Renfrewshire Council

Behind the scenes of the Paisley Town Hall transformation

It's not long now until Paisley Town Hall reopens its doors after a five-year transformation into one of the finest entertainment venues in the west of Scotland.

We are leading the project as part of a wider investment in Paisley's cultural venues, including the transformation of Paisley Museum, designed to promote the area and attract new visitors. town hall 8

Our building contractors recently finished their work and handed the town hall back to us and OneRen - who will operate the reopened building - to fit it out and get it ready to open.

It will be fully up and running in time to host events during the Royal National Mod - Scotland's largest celebration of Gaelic language and culture - which comes to Paisley in October.

Key features of the transformation include:

  • A complete redesign to put audience experience and accessibility at the heart of the building
  • Adding new state-of-the-art facilities while preserving the historic architectural features
  • New rooms created in previously-unused spaces
  • A full replacement of decades-old mechanical and electrical equipment

The project has been managed by the City Deal and Infrastructure team based in the Chief Executive's Service, and by project managers from Property Services. We caught up with Programme Manager Jack Lochans to get some behind-the-scenes insight into how they did it:

town hall 6 What does it mean to you to be part of this project?

It's been extremely rewarding to be part of the team delivering something so historic. Being from Paisley originally, I understand the nostalgia so many local people have for their town hall. What we have delivered will completely transform what the town hall can do.

What parts of the transformed building will people be most impressed by?

There are new rooms people will find fantastic, such as the screening room and the bar. But my favourite features are some of the fundamentals that will transform the visitor experience. That includes new wifi in all areas of the building, the digital connectivity throughout with screens and sound, and the new kitchens and catering functionality.

Working on such an old building is a hugely-complex job. How did the team overcome that?

This project has been guided by many passionate experts - from the initial cultural infrastructure team who managed the design process, to our incredible project managers who oversaw the job to a successful completion.

Due to the age of the building, there were issues such as rot, general space constraints and high ceilings. For most of the time we had an 18-metre-high scaffold to be able to refurbish the historic decorative ceiling. town hall 2

We needed to retain many elements of the building due to its listed status - you will notice some original features have been reused in other areas, such as the old main hall flooring which has been refurbished and placed in the new Jacquard Suite.

We also had to replace every single element of mechanical and electrical plant, such as electricity, heating, water, lifts. This was successful - there won't be many other 140-year-old buildings with underfloor heating!

How will the reopened town hall benefit the town?

The building can now offer things Paisley has never had before. We have installed state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems which will help OneRen attract big-name performers to the town. The capacity has been increased, and those 1,000+ crowds will have a huge impact on the local economy. It will also boost local pride and I know people will be looking forward to seeing inside it.

Published on Friday 4 August 2023.