The project to transform Paisley Museum into a world-class destination is making great progress – here’s an update on what’s been going on behind the big red hoarding….

The £42m project will create a destination of international quality – helping showcase the town’s unique stories like never before, and bringing huge volumes of new footfall to the area when it reopens in 2022.

The project is part of a wider investment in Paisley’s cultural venues and outdoor spaces led by Renfrewshire Council and is being taken forward by a project team within Renfrewshire Leisure, who will operate the reopened building.

Transformation of the scale we are delivering does of course take time – but the project team have been busy behind the scenes and are delighted to report the project is very much on track.

Paisley Museum Reimagined Interior

What’s happening with the building?

The project will restore and preserve the existing A-listed Victorian buildings – and give the museum campus a new lease of life by adding a new entrance and courtyard, museum garden, and new extension offering new modern facilities and community learning spaces.

The museum will be extended into the space next door previously occupied by Paisley Central Library, allowing us to more than double the number of items on display.

2019 saw a programme of advance construction works to get the building ready for main building work starting.

That included the demolition of the 1970s extension which housed the shawl gallery – creating room for the new garden and outdoor public spaces, and opening up previously-hidden views to the Coats Observatory, which is also being restored as part of the redevelopment.

Contractors also stripped back the inside of the building and removed many of the modern additions made over the years to take the building back to its historical origins.

Doing so early in the process has given the design team (led by international architects AL_A) a detailed understanding of the building – allowing them to redesign it in a way which will restore and showcase those original features. They are currently finalising the technical detail of those designs.

So far this year the project team have performed a number of surveys on the building, its foundations, and the ground outside, to make sure they have all they detailed site information they need before the main works start.

Main construction is expected to last for around two years. At its peak there will be hundreds of contractors on what will be a busy construction site – meaning the project will be bringing lots of new footfall to neighbouring businesses before it even opens.

The project team will continue to work closely with neighbouring residents and businesses to make sure they are well aware of what is happening when construction is under way.

What is going in the museum?

At the same time, the project is about much more than the building – it’s about what’s going in it.

Paisley’s collections are of international significance and rated the seventh best in Scotland, but the way the museum was set up before means only a small percentage have ever been on public display.

Not only will the reopened museum have more room to show off those unique items but it will offer a greater ability to rotate content and encourage repeat visits.

The museum team are doing a huge amount of work behind the scenes to research and shortlist the best of Paisley’s fascinating stories, some of which are little-known or never-before-told.

They have been working hand-in-hand with local groups to co-produce the museum content by letting the community decide how those stories should be displayed. Some of the groups the museum has partnered with include local schools, Kairos women’s group and Renfrewshire Project Search, who help young people with additional support needs to find work.

That means when the museum reopens we will use our unique collections to bring Paisley’s history and place in the world to life like never before – with local voices at the heart.

In the meantime Paisley’s collections are available to view at Paisley: The Secret Collection – the UK’s only publicly-accessible High Street museum store, at 9a High Street.

Paisley Museum Reimagined Interior

Where is the £42m coming from?

The new year brought some great news on the funding front when our friends at the National Lottery Heritage Fund confirmed £3.9m funding towards the project in addition to the £1m they had already committed.

Added to money already confirmed from the Scottish Government, that brings the total of external funding towards the project to nearly £11m, with more expected to come. For us to be able to attract such funding shows Paisley Museum is recognised as a project of national importance.

The council is committed to provide £24.1m towards the total, and a new charity called Paisley Museum Reimagined has been set up to secure the final £5m by fundraising from trusts and high-net-worth organisations and individuals.

More information on the project is available here and you can read more on what else is happening in Paisley here

See Paisley Museum’s collections while the work is happening

Take a walk past Paisley Museum and your eye will be caught by an imaginative new set of artworks on display…

Inspired by Paisley’s printed textile heritage, Threadlines comprises a series of experimental print-making workshops and public interventions created and facilitated by a group of Glasgow based visual artists—Rachel Walker, Roos Dijkhuizen, Nadia Rossi and Ruby Pester.

