Paisley Thread Mill Museum

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

Ever wondered how a reel of cotton is made?In 1920, artist Steven Spurrier R.O.I. was given access to Messrs. J & P Coat...
12/04/2020
The Evolution of a Reel of Cotton

Ever wondered how a reel of cotton is made?

In 1920, artist Steven Spurrier R.O.I. was given access to Messrs. J & P Coats factories.
The resulting images provide detailed information about the individual processes involved - but also give some insight as to the fashions and hairstyles of the time!

https://weeredthread.wordpress.com/2020/04/11/the-evolution-of-a-reel-of-cotton/

Background In December 1920, the Illustrated London News publication carried a series of articles detailing the range of processes involved in the production of a reel of cotton. The illustrations …

Paisley Heritage
12/04/2020

Paisley Heritage

Forever Buddies: Why Spanish village Borgonya is proud to have been Paisley patterned for 123 years

A post by John Campbell with a comment by Paula Reynolds I thought would interest our readers.

A little corner of Spain that is forever Scottish is to celebrate the links between the two countries.

Borgonya, a tiny village of 300 people an hour’s drive from Barcelona, was one of the key outposts of Paisley-based textile giant Coats.

From the end of the 19th Century, a mill churned out thread on a massive scale and expat workers had houses built for them just as they had back in Scotland.
The connections were such that streets in the remote village even had Scots names.
Market changes saw the factory finally close its doors in 2000.
But the houses remained occupied, the village vibrant and the Scots links continue with the local football team playing in St Mirren’s black and white.

Now plans for a new museum to tell the fascinating story are under way and it is hoped tourists will swap Costas for culture and explore the rich industrial history.

“We are proud to have a colony with both heritage and historical value for Catalonia,” said Eric Sibina, Mayor of Sant Vicenc de Torello, which takes in Borgonya.

“I invite Scots to come and visit as they will find a small part of Scotland in the heart of Catalonia.”

The River Ter proved a magnet for industrialists from the mid-19th Century, with the water used to power turbines and a railway line established in 1879.
Coats, as part of a worldwide expansion that included building mills from Russia to America, bought a waterfall in Borgonya in 1893 and opened their factory two years later.

As well as using local workers, around 200 Scots were enticed across to Spain to live and work at the new mill.

The oil crisis of the early 1970s that sparked industrial unrest in Spain led to a long, slow decline, resulting in the eventual closure of the factory in 2000. However, the community continued to exist with the houses sold off to former workers who then remained in the area.

Dominating the skyline is the mill's huge chimney which, as local legend goes, was built in two stages.

"They say that the priest of the church situated on a village hillside ordered that the chimney could not be taller than the church and therefore closer to God. This request was heeded by the builders and a shorter stack was built.

"However, the result of this was that when the mill started production, the contents of the chimney were blown straight into local houses and the church itself. The priest relented and the chimney doubled in height," explained Gavin.

The full article is here

https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/forever-buddies-why-a-spanish-village-is-proud-to-have-been-paisley-patterned-for-123-yearsthread-tycoons-mean-a-little-bit-of-catalonia-is-forever-scottish/

"The Town That Thread Built"Another chance to see this programme.Tonight 7.30pm on BBC Scotland (Sky 115)
23/03/2020

"The Town That Thread Built"
Another chance to see this programme.
Tonight 7.30pm on BBC Scotland (Sky 115)

Previously considered to be a 'granny' craft, the art of Crochet is currently enjoying popularity among ALL age groups.I...
22/03/2020

Previously considered to be a 'granny' craft, the art of Crochet is currently enjoying popularity among ALL age groups.

It is particularly relevant as we recognise the benefits of engaging with handicrafts to our overall health and wellbeing.

Although the museum is closed to visitors, we will continue to share some images from the collections.

So, hooks and yarn at the ready, for crochet....

Craft Scotland
20/03/2020

Craft Scotland

Over the next few months, whilst we're all working from home or self-isolating, Craft Scotland will be sharing interesting and inspiring stories from Scotland's craft community.

First up, weaver Heather Shields looks back on hers and Shielagh Tacey’s three-year residency in Paisley's the Sma’s Shots Cottages

Read more: https://bit.ly/2UnAEhV

Between 2017 and 2019, the two weavers researched Paisley’s fascinating weaving history, created new work inspired by their findings, and organised a range of community orientated weaving projects at the Cottages.

