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Everyone at Paisley Museum Reimagined is extremely grateful to our patrons for their enthusiasm and willingness to help raise awareness of the project.
Born in Paisley, he grew up in Ferguslie Park and was educated at the town’s St Mirin’s Academy before attending Glasgow School of Art between 1958–63. Paisley’s very own Renaissance Man went on to write successful stage and screen productions such as, ‘The Slab Boys’ which was inspired by his experiences working at the town’s Stoddard’s Carpet Factory. We are delighted to hold a set model for the Slab Boys plus eight paintings in our collection.
John has helped inspire local young people to use their creativity and imagination through drawing. The John Byrne Drawing Competition was launched in 2014, and the museum hosted the annual exhibitions of the winning entries until its temporary closure in 2018.
When asked about the plans for the museum John stated, ‘I think it’s a good thing that Paisley Museum is getting not just a facelift but a proper reorganisation. I’ve seen the designs and it looks wonderful. It will be an inspiration to young people and grownups as well. It’s not just a facelift, it’s a proper renewal. I can’t wait to go’.
Professor Frances Fowle
Frances is Chair of Nineteenth-Century art at the University of Edinburgh and Senior Curator at the National Galleries of Scotland. Her specialist area is European and American 19th century art, with an emphasis on collecting, the art market, national identity, cultural revival and artistic networks.
Her great-great-grandfather was Thomas Coats, who helped fund the Thomas Coats Observatory which is now part of the refurbished museum campus. When asked about the plans for the museum, Frances stated, ‘It is wonderful that the museum will not only be restored to its former glory but will be transformed into a world-class venue. I am proud and excited that Paisley is undergoing this period of cultural Renaissance.’
Pam is a globally renowned fashion designer, who was born in Paisley. After her studies of Fine Art and Printed Textiles at the Glasgow School of Art, Pam won the Newbury Medal of Distinction, the Frank Warner Memorial Medal, the Leverhulme Scholarship and the Royal Society of Arts Bursary. Since then, her collections have been worn by celebrities including Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Claudia Schiffer and Kate Moss.
Pam was a vocal supporter of Paisley’s 2021 City of Culture bid, publicly championing the museum specifically as she spent a lot of time in the building in her youth, ‘The project for Paisley Museum’s renovation and extension is truly inspiring, it’s wonderful to see the incredible plans, and know that Paisley has the ambition to be world-class. It certainly deserves it. I’m delighted to have met with the team behind the renovation and extension, and totally support this vital development for the town. It’s incredibly exciting that my work features in their plans, as Paisley is where I was born and returned to as a teenager to go to school. The original John Neilson School was only minutes away from the museum so I visited it often, it’s fantastic to know it will be brought back to life again in the grand way it deserves’.
Dr Heather Reid OBE
Born in Paisley, Heather is a physicist and meteorologist who spent 15 years as BBC Scotland’s chief weather forecaster and presenter. During this time viewers affectionally knew her as ‘Heather the Weather’. Since giving her final broadcast in 2009, Heather has forged an excellent career as a science education consultant and is passionate about promoting science to young people and the general public. Heather’s work has led to several awards including, the prestigious Kelvin Medal from the Institute of Physics, honorary doctorates from the University of Paisley and the University of Glasgow and, in 2006, was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list for services to physics.
As someone who visited the museum as a child, Heather is keen to see the museum restored to its former glory: ‘I am delighted to be supporting the fantastic renovation of Paisley’s famous museum. The museum really is the beating heart of our town and I have fond memories of frequent visits as a child. Whether it was during school trips to learn about the iconic Paisley pattern or simply as a fun place to go when summer cricket matches were rained off – the museum formed an amazing part of my Paisley childhood. I can’t wait to see the finished results and hope future generations continue to enjoy this special place.’
The Much Hon. D. W. Paisley of Westerlea
Westerlea served in the Regular Army for 25 years and ran an estate before taking up an appointment as a business consultant. Westerlea is the current Chief of the Name and Arms of Paisley of Westerlea and Chieftain of the Paisley Family Worldwide.
The family of Paisley has been uniquely associated with the town for over 800 years. At the peak of their activity during the 17/18th century, no less that five family members served on the ruling council. Some went on to be selected as treasurers and one, a Robert Paisley, as Baillie on eight separate occasions. He was amongst other members of the extended family, involved in a huge trading network of merchants principally involved in the weaving and wine trade.
Westerlea’s work, particularly for the last 32 years has helped unify Paisleys with their heritage across the world. The family has a large following and the Society, a membership of over 1000 with branches in the USA, Canada and New Zealand. Westerlea, amongst his other business interests, is a director of an olive plantation in the Peloponnese which, honouring both the family and town is named ‘Paisley Grove’.
When asked why he choose to serve as a patron, Westerlea went on to say, ‘The history of Paisley is fascinating, but it is the future of Paisley and this wonderful vision of Paisley Museum Reimagined that makes this project the most exciting initiative, creating ultimately the most enviable architectural combination in Scotland. Having been born with the proud name of Paisley and the distinction of being an honorary, ‘Buddy’, you can well imagine the pleasure and joy of being invited to serve as a patron’.
Example: The Museum has some of the oldest and most important entomology collection in the world. Gathered over 300 years, these specimens are key to telling the history of collecting, the science of taxonomy and the human desire to understand the natural world. The microscope slide represented at the top of the page is the one of of Soldier Beetles specimens from the Natural History Collection.
Led by Dr Pam Hogg, we celebrated the 150th anniversary of Paisley Museum by asking members of the public to share their historic or contemporary, high-fashion or functional items that featured the iconic Paisley-patterned teardrop motif.