William Paton Ltd.

William Paton Limited was founded at Johnstone in Scotland in 1840 by the twenty-one year old entrepreneur William Paton at the height of the Industrial Revolution. Paton began by meeting the local demand for hemp rope and moved on to the manufacture of cotton rope and a range of tapes. Before laces became the standard shoe fastener, Patons made elastic webbing for boots. Gradually the firm began to concentrate on the manufacture of boot laces before patenting a plaited fabric lace that would ultimately displace the traditional leather product.

The above was taken from http://www.punch.ie – The Punch group bought Paton’s in 1990. Paton’s mill incorporates part of the very first mill built in Johnstone in 1782, thought to be the first machine factory in the world, predating the New Lanark cotton mill by four years.

This A-listed building now stands empty and rotting after closing in 2003. There are suggestions that it might become a museum or flats.

Around the back, some derelict storage sheds collect empty alcopops bottles.

And some elderly ironwork attached to the chimney.

Inside, first some beautiful old electrical apparatus.

Including a rare Mercury Vapour Rectifier:

Beautiful wrought iron pillars support the ceiling:

And old ledgers moulder away in a cupboard.

Upstairs, the spinning rooms stand empty.

Except for one loom left behind.

Up in the attic, old parts rust away.

And, in another attic, a loom too large to remove.

Down in the basement, the testing lab is still full of equipment.

The sales office is a bit trashed.

But the Directors’ cloakroom is untouched.

One of the directors was an art fan.

And the safe is still locked.

Finally, back down into the bowels of the factory.

And out past the beautiful chimney.

One more batch of pictures from this place – this time on an official visit to retrieve paperwork. We found the boilers:

The dyeing ovens:

The loft above the boilers, thick with soot:

Some old scales (I think):

And the water turbine is down here somewhere:

Leave a Reply