpark.

    On the western side of the A741 Paisley Road, near Wright Street, there was formerly a mound called Kempe Knowe. It was a circular mound of earth about 20 yards across, and surrounded by a moat about 5 yards wide, but trace of this had disappeared by the mid-1800's. According to tradition it was constructed to be the place of contest between the last Sir John Ross of Hawkhead and a noted English wrestler, whose match the English King of the period had challenged the Scottish King to produce. Ross disabled the wrestler in a way which gave him the nickname 'Palm-mine-arms' and was rewarded by the king with the lands and royal castle at 'the Inch', and the older inhabitants always referred to his monument, which was placed in a burial vault in a new church as 'Palm-mine-arms'.

    In Knockhill Park, there were once standing stones, and on Knockhill itself, urns containing human bones were dug up in 1746 and 1782.

    Oldhall is a residential area 1.5miles/2.5km east of Paisley north of the A737 Glasgow Road.

    The area was named after Oldhall farm, located on a hill at the north end of Oldhall Road. Maps indicate this farm was demolished around WWI. During the late 1800's a few villas were built along Glasgow Road between Oldhall and Tylnley Roads. Roffey Park Road some some construction early in the 20th century, but is wasn't until the 1930's when there was acceleration in housing development.

    Barshaw Park is 55 acres in size. Barshaw mansion (now flats), with it’s distinctive tower, was built by Robert Smith, and later reconstructed by wealthy Paisley businessman James Arthur. After their death, the estate was sold to the Paisley Town Council in 1911, with the park officially opening the following year. The mansion-house was turned into an infirmary and in 1917 it became a military hospital for wounded soldiers. In 1919 the building was returned to the council and was converted to a military hospital. In 1958 it was turned into a home for the elderly. The Council opened four tennis courts in 1921 and two bowling greens in 1922. 1925 saw the opening of an 18-hole golf course, which was turned into a farm during WW2.

    Oldhall farm is mentioned on an 1800 map of Renfrewshire. A farm called Oldtoun can be seen on Timothy Pont's 1596 map of the area.

    In the late 1700's and early 1800's, the development of the textile industry in Renfrewshire resulted in an increase in road traffic. Most long-distance roads were no more than established tracks. A program of road reconstruction was introduced. One important road to be rebuilt was the Glasgow to Paisley Road. A map of 1800 shows both old and new roads in operation, although by 1832 part of the old road, from Barshaw Park to today's Penilee Road, had gone into disuse.
    The problem was the hill in today's Barshaw Park. Originally the Glasgow road ran straight from Williamsburgh, up and over Barshaw hill and through what is today's Oldhall. The road snaked and curved all the way to Craigton, where it continued on today's alignment. The new road required easier grades, so today's Glasgow Road curves away from Barshaw instead of over it.

    The name is thought to derive from 'pasture slope’ from pasgell (Cumbric) ‘pasture’; llethr (Cumbric) ‘slope’ cognate with Scottish Gaelic leitir. The town was recorded as Passeleth in 1157 and finally Paisley in 1508.

    Paisley is Scotland's largest town, with a population of 79,000 people, and is located 10 miles west of Glasgow. It is linked by the M8 Motorway and rail connections. Paisley is also home of Glasgow International Airport.

    Paisley is a place with a strong sense of its own identity drawing on a rich cultural and industrial heritage. The Abbey, founded in the 14th century, dominates the centre of the town and signals its early importance as a religious and administrative centre. The town was the centre of the textile industry in the 19th and 20th centuries, its weavers made 'Paisley Pattern' shawls famous throughout the world and the great thread mills of the Coats and Clark families established Paisley as the capital of a worldwide thread industry. The industry has now departed but it has left its mark on Paisley. The town has a legacy of fine buildings gifted by the mill owners including the Clark Town Hall and the Thomas Coats Memorial Church, the largest and finest Baptist church in Europe.

    Modern Paisley is a University town with a museum and Art Gallery, on Observatory and an Arts Centre. Paisley has a vibrant nightlife centred on its many restaurants and bars. Golfers will find three courses in the town. The most scenic and challenging is 'The Bushes' which overlooks the town from the Gleniffer Braes. In recent years the town has failed to gain city status.

    Paisley was the birthplace of actor Tom Conti, artist/writer John Byrne, musician Gerry Rafferty, poet Robert Tannahill and newspaper editor Andrew Neil. In 2000 Paisley topped a poll by Beazer Homes to find out how happy Scots are with where they lived.

    The people of Paisley refer to themselves as a Buddy - from the old pronunciation of ‘body’.

    onks from Wenlock Abbey, in Shropshire., It was destroyed by the English in 1307. The present building dates largely from the mid-15th century, but the tower, choir and north transept have been rebuilt. The west front, with a notable doorway, and the nave, now the Parish Church, are the finest parts. In place of the south transcept is St. Mirren's Chapel, built in 1499, in which is an effigy, thought to be of Marjory Bruce, the daughter of Robert Bruce. Part of the former Abbey buildings, on the south side of the church, on the site of the refectory, are incorporated in the 17th century Place of Paisley, which has been well restored as a War Memorial. Inside Paisley Abbey is the Barochan Cross which is thought to have been sculpted around 1000 AD. Its original purpose may have been to guide pilgrims travelling between the shrines of St Mirin at Paisley and St Columba at Iona. Up until the mid-19th century, the cross sat in a valley at the Barochan Mill. It was removed to the hilltop by the Fleming family of Barochan House to mark the site of their original home at Barochan Castle where they lived for several centuries after arriving in Scotland from the Low Countries during medieval times. The Barochan Cross was installed in Paisley Abbey during the early 1980s after being taken by the Ministry of Works to Edinburgh for restoration when it was found to have suffered significant weather damage.

    Other town buildings...
    In the town museum are works by Scottish artists, and a collection of Paisley shawls. The Thomas Coats Memorial Church was built in 1894 and the official website can be found at www.fenet.co.uk/coats.
    At 8 Castle Street, was born, in 1774, Robert Tannahill, the weaver poet, who described the Braes of Gleniffer, a fine viewpoint, to the southwest of the town. Paisley's only surviving thatched cottage, 'Tannahill's Cottage' can be found in nearby Queen Street, in Paisley's West End. This is Paisley's last remaining thatched building, and one of the few remaining in Renfrewshire. The historic red brick Domestic Finishing Mill was part of the massive Anchor Mills complex at Lonend and is now set to be transformed into 3 top floors of luxury flats, the first floor into office space and the ground floor into a car park, as part of a massive redevelopment project. Renfrewshire Council is one of the funding partners with Safeway, Historic Scotland and Scottish Enterprise Renfrewshire all contributing to the cost of the project. The Phoenix Trust, an organisation which specialises in the redevelopment of historic buildings, is also involved. Prince Charles, who is the President of the Trust, recently visited the building along with his son Prince William.

    The John Neilston Institute was built on the site of a Roman Camp. The area was levelled in the 18th century and turned into a bowling green. John Neilson, the wealthy Paisley grocer, left a vast amount of money to found a school, which was opened on 5th April 1852. Ilegitimate children were not to be admitted to the school. Around 280 pupils enrolled in the first three months, 71 of whom were financed by the foundation established by John Neilson. The school roll increased steadily until it hit its peak of 1000 in the late 1880s. In 1927 control of the school passed from the governors to Renfrewshire education authority - the first step on the road to its ownership by Strathclyde.Pupils and teachers threw themselves into the Second World War effort. The school was kept open between 1939 and 1945 and those who stayed behind raised a staggering £35,000 for the school war relief fund. By the mid-Fifties the end was in sight for the school. Accommodation was proving an insurmountable problem and in 1960 the decision was made. A completely new building, the John Neilson High School, would be built at Ferguslie. When that opened in 1968, the porridge bowl became Oakshaw High School but within ten years it had outlived its usefulness. The former Strathclyde Regional Council deemed the nicknamed ‘porridge bowl’ surplus to requirements and it was sold to the then Renfrew District Council for £1.00 in 1980. The old school, with its distinctive cupola, was eventually sold to a private builder and converted to luxury flats. The building remains one of Paisley’s architectural landmarks.

