AskDefine | Define paisley

Dictionary Definition

paisley n : a soft wool fabric with a colorful swirled pattern of curved shapes

User Contributed Dictionary



From Paisley in Scotland - See Wikipedia for details


  1. a soft woolen fabric having a motif of swirling droplets somewhat resembling half of the yin-yang symbol


  1. made from this fabric, or marked with this design

Extensive Definition

Paisley () is a town and former burgh in the west-Central Lowlands of Scotland. It is situated on the northern edge of the Gleniffer Braes, straddling the banks of the River Cart. Paisley is the administrative capital of the Renfrewshire council area, and forms a continuous urban area with Greater Glasgow; Glasgow City Centre being to the east.
Paisley was once reckoned to have been the site of the Roman fortification of Vanduara (or Vandogara) chronicled by Ptolemy. The identification of the site of modern Paisley with this fort is based principally on the similarity of the name of the station to the Brythonic Gwen-dwr ('white water') which was inferred to have been the name at that time of the White Cart Water.
In the 12th century a priory was founded at Paisley around which a settlement soon grew. Within a hundred years of its foundation the priory had achieved the status of an Abbey. The town became famous during the 18th and 19th centuries for the production of cloth, especially cotton with the distinctive Paisley Pattern.
Paisley is the second largest town in Scotland, after East Kilbride with a population of 72,970 , however the difference in population is negligible and will be confirmed in the 2011 Census. Whilst smaller than Scotland's major cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Dundee, it forms the sixth-largest settlement in the country, having a greater population than Inverness or Stirling, which both have city status. Paisley forms much of the south-western part of the Greater Glasgow conurbation.


Formerly known as Paislay the burgh's name is of uncertain origin; some sources suggest a derivation either from the Brythonic word, pasgill, 'pasture', or more likely, passeleg - 'basilica', (i.e. major church), itself derived from the Greek basilika. However, some Scottish place-name books suggest "Pæssa's wood/clearing", from the Old English personal name Pæssa and leāh - "clearing, wood". Pasilege (1182) and Paslie (1214) are recorded previous spellings of the name.
Paisley has monastic origins. A chapel is said to have been established by the 6th/7th century Irish monk, Saint Mirin at a site near a waterfall on the White Cart Water known as the Hammils. Though Paisley lacks contemporary documentation it may have been, along with Glasgow and Govan, a major religious centre of the Kingdom of Strathclyde. A priory was established in 1163 from the Cluniac priory at Wenlock in Shropshire, England at the behest of Walter Fitzalan (d. 1177) High Steward of Scotland. In 1245 this was raised to the status of an Abbey. The restored Abbey and adjacent 'Place' (palace), constructed out of part of the medieval claustral buildings, survive as a Church of Scotland parish church. One of Scotland's major religious houses, Paisley Abbey was much favoured by the Bruce and Stewart royal families. It is generally accepted that William Wallace the great hero of Scottish independence who inspired the film Braveheart was educated here. King Robert III (1390-1406) was buried in the Abbey. His tomb has not survived, but that of Princess Marjorie Bruce (1296-1316), ancestress of the Stewarts is one of Scotland's few royal monuments to survive the Reformation.
Paisley coalesced under James II's wish that the lands should become a single regality and, as a result, markets, trading and commerce began to flourish. In 1488 the town's status was raised by James IV to Burgh of barony.
Many trades sprang up and the first school was established in 1577 by the Town Council. By the mid-nineteenth century weaving had become the town's principal industry. Paisley is still very well-known for the Paisley Shawl and its distinctive Paisley Pattern which originated around this time.
Through its weaving fraternity, Paisley gained notoriety as being a literate and somewhat radical town, although it could be argued in a fiercely positive direction. By this time there was a real mixture of religious opinions and healthy drink-fuelled debate raged at night amongst the weavers, poets, merchants, masons and others. The poet Robert Tannahill lived in this setting, working as a weaver. The weavers of Paisley were also active in the Radical War of 1820.


