Paisley has lost out on the title of UK City of Culture in 2021 to Coventry.
The winner was announced live on BBC One by UK Arts Minister John Glen and chair of the judging panel, Brookside creator Phil Redmond, to a live TV audience of millions on BBC’s The One Show.
Members of team Paisley were in Hull, including bid director Jean Cameron.
Back at home, members of the local community, 2021 bid partners and politicians gathered to hear the live announcement at the Paisley HQ of the University of the West of Scotland.
As the announcement came through, onlookers, watching the result on a big screen let out a gasp as the result was announced followed by silence as the news began to sink in.
— Coventry2021 (@Coventry2021) December 7, 2017
Video: Coventry crowds appear to be happy to have been crowned UK City of Culture 2021
Paisley was the only Scottish town/city to make the shortlist for the 2021 title, which is awarded every four years by the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Bid bosses spoke of ‘heartbreak mixed with pride’ after a two-year campaign which energised the town – while promising that the momentum created by the bid will continue.
Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: “We are of course heartbroken not to win the title as we know how much the people of the town poured into this – but at the same time those hearts are bursting with pride at what Paisley achieved in the past two years.
“Our warmest congratulations go to Coventry – they pulled together a really impressive body of support from their partners and we wish them all the best for 2021.
“We also want to thank DCMS and the judging panel for giving us the chance to show the world what makes Paisley special – taking part in the competition was a really positive experience for everyone.
“More than 34,000 people – equivalent to almost half of Paisley’s population – added their voices and ideas to the town’s bid….and our thanks go to every single one of you for an incredible effort and those ideas will still be taken forward.
“We are proud to be the only town to ever make the shortlist and by some distance the smallest place to ever get this far in the competition – few places of Paisley’s size can claim to have given the world so much over the years, and the town punched above its weight once again.
— Coventry2021 (@Coventry2021) December 7, 2017
“Our bid was based on a belief that culture changes people’s lives, and that by harnessing that power while promoting what sets us apart, Paisley can change its future for the better – and the people of the town made that vision their own over the past two years.
“The incredible energy they created and the new partnerships they have formed will still be channelled in that direction. The next chapter in our story is only just beginning.”
Paisley’s bid was part of a wider plan to transform the town’s future using its internationally-significant heritage and cultural story as the one-time home of the world’s thread industry and the place which gave its name to the globally-recognised design icon, the Paisley Pattern.
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) December 7, 2017
Huge commiserations to all the Buddies and the @paisley2021 team who worked so hard to be crowned #CityofCulture2021. The passion and inspiration shown by all involved has been fantastic and you should all be proud.
— Richard Leonard (@LabourRichard) December 7, 2017
Desperately sorry Paisley didn’t win tonight – every member of the bid team should be proud of themselves; it was a great bid. https://t.co/XCL46dwJFQ
— Ruth Davidson (@RuthDavidsonMSP) December 7, 2017
Renfrewshire Council Leader and chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board Councillor Iain Nicolson added: “We were very much in it to win it – but the disappointment of missing out is eased by knowing how much stronger we are for taking part.
“The bid was part of a bigger plan to use Paisley’s unique cultural and heritage assets to make it a key destination for visitors and events while reigniting the creativity spark which is in our DNA – and while winning the bid would have accelerated the journey, that journey will continue.
“The bid boosted Paisley’s reputation, created new awareness of why we matter to Scotland, the UK, and the world, and raised our profile to unprecedented levels, while giving locals a reason to believe in Paisley again.
“We now have a platform from which to attract the type of footfall, investment and partnership we couldn’t have attracted before – something which is already happening as a result of the bid, with Paisley seeing a 25% rise in both visitors and event attendees in 2016.
“Work to revitalise our town centre and economy is already happening– with a £110 million investment in the town centre and our venues under way, and £276 million of major infrastructure projects taking place in Renfrewshire as part of the Glasgow Region City Deal over the next decade.
“We are also reinventing our textile heritage for the 21st century while bringing more visitors here by building on our already-successful events programme and launching a new destination brand in 2018.
“And the £1 million Renfrewshire Culture, Heritage and Events Fund has allowed the local community to define culture on their own terms – and that remains as a key legacy of the bid process.
“We thank everybody who played a role in making this happen – because Team Paisley can from here still achieve great things.”
The bid has always been part of a bigger plan to change our future for the better using our unique culture and heritage story.
We have transformed #Paisley‘s reputation & created a new-found awareness of why we matter to Scotland, the UK & the world.
Our journey continues. pic.twitter.com/zOuEAHS4Hh
— Paisley 2021 (@Paisley2021) December 7, 2017