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Oakshaw Trinity Church, Paisley, Scotland

Friday, January 29, 2010

Today's Blog Theme: This morning, I visited Paisley and took photographs (above) of a church which always intrigued me, namely the Oakshaw Trinity Church which sits on a high location and is home to the combined Church of Scotland and United Reformed Church.

The building dates from the 18th century. Here are some key pieces of information:
  • Both church and tower designed by Baillie John White. Former completed 1754 and latter 1767-1770.
  • Unusually, the tower was built by the town council under whose ownership it remains to this day.
  • Tower is 161 feet ( 49M) high.
  • The building was refurbished 1876-77 and again in 1994. Inside is the largest ecclesiastical ceiling of its type in Europe.
In the surrounding burial ground can be found many ancient memorials dating back to the early 19th century and late 18th century. Many of these memorials can be found listed in my separate GlasgowAncestry blog.

Glasgow Weather: Commenced with a snow/sleet shower this morning but thereafter brightened up. Cold with clear sky for rest of the day.

Ancestry Research: Following visit to Paisley Abbey, I have posted to my GlasgowAncestry blog a listing of Boer War military casualties obtained from a plaque in the Abbey entrance.

Scotland Tours: Various admin main matters. Responded to enquiry from South America for a Scotland castles tour.


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Paisley, Scotland in Winter

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Another bitterly cold day in Scotland. Temperatures in the Highlands were as low as minus 17 centigrade. This extreme cold is, perhaps, a once in 20 year event.

The sub zero temperature was offset by sunshine and clear blue skies so I resolved to cycle over to Paisley to obtain some images. Paisley has a long history but is often overlooked by tourists and visitors which is a pity because there is much to see and experience here. The bitter cold added an extra dimension as people were moving at a slower pace. Pedestrians were forced onto the roads because the pavements (sidewalks) were covered in compacted ice and extremely unsafe. We are really not prepared for this sort of weather.

Paisley is best know for (a) its 12th century Abbey and (b) former textile industry which powered the town's prosperity in the 19th and early 20th centuries and gave rise to the Paisley pattern.

This image shows a square in the centre of town. The image is deceptive because it fails to reveal that the entire surface is covered in pack ice and almost impossible to traverse whilst standing up!

Here is Paisley Abbey basking in the winter sunshine. It is believed (but not proven) that William Wallace aka 'Braveheart' was educated here.

Another view of the Abbey.

This is the 19th century Town Hall financed by the Clark family's textile wealth.

Patterned ice on the White Cart River.

This is one of the former textile mills, known as the Anchor Mills. Now refurbished as part residential and part business premises.

The frozen White Cart Water (river) near to the Anchor Mills.

Another aspect of Anchor Mills with trademark/logo on the railings.

Overall, a productive morning in the bitter cold. Even the brakes on my bike froze!
I would like to provide more tours around Paisley but, sadly, there is only modest demand.


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Anchor Mill Paisley Scotland

Monday, May 18, 2009

This afternoon, I visited Paisley, located in S.W.Scotland.

Here is there tangible evidence of the town's former industrial glory as a textile and thread making town.

The video clip shows the front/side elevation of the former Anchor Mill operated by the Clark family. After falling into serious decline the mill has been refurbished as a mix of residential and industrial premises. A very imposing building surround on two sides by the White Cart Water (river) which used to provide power for the mill.



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Paisley S.W.Scotland

Sunday, May 17, 2009

This evening (Sunday), I visited the historic town of Paisley, S.W.Scotland which sits astride the White Cart Water (river) and where the 800 year old, medieval Abbey dominates the central area.

Paisley achived fame in the 19th and 20th centuries on back of boming textile industry which grew out of intricately patterned Kashmir shawls imported by the East India Company. Sadly this textile and thread industry dominated by the Clark and Coats families has largely disappeared but tangible evidence remains as manifested in the former mill buildings and grand Town Hall.

The video clip below, taken this evening in overcast conditions, captures the Abbey, Town Hall and central area of Paisley.



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Witherspoon Paisley Scotland

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This evening, I am presenting an interesting story linking Paisley, Scotland with the American Declaration of Independence with Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon.

Key link is clergyman John Witherspoon who was born in East Lothian in 1723 and became an ordained minister in the Church of Scotland firstly in Beith, Ayrshire and then at Laigh Old Kirk, Paisley, Renfrewshire.

Witherspoon was concerned with the disparity in wealth between the social classes in Scotland at the time. He moved to New Jersey and became principal of what is now Princeton University. He was subsequently elected to Congress and became a signatory to the Declaration of Independence.

There is an identical statue to that featuring in the image below (Paisley) outside Princeton University.

The actress Reese Witherspoon is a descendant of John.

This is just one aspect of Paisley's diverse and fascinating history.


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Thomas Coats Baptist Church, Paisley, Scotland

Friday, May 08, 2009

This afternoon I took the opportunity to tour the interior of this famous church which is also known as the 'Baptist Cathedral of Europe'. Key facts:

  • Commissioned by the wealthy Coats textile family and opened in 1894.
  • Gothic design by Hippolyte Blanc of Edinburgh.
  • Can accommodate up to 1000 people.
  • Ground plan in shape of cross.
  • Vestibule contains 350,000 pieces of coloured marble to make up mosaic floor.
  • Pulpit made from marble and alabaster.
  • Finely carved communion table.
  • Baptistry made from black-veined marble.
  • In the chancel are three carved alabaster panels.
Overall, a truly stunning piece of design and craftsmanship.

Unfortunately, the building is in need of considerable funds for repairs and maintenance. For more information on the church and donations visit

The building is open Friday afternoons for two hours during the summer period.