The artists started the project with research at Paisley Museum and Heritage Centre, exploring the history of Paisley’s textile industry.

Machinery such as weaving looms was of specific interest, particularly the processes and stages in technological advancement of machinery which eventually led to printed textiles being mass produced in the town.

Over the course of the project, the artists collaborated with the following local groups and organisations: Create Paisley; the Disability Resource Centre; Fine Art HNC students from West College Scotland; RAMH; Sunshine Recovery Cafe; Renfrewshire Mental Health Arts Festival; and ReMode.

In collaboration with these groups, the artists created a series of temporary artworks which explore, activate and are inspired by Paisley’s printed textile heritage.

Paisley Vision - Widened busy high st


A first-of-its kind study with radical ideas for how Paisley town centre could look in a decade has been published – and aims to start a conversation about what might be possible in the town.

The ‘Vision for Paisley Town Centre 2030’ is the result of a unique link-up between Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish Government and Scotland’s Town Partnership – and uses Paisley as a test case for a series of bold ideas imagining how empty retail space could be better used

Aileen Campbell, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, officially unveiled the report at an event in the town centre today.

The study – produced by Glasgow-based Threesixty Architecture – is based on the idea changes to the way people shop have left towns like Paisley with far more retail space than they need.

Paisley Vision - 1 paisley centre entrance




What ideas do the authors suggest?

The authors lay out a series of radical ideas for how the town could be rebalanced to better meet community need – bringing with it new life and footfall. Their suggestions include:

– introducing hundreds of new town centre residents, including repurposing the Paisley Centre shopping centre into a new residential quarter with ground-floor retail;

– new ‘attractors’ such as a High Street cinema, or European-style food hall housing independent food and drink businesses;

– bolstering remaining retail by concentrating it back on to the High Street and street-fronts;

– new public spaces for outdoor activity, and new lanes and streets creating new views and routes to ‘hidden’ parts of the town centre

– how key vacant historic buildings such as the Liberal Club, YMCA building and TA Building could be brought back into use;

– other ideas such as shared office spaces or makers’ spaces, a new hotel, and relocating parts of university and college campuses into the heart of the town centre;

Paisley Vision - 2 aerial shot paisley centre site




What’s already happening?

The contents of the report build on work already happening to use Paisley’s unique cultural and heritage story to transform its future through the Future Paisley programme, which aims to build on the momentum created by the town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

That includes a £100m investment in the town’s venues and outdoor spaces, including turning Paisley Museum into a world-class destination for the town’s internationally-significant collections, which last week saw £3.8m of funding confirmed from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Paisley is already finding new uses for vacant High Street spaces – construction will start soon to bring a formerly-empty retail unit back into use as a new learning and cultural hub housing library services, for which the first images have just been revealed.

That will build on the success of Paisley: The Secret Collection – the UK’s first publicly-accessible High Street museum store, which opened in 2017 – showing Paisley’s ambitions to put culture at the heart of its future high street are already being realised.

Paisley Vision - 5 High Street cinema




What are people saying about it?

Cabinet Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “This study represents another significant milestone in the regeneration of Paisley and is further evidence of the ambition and commitment of the local community and partners.

“A huge opportunity now exists to use this collaborative vision to create more positive change in the town, as well as sharing learning which can benefit other town centres and communities across Scotland.

“The Scottish Government will continue to work in partnership with local government to support the regeneration of our towns and high streets.”

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “The way people shop has changed forever, and towns everywhere are seeing the same issues with empty retail space.

“We can’t turn the clock back but we can consider how we could change to attract new life and footfall in future – and that’s what Paisley is doing.

“It’s important to stress these are not concrete plans – they are a set of ideas designed to spark a conversation about what might be possible over the next decade.

“Paisley town centre is already changing for the better – the number of new cafes and restaurants and new housing built in recent years shows it is recognised as a good place to live and invest.

“Current and future council investment will make Paisley even more attractive to the private sector, but change of the scale imagined by the Vision could not be achieved by the council alone – so we want to hear from developers who could make that next stage of the journey happen.”