If you have a story you would like to share please get in touch: [email protected]

Image: Photography by Heather Shields and Shielagh Tacey

14/03/2020

In light of the current situation, Paisley Thread mill Museum is closed until further notice

11/03/2020

At the moment, the Museum is open for visitors on Wednesdays and Saturday between 12-4pm. We are monitoring the current situation about Coronavirus and will post here if we need to close temporarily.

If you are travelling to visit us, we suggest contacting us via email or Facebook to check that the volunteers will be present.

Up to date information on Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found at NHS inform

https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19

Anchor MillsGassing Mills and Rest Room 1922Now Sir James Clark Building and … a wee car park
29/02/2020

Anchor Mills
Gassing Mills and Rest Room 1922

Now Sir James Clark Building and … a wee car park

J & P Coats. #NevkaMarch 19121- Girls Home2- Back of workers houses3- Workers lodgings4- Shop & Public Eating House
29/02/2020

J & P Coats. #Nevka
March 1912
1- Girls Home
2- Back of workers houses
3- Workers lodgings
4- Shop & Public Eating House

Flood and water damage are, unfortunately, headline news at the moment.Looking through some photograph albums in the Mus...
29/02/2020

Flood and water damage are, unfortunately, headline news at the moment.

Looking through some photograph albums in the Museum collection this afternoon, we found these images showing the damage to machinery and premises at the Royd Edge Mills, Meltham, which were, at one time, owned by Jonas Brook and Brothers.
From 1944.

Another Coats building.But where?  And when?Answer - AUSTRIAThis warehouse (with the lovely square-ish pillars) was part...
29/02/2020

Another Coats building.
But where? And when?

Answer - AUSTRIA
This warehouse (with the lovely square-ish pillars) was part of the Harlander Coats complex, in Austria. The image is dated December 1928, and labelled "New warehouse building. St. Poulten, Austria".

Harlander Coats was a cotton mill and twisting factory, headquartered in the Harland district of the Lower Austrian capital St. Pölten.
In 1894 the original company was on the brink of bankruptcy, as a result of the fall in prices due to cheaper competition from England and Germany. Their financial reserves were tied up in other projects, but they managed to negotiate a new capital flow into the company, principally from the main shareholder Kenneth Mackenzie Clark, and his company J. & P. Coats Ltd.!

On November 22, 1914, the factories were placed under state supervision because of the partially Scottish owners. In the first years of the First World War, a strong upswing was felt, in early 1918 the company reached the highest number of employees with 1,400. However, in the following months, fewer and fewer raw materials came to Harland, especially a lack of cotton.
Since most of the remaining male workers went to war, production came to a complete standstill at the end of the war. After state supervision ended on June 20, 1919, production resumed in 1920 in a restricted form and, by 1923, the remaining shares had been sold to the previous majority owner - J. & P. Coats Ltd.

Later, in 1940, after the "annexation" of Austria, the company was placed under " Nazi forced administration" as "hostile assets" and renamed Harlander Cotton Mill and Zwirnfabrik AG St. Pölten-Harland. When the war drew to a close, the company suffered the same fate as it had before, with a shortage of raw materials increasingly restricting production. The factories had survived the war bombardment almost undamaged and the (then) Russian occupiers handed the company back over to J. & P. Coats Ltd. and, relatively soon afterwards production was resumed in August 1945.

Simply called the Harlander within the local population, the official name changed several times over the course of time, mostly due to a change of ownership. The following shows the dates, names and owners.

18591894 Mathias Salcher & Sons (Salcher family)
1894-1920 AG of the kk priv. Harlander cotton mill and twine factory (Josef and Carl Salcher, KM Clark, Franz Richter)
1920-1923 AG of the Harland cotton spinning mill and twine factory (Josef and Carl Salcher, KM Clark, Franz Richter )
1923-1940 AG of the Harland cotton spinning mill and twine factory (J. & P. Coats Ltd.)
1940-1945 Harlander Cotton Mill and Zwirnfabrik AG St. Pölten-Harland (German Empire)
1945-1968 Harlander Cotton Mill and Zwirnfabrik AG St. Pölten-Harland (J. & P. Coats Ltd).
1968-1991 Harlander Coats GmbH (J. & P. Coats Ltd.)