    Paisley’s Central Library with the adjacent Museum are two of the town’s attractions. When the library was opened in 1870, as a gift from Sir Peter Coats, there were so many evening visitors the library introduced a ticket system for the first two weeks. Two attendants were employed at the museum but they could not cope with the crowds and were forced to call on the Burgh Police to help them control the queues. The basic stock came from the best of the volumes in the private Paisley library which had been established in 1802. A total of 15,000 volumes were gifted to the town council by the subscribers of the old library. Many gifts of books came from other sources and these were needed since records show that the total allowed for the first year for the purchase of books was just £50. And this was out of a total of £350 available to cover all the annual expenditure of both the library and museum. But the outstanding gift was from Sir Peter Coats who presented a copy of Audubon's Birds of North America (four volumes), then valued at £250.

    Paisley Musuem, when it opened in the 19th century, contained large collections of natural history and archaeological specimens contributed by members of Paisley Philosophical Institution, including Morris Young's own collection, and an unending succession of gifts. Even before the first decade was reached it became apparent that the accommodation at the museum was inadequate. When this became known to Sir Peter Coats he again offered to defray the cost of the necessary extensions. These consisted of a new museum, the rotunda, the picture and sculpture galleries and a new reference library which were formally opened by the Marquis of Bute in 1882. The Public Libraries (Scotland) Act of 1853 had enabled local authorities of more than 10,000 population to set up a public library but progress in the country was slow. Paisley as a community, however, was fortunate in the 19th century in having men of learning and culture to act as a driving-force towards the establishment of the library. Indeed, Paisley became only the third authority to adopt the Act. And a glance at the first catalogue of the reference department, printed in 1872, gives an idea of the range and depth of stock available from the beginning. The excellent service provided by the library has been greatly appreciated by generations of Buddies. The widening range of facilities offered has reflected the changing pattern of education and life. For many years the service was concentrated in the High Street but when the population spread to housing schemes away from the centre of the town, branch libraries were established.

    Oakshaw East Church was built around 1760 and enlarged in 1781 but had to be rebuilt in 1826 after it was destroyed by fire. Various improvements were made over the years, creating a large hall for congregational meetings, a smaller hall for the Sunday School and two committee rooms. Oakshaw East became a United Free Church in 1900 and a Church of Scotland in 1929 before reverting back to a United Free Church in the early 1950s. The building was most recently used as auction rooms before being converted to eight flats. The church is a listed building.

    The lights in the area around Paisley Town Hall and the Abbey are part of the state-of-the-art set-up as part of the town centre's ongoing regeneration scheme.At the time of its unveiling in the late 1990s, the new-look close was hailed as one of the most prestigious civic spaces in Europe.It cost almost £1 million to develop.

    The Paisley Farmers Market was recently voted one of the best farmers markets in the UK. All varieties of Renfrewshire produce can be found for sale. It's the only Scottish farmers' market to be named in the prestigious roll of honour, put together by the BBC's Good Food magazine. The market was also chosen to promote Scotland in the Government’s tourism video. Figures show that the monthly market has boosted trade in Paisley, with a 14 per cent increase in shoppers in the town when it is on. Over the last 12 months, visitors to the market have bought almost 20,000 kg of meat and a further 20,000 kg of cheese, along with more than 700 jars of home-made jam. Shoppers can get their hands on some of the best fish, seafood, organic vegetables and meat products in the West of Scotland by visiting the market. The market is held in County Square, next to Paisley Gilmour Street Station on the second Saturday of every month. An early arrival is recommended.

    PAISLEY is listed as a ‘Fairtrade Town’ as a reward for its efforts to support workers in some of the world’s poorest countries. Members of the Renfrewshire Friends of Fairtrade had been working for almost a year to meet the strict criteria needed in order for Paisley to win the rare and prestigious honour.

    Located around the town centre is a series of `streetworks' as part of a major regeneration scheme.The screens - a series of metal frames inset with coloured glass - are intended to refer to Paisley's textile tradition. And according to the artist, they are also meant to define the boundaries of the town centre. Further screens have been erected in County Square and the High Street. Also, as part of the regeneration project, is artist Caroline Broadhead's `Tree:River:Shadow' in Gilmour Street.This includes a real 15-foot-high conifer.The most important work is to be built in County Square. This is Jan van Munster's `Rain House', the inspiration for the upturned turret shape is intended to reflect the architecture of the surrounding buildings, particularly the old Post Office and railway station. The tower 'shower's' water from the top and down the sides of the structure. The water drains away through special channels at the bottom. Special sensors have been installed in the tower so that when it is raining the water will not turn on. The shower effect will also be restricted to certain times of year. It will not function during the winter as ice or cold could damage the pump mechanism. `Water Tower' was the subject of controversy when plans for it were first revealed.

    Paisley has always been an important shopping focus for the surrounding region. Business is booming despite fierce competition from the neighbouring Braehead shopping complex. The town centre has attracted millions of pounds of investment in the last six months and is winning back the shoppers. Developers have created almost 200,000 sq ft of office, leisure and retail space since September at a cost of more than £4million. Although local councillors fear an extension to the existing Marks and Spencer store at Braehead will hit Paisley's traders, a survey reveals the town is fast becoming a more attractive place for shoppers, retailers and developers. The independent survey of retail facilities in towns and cities across the UK showed Paisley had jumped three places since last year, outranking Hamilton, Dumfries and Glasgow's Parkhead Forge for the quality and number of its shops. Amanda Moulson, Paisley town centre manager said: "Independent analysis by market research group Experian shows Paisley is holding its own against Braehead shopping centre." Shoppers were flocking to the Piazza shopping complex and she claimed: "Businesses are starting to take advantage of the highly competitive rental rates we offer as well as our proximity to Glasgow."

    Sma’ Shot Day is one of the oldest workers festivals in Scotland and is usually held on the first Saturday of every July. It originates from the weaving industry, which, in the 19th century, made Paisley and the surrounding area one of the major textile producing areas in the British Empire. The sma’ shot was a binding thread which held together the patterned shawls which Paisley is so famous for. It was never seen on the finished garments however, so the manufacturers refused to pay the weavers for the yern. The weavers fought long and hard and after many years of dispute, won the fight. In celebration the traditional July holiday was renamed Sma’ Shot Day. On Sma’ Shot Day a weaver’s march proceeds through Paisley, leading to a street fair in Abbey Close at the Town Hall. At the head of the procession is the cork, an effigy of one of the contemptuous manufacturers, which is burned at the climax of the re-enactment of the Sma’ Shot Story. The Sma’ Shot Cottages were originally part of an area known as St Mirin’s Square and were used to accommodate workers at the old St Mirin’s Mill, which closed down in the early 1800s. Workers from the Hutchison’s Scouring Mills then occupied the buildings before they were bought by Wilson’s Market and used to house some of their key workers. The Paisley College of Technology took over ownership, eventually being purchased by the Sma’ Shot Society in 1983 and were to become a major visitor attraction in Paisley from 1985. Since then, many thousands of people have visited the cottages to enjoy a glimpse of Paisley’s past and to get a flavour of a mill worker’s life. The cottages now boast an artisan’s kitchen, Victorian parlour, two bedrooms, exhibition room, tea room, shop and an office.

    Paisley is thought to have been a possible site of an extensive Roman camp, known as 'Vanduara' which appeared on Ptolemy's map, although there has never been any evidence. A Paisley map of 1839 refers to 'remains of a Roman Castellium or Pretorium' where the Neilston Institute Building now stands. The map also refers to a possible Roman fort site at today's Woodside cemetery although at the time of printing the map no sign of a fort existed. There is also reference to the remains of a Roman fortification at Castlehead, at today's High Road. These boulder clay hills may have been temporary outposts, directed possibly from the fort near Bishopton. Roman coins have been found in the area. Tracks would have converged on the ford over the White Cart, probably used by Roman units going to/from the Antonine Wall.

    According to legend an Irish monk called Mirin came to this settlement about 560 A.D. and founded a Celtic church. Mirin was buried here and later canonised. In 1163 a community of Cluniac monks set up a monastery near St Mirin's shrine between the ford and the waterfall, where by this time there was a corn mill. This monastery later became Paisley Abbey. Paisley became a flourishing market. It had goods of its own to offer since the Abbey had brought together all kinds of craftsmen to serve its needs, and it was also a place of exchange for the surplus eggs and cheeses of the surrounding countryside. In the 15th century King James IV made the monastic village a Burgh of Barony. A Market Cross was erected, the sign of a protected place of trade. Later a Town Hall was built. The main part of the Burgh lay along the highway to the west (High Street).

