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Old Glasgow Pubs by john gorevan


The Bull Inn.

New Street, Paisley.

The Bull Inn Paisley

The Bull Inn.

In 1970... There can be few pubs where the licence has stayed in the family for almost a century- and where the oldest customer actually helped to build his local back in 1899.

This is the case, however, at the Bull Inn, New Street, Paisley, where Mrs Jean Black- who was born on the premises, in the top flat of the tenement above the pub. Mrs Black started a collection of old paintings, prints and photographs which decorated the walls of the main room in the pub.

Her collection originated from three postcards she bought as a child, one showed the death cell in Paisley's now demolished jail, another the Meikleriggs bus, and the third was the Silver Bells trophy from the local races, also extinct.

Interior view of the Bull Inn

Interior view of the Bull Inn.

The enlargement of the Silver Bells card was so clear that interested race fans could read the names of the winners from 1896 to 1908.

Mrs Black got most of her pictures from Mr Brown, a photographer in Gilmour Street, and one or two from customers.

Mrs Black took over the licence when her sister died in 1965. From her seat behind the counter, Mrs Black faced her own favourite, a photograph of New Street in the 1800s, which must contain a lifespan of memories for the soft-spoken widow, (her husband, a master joiner, died in 1947.)

In that photograph the oldest customer, Tommy Glover, in his late 80s, was able to identify all the buildings and their occupants. "That was a Specer who worked there; ye ken, an umbrella-maker. And that building there is "The Bull", of course, and that was the butcher's shop."

Another picture in the bar was a painting of dozens of local worthies gathered at Paisley Cross in 1868 which carried a keyed list of the names of those worthies. The painting, done by James Christie in 1875, was presented to the town by Sir Peter Coats, of the thread family.

Interior of the Bull Inn

Some of the pictures in the Bull Inn.

Two paintings of earlier Bull Inns were pointed out by manager Tommy Gannon, as well as a punning contribution to the collection from Mrs Black's father, Charles Stevenson, of a print of the political cartoon character John Bull.

Mrs Black's uncle, William Climie, an earlier licensee, was of farming stock, and the displayed relic of his long term in the bar was a show medal he won for his prize Clydesdale horse Royal Charlie.

But the illustration which dominated the wall of pictures of old Paisley was the huge nameplate mural by a local artist of a highland bull.

Bull Inn with swinging sign

The Bull Inn with swinging sign.


In the NEWS 1978...

The Bull Inn 1978

Exterior view of the Bull Inn 1978.

No Drinks At Pub With No Boss...

Paisley's most famous pub, The Bull Inn, has had to close its doors, because the manager who help the licence has been sacked.

Now the pub, which has been in existence in the town's New Street since the last century, is threatened with an expensive closure until the next licensing court in June.

The shock closedown follows the sacking two weeks ago of manager and licensee 54 year old David Elder, of Linwood.

The Bull's owner, Mrs Mattie "Bunty" Scatlock, said Mr Elder, who has been manager since last year, was "unsuitable."

Mr Elder says he allowed Mrs Scatlock eight days to reconsider the position before he surrendered his licence to Renfrew District Licensing Court.


Without a Licence, the Pub had to close, and, according to the Licensing board, only Mr Elder's licence can be reissued before the next board sitting.

A new application will not be considered until that time. Mr Elder said, "I was very sorry to have to do this. I didn't want to close the shop, it's one of the best in Paisley. "But I was forced into it to keep within the law. I must be designated as an employee to hold the licence."

Mrs Scatlock, whose pub was one of the last all-male strongholds before the Sex Discrimination Act, said today, "I am completely shattered."


"The fact that the manager was the licensee has left us with this problem. There is no question of taking him back on. It's a question of getting a new licence.

"I certainly have no intention of leaving the place shut. Our solicitors are investigating the situation."

The licensing board say the only way the pub can be reopened is for Mr Elder's licence to be taken up again. A spokesman said, "The licence has been returned by the licensee; If he came back for it he would be given it. "We cannot say any more because, obviously, the present situation could be reversed."


Mr Elder said today, "I was sacked on the spot for inefficiency after six years of employment, full and part time. Even if she offered me reinstatement I would refuse on principle."

But he added, "If she said "Take the licence back over and we will come to an amicable agreement" with me employed in some way I would probably give a lot of thought to it.

"I don't like to think of the shop being closed."


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