Paisley unveils UK City of Culture 2021 plans

Written by Jenni Davidson on 13 November 2015 in News

Paisley's plans include a multi-million-pound transformation of the town’s museum

Paisley has unveiled its plans to become the UK City of Culture in 2021, which include a multi-million-pound transformation of the town’s museum.

The £56.7m museum scheme is the flagship project of Renfrewshire Council’s long-term regeneration plans for the town, with a £3.7m new store to house the museum’s collections, a £500,000 cultural pot for the local community and £2.7m to develop Paisley’s library service also proposed.

It is estimated that the museum transformation alone could triple visitor numbers to 150,000, create nearly 250 jobs and generate £88m for the local economy.


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Renfrewshire Council’s Economy and Jobs Policy Board will be asked to formally endorse the outline business case for the museum transformation on 18 November.

This would involve £15m of capital funding, a grant application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for another £15m and a major fundraising project to cover the remaining costs.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, leader of Renfrewshire Council and chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board, said: “Paisley was once at the heart of the global textile industry and by connecting that heritage to the future through a new transformed museum, we aim to bring the world to Paisley.

“The museum will become the cultural, social and economic heart of the town. It will be transformed for tourists and local families alike, and be the base for extensive community outreach supporting weaving, natural history, science and nature.”

Paisley was at one time a key player in the global thread industry and is the home of Paisley pattern fabric.

The museum has the world’s largest collection of Paisley shawls, a major collection of 20th century studio ceramics, a copy of Audubon’s The Birds of America and an art collection that includes works by Glasgow Boys and Paisley’s John Byrne.

Formal bids for UK City of Culture 2021 are due to be lodged in spring 2017, with the winner announced at the end of 2017.

Among the other towns and cities expected put in bids are Coventry, Hereford, Sunderland and Stoke-on-Trent.

UK City of Culture was created after a study noted the long-term economic effects on Liverpool of being European Capital of Culture in 2008.

Derry was the first UK City of Culture in 2013 and Hull will be next to take the title in 2017.

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