    Traffic from Glasgow and the Royal burgh of Renfrew would pass through Paisley, and continue via the Lochwinnoch Gap to Ayrshire. This was also the site of a river course in pre-glacial Clydeside, and in Pleistocene times a major overflow channel for the area. This route was one of the most important in the west of Scotland during medieval times, although only a track through wooded river flats. Paisley was the last hospitable place of any size before the long ride into the woods and down the gap. The River Cart ford was replaced by the Abbey bridge in 1490. The Kings Highway crossed the Cart at it’s lowest point at Paisley. There were extensive forests by Paisley according to an 1812 map, but they were mainly gone within 70 years.

    The Plague reached Paisley in 1588. On the 23rd October 1588 the Council of Glasgow prohibited all dwellers in Glasgow from visiting fairs, such as Kilmacolm without the permission of the bailies. The penalty was a fine of £5.00 and banishment from Glasgow for a year and a day.

    On the 13th February 1832 the first case of cholera, in New Sneddon Street, was recorded on a hawker. 18 people died in this area in the first four days. A total of 446 eventually died. A common graveyard had to be opened on the north east edge of the town off Greenock Road to accommodate the victims. (now playing fields). Further outbreaks occurred in 1834, 1848 and 1854. Further outbreaks of diseases connected with insanitary conditions occurred from 1865 to the early 1900’s (Enteric Fever) and 1855 to the 1880’s (typhus).

    According to town records, Paisley had markets in the 16th century for meal, fish, flesh, fowl, eggs, cheese, butter, salt, lint, wool, linen, cloth, cows and horses. The main market was held at this time at the Cross, by today’s Moss Street. A market cross existed here until 1696.

    In 1860 James Robertson, a grocer, had a surplus of oranges. He and his wife made marmalade, and a small factory was established in Storie Street. The company grew to manufacture Robertsons Marmalade.

    Paisley’s prosperity before the mid-19th century was caused by the dramatic increase in manufacturing, which in turn was made possible by the influx of migrants into the town. Highlanders moved into Paisley in high numbers between 1770 and 1780. This flow grew heavier in years of famine, and one of the most serious famines occurred in the Highlands in 1795. Proof of the large numbers of Gaelic-speaking Highlanders in the town is in the presence of a Gaelic Chapel founded on Oakshaw Hill in 1793 and the establishment of a Gaelic-speaking mission in 1837. Most incomers seem to have come from Argyll and the Isles . The heaviest wave was of Irish immigration, which took place after the great famine of 1847-48.

    Although Paisley was the first town in the world to have filtered water, it was not until 1834 that piped water was supplied from the bleachworks of Mr Gibb on the Stanely Braes (available at 1/2 penny per gallon), and some of the old wells were still in use after 1850. Paisley took precautions to the 1832 cholera movement by cleaning streets of waste matter and stagnant water, attempting to provide better ventilation in the small, overcrowded houses of the working class, and providing lime and soap for the cleaning of houses, and the prohibitation of public begging.

    Christian Shaw, a daughter of the Laird of Bargarran in the parish of Erskine, was responsible for bringing the thread industry to the west of Scotland. She moved to Bargarran around 1720 when widowed. It is thought, some years earlier, she had paid a visit to Holland and managed to smuggle out a twisting machine. With this she spun the linen yard and twisted a strong, white sewing thread on 12 bobbins at a time. A demand was created from English manufacturers. By far the most prosperous sid eof the textile industry in Paisley was the weaving of silk gauzes. Handloom weavers were replaced by mechanisation in the early 1800’s. Paisley silks were the most fashionable wear through all the polite circles of Europe. The original shawls came from Kashmir and were expensive to make in Britain. These shawls bore the destinctive ’pine’ motif, which formed the basis of the design now known as ‘the Paisley Pattern’.

    Thread has been produced in Paisley since the early 18th century. Cotton thread was developed by James Clark, who opened a small factory at Seedhill in 1812. The Coats' factory opened in competition at Ferguslie in 1826. In 1827 there were a dozen cotton thread manufacturers and at least six had big steam-powered factories; Carlile, Clark, Kerr, Farquharson, Ross and Duncan and James Coats of Ferguslie. However, Coats and Clark took over all opposition and eventually merged in 1896 to form J & P Coats.

    Paisley's Tolbooth, in common with that of other towns, had three distinct purposes. It served as the Municipal Buildings where the council met, and where the official weights and measures were held in order to keep an eye on the market traders around the cross. The Tolbooth also served as the Burgh Courthouse and the town jail. It was in the Tolbooth that the seven accused in the famous Bargarran witch trial were tried and held until their execution. The original Tolbooth was granted to the newly formed Burgh in 1491 by the Abbott. By 1600 it was so ruinous it had to be rebuilt. Two further rebuildings took place in 1757 and 1810.

    Woodside Mansion - The name Woodside is thought to have derived from the proximity of the estate to Darskayt Wood, which appears in early chapters as a boundary. A large tract of land, including the portion still known today as Woodside, was granted to the monks of Paisley in 1208 by Walter Fitzallan, High Steward of Scotland and they retained possession of it until the Reformation. In 1445, John Hamilton, Abbot of Paisley, feued the greater part of the land to a Mr John Stewart and the estate remained in the hands of the Stewart family until 1680 when it was sold to Ezekiel Montgomorie, the deputy-Sheriff of Renfrewshire. Over the years there were several other owners and in 1846 Woodside was acquired by Sir Peter Coats who had a long association with Paisley as one of the partners of the firm of J and P Coats, the world-renowned thread manufacturers. The mansion was built shortly afterwards by Sir Peter Coats and later became the residence of his son. The mansion was gifted to Paisley Corporation under the will of Mr WH Coats and in 1931, following the death of his wife, the council became owners after all the furniture and effects in the building were sold privately. The building was used to provide a home for children, but it was destroyed by fire in 1952 and the damage was so severe the council decided to demolish the historic mansion. The site is today occupied by two rows of flats built by Paisley Town Council.

    The Paisley Canal followed in the main the old road route to Ayrshire. The journey to Glasgow took two hours. but a fast barge, pulled by two horses could reach Glasgow in an hour, compared favourably with the coaches running at the time, but capable of transporting about 100 people per journey. In 1785 a coach ran from Paisley to Glasgow 6 times a day. By 1824, 32 coaches operated. Construction of the canal began in 1806 and as a result attracted great numbers of Irish labourers into the area.

    The 1781 survey
    In 1781 Paisley had the following:
    3723 families in Paisley and suburbs
    18,615 persons 5 to each family
    3,800 weavers Looms
    132 thread mills
    1,441 fronting houses Houses built in 1781 (403), 1780 (64), 1779 (43), 1778 (45), 1777 (83).

    The Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnockshire & Ayr Railway between Glasgow and Ayr was opened in 1839-40.

    Paisley proved to be a popular place for a day-jaunt by its Glasgow neighbours. In just three days in 1875, no fewer than 385 trains with a total of 4567 carriages brought Glaswegians to the town. No wonder it was reported the public-houses did “a roaring trade”.

    The appearance of the town improved in the late 1800’s. The decaying houses packed around the Abbey were cleared so the restored Abbey could be seen.

    Paisley’s official insignia was matriculated in Edinburgh by Lord Lyon King of Arms in 1912, replacing a common seal that was not heraldically correct. Some of the features are, however, incorporated in the crest. The prominent blue-and-white check pattern in the centre of the crest represents the strong connections of Paisley Abbey and the burgh with the Royal Stewart family. Walter Fitzalan, High Steward of Scotland, whose descendants were the Stewarts, founded Paisley Abbey in 1163. Two cinquefoils, in red, are part of the coat-of-arms of the House of Hamilton. An eminent Abbot of Paisley was John Hamilton, a son of Lord James Hamilton, first Earl of Arran. His nephew, Lord Claud Hamilton, was his successor; and after a stormy time during the Reformation and the subsequent internal strife in Scotland, Lord Claud returned to Paisley and lived in the Abbey. The abbey lands were erected into a temporal lordship and he was made Lord of Paisley in 1587. At the base of the crest, two covered cups represent the association of Paisley thread with Christian Shaw, the daughter of the Laird of Bargarron. Her interest in the manufacture of thread in the Low Countries resulted in the setting-up of a thread-factory in Paisley. The central point of the design is the mitred Abbot. With his right hand raised in blessing and his left holding a crozier, he represents the very strong connections of the town with the Abbey. The history of Paisley dates from the foundation of the Abbey and, under its protection, the burgh flourished.