Colette Cardosi, chair of town centre business improvement district Paisley First, added: “In recent years, Paisley has found itself firmly back on the map with fantastic events for visitors and a growing number of independent businesses.

“However, like many towns throughout the country, we need to continuously adapt and evolve and Paisley First welcomes collaboration on any long-term strategy for the future which can help bring in new investment and new footfall to local businesses in Paisley town centre.”

Phil Prentice, chief officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, added: “Paisley has a rich tapestry of heritage and culture, is steeped in industry and tradition, and has many major assets.

“We hope this exciting blueprint can create a high street fit for 21st century citizens and Paisley can become an exemplar for other large towns across Scotland.”

Paisley Vision - 3 new Liberal Club


Alan Anthony, managing director of Threesixty Architecture, who authored the Vision, said: “This study shows a people-first approach that reconnects the whole community to their town centre.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to rebalance our High Street back to a place with a rich mix of uses. As a lifelong Paisley Buddy, it’s exciting to think Paisley could lead the way on town centre regeneration in Scotland.”

Brian Clark, managing director of Park Lane Developments, said: “We believe Park Lane’s partnership with Renfrewshire Council on the regeneration of the former Arnotts department store has already shown the way for how the public and private sector can work together to transform a town centre site.

“That project has already delivered 67 completed private and social rented housing along with the welcome addition of the Pendulum restaurant. The final phase is just about to go for planning and will bring an additional 70 new homes.

“The site was derelict for 10 years and is now back in beneficial use bringing new residents and activity back into the town centre – and shows the potential that exists in Paisley as a place to live and invest.”

Paisley Vision - 4 Liberal Club interior


The idea for a High Street cinema is already being taken forward by a local group – the Paisley Community Trust – who, with support from the council, are developing their own plans to convert an existing building for that purpose.

Gary Kerr, chair of the Paisley Community Trust, said: “”It’s exciting to see such a transformational and radical vision for Paisley’s future revealed. Paisley Community Trust fully back this new vision for Paisley and we congratulate Threesixty Architecture on producing a superb piece of work.

“It’s particularly encouraging to see cinema at the forefront of the vision. This completely aligns with our current plans to bring cinema back to the heart of our town.

“We believe a cinema by and for our community is a vital first step in realising the wider vision for regeneration in the town centre. It’s Project One if you like.

“We’ve been working behind the scenes on it for a while now and will reveal more details very soon. We also look forward to seeing the other concepts from the vision being explored and developed into regeneration projects of their own in the years ahead.”


How can you have a say on the ideas?

The Paisley Vision was produced after gathering feedback from key local partners – including community groups, businesses, educational establishments and private developers.

Residents and businesses have the chance to see and give their views on the Paisley Vision plans for themselves at a public exhibition open in POP (the former Post Office) in the town’s Piazza shopping centre – on Friday 24 (1 to 4.30pm), Saturday 25 (9.30am to 4.30pm) and Monday 27 January (9.30am to 3pm).

The full report can also be viewed online (link opens in a new tab), along with a Q&A which goes into more details on the ideas it contains and what happens next.

Investing in Paisley town centre

The first images showing how a vacant former retail unit at the heart of Paisley’s High Street will be turned into a 21st-century community facility housing library services have been revealed.

Construction will start soon on the £7m Paisley Learning and Cultural Hub – a new modern community and educational facility which will bring new footfall to the town centre.

When it opens in summer 2021, the building will provide a new digitally-connected home for a range of services, including those currently offered at Paisley Central Library.

As the images released show, that will include:

  • a comprehensive internal remodelling of the existing building, over four floors
  • an attractive ground-and-first-floor frontage with a modern look – which complements the High Street surroundings and preserves the historic features on the building’s upper floors
  • children’s library with areas for areas for reading, play, storytelling and learning
  • IT areas and suite – offering free public digital access in the heart of the town centre

The new facility is the latest example of how Renfrewshire Council is helping repopulate the town’s High Street by finding new cultural and community uses for vacant retail property.

