Gala Day, Johnstone
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Gala Day, Johnstone

A small town situated on the Black Cart Water, 3 miles (5 km) west of Paisley, Johnstone developed as a textile town in the late 18th century, its Old End cotton mill being the largest in Scotland when it was built in 1782. A planned village with two open squares was laid out for the mill workers by George Houston not far from Johnstone Castle and by 1841 it had a population of 7000 and 16 mills. Between 1811 and 1885 it was the terminus of the Glasgow, Paisley and Ardrossan Canal which was surveyed by Thomas Telford but never completed. The town later expanded in association with coal mining, quarrying and the manufacture of machine tools, iron, brass, chemicals and paper. Buildings of note include the ruins of Johnstone Castle, once visited by the composer Frederic Chopin, Johnstone Mill (1782), Cartside Mill (1780), the octagonal and high-spired High Parish Church (1792-94) and nearby Cochrane Castle, a former stronghold of the earls of Dundonald which dates from c.1592.

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