Paisley Thread Mill Museum

Paisley Thread Mill Museum A museum telling the story of Paisley's thread mill heritage. Admission free.

Operating as usual

As the museum has had to be closed for most of the past year or so, our donations have been low but we continue to have ...
Movement for good - Nominate a charity to receive £1000 from Ecclesiastical

As the museum has had to be closed for most of the past year or so, our donations have been low but we continue to have costs.

Ecclesiastical movement for good are giving away donations if people nominate charities and we are eligible!

Your nomination really counts. £1,000 could make a real difference to the work a charity can do. To nominate a charity for an Ecclesiastical Movement for Good awards £1,000 donation, just visit and click ‘nominate now’. #movementforgood

Movement for Good will provide vital support to organisations right across the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands and the Isle of Mann

Photos from Renfrewshire's post

Photos from Renfrewshire's post

Photos from Paisley - Oor Wee Toon & Environs's post

Photos from Paisley - Oor Wee Toon & Environs's post


Mill Lassies

Complaints were made against Mill Lassies back in 1938 when they were said to be obstructing pedestrians trying to make their way about their business.

It was said that hundreds of Mill girls were blocking the pavements by linking arms as they walked along the street, creating an unbreakable chain which caused other pavement users to be forced onto the road, sometimes just missing being hit by cars and buses. Mothers with prams were forced into taking the same evasive action and some were reportedly panicked into reaching safety when they heard the Mill Horns signalling the end of a Shift, to avoid the Mill Girls clogging up the Pavements !!

Eadie brothers were a integral part of the Mill industry in Paisley

Eadie brothers were a integral part of the Mill industry in Paisley

Eadie Brothers , Violet Street

Eadie Brothers were manufacturers of Ring and Travellers (accessories for the process of spinning Yarn) for the Textile Industry. They were one of the worlds largest and most innovative producers of this device. The business was started in 1871, some years after Peter Eadie first came to Paisley.

Peter Eadie was born at Auchterarder Muir, Perthshire on the 6th July, 1837, the sixth Son of Peter Eadie , a Crofter and Stone Mason, and Janet McGreagor. In 1839 the family moved to Paisley where Peter had obtained work as a Mason building Gilmour Street Railway Station. They had found accommodation at 3 Williamsburgh (now Glasgow Road) where they lived for the next Three years. Work had been completed on the Railway Station in 1840 and they like many others had difficulty in finding employment . Fever and Smallpox afflicted the family and they were desperate enough to accept the charity of neighbours who provided them with bowls of Meal. The Family moved to Thread Street in 1843 from where young Peter attended Lawn Street Infant School and Peter the Father eventually found work in a local Brewery at 12 Shillings (60p) per Week working from 4 a.m. to 6 p.m. each shift, this raised to 15 Shillings (75p) when he was promoted to Gaffer.

Young Peter led a normal boys life, getting into trouble for fighting with rivals from Seedhill School as well as breaking windows for which on one occasion his Father had to pay 1/6d (7½p)which he could ill afford. A favourite pastime was swimming in the clean clear water of the River Cart at the Hammils, a pastime which was not without risks and which caused the frequent and well documented drowning of young lads.

By the 1850's Peter had entered the world of work. He had become a messenger boy but being adventurous he, with a friend, tried to run away to Sea ending up in Stirling instead !. He worked in a Brewery becoming a proficient Bottler , and had found an apprenticeship as a trainee Mechanic with a Shawl manufacturer. This trade took him to work as an Engineer for Blackwood and Gordon Shipbuilders and Engineers at Cartvale and then to the Kilmarnock works of the Glasgow South Western Locomotive Company. In 1861 he married a girl by the name of Margaret Riddle with whom he moved back to Paisley in 1863 and found employment with a firm of Gas Engineers who sent him to Londonderry to put up a Gas Works, and in 1865 to Genoa for the same task, and again to Sicily in 1866 to the towns of Trapani and Marsala, returning in 1867 to Paisley. Soon after returning to the town he was despatched to Galashiels but this time he took his Wife and children too so that he could see more of them.

