If you are in Paisley over the next few days, enjoying the Beer and Food Festival, stop and take a look around at the street names. (19-22nd April 2017)
Throughout Renfrewshire, street and place names provide a tantalising indication of the wide range and scope of our amazing textile heritage.
In Paisley alone, some of the street names paint a glorious picture of fibres and fabrics that have been manufactured or processed at various times in the towns’ history.
Silk, Gauze, Muslin, Cotton, Thread, Lawn and Incle – these textile terms reflect a wide range of fabrics, from the mundane and everyday necessities to the impractical and luxurious fripperies.
This dichotomy beautifully highlights how the Paisley workforce was able to proactively deal with changes in fashion and social circumstances, by adapting the many crafts, skills, knowledge and technologies available, to continue to supply local, national and international demands.
Other place names – Mill Street, Shuttle Street, and Dyers Wynd – pay homage to the processes involved in textile manufacturing.
And then there are the people!
The familiar street names throughout Paisley are, not only, a permanent and evocative reminder of the wide range and quality of Renfrewshire’s textile heritage, but also, a lasting tribute to the many families and individuals who financed, supported and shaped it. They contributed to, and greatly benefited from, local textile manufacture and the associated industries.
Apart from the most obvious and well known Coats and Clark dynasties whose philanthropic activities are well documented and visible around the town – the names of Orr, McKerrell, Christie, Stevenson, Carlile, Twigg, Forbes, Lowndes, Snodgrass, Love, Dunn, Brown, Cochran and Kibble also offer some insight into the many other important players in the textile history of Renfrewshire.