It follows Paisley: The Secret Collection – the UK’s first publicly-accessible High St museum store -which opened two years ago in the basement of the town’s former Littlewoods store.

The four-floor unit at 22a High Street which will house the learning and cultural hub was last occupied by clothing chain Internacionale – but has been empty for a decade.

The work is part of a wider investment in the town’s venues and outdoor spaces which will see Paisley Museum transformed into a world-class home for the town’s internationally-significant collections, and Paisley Town Hall kept at the heart of local life as a landmark entertainment venue.

The project includes £1.5m funding from the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund and is being delivered on behalf of the council by hub West Scotland who have appointed Collective Architecture to create the new design and main contractor CCG to deliver the refurbishment.

Investing in Paisley town centre

We are putting the power of culture to change lives at the heart of everything we do - so putting a building offering library services at the heart of Paisley High Street is a bold statement of intent.

Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes
Renfrewshire Leisure


Tues 28 Jan–Fri 14 Feb

Open Mon–Fri, 12 noon–4pm

Location: POP Space, Piazza Shopping Centre, Paisley

An exhibition of new work by the ‘Picturing Paisley’ photography group, brought together through Outspoken Arts. The group has researched the legacy of local thread and textiles manufacturing by considering Paisley’s past, present and future—creating their own photographic essays in response. The exhibiting artists are:

Karen Bohme

Susanne Bottomley

Carole Gledhill

Audrey Hall

Christopher Kyle

Christine M Kyle

Kate Lynch

Avilio S. Mendez-Delgado

Julie O’Brien.

MEET THE ARTISTS Wed 29 Jan 5pm–7.30pm


The project is supported by the ‘Picturing Paisley’ Artist in Residence, Morwenna Kearsley. This exhibition is funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Renfrewshire Council as part of the Paisley TH.CARS2 regeneration programme.

This is a Free Event.

For their support, thanks to: Outspoken Arts;the Paisley Thread Mill Museum; Renfrewshire Leisure (Heritage Centre, The Secret Collection and POP Space).

Supported by TH.CARS2


TH.CARS2 logo bar

Paisley TH.CARS2 Project Team
Regeneration and Economic Development Service
Chief Executive’s Service
Renfrewshire Council
Renfrewshire House
Cotton Street
Paisley PA1 1WB

Plans to completely transform Paisley Museum into a world-class visitor destination telling the town’s unique stories have taken a major step forward as The National Lottery Heritage Fund today announced £3.83million support for the project.

The four buildings which make up Scotland’s first municipal museum, including the country’s first public observatory, will be ambitiously re-designed and extended by an award-winning international team, including the architects, AL_A and exhibition designers Opera Amsterdam, to create an exciting new experience for visitors.

The new, contemporary galleries and exhibitions will double the number of objects on display and be fully accessible so that visitors can explore the town’s rich heritage and its part in the story of the famous teardrop Paisley pattern textile, from the shawls of Kashmir to the haute couture of rock stars.

Inspiring learning zones, improved social spaces, a new cafe, shop and cloakroom facilities will add to the Museum’s appeal, as will a new, welcoming entrance surrounded by a courtyard and gardens.

The revamped museum is expected to open in 2022 and is forecast to attract 125,000 visits a year – almost four times the current numbers – and create a £79m economic boost over 30 years.

It is the cornerstone of Renfrewshire Council’s vision to bring new life to the town through investment in heritage and culture. This has included the opening of the UK’s first publicly accessible high street museum store, Paisley: The Secret Collection, and the conservation and repair of key buildings which make up the town’s historic core through a scheme funded with £2m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Caroline Clark, Director Scotland of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“This project has been driven by the passion of the Paisley community to put their unique heritage on an international stage. With the help of National Lottery funding, new life will be breathed into these heritage buildings giving Paisley’s wonderful textiles and other treasures the prominence they deserve, while also bringing a new confidence to the town.”

