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The Paisley Pattern changed everything for Paisley.

The intricate and beautiful hand-woven designs of the Kashmir shawl originated in India in the 11th century – the most popular and recognisable was the teardrop motif.

Paisley Museum holds a large, representative collection of Paisley shawls, pattern books and designs, as well as shawl weaving and printing technology including looms, spinning equipment and printing blocks. The looms and equipment are used to explain and demonstrate the traditional skills and processes of handloom weaving. This is one of the Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) Recognised Collections of National Significance and includes original shawls from Kashmir and the other 19th century shawl weaving centres in Europe.

The Dress and Textiles collection includes a wide range of garments, accessories, household  and other textiles, mainly from the 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as a large number of objects relating to Renfrewshire’s historic textile industries: shawl weaving and thread production.

Other textile objects relating to the local area include material from the muslin weaving and whitework trades and a large number of embroidered objects and teaching resources from the Needlework Development Scheme (1934-1961) which was funded by J&P Coats.


Paisley holds a rare position in the history of woven textiles and The Paisley Shawl Collection cared for by Renfrewshire Leisure is a Recognised Collection of National Significance to Scotland.

For more information on our Textiles collection, please contact one of our Textiles Curators 

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