Linwood location map
Linwood lies 3km to the west of Paisley on the Black Cart Water.
When Britain was part of the Roman empire, it is said that the Roman soldiers cut down the forest at Linwood to prevent the natives hiding in the trees and attacking Roman camps. The treeless area became Linwood Moss, which today is a haven for wildlife. The Linwood area belonged to the monks of Paisley Abbey, who farmed the land and caught salmon in the Black Cart; later the land was owned by the Abercorn family. For a long time Linwood village was a very small community. Until the early 20th century, there were only two streets: Bridge Street and Napier Street. In this small area were the church, the shops, the school and the mills. Bridge Street took its name from the bridge across the Black Cart which was built by the Cochrane family of Clippens House, in 1776. Napier Street was named after a local landowner.
The villages of Inkerman and Balaclava were built to house the workers of the shale coal mines and oil works close to Linwood in the mid 19th century, and named after battles in the recent Crimean War. Balaclava, just south of Clippens House, was a square of earth-floored cottages and one small shop. Inkerman, near Candrens, had three rows of cottages called Row One, Row Two and Row Three, plus a shop, a school and a schoolhouse. Later, Oilwork Row and Store Row were added. The mines closed at the end of the 19th century.
For a time a brickworks operated in Inkerman, making bricks from blaes, a waste product from the mining process. By the 1930s the blaes was used up, and the people of Inkerman gradually moved away. Inkerman and Balaclava no longer appear on maps.
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Clippens House "Clippens" was formerly "Clippings" and is thought to get its name from the time when the monks of Paisley Abbey allowed the local people to cut or "clip" the fields. The Cochrane family owned Clippens from the 16th century and built the present Clippens House in 1817. Clippens House has now been converted into flats.
Burnbrae House once stood on south bank of the Black Cart on a site later occupied by a car factory car park on the outskirts of Linwood. It was built in the early 19th century by the Speirs family. In this photograph the Head Gardener can be seen on the far left with the butler and maids in the centre.
Linwood House in Napier Street was originally built for the owners of the Linwood Cotton Mill. It was demolished in the 1970s
In 1792 a cotton mill was set up in Linwood beside the Black Cart. The building burned down in 1802, and was rebuilt in 1805. It was six storeys high, and one of the largest mills in the country at the time. At its peak it employed 1800 people. By the middle of the 19th century the cotton trade was declining and the mill was no longer prosperous.
In 1872 the Watson brothers took over the mill buildings and changed production from cotton to paper. The paper mill thrived for nearly one hundred years.
A small grocer's shop opened by William Galbraith at the corner of Bridge Street and Napier Street grew to be a chain of shops throughout Scotland, and Galbraith's became a household name.
Other Linwood enterprises included the Reid Gear
Company founded in 1897, Dent & Co & Johnson who made scientific instruments, and the Pressed Steel Company which opened in 1948 making farm machinery, railway wagons and car bodies.
Rootes Motors Ltd opened a new car factory close to Linwood in 1963, and next to the Pressed Steel factory which it later bought over. The first model made in the factory was the Hillman Imp. In 1967 the Chrysler Corporation took over, and continued production with the Hillman Hunter and the Hillman Avenger. However, the factory was troubled by low sales and high production costs, and a series of industrial disputes
In 1975 the government stepped in with financial aid in a bid to prevent job losses, and a new car - the Chrysler Sunbeam - was launched. The company's troubles continued. In 1979 the French car firm Peugeot-Citroen took over, and renamed the company Talbot, but still the company lost money. In May 1981 the car plant closed, making thousands of people unemployed. This was a severe blow to the economy of Linwood and the surrounding area.
The area covered by the sprawling car plant now houses the Phoenix retail, leisure and business park which includes shops, restaurants, a cinema and office accommodation.
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