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd, said:

“We want to thank everyone connected to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for their fantastic support.

“It will help us deliver a world-class museum which will take the town’s unique and fascinating stories to new audiences, showcase Paisley’s internationally-significant collections, and bring new life and footfall to the wider area.

“It will create a new accessible hub at the heart of life in the town for the local community – local groups are already co-producing the incredible stories which will populate the reopened museum, and we look forward to continuing to work with The National Lottery Heritage Fund and others over the years ahead to deliver on that.”

Find out more about the Paisley Museum Reimagined project

See Paisley Museum’s collections while the work is happening

I’ve always had a very soft spot for Paisley. Through one line of my father’s family, I’m descended from Paisley weavers.

It’s a cherished Craig family tradition that Robert Tannahill sits somewhere in the branches of our family tree. When I was a wee girl, my parents took me to Paisley to see the statue of our famous forebear, standing there in the Abbey Close. When I had children, I took them there too.

In the late 1980s, while I was training to be a Blue Badge Scottish Tourist Guide, we were asked to research and write up a project with a strand of Scotland’s heritage as its theme. I thought immediately of Paisley shawls and the Paisley pattern. A visit to Paisley museum left me entranced by the colours and patterns of these beautiful textiles.


Liberty or death…!

Taking a walk around the other exhibits, I spotted a small placard. With a printing date of 1st April 1820, it called upon workers and artisans to go on strike until they had won back their ancient rights. In the slump which followed the end of the Napoleonic wars, wages had plummeted. Many of the poor were starving, struggling to put food on the table and clothe their children. They were ground down too by a corrupt system of government locally and at the Westminster parliament, where seats could be bought by wealthy men. Many of those who made the decisions were interested only in securing power, rank and money for themselves. The new King George IV, formerly the Prince Regent, clearly did not care that so many people throughout his kingdom were suffering.

The placard I’d noticed was an Address to the Inhabitants of Great Britain & Ireland, issued from Glasgow, ‘by order of the Committee of Organization for forming a Provisional Government.’ ‘Liberty or death is our motto and we have sworn to return home in triumph – or return no more!’ These were words to stir the blood.


The radicalisation of the weavers

I learned a lot of Scottish history from my parents. Both were great story-tellers. My father Alexander Dewar Craig, who was involved in Labour politics in the 1940s and 50s, told me a lot about the Red Clydesiders, whom I eventually went on to write about in When the Clyde Ran Red. It was from my dad that I initially heard about the great personalities of that period, including of course Willie Gallacher of Paisley.

However, I’d never heard about a popular uprising to try to win universal suffrage and better living and working conditions in Scotland in 1820. While researching and writing my book on the Scottish radicals of this period over the past 18 months I’ve discovered I wasn’t alone in my ignorance.

Weavers in Paisley, Johnstone, Glasgow, Ayrshire, Balfron, Duntocher and south of the border in places like Manchester and Nottingham played a pivotal role in the radical movement of the early 19th century. Support for the radical cause in Paisley was high. A huge pro-democracy meeting at St Peter’s Fields in Manchester in August 1819 was charged by sabre-wielding hussars. At least 15 people were killed and over 650 wounded. One month later 15,000 people gathered from Paisley and the surrounding area at Meikleriggs Moor to protest against the Manchester Massacre, which had swiftly been dubbed Peterloo.

In April 1820, 60,000 people throughout the Central Belt and Ayrshire answered the strike call, downing tools. As far as the authorities were concerned, radical reformers were now the enemy, to be suppressed in every way possible. In her book, Paisley: A History, Sylvia Clark wrote of constables raiding Maxwellton to arrest suspected radicals. An unseen person called out a defiant challenge. ‘You’d better take all of us. We’re all radicals here!’

This radical tradition, this refusal to accept what’s aye been, continued on into the 1840s, when the Chartists throughout Britain called for similar reforms to those demanded by the earlier radicals. Patrick Brewster, minister at Paisley Abbey, was an active Chartist and a champion of working people. The line continues through to the Red Clydesiders, people like Willie Gallacher and Mary Barbour of Govan, originally from Kilbarchan and the daughter of a weaver, who led the fight during the rent strikes of the First World War.