Harlander Coats produced all types of cotton yarn and twine. A specialty was the production of "iron yarn", a yarn that was particularly shiny and tear-resistant thanks to multiple twisting, and treatment with paraffin and wax.
Harlander Coats also founded and financed schools, kindergartens, and workers libraries, and also operated three bathhouses, along with a company doctor and a small hospital. All this served to bind the workers to the company as much as possible - if the job was lost, the right to housing and welfare was also lost.

The last machine to leave Mile End Mill.
25/02/2020

The last machine to leave Mile End Mill.

Wonder where this ended up?
25/02/2020

Wonder where this ended up?

Before and after....
25/02/2020

Before and after....

One of our visitors this afternoon had worked with J & P Coats in many locations including Ferguslie, Bolton and Turkey!...
22/02/2020

One of our visitors this afternoon had worked with J & P Coats in many locations including Ferguslie, Bolton and Turkey!

Below is some information from 2012,when Coats Turkey celebrated their 60th Anniversary.

COATS TURKEY

"In April 2012, Coats Turkey, as one of the strongest establishments of thread manufacturing in Turkey, was happy and proud to celebrate its 60th anniversary. Coats Turkey, part of the global Coats Group, was established in 1952 when J&P Coats formed a partnership with Istanbul General Weavers and started production in the Eyup factory on the coast of Haliç. Through its dedication to quality, Coats Turkey gained a significant position and has been leading the Turkish handicrafts and ready wear thread market for over 60 years.
Coats Group sustained its investments by acknowledging Turkey as an important country in the frame of global trade and supply chain and, by 2000, had completed the process of company and product globalisation through offering the same products with equal quality and same brands in 67 countries.
Coats Turkey has become a product development and training base, and the manufacturing centre of Europe inside the Coats Group, producing sewing thread, embroidery thread and zips.
Coats Turkey produces high quality sewing thread in the range of any thickness, raw material and in unlimited colour selection. Recently, the company developed many new sewing threads such as organic cotton, anti-bacterial, waterproof, super stretch and low melt adhesive hemming threads. There will always be requirement for new products and new solutions in the developing market of technical and nano textile products.
Since 1952, Coats Turkey products have been used in mattress making, furniture & upholstery, leather garments, footwear, automotive seat belts and seat covers, as well as clothing and homewares. Benefiting from over 250 years of experience from the Coats Group, it has a strong position in industrial sewing thread market with its global brands Epic, Dual Duty, Gral, Gramax, Tre Cerchi, Aptan, Eloflex, Seamsoft and Terko Satin."

James Coats Jnr. of Ferguslie  House, supplied books to many schools, libraries and other institutions.
15/02/2020

James Coats Jnr. of Ferguslie House, supplied books to many schools, libraries and other institutions.

Three more lovely embroideries, brought in to the museum today, for the Renfrewshire Tapestry.
12/02/2020

Three more lovely embroideries, brought in to the museum today, for the Renfrewshire Tapestry.

Renfrewshire and Paisley Thread manufacturers featured prominently in the British section at the 1877 Paris Exhibition.
05/02/2020

Renfrewshire and Paisley Thread manufacturers featured prominently in the British section at the 1877 Paris Exhibition.

#LaceDayYou can't make the lace without the thread!
02/02/2020

#LaceDay
You can't make the lace without the thread!

This is a free online course presented by the University of Strathclyde through Future Learn.It consists of 8 hours 'stu...
19/01/2020
Working Lives on the Factories and Mills Course - FutureLearn

This is a free online course presented by the University of Strathclyde through Future Learn.
It consists of 8 hours 'study' time, and although not specific to Paisley Mills, it may provide some interesting information and context about mill workers working and living conditions.

Uncover the lives of those who worked in mills and textile factories during the Victorian era with this interactive course exploring Britain's industrial heritage.

24/12/2019

A merry Christmas from all the volunteers at Paisley Thread mill Museum

The best Christmas Tree? #bobbins #morebobbins
24/12/2019

The best Christmas Tree?
#bobbins #morebobbins

“The Voyage of the Scotia” is a very readable account of the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition of 1902-4 by its bot...
07/12/2019

“The Voyage of the Scotia” is a very readable account of the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition of 1902-4 by its botanist, meteorologist and geologist. (Brown, Pirie & Mossman)

Here are some details of the clothing and accessories provided for the crew by Mr James Coats.