    One of the earliest air races, the ‘Circuit of Britain’ in 1911 used the old Paisley racecourse (now St. James Park) as one of it’s stopping stages.

    The first American troops to reach Britain in the Second World War came to Paisley in 1942.

    The first private telephone exchange was laid between two houses in Renfrew Road, and Paisley also had the first automatic telephone exchange and the first traffic lights in Scotland. It gave the world both marmalade and corn flour.

    Trams were first suggested early in the 1860’s, but rails were only laid in 1885. The first tram service was electrified in 1904. Services were eventually extended to Johnstone, Kilbarchan, Renfrew and Barrhead.

    On 31st December 1926 the worst fire disaster in the history of Paisley happened. Smoke from a very slight fire caused panic at a matinee for children in the Glen Cinema at the cross, and 70 children, aged 18 months to twelve years, were crushed to death in a rear exit way.

    On the morning of 15th January 1968 hurricane-force winds battered Paisley and the surrounding area, thought to have been the worst storm in living memory. Winds of 90-100 mph ( 55-60 kph ) hit the area for hours. The strongest gust recorded at the Coats Observatory was 106 miles per hour and the strongest since records began in 1884. More than 1,400 houses were seriously damaged and hundreds of parked cars were damaged due to the flying debris and falling chimney heads. Power lines were down, rail services were halted, schools closed and hundreds of people were left homeless. The Paisley Town Hall was turned into an emergency rest centre, and both the Civil Defence and the Army were called in to help move furniture into storage. 20 tenements in the north end of town, in the Springbank Road area, had to be demolished as they were unsafe and beyond restoration.

    New Municipal Buildings built, and the Piazza built 1969-1971, with the Municipal Buildings winning an architectural prize in 1971.

    The Paisley Canal railway line closed in 1982, and the Paisley Canal station was turned into a bar and restaurant.

    Oakshaw and Paisley Cross are regarded as an Outstanding Conservation Area by Historic Scotland.

    On the 16th April 1979 seven people were killed in a head-on train crash at Paisley. The reason was a train passed a signal which read 'danger'.

    Park Mains is an area of Erskine located south of the town centre, some 7km (4.3 miles) northwest of Paisley just off the A726.

    The area is primarily residential, and has been developed only since the Erskine town construction began in the early 1970's.

    Retail development is mainly restricted to the Bridgewater Shopping area (1984) and immediate area.


    Park Quay was once known as Gibbies Quay. During the 19th century it was common to take passengers on and off Clyde steamers in small boats where there were no piers of jetties.

    Newshot Island is set to become Renfrewshire's third Local Nature Reserve (LNR). The others are Jenny's Well and Paisley Moss. The site contains about 73 hectares (182 acres) of inter-tidal mud, saline reed beds, grassland and scrub habitats. As part of the Inner Clyde Estuary, it has been designated as a Special Protection Area because it sustains internationally important numbers of over wintering wildfowl, particularly waders such as red shank, from Northern Europe.

    Although it no longer looks like an island, Newshot once sat almost in the middle of the Clyde estuary. As bigger ships needed to come up the river, engineers blocked off the channel on the Erskine side with stone dykes and broadened the river on the Dalmuir (northern) side. As a result of silting the 'old channel' filled with rich soil and Newshot became landlocked. It has largely been used as pasture land.

    A network of paths and signs will be provided and these link to the existing river front walkway and to the existing footpath network in Erskine.

    The first recorded mention of Park Estate dates from 1496. Of the 550 acres at the start of the 20th century, the most historic part is home to today’s Riverpark private housing scheme, which began in May 1996. Park House was built about 1782 and demolished in 1945-46.

    ‘Gateside’ was once a stage coach inn, mainly demolished about 1951, although part remained until December 1980 when Newshot Drive was built. Around 1900 it was used as dwellings for the Park Mains farm ploughmen.

    The footbridge is used by school children from the Park Mains High School. It was built in the 1970's and was completely refurbished in the summer of 2001 in time for the new term.

    There were quarries in the late 1700’s, and produced freestone of superior quality, and the 1809-1812 bridges across the Black and White Carts at Inchinnan were built of Park Estate stone. The quarries continued to produce well into the 19th century.

    Phoenix is a retail, business and industrial area 2.1miles/3.5km west of Paisley on the A761 Linwood Road.

    The area was primarily rural until the second world war when development for munitions and then car construction dominated until the closure of the plant in 1981.

    The Pressed Steel Company factory was formally William Beardmore's Ltd and operated as a cover munitions works in 1941 in case of bomb damage to the sheffield plants and gunworks. After the War the factory was taken over by the Pressed Steel Company who manufactured railway rolling stock and car body panels. In 1960 the Rootes Motor Company were invited to come to Linwood to make Scotland's car ~ the Hillman Imp, described at the time as a 'high quality people's car of quite unusual design'. The soft, boggy soil of Linwood Moss caused problems during building and at the foundation-laying ceremony when the first pile was driven into the ground it disappeared into the ground. The Hillman Imp was launched on 2nd May 1963 by HRH Duke of Edinburgh KGKT at the official opening of the factory and the 6,000 jobs this created brought in workers from all over and in order to house them and at the same time alleviate Glasgow's housing overspill, many of them settled in Linwood. In a short space of time the population exploded from 2,500 to 1,5000 and what had been a small village expanded to become the thriving town it is today. The factory covered 450 acres with 3,000,000 square feet of industrial floor space. From almost the outset the plant ran into difficulties. The Imp did not sell as well as was expected and production costs were high because car bodies, and other parts, had to be transported back and forward between Linwood and other Rootes factories. Production of the Imp ceased in 1976.

    The Volvo P1800 body was stamped at the Linwood plant between January 1961 and 1968. Chrysler took over full control of Rootes in 1967. New cars were launched including the Hillman Hunter and The Avenger. The Rootes Group name was changed to Chrysler UK in 1970 when the production of the Sunbeam came to Linwood. The phasing out of the Rootes marque in favour of the Chrysler identity did not go down well with customer loyalty and created an uproar within the workforce, resulting in numerous industrial disputes. The beginning of the end happened in 1973 with the closure of the tool shop.

    The Chrysler Sunbeam was launched in 1977, but the Chrysler European divisions were sold to Peugeot-Citroen the following year, with the car's name changed to Talbot Sunbeam. In late 1981 the linwood plant was closed.

    In November 1981 Talbot organised a giant public auction of machinery and equipment, causing bitter resentment in Paisley and district. Trade unionists, MP’s and former car-workers unsuccessfully tried to stop the auction. The feeling was that the expected £10,000,000 to be raised should be used to create new jobs to replace the 4,800 lost by the closure. The company lost £20 million in the last year of operation and the closure cost Talbot a further £20 million in redundancy payments. Businessmen arriving to inspect the 14,000 lots on offer faced the wrath of Labour Party demonstrators and a vocal Scottish Nationalist Party group. A protester chained himself to a door.

    The late 1980's saw the construction of the Phoenix Retail and Business Park begin on the site of the Talbot Motor Works. The St.James Business Centre building was the Rootes main administration offices and showroom. One factory and pedestrian underpasses under Linwood Road are the only other remaining parts of the factory architecture, although acres of overgrown concrete foundations exist behind the Phoenix development.

    The freight railway line to Linwood closed in May 1981.

    Porterfield is an area of Renfrew, lying between the A741 and the River Cart. It is 1 kilometre south of Renfrew town centre, and 3 kilometres north of Paisley. It was named after Porterfield farm, which was located adjacent to today's Porterfield Road, on the site of the old engine works on the bank of the White Cart.

    Maps dating back to the 1500's and 1600'2 show a Porterfield farm, close to the junction of the White and Black Cart Rivers. Due to geographical inaccuracies at the time, this may refer to today's Porterfield area.


    The Porterfield area once had excellent examples of architecture. The fine tenements of the late 19th / early 20th century along Porterfield Road were demolished as part of an urban renwal project. The last examples can be found at the corner of Porterfield Road and Paisley Road.

    The Moorpark Primary School is still in use, and dates back to 1897.

    The Porterfield Steel Works were built on the farm of Porterfield. Work started in October 1889, and eventually catered for over 1,000 employees.