During his stay in Galashiels he saw a notice in a Stationers window advertising an engineers position at the Mill of R& A Sanderson for which applied, they were very impressed with his wide experience, gave him the position and soon he had more work than he could handle. During the next Three years he became familiar with ring flier frames and begun turning over in his mind the idea of independently making either thread guides or fliers - small pieces of bent wire like springs- the supply of which at that time was unsatisfactory and expensive. By 1871 he had devised a small and ingenious machine for making ring fliers as the earliest type of traveller was called. His first batch were used at Sandersons Mill and the Manager pronounced them a success. Peter began manufacturing them at his home at 4 Hill Street Galashiels and negotiated with Sandersons and other neighbouring mills to supply them, soon his little business was flourishing.

At this time, 1872, two of Peters brothers, Robert and John, were Ironmongers in Paisley. Both were interested in the new venture in Galashiels, and one day Robert obtained samples and a trial order from Anchor and Ferguslie Mills who were having difficulty in getting a satisfactory supply of travellers. The family were staggered by the size of the trial order and the thought of trying to produce it in their kitchen workshop and it was only with difficulty that they were persuaded to accept it. Peter moved the business to Paisley and his two brothers offered to join him in the business. A partnership, Eadie Bros. & Company was formed with £120 Capitol, each having invested £40.

The first premises in Paisley consisted of temporary accommodation up a Close at 94 High Street (about the location of the TSB today) which was shared with the brothers Ironmongery Store but they soon moved across the road to a larger workshop. By 1879 the company was dealing with some of the largest mills and textile related businesses i.e. J & P Coats, Clark & Co., Kerr & Co., Carringtons, Busby Spinning Co., Boyds of Shettleston and A & F Craigs of Paisley and for the next Twenty years the books showed the usual ups and downs of any small business but they also showed a gradual expansion, and in 1884 the Manchester Sales Office at 21, Victoria Buildings was opened with brother Robert, as the one responsible for sales, taking charge of it. Just over a decade later, in 1896, ground was bought at the East End and machinery moved out from the High Street. At the new location the Company utilised a wonderful new invention - Electric Lighting - with an installation specially designed by a Professor at Paisley Technical College. By now the Eadies had reached out to places as far as China , India and the USA.

By 1914 various attempts had been made to diversify and this included the production of a very good Furniture Polish but it was something they just could not sell. The beginning of the First World War made it not only desirable but necessary for the company to have another product. After some experiments with Shells the company found that its Plant and skills were in many ways suited to making Base Plates for shells and these it produced for the Admiralty, becoming probably one of the largest makers in the Country. So great was the demand that it became necessary to work continual shifts and so a Canteen was set up for employees which was open all day and night. After the War the company considered returning to the production of Spindles with which experiments had been started in 1912 but instead attention was turned to High Speed Twist Drills, excellent and long lasting articles, but these could not be sold at economic prices and were eventually given up.

Peter Eadie the founder died on March 21st, 1919 in his eighty second year. For many years he had taken an active part in the public life of Paisley, representing the Sixth Ward unopposed from 1896 until 1908, having been unanimously elected Provost in 1905. After 1908 he returned briefly to take an active part in the management of the business but advancing years were taking their toll and he moved to West Kilbride in retirement. Chairmanship of the business was taken his elder Son, also Peter, and it continued quietly and steadily with trade expanding all over the World - China, India and Japan being very good markets, and helping the company avoid dependence on the ups and downs of the Textile industry of Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Innovation, association and amalgamation took Eadies through to the War years of 1939 -45 when the traveller trade suffered a heavy slump. The continent of Europe , which took a large part of the companies trade, was cut off, and the Far East was even more isolated and difficult to export to with consignments having to be split into small batches for fear of losing whole shiploads to enemy action. Shell Base manufacture was less than in the first World War because Shell manufacturers now made their own Base plates. Many skilled employees left to serve in the armed forces or to take up essential War work, ring travellers weren't considered as such. After the War many of these workers rejoined the company and records revealed that there was only Two who sadly could not do so. January 1945 heralded the death of the companies second Chairman Peter. He was succeeded by his brother John Scott Eadie. Since the end of World War Two Eadies fortunes fluctuated significantly due to external factors over which the company had no control. Declines in the Textiles Industry worldwide, competition, devaluations, Buy outs and amalgamation all helped shrink the markets.