Remembering the radicals of 1820

There’s a statue to the Reverend Brewster in Woodside Cemetery in Paisley, as there is a monument there to the radicals of 1820. It’s a slender obelisk, sculpted by William Robin to a design by Alexander (Greek) Thomson. The monument remembers the three martyrs of Scotland’s Radical Rising: John Baird of Condorrat at Cumbernauld, Andrew Hardie of Townhead in Glasgow and James Wilson of Strathaven. All three men were tried and condemned to death, hanged and then beheaded, all of this done in public to provide ‘a warning from the scaffold.’

Although none of the Paisley radicals were found guilty of treason, there were many arrests and some trials. A number of men spent months in prison. One was John Fraser of Viewfield in Johnstone, a former weaver, schoolmaster and gifted musician. As a young man, a year or so before the 1820 rising, he went to an oratorio in Paisley Abbey, where he heard singers accompanied by organ music. It was the first time he had ever heard the instrument and he was profoundly moved by the sound as it filled the magnificence of the abbey.

As a much older man, John Fraser was at the unveiling of the martyrs’ memorial in Woodside cemetery in 1867. Following in his footsteps over 100 years later, I remember thinking I had to write about this. It’s taken me a while but I’ve got there. Throughout the research and the writing, I’ve been struck again and again by the similarities between then and now.

It’s hard to resist the conclusion that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Too many families are having to turn to food and school uniform banks. Workers’ hard-won rights are in peril. If the privileged and the entitled ever ceded any of their power, they’re clawing it back now. We need radical voices and rebel stories more than ever. I’m looking forward very much to coming to Paisley to take part in the inaugural Paisley Book Festival.


Maggie Craig comes from Glasgow. She is the author of Damn’ Rebel Bitches: The Women of the ’45, Bare-arsed Banditti: The Men of the ’45, When the Clyde Ran Red, and several historical novels set in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Her next non-fiction book is One Week in April: The Scottish Radical Rising of 1820, which will be published by Birlinn in April 2020, on the 200th anniversary of the events.

Maggie will be speaking at Renfrewshire Rebels: Opening Night on Thursday 20 February in Paisley Arts Centre.

Plans to turn Paisley Museum into a world-class destination have taken a step forward after planning permission was granted.

The Category A-listed Victorian building is being transformed into a leading European museum telling the unique stories of a town known around the world for its famous Pattern.

Members of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Board gave the green light to planning permission for an extension and external alterations plus listed building consent – meaning work can start next year.

Paisley Museum Reimagined Sketch Mode Aerial View

The reimagined museum is expected to draw audiences of 125,000 people a year – almost four times current numbers – from Scotland, the UK and abroad when it reopens in 2022.

The designs produced by AL_A – led by Stirling Prize winner Amanda Levete – include:

  •  a fully-accessible entrance courtyard and dramatic red glazed entrance hall, creating a dynamic and inviting presence on the High Street and a contemporary face for the museum;
  • a new wing to the west of the existing building providing step-free access through the museum to the Coats Observatory (the oldest public observatory in Scotland);
  • an attractive outdoor garden, creating a new public space for the town, and opening up previously-hidden views of the observatory while reconnecting it and the museum to the town’s High Street;
  • internal renovations to improve accessibility and circulation and extend the museum into the space formerly occupied by Paisley Central Library, allowing the museum to more than double the number of objects on display to 1,200;
  • an interactive weaving studio keeping alive the town’s traditional textile skills;

The Paisley Museum Reimagined scheme is the flagship project within Renfrewshire Council’s £100m investment in cultural venues and outdoor spaces – designed to use the town’s internationally-significant cultural and heritage story to change its future.

The project is expected to create a £79m boost for the local economy over 30 years, with 138 jobs supported during construction, and 48.5 jobs per year through revenue and visitor spending.