"The temperature was now falling, so opportunity was taken in the evening to distribute a welcome gift of worsted jerseys, mitts, mufflers, and gloves, the work of the inhabitants of Fair Isle, and thoughtfully provided by Mr James Coats, jun., for the use of the Expedition.

Fair Isle jerseys were universally worn, of which, by the generosity of Mr James Coats, jun., we had a large supply on board. They are thick jerseys, handknitted in wool of every brilliant hue,— red, green, and yellow side by side in endless, different, and all extraordinary and apparently meaningless designs. We also had caps and mufflers of the same material and make, and all proved of wonderful wearing quality. Caps were of many different kinds, and provided they covered the ears, almost any description did equally well."

“You don’t get to be a 264-year-old company by doing the same things you’ve always done over and over again”This article...
07/12/2019
Coats Thrives Through Innovation, Sustainability - BedTimes Magazine | Sleep Products News Site

“You don’t get to be a 264-year-old company by doing the same things you’ve always done over and over again”

This article (link below) highlights how the Coats company continues to experiment and innovate with new products, whilst working towards sustainability in both recycled yarn and overall production methods.

It contains some nice company history/background information, along with details of new products e.g. yarns that can absorb and disperse heat; conduct electricity; repel bacteria; and transfer infrared energy back to the body.

Don't worry - you can still use the thread to sew on buttons!

https://bedtimesmagazine.com/2019/11/coats-thrives-through-innovation-sustainability/

Headquartered in Uxbridge, United Kingdom, the world’s largest industrial...

It’s our volunteers last day in the museum today until 5th February as we are taking an extended break until then.  Our ...
30/11/2019

It’s our volunteers last day in the museum today until 5th February as we are taking an extended break until then. Our mill items are still available via mail order or collection by arrangement and would make a great Christmas present.

You can still visit the museum during the break and have a self guided tour.

J & P Coats were, rightly, protective of their trademarks and logos, and challenged any companies who appeared to be tak...
23/11/2019

J & P Coats were, rightly, protective of their trademarks and logos, and challenged any companies who appeared to be taking advantage of the Coats reputation and customer loyalty to enhance their own brand and sales.

When Coats were made aware of possible trademark infringements, legal action usually followed, and each case is documented in beautiful handwritten ledgers.

Below is a selection of images used by manufacturers worldwide, that were noticed by retailers, agents, or other interested parties, who then passed the details on to Coats in Paisley to deal with.

Case No.1 was documented in 1891 (Jessua Assa), and by 1989, they were working on Case No. 12,082 (J. G. Hook)

Interesting afternoon checking out some of the legal documents in the museum's collection.This one relates to an agreeme...
23/11/2019

Interesting afternoon checking out some of the legal documents in the museum's collection.

This one relates to an agreement between J & P Coats and Dr.Sebastian Ziani di Ferranti, regarding a selection of his inventions and patents for a range of textile machinery.

The image below shows the classic sign off -
"signed, sealed and delivered …"

#cueforasong

In March 1921 the Prince of Wales visited Anchor Mills, and was impressed by the dexterity of the workers.In the first h...
02/11/2019

In March 1921 the Prince of Wales visited Anchor Mills, and was impressed by the dexterity of the workers.

In the first half of the 20th century the twiners, operating the big twisting machines, had to work in their bare feet because they used their big toes to switch the machines on and off.

Ann Fairful, who walked three miles to work and three miles back when she worked for the Ferguslie Mill said they were called ‘big toe typists.’
“Working with bare feet was nice and cool, and the lanolin in the yarn kept the skin nice,” she said.

A visitor to the museum this afternoon, told us that she also worked bare footed, but this was later, at a time when the operating system was being changed to incorporate the use of foot pedals to control the machinery.

Do you have any memories or stories about the bare foot workers?

Address

Mile End Mill, Seedhill Road
Paisley
PA1 1JS

Opening Hours

Wednesday 12:00 - 16:00
Saturday 12:00 - 16:00

Telephone

01418471111

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Comments

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.
My name is John Laverty. Iworked in the anchor mill from 1963 to 1982.i have tw boxes of thread and I was wondering if you would like them for your museum.