Sunday 9 June 2024

The Town of Paisley Gallery. 2024. A River Runs Through it. Abbey. Murals. Buildings. Part One.

                                                ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.


A few months ago, snowdrop time it was, I spent a couple of days in Paisley, A town I've visited for six decades on and off. Where I used to live, Pollok, it was just as easy to visit Paisley as it was Glasgow's city centre shops, and a shorter bus ride away, so my family often went there. White Cart Water, above. Paisley Abbey.


Paisley used to have an extensive cotton, thread, and textile industry. Anchor Mill here at the Hamills ( Also sometimes spelt Hammills in past times) where a natural hard volcanic chunk of rock resists the river's attempt to erode it, creating dramatic waterfalls. Luckily it was a wet day for my visit so the White Cart Water was looking impressive. As a young child coming here to see Disney films in the local cinema and often passing this spot with my parents it was fantastic, especially at Christmas with all the coloured lights strung across the water, and frozen solid with icicles hanging off it. A very impressive sight tramping through the snow to reach it as a youngster. Which I still remember vividly. The main waterfalls the only thing not frozen and solid.

A closer view.

In the early days this substantial flow powered mills on both banks, Just like the smaller Levern Water powered cotton mills in nearby Neilston and Barrhead for several hundred years. Before the steam age arrived.  

Would not like to kayak up or down here.

I mention this because years ago Alan and I kayaked up the White Cart Water from the River Clyde then right under the shopping streets of Paisley. Adventure is often where you find it in your own back yard and I bet far more people have summited Mount Everest in the last 50 years than have kayaked under the shopping streets and bridges of Paisley.

With this old trip in mind I followed the river downstream out of curiousity to retrace our journey but this time from street level, walking above it.

Although it's a calm river in normal conditions it is tidal up to this point and it was just past here we packed in as at this point we were scraping the bottom with our paddles, the tide was going out and having inflatable kayaks, easily burst by anything sharp sticking up we turned back. The waterfalls are just ahead of this section which would have stopped us anyway.

Although easy relaxed paddling up to this point you do not want to capsize, due to sewage, risk of rat pee, and hard to escape high banks on either side.

 Further downstream.

High banks shown here.

Further down you can explore Paisley's once thriving docks, now largely abandoned and fenced off.

Paddling under several bridges in near darkness also makes for an interesting experience.


It was supposed to be two days of sunshine and heavy showers. It was mostly heavy showers with occasional sunshine glimpses. Town hall here.


Town hall front entrance. Built early 1880s in a classical style popular at that time imitating Greek and Roman ruins. Cat A listed. Due to the various mills and industry Paisley was a rich town until the 1970s. By comparative size it has more listed buildings in one area than any other town in Scotland. 

Here's a list on this link... It's a long list.,_Renfrewshire


I visited Paisley Abbey next as it was still pouring with rain.

A door detail. Paisley Abbey built and rebuilt several times. 7th century to 1920s period. Earlier versions destroyed by fire and pillage. Links to William Wallace and the Kings and High Stewards of Scotland. Cat A listed.

Inside it has over a dozen very impressive stained glass, full size, windows. This is just a few examples.

Each tells a story.

 Paisley Abbey interior.

The story of Jesus... presumably... end of part one.



Rosemary said...

Paisley Abbey is a tour de force in both its architecture and the magnificent stained glass windows which you show. I seem to recall that there is one of William Wallace too, and several notable tombs.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Rosemary, It's more impressive inside than I remembered probably due to the Royal connection. William Wallace may have had part of his education there, as a son of a local Knight. I did have an info sheet that I received inside with the Abbey history on it but it was a sodden mess in the day sack by the time I got home. Heaviest rain on a walk in over a decade.

Anabel Marsh said...

I haven’t been back to Paisley since mum died, or at least since I finalised her affairs. I’d like to go back when the new museum opens.

Carol said...

Great photos - especially inside the abbey. What a superb doorway. And the first thing I said when I saw the photo of the town hall was "That looks Roman!" - quite an unusual looking building for Scotland I'd have said!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel, Yes I noticed the new museum extension when I was walking past it. Be better for exhibits when they get more space to show them in the new building.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Carol, That was some walk you did. The front town hall entrance with the pillars is fairly common with several Glasgow buildings, churches, old courts etc sporting them and a local Glasgow based Architect, Alexander 'Greek' Thompson using Greek, Egyptian and other ancient influences in his work. C.R. Mackintosh usually gets all the plaudits and money spent on preserving his buildings while my personal favourites, Thomson and William Leiper have many of their buildings abandoned, lying derelict or demolished without too much fuss.