Paisley loses last link with Coats as office is closed

Paisley is to lose a historic link with the Coats family as the company has confirmed it is closing its office in the town.

Eight people are being made redundant as the office in Mile End Mill is closing and the remaining 12 members of staff have been told to work from home.

The Coats name, together with Clarks, is synonymous with Paisley’s mill history and its place on the global stage which dates back to the early 1800s.

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The company, which is now headquartered down south and has factories across the world, had retained a Paisley office in Mile End Mill, part of Abbey Mill Business Centre.

Local historian Stephen Clancy admitted it was “a sad day for the town”.

He added: “It’ll be a big surprise to many people that they even have an office here.

“When I was involved in the Thread Mill Museum we were trying to contact Coats for several years to get involved.

“We didn’t realize they had an office right above us all that time.

“When I’ve done my history walks, they’re usually with locals, we’d end up at Anchor Mills and I’d talk about the Coats and Clark families and that Coats still has an office in Paisley and they’d be very surprised.

“But they’ve always been pleased the link is still there.

“The mills are something people in Paisley are aware of and very proud of. A lot of the history here is to do with textiles.

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“In a lot of my talks I speak about the early thread industry and linen thread rather than cotton. It was such a big industry here before the Coats and Clarks families, people don’t often know about that.”

Ferguslie Mills

Paisley's Mill Girls
Mill-girls leaving J&P Coats’ Ferguslie Threadworks in the 1950s

It’s not the first time Paisley has lost its link with Coats.

It closed the Anchor Mill in 1980 and moved the factory to Newton Mearns.

That factory was closed in 2005 and the company opened the Mile End Mill office in Paisley.

A number of different functions were run from the Paisley office but as a result of the pandemic, all staff were told to work from home.

The office has never fully reopened and last month staff were told it would be closed permanently and eight of them were being made redundant.

The remaining members of staff are to continue working remotely and use their large Glasgow office, which looks after Coats pensions, for face-to-face meetings.

A spokesperson for Coats confirmed the news. He said: “Following the covid pandemic and wide and successful adoption of working from home practices together with a strategic business review, Coats has decided to close their office at Mile End Mill, Paisley.

“The business will continue to support some color management, supply chain, and legal and risk functions globally from the local area, with our Glasgow office being used when required for face-to-face team meetings.

“Unfortunately, however, there will be a small number of redundancies linked to this office closure with some work being transitioned closer to our current operations in Asia.

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“Coats is proud to have its birthplace in Paisley and extensive Paisley heritage and are in contact with the Paisley Museum Reimagined project team regarding future support for this very exciting transformational project.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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