  • ‘South Renfrew’station opened on the Paisley and Renfrew line on 1st May 1897. This was located on the south side of Porterfield Road. The station building still stands but the trackbed of the railway from here to Sandyford is now a private road.

    Based on a map of 1864, the Moorpark Corn Mill sat at the south-west corner of Paisley Road and Porterfield Road. There was a Moorpark farm in existance at this time.

  • Electric trams were introduced between Glasgow and Renfrew in November 1902. Expansion of this route to Porterfield Road began in 1932. Trams stopped running in May 1957, and the rails were finally removed in 1962.

  • Passenger services ceased between Cardonald and Renfrew Porterfield on the ex-Glasgow & Renfrew District Railway on 19th July 1926. There was a railway station between today’s Porterfield Road and Kirklandneuk Park.

    Potterhill is an area of Paisley 1.2miles/2.0km south of the town centre off the B774 Neilston Road.

    The area is primarily residential, although there is some retail activity on Neilston Road.

    The area developed in the latter half of the 1800's as social pressure for space inside Paisley’s central area became scarce.

    Stoney Brae, the original route of Neilston Road, provides a pleasant walk, although it can be muddy at times. At the summit of the brae are fine views of Potterhill, and to the Campsie Fells, Glasgow and beyond. The road marks the western boundary of Thornley Park School. The route changed in the 1700's when a printfield and bleachfield were established in the Barrhead area in 1773, and Scotland's second cotton mill in 1780. The increase in traffic required a road to Paisley with a more gentle alignment.

    Potterhill farm was located where today’s Cadbury warehouse now stands. The name Potterhill dates back to at least 1745. On a 1654 map, the name Pottershuss appears, and in 1596 Pottershous is found.

    Once an agricultural village, the area was given over to the weavers or dyers and bleachers by the 1840’s, and by 1864 Fallside Road was lined with houses. In 1800's there was a large dye works located at today’s Leabank Avenue.

    Almost half-a-mile up the Paisley Canal line a connection was formed with the main coast-line of the Glasgow and South-Western Railway. In addition, a branch line was formed to connect with Potterhill, described in 1885 as `a suburb to the south-west of Paisley'. Back in 1885, the districts on the branch line to Potterhill were deemed to be `extremely beautiful' and the area soon found favour as a residential location with many rich Glasgow businessmen. The passenger service from Barrhead Central ceased on the 10th February 1913. The Potterhill station building is now a private home.

    Quarrelton is a former collier village in an area of Johnstone southwest of the town centre. It is 6.5km (4 miles) west of Paisley just off the A737.

    Quarrelton is entirely residential, although the Thomas Shanks Public Park and Rannoch Woods give the area a rural feel.

    A new , three-mile track costing £203,000 has opened, linking Paisley with the historic Bonnie Wee Well on the top of the scenic Gleniffer Braes. It starts at Rannoch Woods, just off the Beith Road, and runs through the popular Bluebell Woods beauty spot once part of the Laird of Johnstone's magnificent Johnstone Castle estate. Crossing Auchenlodment Road, near Elderslie, the trail then spans the picturesque Brandy Burn before climbing steeply uphill through Bardrain Wood on to the majestic Gleniffer Braes which inspired Paisley poet Robert Tannahill 200 years ago. It terminates at the Bonnie Wee Well.

    Timothy Pont’s map of about 1600 makes reference to ‘Quarreltoun’.

    The Benston mining disaster of 1860 was the beginning of the end of the area’s coal mining industry. Coal mining records dating back to 1634. Thought to be one of the richest areas in the UK, with seams almost 100 feet thick. It was not of the highest quality, and dampness and flooding made it difficult for the miners to reach the most productive parts. An account in the late 18th century mentioned 30 men and 12 horses were producing about 20,000 tons of coal each year. The ‘Quarrelton Thick’ coal seam is a series of seams folded upon themselves.

    The row of buildings on the northern side of Beith Road are the last remaining structures which were built in the 17-18th Century. They were probably built as a result of the nearby coal pits, which were mostly gone by 1925. The built-up area north of Beith Road was established after WW2.

    Auchenlodment, once known as Lochlodmurit, in Old Scots means ‘the field of the grave mound’.

    Ralston is a residential area 1.5miles/2.5km east of Paisley, south of the A737 Glasgow Road.

    Ralston Golf Club was formed in 1904, but the residential development was not completed until the 1930's.

    The area is named after the Ralston estate. The house was located at the east end of today’s Strathmore Avenue. The West Lodge, a sandstone gatehouse, still exists from this estate, and can be found, converted into a home, on what was the eastern extremity of the estate on Glasgow Road at Strathmore Avenue. The East Lodge can be found at the corner of Glasgow Road and Bathgo Avenue.

    From an early period to the early 18th century the land belonged to the Ralston family, originally called Ralphston from their ancestor Ralph. In 1800 with some exception, it was acquired by William Orr who had previously purchased from the Earl of Glasgow a part of the adjacent estate of Ingliston. He erected there a handsome mansion called Ralston House.

    The first record of a member of the Ralston family is Nicholas de Ralstoun who noted the donation of Fulton by Sir Anthony Lombard to the monks of Paisley in 1276 AD. Other early references include Thomas de Raulfestone of Lanarkshire, who rendered homage in 1296, and John Raleston or Raliston was an arbiter between the Burgess of Renfrew and the Abbot of Paisley during a dispute in 1488. Later records show Hugh (Hew) de Ralston of Ralston was killed in 1547 at the Battle of Pinkie and a member of this family sold the estate of Ralston to the Earl of Dundonald.

    Ralstoun Wood is mentioned on a James Watt map of c.1758.

    Rashielee is an area of Erskine located west of the town centre, some 8km (5 miles) northwest of Paisley just off the A726.

    The estate was named after Rashielee Farm, which was located just west of today's A726.

    The area was rural until the early 1970's when construction of the Erskine town project began. Rashielee is primarily residential, apart from some retail development at the Bridgewater Shopping Centre area (1984) and some light industry closer to the river.

    Access to the Clyde Walkway is available at Rashielee off Kilpatrick Drive. Upstream, the walkway leads to Newshot Island, while downstream, Boden Boo Commumity Woodland can be accessed.

    The name possibly derives from ‘Cleansing one’, a Cumbric river-name, traced back to a hypothetical Clouta; derived from the Indo-European root element clut, with the sense of ‘washing’. The Latin form was recorded in the first century AD by Tacitus as Clota. Adamnan’s Life of St Columba refers to it as Cloithe. Bede (731) refers to Alcluith, ’rock on the Clyde’. The literary form Clutha is a poetic term for the Clyde. It is also thought to come from ‘point of the current’. Rhyn (Cumbric) ‘point’; frwd (Cumbric) ‘current’. Records show Renifry 1128, Reinfrew 1158, Renfrew 1160.

    Renfrew is a large town on the south bank of the River Clyde, close to the point where it is joined by the Cart. It is 2.5miles/4.0km north of Paisley. It grew from medieval settlements on the banks of the Clyde; the river promising food, fishing and access to trade with neighbouring settlements at Greenock, Glasgow and beyond. In early days, the town made it's living from the herring trade, and the rich fertile soil of the river bank. Having been an agricultural market town, the deepening of the river to Glasgow led to the creation of shipbuilding and associated engineering industries. The arrival of Babcock & Wilcox in 1895 brought a great number of jobs to the town. With a population of 20,345 (1991) , Renfrew is a residential area with a good mix of attractive housing and a busy town centre.

    The Renfrew Victory Baths
    Henry Christian Lobnitz was an immigrant worker from Denmark and started a partnership with his son Fredric Carl Lobnitz, and William Andrew Young in 1895. Henry died in 1901, but his son Fredric took control and developed the business. During the First World War Fredric devoted his whole time to service with the Ministry of Munitions, being the Director of Munitions for Scotland. For this he was Knighted. By the year 1921 the authorised capital of the company was £500,000, and in that year, Lady & Sir Fredric Lobnitz gifted the Royal Burgh of Renfrew, The Renfrew Victory Baths.

    The old Renfrew Town Hall was first built in 1670. This was demolished to make way for a larger one due to the every expanding town. The New Town Hall was also used as a courthouse and Jail. This was built 1871-73 and soon became a landmark with its striking 32m (105 feet) square tower and its spire. It was partially destroyed by fire on the 6th March 1878 but soon renovated. It was designed by the architect James Lamb in mixed French Gothic style. Today is is an A-grade listed building.

