Sma’Shot Cottages, Paisley, Scotland

Paisley in the West of Scotland has historic links with the weaving and textile industries dating back to the 18th centuries, and earlier. From this town emanated the eponymous Paisley Pattern and Paisley Shawl. This evening, I am focusing on a small row of cottages which provide a tangible link with the weaving industry of days past.

Sma’Shot is Scots-English for Small Shot which in turn was a cotton thread which bound all the colourful weft (thread or yarn drawn through warp yarns to create cloth) threads into the warps of the Paisley Shawls.

Because the sma’shots were invisible to the eye in the finished product the manufacturers refused to pay weavers for the particular thread. This triggered a long commercial dispute between manufacturers and weavers in which the latter eventually prevailed. In celebration of this victory a Sma’Shot day became a feature of the Paisley calendar from 1856 and was celebrated on the first Saturday in July.

The cottages shown above comprise an 18th century weaver’s cottage and loom shop showing living and working conditions of a weaver’s family in the 1750s and a small row of mill workers cottages from the 19th century. The cottages contain many fascinating artefacts and are linked by a 19th century heritage garden. The cottages are open to the public on Wednesdays and Saturdays between April and September.

The Cottages are located in Shuttle Street and George Place under ownership of the Old Paisley Society. Shuttle is a tool used in the weaving industry.


Shuttle Street, Paisley, Scotland