1971 saw the Centenary of Eadies and a Reception was arranged in Paisley Town Hall for as many employees Husbands and Wives as the Town Hall could hold. There was a Dinner followed by a Gift of premium Bonds, and a draw for prizes - the first Prize being the choice of a new Vauxhall Viva Car or £1,000 Cash. Amongst the other prizes were a Colour Television Set, Stereo Tape Recorders, Hi-Fi Record Players and Cameras. The Draw was made by Viscountess Stansgate*, a Granddaughter of the founder, and an address was made by the Provost of Paisley. There was dancing to a Band and the whole evening proved to be a happy and enjoyable occasion. The unforeseen future was to be less happy when due to yet another downturn in fortunes Eadies had to be bailed out in 1982 by an injection of Cash from the Scottish Development Agency.

Generally Eadies Staff relations were good however they had not been free of discontent, notably a strike in 1966 which seen some 500 workers walk out over Pay negotiations after a new system of working was introduced, and in 1969 after an Organisation and Methods Study error caused workers to lose bonuses and the subsequent sacking of a wages clerkess. 1975 seen the redundancy of some 40 workers in August of that year due to a downturn in orders. Since then it has continued to have varying levels of prosperity with buy outs and sell offs, become a subsidiary to its parent Eadie Holdings Ltd, listing on the Unlisted Securities Market and be sold off in 1987 to Japanese Firm Kanai and which now trades as Eadie & Kanai Company Ltd, from premises in Scotts Road, Paisley

Photos and text excerpts from 'Eadie Brothers 1871 - 1971'

What is a Ring Traveller ? -
*Viscountess Stansgate - Margaret Eadie Wedgwood Benn [née Margaret Eadie Holmes] -

Abbey Mill Business Centre

Abbey Mill Business Centre

We have a new addition to Mile End Mill, a new #timemachine. This beauty was purchased by Marcus Dean, the owner. It needed a little TLC but it is now proudly positioned on the 1st floor beside the lift. Each floor in Mile End Mill now features a clocking-in machine. The heritage of the mills are so important, so this is a welcome addition.

#clockingin #clockingout #timemachine #abbeymill #businesscentre #officestolet #creativespace #vibrantoffice #affordablespace #paisley #renfrew #renfrewshire

Clark & Co., Anchor thread available where ever you may be!Bridgetown, BarbadosApril 1884.

Clark & Co., Anchor thread available where ever you may be!
Bridgetown, Barbados
April 1884.

Paisley - Oor Wee Toon & Environs

Paisley - Oor Wee Toon & Environs

Cumberland Mill 1745
New Street.

A new mill was built in Causeyside area by partners Bailie Fulton, Claud Alexander of Newton, his brother in law John and Robert Neilson and James McWilliam all extremely wealthy men.

The mill was duly named Cumberland after the Duke of Cumberland and in later years Cumberland Place, Cumberland Court, Cumberland Calico Printing Works and the Cumberland Shawl Finishing Works all followed.
It stood roughly where the Paisley centre is today just to the rear of the Laigh Kirk (now the Art Centre). It was reached by a path now known as Kirk Lane. The Picture House cinema was on the Cumberland mill site prior to the Paisley Centre.