    There are records of a Renfrew ferry operating in 1614 although the first public ferry was reported to be in use by 1710 between King's Inch and Blawarthill on the north bank. In 1782 Alexander Speirs, a Glasgow tobacco merchant, built a mansion on the King's Inch. The path to the ferry now ran through his property. In 1787 the family asked if the ferry could be moved half a mile west, offering in return to build two quays, a ferry house and a new road, the now known Ferry road. The ferry Inn was opened in 1789 and by 1791 the ferry was operating from its new site. The ferries still used ropes or chains fixed on each bank, at first hauled but hand, but from 1868 by steam-power. Larger boats were built in 1897 ad 1912. The ferry was used for mostly workers traveling to the shipyards and factories on both sides of the river. The ferry proved of great use during the war of 1941 to bring fire-engines to Clydebank from Renfrewshire during the bombing. By the year 1953 the ferries were not used as much as the shipyards and factories were closing down. By the early 1970's most motorists used the Clyde tunnel and Erskine Bridge to cross the Clyde. Thus the decision to end the vehicle Ferry in 1984 and it became a passenger ferry. One of the older Ferries is now moored on the Clyde opposite the Broomelaw as a multi-purpose entertainment venue.

    There is a memorial just west of the ferry slip.

    The Renfrew Old Parish Church was designed in 1861-2 by J.T. Rochead, in the lancet Gothic style. The aisle is over the burial place of the family of Hillhead, and contained an effigy of Sir John Ross, who was known as 'Palm-mine-arms'. The spire is about 130 feet high.

    The Athenaeum, with its original public library, dates from 1853.

    The Free Church building was built in 1882-83 in a plain Gothic style. It has a squat, square tower with pinnacles. St. James R.C. Church was built in 1877.

    The Blythswood Testimonial was built by subscription in 1842 in honour of Mr Campbell of Blythswood.

    The Wheatsheaf Inn, which stands next to the Town Hall, was built around 1830. The date on the front of the building states 1666.

    In June every year the ancient ceremony proclaiming the area's salmon-fishing rights is held at Renfrew Ferry. The ceremony includes the casting of a net into the River Clyde.

    The foundation of the Abbey of Paisley seems to have been preceded by the establishment of a number of monks at Renfrew, as in one of the grants to the Benedictines of Paisley mention is made of 'molendinum de Renfru et terram ubi monachi prius habitaverunt', but it is unknown whether this was on the Inch or near the Mill Burn House.

    In about 1124 Renfrew was created a burgh by David I and a royal burgh in 1396 after having received a charter from Robert III. Subsequent confirmatory charters were granted by James VI in 1575 and also in 1614. Renfrew Castle and its lands were granted to Walter Fitz-Alan, the first High Steward of Scotland. He had fled from Shropshire to the Scottish Court. Malcolm IV conferred upon him the lands of Renfrew in 1157, and appointed him King's High Steward - an office that remained hereditary in the family, who now assumed the name of Stewart. The grant of land also included the Royal Castle of Renfrew, which stood on slightly elevated ground at the side of the road leading to the ferry. There are no remains of the house, but there are names which still cling to the locality. The location is known as Castlehill, while 'the orchard' (where the Royal Orchard once stood),'King's Meadow' and Wilson Street, formerly 'Dog row' (site of the Royal Kennels) were the names of places in the immediate neighbourhood, and probably derived from their connection with the ancient home of the Stuarts. Renfrew’s main street was Hairst Street where markets were held and fairs took place in May, June and July. Renfrew, as a burgh, was the only town in the area with the right to hold markets and fairs and could also raise tolls on goods passing through. Trading at home and abroad also took place, locals bought salt, wine and brandy in bulk then sold them on to merchants.

    The 'Baron of Renfrew' was once borne by the heir apparent to the throne of Scotland, and is still used by the Prince of Wales.

    Piracy appears to have been more common on the Scottish east coast than on the west, but an entry in the Glasgow Council record dated 12th August 1583 mentions an attack on a bark occupied by a burgess of Renfrew and other merchants by “notorious clannis of robberis, broken men and sornaris”, from the area of Kintyre, Coll and Islay. These pirates approached in “ane birling and ane grite boit” and boarded the Renfrew vessel, wounded its occupants, and seized its contents to the value of about 1,000 merks, “committand thairthrow oppin and manifest reif to the complainers uttir wrak and herschepe”.

    As early as 1566 the people of Glasgow, Renfrew and Dumbarton made an effort to deepen the Clyde by clearing away some sandbanks opposite Dumbeck.

    In 1150 Renfrew had one main street with a market place. Hairst Loan, now called Hairst street. "Hairst" is the Scots word for "harvest" as farm produce was sold in the market.

    Renfrew was the only town in the area to hold markets and fairs. This made Renfrew the local centre for business for many years. But soon after Paisley began to grow larger and became a Burgh also and then had the rights to hold its own markets and fairs. Taking the trade from Renfrew.

    In July 1602 Ayr burgh complained of Renfrew not keeping the Clyde clean within their respective bounds, and obtained an order on them to see that the river was kept unpolluted with dead carrion and other matter hurtful to the fishing, and to remove the pollution then in the river.

    In 1614 the burgh of Renfrew was the principal port on the Clyde. It attempted to recover a small share of its lost prestige by promoting, in two successive Parliamentary sessions, a Bill for a new dock, which on each occasion was strongly opposed by the Clyde Navigation Trustees. Ultimately the Trustees themselves obtained powers for the construction of docks at Renfrew.

    During the latter half of the 18th century a flood on the River Clyde resulted in the river dramatically changing course away from the Renfrew shore, and along the northern shore. The channel which separated the King's Inch [inch=island] from Renfrew was lost, and Renfrew lost it's port. This explains why the town is now so far from the river, and why Canal Street exists. The channel used to run parallel to High Street and behind Manse Street, and then north next to Ferry Road. Only the dock next to the ferry slip gives a clue to the width of this waterway. The waterway was known as 'Pudyeoch', and the name used to describe Renfrew residents - Pudyeochians.

    Blythswood House was built 1820-22 for Major Archibald Campbell who gained control of the estate of Ranfield (later Renfield) in 1794. Campbell was the MP at the time for the Glasgow District of Burghs, which included Glasgow, Rutherglen, Renfrew and Dumbarton. The land was purchased in 1654 by Provost Colin Campbell of Glasgow. An older mansion existed until 1821. The new mansion was named Blythswood after his Glasgow estate. It was designed in Greek Revival Style by Gillespie Graham. A number of celebrities visited the house, including Sir Walter Scott, Sir Douglas Haig, Sir Robert Peel, Price Leopold, Princess Luoise (eldest daughter of King Edward VII) and Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin. He would ask his distinguished guests to plant trees behind the house. He died in 1908, and by 1929 the house was in decline, being demolished in 1935. Today there are no visible remains of the house where the Renfrew Golf Club now stands, behind the Normandy Hotel. Only a few individual trees remain, the remainder probably felled during WWII when the area was used as a mooring site for barrage balloons, or when the gold club came into existance in 1973.

    There are few remains of Renfrew's castle and the 19th century parish church includes some 15th century effigies on the tower and a sculptured tomb. Former industries include shipbuilding, steel, and engineering. The town once had extensive salmon fishing rights in the Clyde, but industrialisation in the 18th and 19th centuries ended this practice due to water pollution.

    Shipping Industry
    Babcocks built marine boilers for battleships and adapted to produce munitions during World War I. Simons and Lobnitz both built minesweepers, gunboats, hospital ships and troop and cargo vessels throughout the Great War. Frederick Lobnitz became director of Munitions for Scotland in 1917 and was knighted after the war. During World War II Babcocks pioneered the development of welded hulls and tank turrets. Simons and Lobnitz held continuous contracts for Boom Defence Vessels, mine sweepers and tank landing craft. Between 1939 and 1945 Lobnitz launched a ship a month. In 1958, once rivals, Simons and Lobnitz, were forced to amalgamate. They were bought out by G & J Weir one year later and closed their doors for the final time in 1962.

    Mondyke House was built in 1897 for a Colonel Walter Brown. When he died he left it to the burgh of Renfrew. Sadly it was badly damaged by bombs in 1941. However some years later it was rebuilt for Renfrew Town Council and now is used by the District council.

