Ah Scotland. There’s no place quite like it. A land of rugged beauty with beautiful green highlands and an integral part of UK culture- Scotland is home to many towns and cities that make it so. Paisley is one such town and in the words of former Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli- “Keep your eye on Paisley”. It’s a town of rich history, and here we look at 10 facts you might not know about Paisley.
Its abbey contains the tomb of Marjory Bruce, daughter of Robert the Bruce!
Paisley Abbey is more than 850 years old and the daughter of one of Scotland’s most famous historical heroes is kept here. Marjory Bruce died there giving birth to the future Robert II of Scotland.
The UK’s youngest ever Member of Parliament is situated here!
Mhairi Black made history in 2015 by becoming the UK’s youngest ever MP at the age of 21 years old. The Scottish National Party politician’s opening speech went viral on the internet with over 10 million views. Her constituency is Paisley and Renfrewshire and she is considered very popular in her hometown.
It’s the only place in the UK to host the Monte Carlo Rally!
The Monte Carlo Rally is a world famous rallying event held every year. The event pits classic cars from all over Europe and Paisley has been a start point 5 times since its inception. No other UK city has hosted this event as many times.
Its home to lots of famous people we know and love!
Paisley has provided us with plenty of famous actors and actresses, singers and sports stars over the years. These include Hollywood actor Gerard Butler, Doctor Who star David Tennant, pop star Paolo Nutini, and European Cup winning footballers Archie Gemmill and Paul Lambert.
The Paisley Pattern is seen around the world!
The Paisley Pattern is a Kashmir-inspired woollen shawl that Paisley became famous for manufacturing from 1800 to 1850. These shawls were manufactured across many European cities but the talented weavers of Paisley made theirs the most popular. Unique additions to their hand-looms allowed them to work in 5 colours when most others were using only 2. The pattern can still be seen around the world today.
It campaigned to become UK City of Culture for 2021.
Paisley bid to become the UK’s city of culture in order to use its culture and heritage to help regenerate the town. It was the sole Scottish town on the shortlist. Although the town lost out ultimately to Coventry, the town was credited with its efforts being the first Scottish town to be shortlisted since the competitions inception in 2009. The town’s council stated that the bid was “just the beginning for regeneration processes to begin in the town”.
It has the 2nd highest concentration of listed buildings in Scotland!
Paisley is often cited as Scotland’s largest town as it doesn’t have city status. There’s no surprise then that the town centre of Paisley has the highest number of listed buildings in Scotland outside of Edinburgh, beating out major Scottish cities like Glasgow and Aberdeen.
It was world famous for its thread making!
The Industrial Revolution transformed Paisley from a small market town to an important industrial town in the late 18th century. The Paisley Pattern helped the town become popular and under the leadership of Thomas Coats, Paisley became the world centre for thread making.
The ‘Paisley Snail` incident gave way to a major legal law!
In a Paisley café in 1928, a woman allegedly found a dead snail in a bottle of ginger beer and became ill. At the time, a manufacturer was only liable if there was a contract in place between the seller and buyer. The woman sued the company and a precedent was established that manufacturers owe a duty to the customer to not do harm. This paved the way for modern tort law which we still see in customer services today.
Its museum contains one of the world’s most lucrative books!
One of the star items at Paisley Museum is a copy of The Birds of America by John James Audubon. The book illustrates every species of bird in the US in the 19th century. Copies of this book have sold at auction in America between $4-5 million.
Paisley is one of Scotland’s most rich towns with historical significance and cultural contributions to the rest of the UK. On the cusp of Glasgow, it is a brilliant town in its own right and encompasses everything that is good about Scotland. Next time you’re in Glasgow, stop off and visit Paisley!