Paisley Abbey is aiming to create an inspirational space that is open and welcoming to all the people of Paisley. Acting as a catalyst for the regeneration of Paisley, it is a hugely ambitious effort to restore the Abbey to its 15th century footprint and to expand the facilities available for community use.
Our plan to rebuild the 4th cloister of the Abbey is a truly remarkable 21st century architectural addition to the Abbey's 850 year history. The space within the added cloister and the refurbished Place of Paisley will be used to create an innovative and interactive visitor centre illustrating the Abbey and Paisley's rich history, as well as a new cafe, gift shop and contemporary space for functions, events and community activities.
The Reverend Alan Birss, Minister of Paisley Abbey:
"We have a long tradition in the Abbey of welcoming pilgrims and visitors and of serving the parish and community around the Abbey. Rebuilding the Fourth Cloister will greatly enhance our work in these areas and reaffirm for a new generation the Abbey's central place in the life of the whole community. Our hope is that the new and upgraded facilities will enable visitor and local resident alike to feel at home in the Abbey and confirm in a real sense, the Abbey belongs to all."
The project will help realise the heritage asset of the Abbey as the important Scottish landmark it is, worthy of its international recognition. The Abbey's vision is to build on the services it can offer the people of Paisley, further welcoming all to share the use of the town's beautiful landmark. It will be an achievement the people of Paisley will be proud of locally, nationally and internationally. Showcasing the rich culture and history of Paisley, it will help to put Paisley even more firmly on the map.
From the outset, the project has been seen as fulfilling two purposes – to help place the Abbey on a secure financial footing in the years ahead and to further the Abbey’s witness to the community and to the many thousands of people who visit the Abbey each year.
While the core aims of the Abbey, as of the Church generally, to offer worship to God and to witness to the love of God, remain the same from one generation to the next, the ways in which these aims are put into effect must evolve from generation to generation. In bringing forward the present proposals, the Kirk Session hopes to do for the age in which we live what previous Kirk Sessions did for their age in, for example, the 1950 upgrading and extension of the Place of Paisley or the earlier restoration of the north and east cloisters.
Planning Approval has been granted by the local authority and the next step is for us to seek formal approval of our plans from the appropriate church authorities.