    Queen Victoria visited Renfrew on 22nd August 1888. She was in the area because Paisley was celebrating her 400th Anniversary.

    Early one saturday morning in August 1889, at the Renfrew horse-ferry slip, a 40 year old cab driver named John Ross drove his horse and cab down the slip into Clyde. His intention was to board the ferry, but the ferry was at the other side of the river at the time. There was no one inside the cab at the time, but a boy who was on the box with Ross saw what was happening and jumped off, with only a slight injury to his arm. The dead horse was recovered that afternoon, along with the fore lock and two fore wheels of the cab. Despite a search of the river and banks, the driver's body was never found.

    Electric trams were introduced between Glasgow and Renfrew in November 1902. Expansion of this route to Porterfield Road began in 1932. Trams stopped running in May 1957, and the rails were finally removed in 1962.

    The 1920s saw the widening of the High Street and most of the old cottages of the town were demolished and new houses built. The advent of World War II saw an influx of work to the local factories and the growth of the airport brought more business to the area and large housing estates sprung up across Renfrew.

    Renfrew escaped from the Second World War relatively unscathed. Bombs and incendiaries fell on Queen St and Tennant St, however Babcocks, Simons and Lobnitz were never hit. The Ferry proved invaluable throughout the war, carrying ambulances and fire engines across the water.

    On the 19th July railway passenger services ended between Cardonald and Renfrew Porterfield on the ex-Glasgow & Renfrew District Railway, which included Kings Inch station by today’s Edward Avenue. One the Glasgow & Southwestern Railway there was a station at Fulbar street (now a house). The platforms are gone, but the nearby level crossing is now a footpath. The terminus was at Renfrew Wharf.

    Every June, at Renfrew Ferry, the ancient ceremony proclaiming the area's salmon-fishing rights is held. This involves the casting of a net into the River Clyde.

    The name possibly derives from ‘cleanser’. The resemblance of the name to Scottish Gaelic caraid, ‘pair’ , has been noted, since this river is formed by the joining of the White and Black Cart streams. But many other rivers combine in a similar manner. A suggested lonk with an older root-form, Old Irish Gaelic cartaim, ‘I cleanse’ or with the same pre-Celtic root-form, kar, ‘hard, stony’, as Carron, seems more probable.

    White Cart water rises to the south-west of the city of Glasgow between Eaglesham and East Kilbride. It flows through much of the south side of the city. After some 22 miles, it joins the Black Cart near Glasgow airport and then flows into the River Clyde at Renfrew.

    In recent years an increase in the otter population has been noted along the banks of the Black and White Cart Rivers and also the Gryfe. There have also been sightings near Glasgow Airport as well as at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Reserve at Lochwinnoch where they have bred. Members of the Vincent Wildlife Trust, who carried out a survey in the Paisley area, attribute the increase to improved water quality in local rivers - providing the shy, mainly nocturnal, animals with better feeding opportunities. Just after the Second World War, otters were virtually extinct in Renfrewshire because the rivers and streams were polluted with industrial effluent. Many were also trapped and shot because of the damage they caused to fish on large sporting estates where angling provided a major source of income for wealthy land-owners.

    Special Protection Areas are an international designation intended to protect sites for birds which migrate between different countries. Scotland forms an important winter staging post for migratory birds from Canada, Iceland and Greenland through to northern Russia and Siberia. It also provides a summer breeding area for many birds that winter in warmer climates further south. Wildfowl, waders, seabirds and other birds travel vast distances around the world, dependent on different countries at different times of the year. The Cart's Special Protection Area is the Black Cart Water directly north of Glasgow Airport. The Black Cart Water Special Protection Area comprises a tidal stretch of the river and its associated floodplain. This part of the Black Cart is of international importance as a roost site and foraging area for a population of wintering Icelandic swans. Whooper swans have wintered on the site since the early 1960s. The river and associated floodplain, combined with agriculturally improved areas outwith the site, provide important food sources essential for the maintenance of the whooper swan population.

    There has been a slight decrease in the number of environmental indicator bird species such as peewits and redshank. The peewit population in the survey area dropped from 130 breeding pairs in 1990 to 110 in 2000. And only 18 pairs of redshank bred locally in 2000 compared to 25 pairs in 1990. The decline is blamed on the loss of the wet grassland habitats of both species and the impact of intensive farming, including ditching and drainage.

    The River Cart was used by monks and the early citizens to transport timber and coal supplies, which continued into the 19th century. The monks charters state the river was especially rich in salmon and trout.

    Sneddon Quay (Common Quay) was in use in the early 1600’s and attempts to clear the River Cart took place from time to time. In 1753, an Act of Parliament to improve the river was obtained since the Cart was scarcely navigable except on the highest spring tides because of the banks, stones and rocks that obstructed its course. An Act of Parliament in 1787 enabled the river to be reshaped. Between 1786 and 1791 the Cart was rendered navigable for ships drawing not more than five feet of water. A further act of Parliament was passed in 1798 to deepen the river. An earlier groin placed near the mouth remained, however preventing the full extent of tidal scour from being effective, rendering the river unable to develop. Between 1835 and 1842 attempts were made to deepen and improve it still farther, at a cost of over £20,000 but not very successfully as a reef of rocks across the bed of the river prevented any great depth from being reached. By the 1880’s Paisley had the reputation of being the dirtiest town in Scotland. Open street drains and the River Cart which all forms of sewage were deposited, contributed to unhealthy conditions in which cholera and typhus bred.

    In the 1800’s Scandinavian timber came up the river to cater for the growing building trade.

    In 1880, at the ship-building industry’s peak, there were seven yards on the river, launching 25 ships that year. The swiftest river steamers then on the Clyde having been built at Paisley. Competition with Clyde yards put them out of business and by 1960 only one remained. Due to the narrow and relatively undeveloped river, the yards specialised in small ships, such as ferries and dredges. During the depression of 1826 unemployed shawl workers were employed to dredge the river for stones.

    It was during the Second World War Paisley harbour was in big demand. In one month alone in 1940, 34 vessels used the harbour bringing in traditional cargoes of coal, cement, sand and stone and also oranges, ammonia and jam, the latter from South Africa and America. During the War, all shipping down the Clyde, including Paisley, came under the umbrella of one authority - Clyde Anchorages. It is widely recognised that the principal reason for the importance of the harbour during the War was the fact that, unlike the River Clyde, the area had been free from air attacks by the Germans who were mercifully unaware that Paisley had such an important facility. The Germans were also not aware that local shipbuilders Fleming and Ferguson were turning out corvettes, frigates and landing craft at their Phoenix Works on the banks of the river. The first American troops to arrive in Britain during the War landed at Paisley harbour in 1942. Because of understandable restrictions on newspapers reporting troop movements, little is known about their arrival. It is believed the troopship bringing the American soldiers first docked or dropped anchor at Greenock and they were then transhipped to small craft which disembarked them at Paisley Harbour. It is thought this method of transport was used rather than the train or trucks to keep the movement less obvious to enemy spies. But what happened to the Americans after they arrived in Paisley remains a mystery.

    Silting was always a problem with the Cart, along with relying on the tide, and by 1901 Paisley’s port aspirations were over. A 1960’s report revealed that £7,650 would have to be spent on dredging the harbour and navigation channel with a further £6,500 required to install aids for night navigation. While the council seemed prepared to meet these costs they soon voted to close the harbour when it was revealed the cost of securing the banks of the river would be more than £750,000, a vast sum of money in 1966. The decision infuriated local timber-merchants, William Lang in New Sneddon Street, who were still importing 500 tons of timber a month from Finland, Sweden, Czechoslovakia and Russia. The river was abandoned in 1968.

    Ironically, two years before the closure various authorities joined forces to protect Paisley's shipping interests and insisted on the high-level Inchinnan Viaduct across the Cart to carry the then new M8 motorway. It proved to be completely unnecessary.

    There is a long history of flooding in much of the area through which the White Cart flows--most notably in Cathcart, Langside and Shawlands (Glasgow). Records dating back to 1908 suggest serious flooding in those districts on at least 16 occasions. That represents a frequency of once every five years.

    During the early hours of 1 January 1984, flooding from the White Cart water caused extensive inundation, resulting in widespread disruption and affecting almost 500 homes and business premises in the Battlefield and Langside area (Glasgow). Water levels rose with exceptional speed - in some areas at more than 1 metre per hour. Unfortunately, only 12 days later, on 13 January 1984, an almost identical flood occurred in the same area, with similar results.

