The Museum is open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 1030am till 4pm.
Come on in and have a wee look round. Click the image to start the tour.
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.
Cockatoo Island Dockyard in Sydney. Large Thomas Shanks machines. Photographs courtesy of Mori Flapan of Sydney Australia.
For more Thomas Shanks Machine Tools at Cockatoo click on link Thomas Shanks
The Cockatoo Island Dockyard was a major dockyard in Sydney, Australia, based on Cockatoo Island. The Dockyard was established in 1857to maintain Royal Navy warships. It later built and repaired military and battle ships, and played a key role in sustaining the Royal Australian Navy. The Dockyard was closed in 1991, and its remnants are heritage listed as the Cockatoo Island Industrial Conservation Area. Credit Wikipedia.
Recently we received an enquiry from Chile about a Machine Tool made in Johnstone by Thomas Shanks & Sons. The enquiry to our web site was from a man in Chile who communicated in Spanish. Luckily our web sponsor, Rees Clark, is fluent in Spanish, so was able to communicate with our contact. More of the story to follow once Rees fills in this... Continues...
Recently we received an enquiry from Chile about a Machine Tool made in Johnstone by Thomas Shanks & Sons. The enquiry to our web site was from a man in Chile who communicated in Spanish. Luckily our web sponsor, Rees Clark, is fluent in Spanish, so was able to communicate with our contact. More of the story to follow once Rees fills in this section of the story.
For more Thomas Shanks Machine Tools go to Thomas Shanks
Recently we have been amazed to find evidence of how Johnstone Machine Tools reached right round the world.
This first story starts when John McFarlane, a visitor to the Museum, told us about his father's uncle, Tom McFarlane, who had worked in Loudon Bros Machine Tool Company in Johnstone. He added that Tom had not only worked in Loudon's but had been in charge of a small team who travelled to Russia to install a huge planing machine in a Russian Machine shop. John subsequently brought us in a photograph of this event. The Machine was a Planing Machine and one of the largest machine tools made by Loudons.
Johnstone Band had a piece of music specially commissioned to perform at the recent Kapitol Cory Online Brass Band Championships. The piece, Black Cart Water by Nicholas Olsen, celebrates Johnstone’s industrial past with the thread and cotton mills that were powered by the Black Cart Water. We hope you enjoy our performance.
Thanks to Mark Good for his work on the video, to Ryan Bradley for the audio, to Kukscinema Scotland for drone footage and to Iain Murray of Johnstone History Museum for his assistance.