KEEP AN EYE ON PAISLEY

Ellen Farmer and the Old Paisley society show us through black and white pictures the evolution and the peculiarities of Paisley, a lovely and bright town near to Glasgow. The foreword of Douglas Alexander underlines the importance of this city mainly for the religious prestige – indeed it is a pilgrimage place for the patron St Mirin, who helped to take away the rest of Scotland’s patron, St. Andrew, the Cluniac Order and, last but not least, the Abbey of the Middle Ages. These three elements continue until now to give to Paisley an important ecclesiastic heritage.



The second factor that makes Paisley worthy of attention is the never-ending ability to change itself: the industrial transformation has yield Paisley unencumbered to the depopulation and moreover has facilitate the creation of athletic and cultural entertainment for the workers of the factories in the town, following the message of one of the Charlie Chaplin’s most famous movie: Modern Times, in which the author mocked the condition of the employer’s request in factories to increase the workers’ productivity. In Paisley were created for workers a theatre for the Ferguslie Mills drama group, football parks tennis courts and bowling greens.

The most vivid branch for what Paisley is popular is weaving, as deeply show both from the identification between the name of the city and the famous Persian pattern and the place names of the city itself: Mill Street, Thread Street, Cotton Street, Gauze Street, Silk Street. In the peculiar mills of Paisley the workers were mainly women and still today they are called The mill girls. In the following pictures it is possible see the intersection between Gauze Street, Cotton Street, Bank Street e Silk street as it was in the past and as it is nowadays.


The Paisley pattern shows the BUTA, otherwise a plant with a drop shape who is originally from Persia.


One of the best building Art deco di Paisley is between New Street and Causeyside Street: The Russell Institute was commissioned by Mrs Russell in the memory of their own brother. The institute was born to give medical care to the mothers and their children. It was open by the princess Mary in 1927 and it is still working, despite the daily children whims when they need to go to the dentist.


The children were sadly victims of an event happened in Paisley on New year’s eve in 1929. Indeed, on 31 December st Cinema Glen there was a blaze who blocked all the coming doors. Just a few of them were alive after it, but 71 were the death people.

The urban changes are not involved only the massive presence of factories, but even railways and the airport. This one took new working opportunities to the people. Paisley had for many years a overcrowd houses, but it was resolved with the idea of the neighbours as part of the family: children had as babysitter the neighbour when parents were at work.

The old competences of the weavers have not been forgotten, but Paisley was able to convert their people in new working roles: show to the tourists the collection of shawls in the Paisley’s museum. Finally, the prestigious campus of Paisley that is from the School of Art and Design was made in Gilmour Street during 1848. Paisley is the concrete demonstration that is possible link tradition with modernity.

Paisley’s people is described by Douglas Alexander as full of pride. They recognise themselves as belonged to this amazing city, as ll the Scottish people, who know the meaning the dignity, the determination and the capacity to downplay even in the most hamper situations laughing of themselves and of the crazy world in which we are living in. The smile is the best way to live nowadays remaining with the quiet cheerful soul. As a sleeping child surrounded by the loving grandmother’s shawl.

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