    That month was clearly exceptional but floods of a similar or greater magnitude had occurred in August 1920, January 1932, October 1959 and September 1962. Even though the average period between the most serious instances of flooding is around 10 years, there are many instances of floods which were less serious but which none the less forced residents to evacuate their homes.

    The area is mainly residential, with a mixture of medium-density housing, sandstone tenements and modern flats, although there is some light industry and retail useage in the area.

    The origin of the textile mill complex at Anchor Mills dates to 1812 when James Clark founded a textile factory for weaving cotton thread at Seedhill. This was to replace the loss of silk thread which was used until the date of Napoleon’s capture of Hensburg in 1806, resulting in the loss of that port for the importation of silk. The Domestic Finishing Mill at the Anchor Mills complex was built in 1886 and was once part of a major industrial complex comprising more than 40 individual buildings. This building is now one of the remaining great mills left in Paisley. The Domestic Finishing Mill was in continual use for nearly a century and is one of the few surviving buildings which can relate the story of the industrial heritage of Paisley.

    This massive and beautifully constructed building in brickwork wrapped around a cast iron column and beam structure is of Category A Listed building status and is prominently located in the medieval heart of Paisley Town Centre in full view of Paisley Abbey. James Clark developed the technique of selling cotton thread on wooden spools and during the 19th century the Clarks built a number of thread mills at Seedhill although in 1906 their business was taken over by their local rivals, J & P Coats. The mills continued as a thriving business until after World War II, but post-war economic changes lead to their closure. The Domestic Finishing Mill is undergoing renovation towards a new use for business and housing.

    St. Mirin evangelised the area in the 6th century and founded a church at the fording point of the River Cart. This was the church which the monks founded and this was to become Paisley's birthplace. There was good fertile soil and the River Cart could be forded easily. There was also a waterfall which acted as a good natural fish dam. The mediaeval village had a corn-mill and a tannery, far enough from Paisley town centre as to not be smelled. Although there are many historical references to the continued existence of mills within the Seedhill area, they primarily relate to corn, malt and flour mills. In 1781 the area was built-up in the area of today’s Council Buildings and Mill Street, where a mill and a tanworks could be found. The rest of Seedhill Road was rural, and remained so until the end of the 19th century.

    The poet and ornithologist, Alexander Wilson, was born at Seedhill on the 6th July 1776. His house of birth was demolished in the 1840's. There was once a small marble tablet on the building which read "This tablet was erected in 1841 by David Anderson, Perth, to mark the birthplace of Alexander Wilson, Paisley poet and ornithologist."

    Shortroods is an area of Paisley 0.8mile/1.3km north of the town centre off Inchinnan Road.

    There is a reference to Short Ruids and Nethercommon on a map of 1490 to 1545. A farm took its name from the area, and remained rural until after the second world war.

    The Cottage Arms Pub, Mossvale Lane, is the location where the ‘Chewin’ The Fat’ pub scenes are filmed (with the senior singing men). The pub was built in the 1930’s and is generally a secret, except by the regulars.

    St. Mirren Park (also still referred to by it's old name of Love Street) is the home of 1st Division football team St. Mirren.

    When St. Mirren F.C. began in 1877, the home ground was at Shortroods but, two years later, a move was made to Greenhill Park. The Club’s development entailed yet another move to Westmarch, a ground situated close to St James’s Station. Then in 1895, ‘Love Street’ became synonymous with the home of senior football in Paisley. St Mirren did not at first own the ground, but the Club’s clever committee of the day hit on a unique idea to raise cash. There was a slaughterhouse just over the wall and they rented the ground to graze sheep on, charging £5 per annum. A condition of the rental agreement was “that the sheep be removed from the field during the matches”.

    Named after Spateston Farm and burn, Spateston is an area of Johnstone located just off the B789, 3 kilometres (2 miles) south-west of the town centre and 7.5 kilometres (4.5 miles) from Paisley.

    This residential area of Johnstone is made up of two distinct areas. The oldest area is along Beith Road and Auchingreoch Avenue. The majority of Spateston is made up of council-built homes and flats, which were constructed from the 1970's.

    A manor house called Lyncliff Castle, became the property of the Cochrane family, and had a tower added to it around 1592. The building was to become known as Cochrane Castle. This was demolished in the late 18th century. In 1896, George Ludovic Houstoun, the last laird of Johnstone, erected Cochrane Tower where it once stood, and it has an engraving of the family Coats of Arms.

    Nearby is the Cochrane Castle Golf Club, which was established in 1895. It was laid out on Craigston Farm, on land leased by the then Laird, G. L. Houstoun.

    Spateston Farm was located just west of today's school on Beith Road. It appears on a map dated 1832, but not on the 1864 Ordnance Survey map. Further west is the former Crossford Corn Mill. It was built in 1841 and is now the offices of Aqua Systems Ltd.

    The Old Howwood Road was the original route from Johnstone to Howwood. Based on maps, the road ceased to be a through-route between 1840 and 1864 when the junction at Beith Road, near the Bird in the Hand, was cut. Since then, the road has been cut further with the construction of Cochrane Castle and Spateston housing estates. Can any readers shed light on why the new Beith Road was built and when? A map of 1800 shows both routes. Possibly the increase in mining and industry in the Johnstone area required a wider and straighter alignment.

    St Anthony's RC Church was built in 1969.

    Whitehaugh [haugh=low level ground beside a stream]. Whitehaugh is a residential area 0.9 mile/1.5km east of Paisley off Arkleston Road

    The area was rural until the 1920's when the buildings of Whitehaugh and Whitehaugh House were demolished and the estates used for residential housing.

    Barshaw Park is 55 acres in size. Barshaw mansion (now flats), with it’s distinctive tower, was built by Robert Smith, and later reconstructed by wealthy Paisley businessman James Arthur. After their death, the estate was sold to the Paisley Town Council in 1911, with the park officially opening the following year. The mansion-house was turned into an infirmary and in 1917 it became a military hospital for wounded soldiers. In 1919 the building was returned to the council and was converted to a military hospital. In 1958 it was turned into a home for the elderly. The Council opened four tennis courts in 1921 and two bowling greens in 1922. 1925 saw the opening of an 18-hole golf course, which was turned into a farm during WW2. The course includes Byres Hill. At 54 metres it is the highest point in the area and was once a Roman camp.

    There are no references to Whitehaugh on a 1781 map, but by 1800 a map indicates the Whitehaugh Estate being owned by one Mr McDowall. By 1839 Whitehaugh House appears on maps, owned by James Gerard. Whitehaugh was located near today's Kingsburgh Drive and Avondale Drive white Whitehaugh House was located near today’s Arkleston Road and Regent Street.

    Williamsburgh is a residential and commercial area of Paisley 0.6mile/1.0km east of the town centre on the A737 Glasgow Road. A map of 1800 shows the area as Williamsburg (no h at the end).

    The area has always been strategic, not just for the location of the Military Barracks in the 1800's, but the location of Williamsburgh has always been on the main Paisley-Glasgow road.

    The Greenlaw Estate was located on the north side of Glasgow Road, between Williamsburgh and Paisley town centre. The area was developed as an elegant inner suburb on the western edge of Paisley over the course of the 19th century, starting with the Georgian palace fronting Garthland Place, continuing with the handsome four storey tenements of Greenlaw Avenue and completed by the detached and semi-detached villas in Mansionhouse Road. The Conservation Area was designated in 1975.

    Weavers had begun to settle there as early as 1802 and at it’s height as a separate settlement contained over 1,000 weavers. According to an 1870’s sanitary inspectors report, the area was almost entirely composed of single-roomed houses. Williamsburgh Street (now Glasgow Road) was built up on the south side (1781) between the Merchants Society Ground (today’s Paisley Grammar School) and roughly East Lane to the east. In 1819 Infantry Barracks were built on the north side of the Glasgow Road (today’s Kelburne Oval and Whitehaugh Avenue). Militia Staff Barracks were located on the south side (near today’s Lacy Street). The presence of these buildings was considered a necessity in a town where the weavers were ‘radical to a man’. The barracks were demolished in 1894.

    Otherwise the north side of the road was rural until after 1865 when Paisley‘s expansion had joined the town to Williamsburgh.


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