IT’S the end of an era in Johnstone with the remains of one of the town’s most iconic buildings to be demolished this month.

Built on the banks of the Black Cart River in 1782 by the Corse and Burns Company, Paton’s Mill was once a thriving textile plant in the heart of the town.

However, production at the famous bootlace factory ended in 2004 when Paton’s moved its operation to a nearby business park.

Sadly, the A-listed building, believed to be the world’s oldest surviving machine factory, was badly damaged by a blaze in 2013.

Around 30 firefighters battled flames which leapt 50 feet into the air. It took 12 hours to bring the inferno under control.

Since then, the building has lain in ruins.

And now the end is here for the historic landmark, as developers Barratt Homes bring in the bulldozers.

The site clean-up is already under way and expected to be complete towards the end of October.

Two buildings will remain on the site – the porter’s lodge, close to the front entrance gates, and the generator house, within the wooded area.

All other structures will be removed and replaced by a new housing development and retail park.

As the curtain comes down, Johnstone residents have shared their memories of the mill.

Derek Hyslop, whose dad Bill was despatch manager at William Paton for 40 years, said: “He passed away in January 2016 but I have loads of happy memories of going into the mill and seeing my dad.”

Joan Pietryga was based in the tagging room and trained newcomers to the factory from the mid-1960s to the mid-70s. Although the work was “hard at times”, she said there was always time for fun and laughter.

Janette Muir, who emigrated to Florida in 1963, added: “My dad David Blackadder worked there most of his life, before and after the war, in despatch. I used to go down and take his lunch to him and go in the little office.

“When I emigrated, my parents visited us almost every year and my dad would always talk about the people he worked with. He passed away in 1987 but I know he had a lot of good times there.”

Jan Campbell’s mum, Mae McCrystal, was employed at the mill in the 1970s but began working from home when her five children came along.

While some remain nostalgic about the mill, others are disappointed the iconic building has been left to rot.

Joseph Coyne said: “There has been no effort to save what could have been an iconic landmark for the town.

“There have also been no assurances given to honour or commemorate the mill’s historic past as the world’s first machine factory. It is an absolute scandal.”

If you have memories of Paton’s Mill, call our newsroom on 0141 435 8856 or send an email to