John Neilson Institute

This iconic building is affectionately-known locally as the Porridge Bowl!

Built on the site of a former bowling green in 1852, it was funded by Paisley grocer John Neilson for the education of orphaned and impoverished boys.

On completion of the building, the date 1852 was carved into a stone to the left of the entrance gates.

The initials WW are also carved into a stone at the institute. This is because it was known to be the site of a foul murder that took place in 1780 in a case involving two lovers.

The building design is in the form of a Greek cross. The atrium was formerly the school assembly hall that gave access to 12 surrounding classrooms.

The school closed in 1968. Its 1993 conversion to 12 split-level apartments won a Saltire award for architecture.

The statue in the atrium of the building is of Greek philosopher Diogenes. It was donated by the people of Paisley and paraded through the streets to the official opening of the conversion.

Take a tour of the building with this video from Doors Open Days 2020 below.

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