Hundreds of Renfrewshire folk braved the weather yesterday to pay a temporary farewell to a much loved local institution.
Coats Observatory, first opened in 1883, closed its doors on Thursday evening before a four year redevelopment programme worth £42m swings into action, including Paisley Museum and Library.
And many took the chance to have a last look for a while at the Victorian landmark, with roads around the Oakshaw Street area of Paisley jammed.
The observatory was the brainchild of the Paisley Philosophical Institution and was funded by local businessman Thomas Coats. And, after nearly 140 years of astronomy, stargazing clearly still hold a fascination for locals of all ages.
Photo: Large queues formed for temporary closure of the Coats Observatory Photo Credit: Linsay Steel
Linsay Steel, of Johnstone, said “I used to bring my two boys when they were much younger and me and my husband came out to see round the place again before the renovations begin. I never expected anything like this many people to turn out, though.”
Linsay waited for a while in the queue before heading home and is now looking forward to the re-opening, slated for 2022. She added: “I think it’ll be worth the wait. I always enjoyed visiting the observatory, and if it’s being invested in it can only be better. If Renfrewshire doesn’t look after its heritage it will lose it.”
Although the wet weather meant the Observatory’s two 19th century telescopes couldn’t be used, visitors were entertained by the many other scientific instruments and explanations inside, including a digital planetarium and models of the solar system.