© All rights reserved. Building news 3 February 1882, v42, p139. Courtesy of Robert Hill © All rights reserved. Building news 3 February 1882, v42, p139.  Courtesy of Robert Hill. © All rights reserved.   

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Basic Site Details

Name: George A Clark Town Hall
Town, district or village: Paisley
City or county: Renfrewshire
Country: Scotland
Status: A listed
Grid ref:
Notes: Public subscription initiated in early 1870s. George Clark died in America and left money for the purpose; the Clark family contributed the balance and a competition was held. The assessor was Robert Matheson, and it was won by Rennison & Scott. However the Clark family preferred Lynn's design: the public contributions were returned and the hall built 1878-82.

Paisley.—Last week the foundation-stone of the new town-hall, which is at present in course of erection on a site contiguous to the abbey, at Paisley, was laid by Mrs. Clark, of Gateside, mother of the deceased donor, Mr George A. Clark. After purchasing the site, it was found that the sum in hand would be exceedingly insufficient to erect a hall suitable to the wants of the town, and, therefore, the Messrs Clark, brothers of the deceased donor, offered to defray the additional cost, which it is calculated will be altogether little short of £.50,000. The buildings will consist of a large hall occupying the centre of the block, 130 feet long by 60 feet wide, and affording accommodation for about 4,000 persons —1,400 on the ground floor, 400 in the balcony, and 400 in the upper gallery. There will also be a lesser hall, 53 feet by 30 feet calculated to seat about 300 persons. In addition to these, at the special direction of the deceased donor, there will be a public reading-room, smoke-room, etc. The contractors for the building are Messrs Morrison and Mason, Glasgow. The completion is expected to be in about two years' time. Mr W H Lynn, of Larne, is the architect. The building was illustrated in the Building News, April 5, 1878. [Building News 31 October 1879 p536]

We give this week a view of the minor hall and river front of the above building. The memorial stone of the building was laid on the 22nd of October last by Mrs. Clark, of Gateside, the mother of the originator of the undertaking, and of the Messrs Clark, of the Anchor Mills, Paisley, who are contributing largely towards the carrying out of their brother's intentions. The sum of £20,000 having been bequeathed by the late Mr George A Clark for the erection of a public hall, reading-room, etc, for the benefit of his native town, steps were taken accordingly, and designs for the building were obtained through the medium of competition. The requirements set forth in the instructions to architects being found to be considerably beyond what could be provided for the above sum, the Messrs Clark, rather than curtail the extent of the building which they thought were necessary, have generously supplemented the amount bequeathed by their brother. The cost of the site was £10,000, and the expenditure on the building itself will reach to about £.50,000. In addition to this Mrs. Clark has signified her intention of presenting an organ for the large central hall, and a capital sum with which to endow it. Mr W. H. Lynn, R.H A., of Belfast, is the architect. In a previous number we gave a view of the two principal fronts, and a general description of the building. The work has now been carried as high as the level of the first string-course. [Building News 19 December 1879 p740]

Alternative Names

The following alternative names are associated with this building/design:
 NameCurrent name?Notes
Item 1 of 1Paisley Town Hall Original name during initial competition

Building Type Classification

The building is classified under the following categories:
 ClassificationOriginal classification?Notes
Item 1 of 1Town hall  

Street Addresses

The following street addresses are associated with this building:
 AddressMain entrance?Notes
Item 1 of 1Gauze StreetYes 


The following date-based events are associated with this building:
 FromToEvent typeNotes
Item 1 of 111864  1st scheme drawn up - not executed
Item 2 of 111869  Second scheme drawn up - not executed
Item 3 of 111875 Competition heldAbortive competition
Item 4 of 111875  Design by Rennison & Scott submitted
Item 5 of 111876 Design exhibitedDesign by Rennison & Scott
Item 6 of 1118781882Build/construction 
Item 7 of 11October 1879 Foundation stoneFoundation stone laid
Item 8 of 11Early 1870s  Public subscription initiated
Item 9 of 111894  Decoration of stair
Item 10 of 11After 1928Before 1945 Alterations
Item 11 of 111937  Designs for chairs for Paisley Town Council


Design and Construction

The following individuals or organisations have carried out design/construction work. Where architects or practices worked together, matching letters appear beside their names in the Partnership Group column.
 NameRolePartnership GroupFromToNotes
Item 1 of 17J & J LambArchitectural practiceA1864 First scheme - unexecuted
Item 2 of 17James Barr LambArchitectA1864 First scheme - unexecuted
Item 3 of 17James Jamieson LambArchitectA1864 First scheme - unexecuted
Item 4 of 17J & J LambArchitectural practiceB1869 Second scheme - unexecuted
Item 5 of 17James Barr LambArchitectB1869 Second scheme - unexecuted
Item 6 of 17James Jamieson LambArchitectB1869 Second scheme - unexecuted
Item 7 of 17John RobertsonArchitect 1875 Competition design - placed second
Item 8 of 17William Henry LynnArchitect 18751882Did not win competition but scheme preferred and got the job
Item 9 of 17Boucher & HigginsArchitectural practiceC1875 Competition design - placed third (Higgins responsible)
Item 10 of 17Henry HigginsArchitectC1875 Competition design - placed third
Item 11 of 17Andrew Robb ScottArchitectD1875 Won competition but job went to Lynn
Item 12 of 17John Albert RennisonArchitectD1875 Won competition but job went to Lynn
Item 13 of 17Rennison & ScottArchitectural practiceD1875 Won competition but job went to Lynn
Item 14 of 17A & J ScottArchitectural practiceE1894 Decoration of stair
Item 15 of 17George GibsonArchitect After 1928Before 1945Alterations
Item 16 of 17John Fraser MatthewArchitectF1937 Designs for chairs for Paisley Town Council
Item 17 of 17Lorimer & MatthewArchitectural practiceF1937 Designs for chairs for Paisley Town Council


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this building:
Item 1 of 7Cook, J & J1882Inauguration of the George A Clark Town Hall, Paisley Paisley 
Item 2 of 7Cunningham, Colin1981Victorian and Edwardian Town Halls London: Routledge & Kegan PaulAppendix II: Competition Statistics
Item 3 of 7Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts1877   652, 659
Item 4 of 7Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts1894   843 (A & J Scott)
Item 5 of 7RSA1876   586 (Rennison & Scott design)
Item 6 of 7RSA1877   902 (John Robertson)
Item 7 of 7Walker, Frank Arneil1986South Clyde Estuary: An Illustrated Architectural Guide to Inverclyde and Renfrew  p8

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this building:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4British Architect1 February 1878   
Item 2 of 4Building News31 October 1879  p536 - foundation stone
Item 3 of 4Building News19 December 1879  p740 and illustration
Item 4 of 4Building News3 February 188242 page 139

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this building:
 SourceArchive nameSource catalogue no.Notes
Item 1 of 3Historic Environment ScotlandListed Buildings Register38978 
Item 2 of 3National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMSLorimer and Matthew Collection LOR P/26
Item 3 of 3RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers George Gibson: L no5800 (combined box 101)


© All rights reserved. Building news 3 February 1882, v42, p139. Courtesy of Robert Hill 

© All rights reserved. Building news 3 February 1882, v42, p139. Courtesy of Robert Hill

© All rights reserved. Building news 3 February 1882, v42, p139.  Courtesy of Robert Hill. 

© All rights reserved. Building news 3 February 1882, v42, p139. Courtesy of Robert Hill.

© All rights reserved.   

© All rights reserved.