Bridge of Weir

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Bridge of Weir
Bridge of Weir is located in Renfrewshire
Bridge of Weir
Bridge of Weir
Location within Renfrewshire
Population4,635 [1] (2001 census)
est. 4,650[2] (2006)
OS grid referenceNS387655
Council area
Lieutenancy area
CountryScotland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townBRIDGE OF WEIR
Postcode districtPA11
Dialling code01505
PoliceScotland
FireScottish
AmbulanceScottish
EU ParliamentScotland
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
UK
Scotland
55°51′23″N 4°34′40″W / 55.856511°N 4.577666°W / 55.856511; -4.577666Coordinates: 55°51′23″N 4°34′40″W / 55.856511°N 4.577666°W / 55.856511; -4.577666

Bridge of Weir (Scots: Brig o 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.

History[edit]

River Gryffe at Bridge of Weir, with former mill infrastructure visible.

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.[3] Growing out of the lands of the 15th century Ranfurly Castle, mainly occupied by small farms, the name 'Bridge of Weir' is first recorded in the early 18th century before any village was built.[4] 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.[5]

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 railway route was formalised on the 20 June 1864 and the Bridge of Weir railway station built. The line extended to Kilmacolm and onwards in 1869. This railway substantially altered the character of the village and contributed 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. From around 1793 the river Gryffe was being used to power numerous cotton spinning and blanket making mills. The most significant industry to emerge in the village was leather. At its productivity peak the small village supported three tanneries. The leather industry survives to this day, now on a single site, in the form of a highly successful, modern facility with five Queen's Awards for International Business.

Economy[edit]

Bridge of Weir is surrounded by agricultural lands, with traditional industries being cotton milling and leather tanning. The earliest cotton mills were built in the late 18th and early 19th centuries on the banks on the River Gryffe. Today, the town's golf courses and fishing attract visitors and there the village has a commercial centre with retail stores, restaurants and public houses.[6]

Leather[edit]

From the 18th century, the waulking mill was used in the production of leather with the Burngill Mill having been recorded in 1770. It was purchased by Andrew Muirhead in 1870 whose family had been in the leather industry in Glasgow for several generations. In 1905, Arthur Muirhead set up a further leather mill at the Laigh Mill (renamed the Clydesdale Works) and founded the Bridge of Weir Leather Company. Despite having several premises in the past, since the beginning of the 21st century, the company's business has been consolidated at the Lochar and Baltic Works.[7]

The leather works continue to serve as a large employer in the area and trade their goods across the world. Some notable customers include:

Governance[edit]

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.[9] The ward results in the most recent election are:

Bishopton, Bridge of Weir and Langbank Ward - (2017 Renfrewshire Council election)[10]
Party Candidate FPv% Count 1 Count 2 Count 3 Count 4
Conservative James MacLaren (incumbent) 45.47 2,552      
SNP Natalie Don 31.77 1,783      
Labour Colin McCulloch 15.96 896 1,212.69 1,289 1,407.35
Liberal Democrats Elliot Harrison 3.78 212 537.68 578.49 733.70
Scottish Green Ellen Höfer-Franz 3.03 170 230.72 406.93  
Electorate: TBC   Valid: 5,613   Spoilt: 44   Quota: 1,404   Turnout: 5,657 (55.1%)

Bridge of Weir also has one of Renfrewshire's twenty-seven community councils representing the village.[11]

Culture and community[edit]

The former Ranfurly Hotel (left) and the Clydesdale Bank building from Ranfurly-St Machar's Churchyard

Recreation[edit]

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. There was a thriving ice hockey team from around 1895 and in 1935 were Scottish National League Champions.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Comparative Population Profile: Bridge of Weir Locality". Scotland's Census Results Online. 2001-04-29. Archived from the original on 2011-05-19. Retrieved 2008-08-31.
  2. ^ "Archived Document". Archived from the original on 2009-09-16. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  3. ^ "Genuki: Houston, Renfrewshire". www.genuki.org.uk.
  4. ^ https://www.scottish-places.info/towns/townfirst374.html
  5. ^ W. Lyle, Bridge of Weir, ISBN 0-9503943-0-0, p.6-7
  6. ^ https://www.scottish-places.info/towns/townfirst374.html
  7. ^ http://rlhf.info/wp-content/uploads/16-Bridge-of-Weir-Leather-Muirhead-2014.pdf
  8. ^ Renfrewshire Community Website - Bridge of Weir Archived March 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Renfrewshire Community Website - Wards". Renfrewshire Council. Archived from the original on 2009-03-14. Retrieved 2009-06-14.
  10. ^ "Candidates declared for the Renfrewshire Council election". renfrewshire.gov.uk. Renfrewshire Council. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  11. ^ "Renfrewshire Community Website - Community Councils". Renfrewshire Council. Archived from the original on 2009-06-07. Retrieved 2009-06-14.

External links[edit]