This would have been a much discussed venture in the pubs, reading rooms and on the weavers steps when having a pipe of to***co with others of a like mind.
No expense was spared and the mill would have the best weavers and materials to weave on the latest looms.

In 1832 partners Barr & Mcnab took up the lease on the Abercorn foundry which had lain empty before they took it over and in 1834 built a 20 hp mill engine for the Cumberland Factory, one of the first heavy engines to be installed in Paisley. {Wallneuk church stands on the site of Abercorn foundry today}

In line with the excellence of the works their weaver master was one John Wilson whose skills were celebrated and also known for his comic ballad “The Peat Stealing”.

John Parkhill states, in his " Ten Years' Experience of a Betheral's Life," that " about ninety years ago there were several weaving factories in Paisley. The most celebrated of these was that of the Cumberland. In this factory there was a John Wilson, the author of several songs ; among others, * The Peat Stealing,' which was long popular as a local song. Our fathers often spoke of the merriment which obtained in this factory, Wilson was a man of sterling talents both natural and acquired.
{John Parkhill author among other skills.}

The best quality Scarfs, plaids and shawls in 1750 were priced from 6 shillings up to a pricey £15 . They were stocked for sale in warehouses in the Causeyside Street area where they could be purchased and it seems Orchard street (one of only a few paved streets) was where the “big corks” had their showrooms.
{A Cork was an agent or merchant who ‘put out’ and collected the woven cloth}
I would expect there were much cheaper garments of poorer quality for sale for the less well off public or in second hand shops. As well as the weaver making shawls for his family.

It appears the mill may be downsizing as an advertisement in The Glasgow Herald of January 4th 1850 informs that a complete floor of gearing is for sale;

A FLAT of POWER-LOOM GEARING, fitted up in Cumberland Mill, Paisley, to drive 74 Looms. The above was fitted up about two years ago, and is of the newest construction.

By 1857 the mill is listed as J & J Clark & Co, Seedhill & Cumberland Mills, Paisley. As was becoming common the Clark and Coats companies were expanding their businesses by acquiring their rivals.The Cumberland Mill would be closed in the next few years as the Clark family concentrated on their expanding Anchor Mills at Seedhill.

The area of the Cumberland Mill and other associated companies would undergo many changes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as more modern methods and machinery brought about a more centralised manufacturing centres rather than smaller mills scattered around the area.

One such change was that c1880 James Goold’s Billiard emporium was in use (one of 3 he had in the town) where a print works had stood in Cumberland Place. The whole of the Cumberland area at the foot of New Street would change further with the demolition of property there and the building of the impressive Russell Institute on the corner of Causeyside and New Streets.

