It’s the faded Victorian jewel in Paisley town centre’s crown and now a £22million makeover is set to bring Paisley Town Hall into the 21st century.
The once thriving social hub will treat Buddies to one final ceilidh tonight before shutting its doors until 2021.
The Town Hall has become the social heart of Paisley since opening in January 1882, hosting meetings, tea dances, social gatherings, conferences, events, festivals and concerts.
The historic venue gave Paolo Nutini his big break, hosted some of Gerry Rafferty’s earliest shows and provided the setting for Cuttin’ A Rug, John Byrne’s follow-up to The Slab Boys.
Construction on the iconic building, which was originally designed by Belfast architect W H Lynn, began in 1879 after George A. Clark, a member of Paisley’s famous thread family, left £20,000 for its creation in his will. A statue commemorating Clark and his contribution to Paisley now stands outside the historic venue.
The £22million refurbishment will transform the facility, creating a social hub, conference and events venue fit for the 21st Century.
The redesign will be led by award-winning architects Holmes Miller, who worked on the redevelopment of Old Trafford and reshaped Hampden for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “The building is going to have something for everyone when it reopens in 2021, it’s going to be used for culture, conferences, events and the community and will be a truly memorable live music venue on the Scottish touring circuit.
“This transformation will have a great impact on Paisley and the whole of Renfrewshire. We want to make sure that there are lots of reasons to come to this building because there are lots of activities going on.
“There’s a lot happening in Paisley. We want to bring business and visitors here and create a hub for our community, this transformation will do that.”
The redesign will also help local businesses, bringing more people from outside Paisley to the town for events and conferences and creating chances for them to thrive.
The Town Hall is expected to attract 100,000 visitors a year when it reopens.
Bob Grant, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Town Hall redesign and £100million investment in Paisley’s cultural and heritage venues will create jobs and support local businesses by bringing new potential customers to the town.
“In the last year Paisley has seen an increase both to the local economy and visitor numbers and we look forward to positive impact for the business community once these projects are complete.”
The project is part of a £100million investment by Renfrewshire Council and its partners in Paisley’s cultural and heritage venues that will turn the town into a tourist destination, creating jobs and benefiting the whole of Renfrewshire.
Other buildings that will benefit from the investment include Paisley Museum, which is undergoing a £42million four-year makeover, and Paisley Library, which will move into High Street in 2021.
Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The Town Hall will close its doors today to undergo a £22million makeover. When it reopens in 2021 it will have been transformed into a flagship performance venue that will bring bigger shows to Paisley.
“These are very exciting times for Paisley and Renfrewshire. The Town Hall transformation is part of a £100million investment in Paisley’s cultural venues that will turn the town into a tourist destination, creating jobs and benefiting the whole of Renfrewshire.
“These are challenging times for high streets up and down the country but we’re making a bold move, investing in our town centre and creating opportunities to let our communities and local businesses thrive.
“The Town Hall is a jewel in Paisley’s town centre. This makeover will bring the historic venue into the 21st Century.”