A CAMPAIGNING councillor has called for Johnstone’s industrial past to be recognised with a memorial at the new Paton’s Mill development.

Andy Doig says the famous site, built in 1782 and thought to be the oldest machine factory in the world, shouldn’t be forgotten as it makes way for a retail development.  

He has written to chiefs at developers 4th Consulting, calling for them to open dialogue with residents and community groups about a memorial.

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Cllr Doig, who represents Johnstone North, Kilbarchan, Howwood and Linwood, said: “I think there is a general consensus that, given the great contribution which Paton’s Mill made to the growth of Johnstone and, indeed, the Industrial Revolution in Scotland as a whole, some kind of memorial to Paton’s Mill would be fitting.

The Gazette:

Paton's Mill during its heyday 

“The fact 4th Development decided to name the retail park Paton’s Mill shows they are not closed to reminding local people of the great history of the site.

“What I am hoping for from 4th Developments is a positive commitment to meet Johnstone Community Council and all Johnstone councillors to start a positive dialogue on what form a memorial could take.”

The Gazette:

Andy Doig is calling for the developers to engage with the local community 

The Paton’s Mill site, which was once a thriving textile plant on the Black Cart River, was virtually destroyed by fire in 2013.

Now, only the porter’s lodge, close to the front entrance gates, and the generator house, within the wooded area, both remain on the site, with every other building demolished in 2017. 

Iain McMillan, secretary of Johnstone Community Council, said: “People in the town tend to hold the site close to their heart, and most will know someone who worked there – including my own mother.  A lot of people are proud of our industrial past and want to keep it alive.” 

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A spokesperson for 4th Developments said: “We are currently in the final stages of the first phase of the development, which is being named ‘Paton’s Mill Retail Park’. We are working with Johnstone historical society to look at incorporating story boards within the community woodland walk.”