Kilnside House
Woodside House

woodside house

Photograph by Thomas Annan

The building was designed for Sir Peter Coats by Charles Wilson and built from 1850 to 1852. It was extended by Hippolyte Jean Blanc for Archibald Coats in 1881. The mansion was gifted to Paisley Corporation under the will of Mr WH Coats and in 1931, following the death of his wife, the council became owners after all the furniture and effects in the building were sold privately. The building was used to provide a home for children, but it was destroyed by fire in 1952 . Sir Peter was a founder partner of the firm of J. & P. Coats. The land of Woodside was first recorded as having belonged to Walter Fitzallan, High Steward of Scotland in 1208. It is was situated to the east of what is now Woodside Crematorium close to King Street.

__ Sir Peter Coats

Sir Peter CoatsMembers of Paisley's famous Coats family, Peter and Thomas took over the running of their father's Ferguslie threadworks, J and P Coats, in the 1830s. Under their leadership, the company became one of the world's leading thread manufacturers.
Sir Peter Coats (1808 - 1890) attended Paisley grammar school and then college. He intended to enter the church, but instead chose a business career, receiving his business training in the Glasgow office of John Fleming & Co, East India Merchants, before running J and P Coats. He remained active in the running of the Ferguslie threadworks for 47 years. He and his wife had 12 children and moved into their family home of Woodside House in 1844. After his wife’s death, in 1877, he retired and moved from the family home to his newly bought estate of
Auchendrane in South Ayrshire.

World War II Land Mine story

At the top of William Street there was a large estate that was probabally at some point gifted for mentally handicaped children. In those days such children and young people were hidden away from the general public and were not even talked about. As a child we used to see what was the equivalent of the modern mini bus come out of the gates and pass down the Street with the children looking out of the windows and that was all we ever knew of them. Early on in the war they were all evacuated somewhere else. The town authorities decided to turn the estate into a First Aid complex. Woodside House where the children had lived was to be used as a headquarters.

from Ramsay Philip (1839) Views in Renfrewshire, with historical and descriptive notices,.

WOODSIDE, the seat of Archibald Coats, Esq., is situated a short distance west of Paisley, not far from Ferguslie. The name was probably derived from the proximity of the estate to Darskayt Wood, which appears in early charters as a boundary. A large tract of land, including the portion now known as Woodside, was granted to the Monks of Paisley in 1208, by Walter Fitzallan, High Steward of Scotland; and they retained possession of it till Reformation times. John Hamilton, Abbot of Paisley, feued the greater part of this land in 1445, granting a charter to John Stewart, kindly tenant in Woodside, of "All and Whole the twenty shilling lands of Woodside, with the New Yaird of the same and pertinents; reserving a public way through the whole lands of Woodside,, from the public way as far as the wood of Darskayt."

The estate remained in the hands of the Stewart family till 1680, when it was sold to Ezekiel Montgomrie, Sheriff-Depute of Renfrewshire. By him the property was disponed, in 1688, to Thomas Crawford of Cartsburn, father of George Crawford the historian; and Woodside became the possession of his second son, Hugh Crawford. The, latter was married to a niece of Sir George Maxwell of Pollok; and his only surviving children were three daughters, who sold the property, in 1750, to Robert Shedden, merchant in Paisley. Woodside was acquired, in 1846, by Sir Peter Coats, from the trustees of John Shedden, second son of Robert Shedden of Woodside. The mansion was built shortly afterwards by Sir Peter Coats, and is now the residence of his son.

Sir Peter Coats has long been associated with Paisley as one of the partners of the firm of J. & P. Coats, thread manufacturers there. In conjunction with his brother, the late Thomas Coats, Esq., of Ferguslie (see ante Ferguslie), he has made many munificent donations to Paisley,-one of the most remarkable being the Free Public Library and Museum, which was founded by him in 1869. His public services were acknowledged by Her Majesty conferring the honour of knighthood upon him on 9th July, 1869. Sir Peter Coats resides now at Old Auchendrane in Ayrshire, of which county he is a Deputy-Lieutenant.

The country around Woodside and Ferguslie was a favourite haunt of Robert Tannahill, and he has recorded the pleasure which he experienced there in these lines:

Delighted Delighted I stray by the fairy Woodside,
Where the dewdrops the crow flowers adorn,
And Nature, arrayed in her mid-summer's pride,
sweetly smiles to the smile of the morn.
Ye dark waving plantings, ye green shady bowers,
Your charms every varying I view;
My soul's dearest transports, my happiest hours,
Have owed half their pleasures to you."

Tannahill's earliest years were spent in his father's cottage, in Queen Street, Paisley, which was in the immediate neighbourhood of Ferguslie and Woodside.