The town is surrounded by several large residential areas that were created after the Housing Act of 1946. These include Glenburn (south), Foxbar (south west), Ferguslie Park (north west), Gallowhill (North East) and Hunterhill (South East). Ferguslie Park was named by the Scottish Executive's most deprived area in 2006.
Castlehead, situated to the southwest of the centre of the town, is a wooded area of Victorian villas where many of the town's leading industrialists made their homes in the late 19th century. It is a conservation area.
Oakshaw, situated on a hill to the north of the High St, is a conservation area and home to many fine buildings including the High Kirk, the Coats Observatory and the former John Neilson Institute, now converted into apartments.
Thornly Park is located to the south of the town. The area is classed as a conservation area with many examples of various architecture ranging from mock Tudor to Art Deco. Many of the houses were designed by W D McLennan who also designed several local churches such as Saint Matthew's.
Nearer the centre of the town remains many areas of older housing. The town centre, Williamsburgh and Charleston areas contain many examples of Scottish tenement flats. Three to four storeys tall, with shops on the ground floor and constructed of local blond and red sandstone. These tenement flats have been extensively restored and modernised over the last two decades.
Gockston in the far north of the town has many terraced houses and, after regeneration has many detached and semi-detached houses as well as several blocks of flats.
Ralston a residential area in the far east of the town bordering Glasgow was outside the Paisley burgh boundary when constructed in the 1930s but, as a result of local authority re-organisation in the 1990s, it is now generally regarded to be a suburb of Paisley.
Dykebar, situated to the south east of the centre of the town, is a residential area which also the site of a secure mental hospital.


The Thomas Coats Memorial Church is an example of Gothic Revival architecture. It dominates the town's skyline with its crown spire more than 60 metres high. Opened in 1894 and designed by Hippolyte Jean Blanc it is the largest Baptist church in Europe. The exterior is made of old red sandstone. Inside, the church is decorated with wood carvings, mosaic floors and marble fonts. The church also contains a 3040 pipe Hill Organ.
The Cathedral Church of Saint Mirin (St Mirin's Cathedral) in Incle Street is the seat of the Catholic Bishop of Paisley. The church was completed in 1931 to replace an earlier building, in nearby East Buchanan Street, which dated from 1808. The original St Mirin's church was the first Catholic church to be built in Scotland since the Reformation. With the erection of the Diocese of Paisley in 1947 the church was raised to cathedral status.
St Matthew's Church (Church of the Nazarene) at the junction of Gordon Street and Johnston Street is Art Nouveau in style. Designed by local architect William Daniel McLennan, a contemporary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, it was built in 1906.
The Russell Institute was built in 1926.
The "A" listed Anchor Mill (built 1886) was converted, in 2005, into modern apartments. The building is an example of successful redevelopment of old industrial areas.
Paisley Civic Centre designed by Sir Basil Spence and Partners was built in the 1960s to house the Renfrewshire county offices. It was intended to become the civic hub for Paisley but the absence of any shops and non-council premises prevented this from happening. It became the home of the Renfrew sub-region of Strathclyde Regional Council in 1975 and of Renfrewshire Council in 1996. It is listed by the conservation organisation DoCoMoMo as one of the sixty key Scottish monuments of the post-war period.


In 1992, Paisley College of Technology, founded in 1896 as Paisley Central Institution, became the University of Paisley which merged with Bell College in Hamilton on the 1st of August, 2007. The merged institution was then renamed as the University of The West of Scotland on the 30th of November 2007. The town also contains Reid Kerr College which provides Further Education. There are four Secondary Schools in Paisley: Paisley Grammar School, Castlehead High School, St. Andrew's Academy and Gleniffer High School. The oldest of these is Paisley Grammar which was founded in 1586.
Until the late 1990s there were five more secondary schools, now no longer in existence having been the casualties of the reduction in pupil numbers - Merksworth High School (to the north west of the town), John Neilson High School (founded 1852) and St Mirin's High School (on the west side of the town), St Aelred's High School and Stanely Green High School (both on the south side of the town).


Viewers in Paisley can receive all the UK terrestrial channels and radio listeners can receive all the major UK stations plus a number of local services. The local daily newspaper is the Paisley Daily Express whose offices are located on New Street in the town centre of Paisley. The locally based radio station Q96, has gone off air and has been replaced with 96.3 Rock Radio. Despite being based in Baillieston, Glasgow the terms of the licence state that it must carry Renfrewshire based material.


