The first pictures showing how Paisley’s A-listed town hall looks after a £22m transformation into one of the finest entertainment venues in the west of Scotland have now been revealed.
The iconic building – a striking centrepiece of life in the town for more than 140 years – will reopen its doors ahead of the Royal National Mòd – Scotland’s largest celebration of Gaelic language and culture – coming to Paisley in October.
The building has been transformed as part of a wider investment by Renfrewshire Council in Paisley’s historic cultural venues, aimed at driving new life and footfall to the area.
Key features of the transformation shown in the pictures include:
- A complete redesign by leading Scottish architects Holmes Miller to put audience experience and accessibility at the heart of the building
- The preservation and restoration of the unique and ornate Victorian architectural features throughout the town hall
- Adding state-of-the-art performance and back-of-house facilities such as new sound and lighting, retractable seating and lowered stage, and expanding the capacity in the main hall to more than 1,000
- New rooms added in previously-unused spaces, such as a new bar and terrace overlooking Paisley’s iconic Abbey, a dance studio, and a screening room – adding a greater range of uses than ever before
- A full replacement of decades-old mechanical and electrical equipment
Paisley Town Hall was opened in 1882, and stands as a monument to the town’s rich history as a centre of global textile production, having been gifted to the town by George Aitken Clark of the thread-mill-owning Clark family.
The building has been closed since the end of 2018. Main contractors Morrison Construction have been on site since summer 2021 but have now completed their work and staff are currently fitting it out ahead of opening. The building remains closed to the public while that work is finished.
Once reopen, the town hall will be operated by OneRen – the local charitable trust providing culture, leisure and sporting opportunities to help people enjoy active, healthy and fulfilled lives.
OneRen will soon be revealing a programme of town hall events to run throughout winter and beyond. As well as being a striking venue for concerts and performances, it will also be available for weddings, conferences and other events.
Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes, Renfrewshire Council’s cultural spokesperson and chair of OneRen, said: “We are thrilled to now be on the final countdown to the reopening of the town hall and can’t wait to see how people will react once they get the chance to see inside it for themselves.
“We know generations of residents will all have their own special memories of the building – and the work done over the past few years will allow it to mean as much to future generations too.
“The building had become outdated and needed upgraded to stay in use – but the work done here has seamlessly integrated everything a 21st-century venue needs while preserving the classic 19th-century look that makes the town hall so special.
“At the same time. modern standards of accessibility are very different to those Victorian architects worked to. The town hall has been redesigned with audience experience and comfort in mind, and we’ve made extensive changes to the layout to create step-free access to most areas of the building.
“As an entertainment venue, the town hall will be Paisley and Renfrewshire’s big stage. Soon, it will be bringing new life and footfall into the town day and night, in line with our wider ambition to use the town’s unique cultural and heritage offer to change its future.”
The town hall will be the first of several cultural venue investments currently being delivered by the council to open. That also includes:
- Transforming Paisley Museum into a world-class visitor attraction showcasing Renfrewshire’s internationally-significant collections and bringing to life like never before the stories of how Paisley’s name went around the world (opening 2024),
- A new modern home for library services in a formerly-empty unit at the heart of the High Street, to reopen by the end of the year
- An upgrade of and extension to Paisley Arts Centre