Bridge of Weir
|Bridge of Weir|
|Scots: Brig o Weir|
Bridge of Weir shown within Renfrewshire
|Population||4,635  (2001 census)
est. 4,650 (2006)
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||BRIDGE OF WEIR|
|UK Parliament||Paisley and Renfrewshire North|
|Scottish Parliament||Renfrewshire North and West|
Bridge of Weir is a village within the Renfrewshire council area and wider historic county of Renfrewshire in the west central Lowlands of Scotland. Lying within the Gryffe Valley and providing a crossing point for the River Gryffe, the village today serves largely as a dormitory settlement for nearby Glasgow and Paisley although it maintains a commercial centre of its own and some light industry.
Bridge of Weir was historically an area divided between the parishes of neighbouring Houston and Killellan and Kilbarchan on either side of the River Gryffe. Growing out of the lands of Ranfurly, mainly occupied by small farms, the name 'Bridge of Weir' is first recorded in the early 18th century before any village was built. The 'weir' is a reference to a salmon weir which used to be located on the Gryffe. An older name provided for the village is 'Port o'Weir', implying a river crossing; this name remained in some use even after the Bridge of Weir name had been adopted.
The bridge at Bridge of Weir was constructed at Burngill c.1770 and was considerably upgraded and widened in 1892 to allow for two-way traffic. It was finally demolished in 1964, with a more modern structure created. The bridge owes its construction to being on the route between the significant towns of Greenock and Paisley, with a Great Road constructed between the two in 1794. Also significant to the infrastructure of the emerging settlement was the construction of the Glasgow, Paisley and Ardrossan canal which, despite its name, was only constructed up to nearby Johnstone. The Johnstone to Bridge of Weir route was formalised on the 20 June 1864 by the construction of Bridge of Weir railway station which went on to substantially alter the character of the village and contribute vastly to its forthcoming affluence. The railway closed on 10 January 1983 and now forms part of the Clyde to Forth cycle route (National Cycle Route 75).
The first semblances of the village came to be with the rise of the West of Scotland cotton industry, the Gryffe being used to power numerous mills. Its most significant industry, however, was to emerge in leather. At its productivity peak the small village supported three tanneries. The leather industry survives to this day, albeit on a smaller scale than during its heyday. American car manufacturer Lincoln has long promoted its use of Bridge of Weir leather in their Continental line of luxury cars.
Bridge of Weir is part of the council area of Renfrewshire, as well the historic county of Renfrewshire which has wider boundaries and retains some official functions, for example as a registration county and lieutenancy area.
For elections to Renfrewshire Council, Bridge of Weir is part of ward 10, named 'Bishopton, Bridge of Weir and Langbank', which elects three of Renfrewshire's forty councillors. These members are: Cllr Michael Holmes (Labour), Cllr Iain Langlands (Conservative) and Cllr Carol Puthucheary (SNP).
Culture and community
Bisected by the River Gryffe, angling is available within the village. The river hosts brown trout, grayling and, occasionally, Atlantic salmon. Numerous outdoor pursuits are available at the nearby Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park. National Cycle Route 75 runs through the village.
The village is also known for its golf history. At one point there were five golf courses in the vicinity; today there are two remaining: the Old Course Ranfurly and the Ranfurly Castle golf clubs.
Notable sport-related persons include Wilbur Muirhead, owner of the aforementioned leather works factory (still run by his grandson Jonathan) and also Captain of the R&A (St Andrews), and Walter and Kenneth McLeod, both of whom lived in Bridge of Weir their entire lives and were very well known amateur golfers.
- "Comparative Population Profile: Bridge of Weir Locality". Scotland's Census Results Online. 2001-04-29. Retrieved 2008-08-31.
- GENUKI: Houston And Killallan
- W. Lyle, Bridge of Weir, ISBN 0-9503943-0-0, p.6-7
- Renfrewshire Community Website - Bridge of Weir
- "Renfrewshire Community Website - Wards". Renfrewshire Council. Retrieved 2009-06-14.
- "Renfrewshire Community Website - Community Councils". Renfrewshire Council. Retrieved 2009-06-14.