St Mirren F.C., the local Paisley Scottish Premier League football team, have been given planning permission to move to a new 8,000 seat stadium from their home on the town's Love Street, to one located on Greenhill Road to help regenerate the deprived Ferguslie Park area. Their last major success was on 16 May 1987 when St Mirren won the Scottish Cup, with thousands crowding the streets to see the team.
In (2006), the team won the Scottish Football League First Division and has returned to the Scottish Premier League. They have a very active youth development system and are part of the social fabric of the town. This was demonstrated when at a Renfrewshire Council planning committee board meeting on the new stadium and supermarket to replace Love Street came to be heard. With the initial recommendation that St. Mirren be denied permission for the supermarket but allowed the stadium, something that threatened the future of the club due to the supermarket being only solution to clear its debts, some 300 buddies stood outside the final meeting of Renfrewshire Council in Cotton Street on a dry Tuesday Morning in support. The club was granted permission at this meeting with a majority vote of 9-5 in favour. Abercorn F.C. were Paisley's other professional team, but fell into decline and subsequent liquidation in 1920.
Paisley is also the base for Scotland's only professional basketball team, the Scottish Rocks and ice hockey team Paisley Pirates, both of whom use the 5,300 seat Braehead Arena for home games. The Rocks are one of the leading basketball teams in the United Kingdom, competing in the elite British Basketball League. The franchise relocated to Renfrewshire from Edinburgh in 2002 and have built up a loyal and passionate fanbase in the area since.
Paisley also has two cricket grounds by the name of Kelburne Cricket Club and Ferguslie Cricket Club. Both cricketers Majid Haq and Omer Hussain, Scottish internationalist cricketers have played for both Kelburne and currently play for Ferguslie Cricket Club. In addition, Paisley is home to two rugby clubs. Paisley RFC who play Union and Paisley Hurricanes who play League. Both are currently based at the Anchor Recreational Grounds and run several teams and youth and senior level while also providing coaches to local schools.
Paisley is also home to the Kelburne Hockey Club who have dominated domestic hockey in the last 3 seasons. Kelburne HC run 5 gents teams, 3 ladies teams and have over 100 juniors regularly competing for the club at District and National level. Kelburne HC has also supplies the Scottish National Team the vast majoirty of the Gents team. The club has also had success in Europe with recent tournament victories in Austria and Switzerland.
Motorcycle speedway was staged at St Mirren Park in 1975 and 1976 when the Paisley Lions raced in the second division of the British Leagues. The Lions were moderately successful but despite the best efforts of their supporters, the venue was lost to speedway.



Glasgow International Airport's terminal buildings are located in the North of Paisley at Abbotsinch. The airport authority and the many businesses located in around the airport are a major source of employment for Paisley and towns nearby.


Paisley is connected to the UK motorway network with the M8 running along the northern edge of the town. This forms part of the unsigned E5 Euroroute from Greenock to Gibraltar. Many major A roads converge through the town including the A726, A737 and A761.


The town is linked by rail to Glasgow city centre as well as Inverclyde and the Ayrshire coast, being served by four stations (Paisley Gilmour Street, Paisley St James, Paisley Canal and Hawkhead). The rail links also connect to Glasgow Prestwick International Airport and ferry routes to Dunoon, the Isle of Arran, Isle of Bute and Ireland.There are plans in place, and Royal Assent has been given, for a rail link from the Inverclyde Line to Glasgow International Airport, planned for completion in 2009, with services starting in 2010.


Built in 1807 the Glasgow & Ardrossan canal ran from Port Eglinton in Glasgow to Paisley. Despite initial plans, the canal never reached Ardrossan and it terminated at Thorn Brae in Johnston. (See Glasgow, Paisley and Johnstone Canal). After closure in 1885 the canal was de-watered and formed the basis for the Glasgow and South Western Railway Company's Paisley Canal Line connecting Glasgow to Paisley, and onward to Elderslie, Bridge of Weir and Greenock. The second Paisley Canal railway station is operational.


Bus routes connect to other nearby towns and Glasgow city centre. The town benefits from some of the best transport links in the central belt of Scotland.
paisley in Catalan: Paisley
paisley in Czech: Paisley
paisley in German: Paisley
paisley in Esperanto: Paisley (Skotlando)
paisley in French: Paisley (Écosse)
paisley in Scottish Gaelic: Pàislig
paisley in Italian: Paisley
paisley in Japanese: ペイズリー (スコットランド)
paisley in Norwegian: Paisley
paisley in Polish: Paisley (Szkocja)
paisley in Russian: Пейсли
paisley in Scots: Paisley
paisley in Swedish: Paisley
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