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Baptist Cathedral of Europe Paisley Scotland

Thursday, May 07, 2009

This afternoon, I am posting a video clip of the Coats Memorial Church at High Street, Paisley. This was taken within the past 24 hours.

This building dates back about 100 years and was built with wealth generated through the then prosperous textile industry for which Paisley was famous. The Coats family were key drivers in the Paisley textile industries.

The building is of red sandstone and of Gothic design.The spire rises to a height of 60 metres above ground level.

The building is open to the public on Friday afternoons. The interior is equally impressive, containing wood carvings, marble, alabaster and mosaics.

The video should be viewed in context of the rain in process at the time, not unusual for West of Scotland!



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Paisley Scotland

Sunday, April 19, 2009

This morning I am enjoying spring sunshine. Image shows Paisley Abbey. Apologies for quality of image, which was posted direct from cellphone.

Paisley is something of a 'hidden gem' overshadowed by near neighbour, Glasgow. To the right of the image is Paisley Abbey which was founded in 1163. The religious site was originally a priory which became an Abbey answerable to Rome in 1245. It is believed that William Wallace aka 'Braveheart' was educated there.

The building to left of the image is Paisley Town Hall, a very grand Victorian building reflecting the wealth of the town which was built on textiles and thread making.

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Paisley Cotton Mill Scotland

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This evening, I am posting a short video of a piece of Paisley's industrial history.

The video clip shows an image of the former Clark's Threadmill (1924) located on the White Carte Water.During the late 19th and early 20th centuries Paisley's prosperity depended on the thread mills of the Coats and Clark families which employed many thousands of local people,

The Clark's Mill became derelict after the collapse of the thread-making industry but the building has since been restored as a combined residential and business accommodation.



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James Donald Architecture Paisley Scotland

Friday, January 09, 2009

This evening, I am continuing my Paisley architecture theme. The image below is of the Liberal Club, High St, Paisley which is attributed to James Donald and dates from 1886 with alteration in 1902 by Peter Caldwell. Super-imposition of arcaded ballroom over heavier first floor facade is redolent of Alexander 'Greek' Thomson, the famous Glasgow architect under whom James Donald studied.


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Tour of Paisley Architecture Scotland

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

This evening, I am posting an image taken during my recent architecture tour of Paisley, near Glasgow.

This building, now in very poor condition, was built for the Territorial Army, dates from 1896 and is located at 76 High Street,

The building was designed by Thomas Graham Abercrombie and is described as Scots Renaissance in polychrome sandstone with Art Nouveau belicote.


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Paisley Architecture Scotland

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

This afternoon, I visited some of Paisley's most interesting architecture.

Here is Arnotts Department Store building (now closed) located in Gauze Street. The building was designed by James Steel Maitland and dates from 1924.

An impressive facade with bronze framed canted windows.


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Tour Paisley Scotland at Christmas

Thursday, December 18, 2008

This evening, I went into Paisley ( near Glasgow) to photograph the Christmas decorations at night.

Here is historic Paisley Abbey

Paisley Town Hall

Paisley Town centre
White Cart Water

Another image of the Abbey

An interesting evening aided by reasonably clement weather.


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Tour Coats Observatory Paisley Scotland

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

This evening I am posting some images from a recent visit to Paisley.

Focus is on the Coats Observatory on Oakshaw Street. This was a gift from the textile philanthropist, Thomas Coats in 1883 to Paisley's Philosophical Institution which dates from 1808 and included Thomas Coats in its membership.

The Observatory is open Tuesday to Saturday 10.00am to 5.00pm and Sunday 2.00pm to 5.00pm.

The Observatory is located in an area of interesting local architecture.


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Paisley Scotland Architecture Tour

Monday, June 23, 2008

This evening I am posting some images of interesting architecture in Paisley, near Glasgow.

Here is a view of the Coats Observatory which dates from 1883; a gift from Thomas Coats, a philanthropist who controlled thread-making factories in the locality.

Oakshaw Trinity Church which dates from 1750.

The Town Hall, finaced by textile magnate George A Clark and his family 1870s.

Art Deco architecture in Causeyside street. This is dated 1931.

The former Co-operative building. Classic late Victorian.

A tiled entry to the Co-op building.

Paisley Abbey, whose origins date to the 12th century.

Overall, there is a wide diversity of architecture to intrigue the vistor.


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Walking Tour Paisley Scotland

Friday, June 20, 2008

This evening, I am presenting some images from a stroll around Paisley yesterday.

Paisley is a fascinating town. A long history with the Abbey dating back to 12th century but best known for the textile industry boom in the 19th century which generated huge wealth and employment opportunities and left a legacy of grand public buildings and redundant mills.

Here is some interesting architecture-the old Liberal Club. 19th century

Statue of John Witherspoon (1723-1794) in front of the University. He preached in Paisley and went to found a medical school in the U.S. and signed the American Declaration of Independence.

Paisley Museum, Art Gallery and Library

Images of the Coats Observatory. This was a gift to Paisley's Philosophical Institution from the industrialist Thomas Coats in 1883 .

Impressive house entrance in Oakshaw Street

Memorial Plaque in grounds of Oakshaw Trinity Church

Aspect of Oakshaw Trinity Church

Steps to Meeting House Lane
Clark Town Hall. Funded by textile money in the 19thC

Art Deco architecture in Causeyside Street, 1931

Victorian architecture-former Co-Op building in Causeyside St

Unusual example of a Paisley tiled close (entrance) in above former Co-Op building.

Paisley Abbey, founded 1163.
Statue near Abbey


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