Paisley Museum Reimagined Interior 2

It already includes Round One funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with funding confirmed from the Scottish Government, and their Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

Paisley Museum Reimagined Ltd has been set up as a new fundraising company to oversee the project’s fundraising strategy and capital appeal.

The project is being co-designed in partnership with the community – the project team have already worked with hundreds of local people and groups to capture and help tell their stories.

Paisley Museum Reimagined Interior 1

Renfrewshire’s collections are among the best in Scotland and include the world’s largest collection of Paisley shawls and pattern books, artwork from the world-renowned Glasgow Boys, one of Scotland’s best collections of studio ceramics, and a unique offering of mediaeval manuscripts dating back to before the Reformation.

The museum transformation is the flagship project within Renfrewshire Council’s £100m investment in venues and outdoor spaces aimed at using Paisley’s unique and internationally-significant cultural and heritage story to transform the area’s future.

Other current investments in Paisley include turning the town’s Victorian Town Hall into a landmark entertainment venue to preserve its place at the heart of life in the town, a new learning and cultural hub offering library services in a formerly-vacant retail unit on the town’s High St, and an extension and upgrade to the town’s Arts Centre.

See Paisley Museum’s collections while the work is happening

Location: at the POP Space, Piazza Shopping Centre


The Picturing Paisley exhibition has now been extended to the 29th of November.

Tuesday 29th October to Friday 29th November 2019 (open Monday-Friday 12 noon – 4pm, please note that the space closes 2.30pm on Tuesdays).

An exhibition of photographs by HNC Photography students from West College Scotland, exploring Paisley’s industrial past through its built environment. The ‘Picturing Paisley’ project is supported by artist in residence Morwenna Kearsley and funded through Paisley TH.CARS2.

This is a FREE event.

Tel: 0141 618 7939

Supported by TH.CARS2


TH.CARS2 logo bar

Paisley TH.CARS2 Project Team
Regeneration and Economic Development Service
Chief Executive’s Service
Renfrewshire Council
Renfrewshire House
Cotton Street
Paisley PA1 1WB

The first images showing how Paisley’s iconic arts centre will look after a £2.8m transformation have been revealed – including a new extension and public space at the heart of Paisley’s nightlife district.

The Paisley Arts Centre stage has hosted some of Scotland’s biggest names in the three decades since the 250-year-old former church building was converted into one of the country’s most vibrant small entertainment venues.

The building is being upgraded as part of a wider investment in Paisley’s venues and outdoor spaces aimed at using the town’s internationally-significant cultural and heritage story to change its future.

And plans have been submitted for the work, with images revealed today showing:

  • a redesigned public space around the arts centre, removing railings and bringing the street to the building – creating a new outdoor area for events and for people to dwell;
  • how the building’s location at the junction of New Street and Shuttle Street means it is perfectly placed to add new vibrancy to the surrounding already-busy nightlife area;
  • a new-build extension to the existing entrance – creating more room to expand facilities inside – including an improved café-bar;
  • improved auditorium with retractable seating offering a capacity of 150 (seated) and 200 (standing) and creating the flexibility to offer more events, bringing more footfall to the town;
  • better audience and performance facilities – retaining the intimate atmosphere the building is known for but adding more comfortable seating with better legroom, improved sightlines, better sound and lighting, upgraded toilets, and better disabled access and facilities.

There will also be new back-of-house facilities expanding what the building can do and making it more attractive to performers – including a new kitchen, improved dressing rooms, and workshop space for rehearsals and other events.

The arts centre is due to close in summer 2020 to allow the transformation to take place, and is expected to reopen in summer 2021.

The venue is home to a year-round performance programme and last week hosted several events as part of Paisley’s Spree festival, and will be packed out again for the ever-popular PACE Youth Theatre panto this festive period.

While the arts centre had a number of improvements to the outside of the building in 2012 the facilities inside had become outdated and needed more than a makeover to change that – but the planned work will create 21st-century facilities inside the historic building.

The project is being taken forward by Renfrewshire Council and the venue will continue to be operated by Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd.