Johnstone History Museum is in Johnstone, Scotland. It contains local industrial and social artefacts and memorabilia. For opening times and directions follow the Schedule and Direction buttons on this page. [Overview]
The origin of Johnstone can be traced precisely to the 23rd February 1782, when George Houstoun, the Laird of the Lands of Johnstone, sold the first tracts of land feus from his estate. Using the power from the River Black Cart the town's cotton and flax spinning industry rapidly expanded until over 20 mills were in operation. The cotton mills gave rise to a need for engineering skills to maintain the water wheel machinery and the spinning machines. These were boom times for the spinning industry in Johnstone. But this was not going to last.
As a result of the cotton famine caused by the American Civil War and the advent of steam power, by 1850, cotton spinning began to decline. But as the mills closed all was not lost for the people of Johnstone. The engineering businesses, built on cotton, survived the decline, and they then prospered in their own right. New firms were created that manufactured machine-tools of all kinds (see the photographs in our Gallery). Foundries were built to support the engineering works and there was a demand for the heavy machine tools for the construction of the iron ships being built on the Clyde. By the 1900s Johnstone designed and built machines were in demand all over the world. This was the second Industrial Revolution for the town of Johnstone.
The Museum exhibits trace the History of the Town from its inception though the rise and fall of the Textile industry and on to the various Engineering business. Some Engineering businesses survive in the Town to this day.
The Museum is open to the public on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10.30 a.m. till 4 p.m. The Museum can also be opened to accommodate school and local interest groups at other times by arrangement. Our Museum is manned on a voluntary basis by members of Johnstone History Society. Volunteers are welcome. Our website, of course, never closes.
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