Crowds at Paisley Cross, c.1910. Copyright Renfrewshire Libraries.
Crowds at Paisley Cross, c.1910

On 10 August 1914, the Paisley Daily Express reported on the weekend in Paisley.

Rain fell throughout the entire day and with the licenced premises in our midst closed, the streets presented a very quiet appearance and even when the public houses did re-open in the evening it was not at all apparent that much more than average business was done.

The outlying districts had each a share of Paisley patronage in the course of the afternoon. The fact of the 4th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders leaving Canal Street Station in the evening drew large crowds to Glasgow Road and Causeyside and regardless of the falling rain they watched with interest Paisley's first contribution to the present crisis.

Notwithstanding the martial ardour and strong patriotic feeling which prevailed, there was a note of sadness in the departure of the troops. They were going forth - to what? The God of our fathers only knows. Yet the people behaved as only Scotsmen can in times of stress and trial. A few displays of bunting greeted the eyes of the khaki-clad warriors as they marched along the route; snatches of "Will ye no come back again" supplied a sense of full appreciation of the hour, whilst subdued but whole-hearted cheers brought home to all a full realisation of the terrible tragedy which is being enacted before a wonder-struck world. Throughout it all was a restless spirit and in the evening from a double cause, the shows at the Clayholes felt a distinct falling off in patronage.

Prior to the departure of the battalion, Provost Robertson addressed the men in the Barracks Square, and on behalf of the townspeople wished them God speed.

Yesterday was as fine as its predecessor was miserable, and the public were attracted by an inspection of the Territorials at the Racecourse. In the afternoon, huge crowds concentrated in the vicinity of the Abbey at which a special service, conducted by the Reverend A M MacLean was being held for the 6th A & S H Territorials, Red Cross detachments and a detachment of Reserves.

All present preserved perfect order, and the battalion dismissed at the Drill Hall without demonstration of any sort. Racecourse Sunday was shorn of its significance and all over the town the feeling was one of thoughful watchfulness.