Paisley Town Hall
Paisley's magnificent town hall was officially opened on 30th January 1882. The streets were decorated in celebration, and 12,000 people marched through them, waving banners and playing music. In the evening, a grand "conversazione", or gathering, was held for invited guests. Fireworks were fired from the town's High Church, and the crowd marvelled at the new electric lights in front of the hall.
The people of Paisley had long wanted a community hall. In 1872 James Clark began collecting subscriptions to raise the funds to build one. James Clark was a member of the famous Clark family of threadmakers. The family were successful, wealthy industrialists who employed thousands of workers in their thread mills in Paisley, Glasgow and America. In 1873, James heard that his brother, George Aitken Clark, had died in America and had willed £20,000 to build Paisley a town hall. The Clark family returned the subscriptions already collected, and declared that they would meet the cost in full. The hall would be named the George A Clark Hall.
By 1879 building had begun. A memorial stone was laid by Mrs Clark, mother of George, with a time capsule buried beneath it. Among the time capsule's contents was a portrait of George, a copy of his will, twelve coins of the realm and local newspapers.
The hall was designed by Belfast architect W H Lynn. The building features two temple fronts - Corinthian to the east and Ionic to the north. Facing the river, the facade has a cantilevered balcony looking towards the town centre. It features two towers, the taller with four clock faces and an octagonal belfry. Sculptured figures around the clock represent the four seasons.
The spacious interior included a main hall with balcony, designed to seat 2,000 and furnished with a grand organ which has since been removed. The Loggia suite with its vaulted ceiling was originally called the "Promenade", and was exclusively for the town's upper classes. They would enjoy refreshments there while attending public performances. The other rooms included a "Reading and Smoking Room" for the lower classes; a provision stipulated in George Clark's will.
The hall has been at the heart of Paisley's artistic and civic life since it opened in 1882. In recent years it has undergone extensive refurbishment and today it still provides a setting of timeless grandeur and elegance for meetings and ceremonies.
Use this link to find out more about hiring Paisley Town Hall.
- email: email@example.com
- phone: 0300 300 1188
- fax: 0141 618 5351
- write to: Paisley Central Library, Heritage and Information, 68 High Street, Paisley, PA1 2BB
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