Eddie McRorie


Mile End Mill, Seedhill Road

Opening Hours

Wednesday 12pm - 4pm
Saturday 12pm - 4pm




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I'm new to this group which looks so interesting. I'm interested in finding out more about the career of my great-grandfather, William Barr, who worked for J&P Coats in the late 19th and early 20th Century. I believe that he started as an office boy in Paisley and worked his way up. In 1900 he moved to Bratislava with his wife and baby daughter to set up and help run the Coats thread mill there (the Zwirn Fabrick). He returned to Paisley in about 1926 and I think became general manager of Ferguslie Mill and lived in Ferguslie Villa. Are there any records anywhere to find out more please?
Being locked down does make you notice things you'd overlooked before. Among my inherited sewing things I found this spool of thread. I thought finding if/when J&P Coats stopped manufacturing in Great Britain would be easy. It turned out not to be, but I did find you lovely people. It is very small 1 1/4" diam 5/8", and I hoped someone may have an idea of it's age. I know it's probably fanciful to imagine it coming out to Australia from Scotland on a sailing ship in 1854 with great, great grandma. Her then 8 year old daughter was to become my great grandma, so hers in the 1890s? More likely to be from my grandma 1920s? I do hope someone has some idea!
Pictures from Open Doors day at the PTMM. What a great day. It was to hear some of the stories from our visitors. It was a great day
My dad and his delivery van.
I recently discovered some photos of my dad who was a delivery driver for Coats nearly all his working life.
My enquiry relates to the fuel for Anchor Mills boiler house. Although Ferguslie Mills appears to have been coal fired, with railway sidings bringing coal into the works, Anchor Mills were never provided with a rail connection. However, there appears to have been large fuel oil tanks close to Anchor boiler house. Given that there was an oil depot situated on the railway line leading to Paisley East goods yard, between the Canal railway line and Seedhill Rd over bridges, did this depot serve Anchor Mills up until the line closed c1960.
Now this looks familiar …...
Did you or anyone you know work in the Paisley mills? I am looking to gather information about working lives in the mills for my university dissertation. If you, or someone you know, would be willing to speak to me please private message me or email me at [email protected]. Thank you
Still using Coats Threads. This is our sewing box. I worked for COATS (Anchor) for 19 years. Best job I ever had in my llife.
This is a looking shot but I'll give it a try.... My mum Mrs Patricia Echlin, does not have a photograph of her mum. Her mum was called Edith Caldwell Matthews (married name Gannon). Born 13th August 1900 in Saltcoats Ayrshire. They lived in 6 Fullerton Terrace Paisley. Her mum worked in FerguslieThread Mills in the Spinning Room. It was returning home from work during the 'Blackout' on 24th 1941 that she was involved in in a hit and run' car accident and died e days later on 27th December 1941. My mum and two brothers John and Matt were brought up by her father Martin until her dad remarried when my mum was 14 and moved to Old Kilpatrick, West Dunbartonshire. (We have since discovered my mum had a brother Patrick,first born in family who died at 18 months old of whooping cough). My mum does not have a photograph of her mum and she is 82 years old now. I would love to find a photograph for her. She is an amazing lady who had a hard life. My grandmother's co workers bought the family a gravestone in memory of Edith from them,and I will attach a photograph. She is buried in Hawkhead Cemetery. If anyone reads this and can help it would make an old lady very happy.x Bernadette Brown Yesterday we visited the Thread Museum and the ladies that were working (sewing)kindly looked out old photo albums of the workers at the mills but unfortunately they did not have many names in them. If anyone recognises the nformation I have given above,please leave a message on this fbook page. Bernadette Brown Alexandria West Dunbartonshire.
This is a looking shot but I'll give it a try.... My mum Mrs Patricia Echlin, does not have a photograph of her mum. Her mum was called Edith Gannon (Caldwell Matthews) Born 13 th August 1900 in Saltcoats Ayrshire. They lived in 6 Fullerton Terrace Paisley. Her mum worked in Ferguslie Thread Mills in the Spinning Room. It was returning home from work during the 'Blackout' on24th December 1941 that she was involved in a a hit and run' car accident. She died three days later on 27thDecember. My mum and two brothers John and Matt were brought up by her father Martin until her dad remarried when my mum was 14 and moved to Old Kilpatrick, West Dunbartonshire. (We have since discovered my mum had a brother Patrick ,first born who died at 18 months old of whooping cough.) My mum does not have a photograph of her mum and she is 82 years old now. I would love to find a photograph for her. She is an amazing lady who had a hard life. If anyone reads this and can help it would make an old lady very happy. My mum sister and I visited the museum yesterday (Saturday 29th July) and the group of ladies that were working there sewing, gave us lots of old photos,some with names of workers on back but unfortunately there were none with Edith Matthews/Gannon's name on them. The workers in the department Edith worked in gave her family a gravestone from her co workers in the Spinning Room Ferguslie. I will try to upload a photograph of the gravestone. Through my sister's research she has found out that Edith had a sister Jessie, and brothers Charles and John Matthews. If anyone recognizes any of the above information please contact this Facebook group. Bernadette Brown Alexandria West Dunbartonshire.