Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Sma Shot Day


This weekend was the annual Sma Shot day in Paisley. Not the nicest day overall, which was a shame. This extract about what the day is about comes from the Renfrewshire Council website...

"One of the oldest workers' festivals in the world takes place in Paisley this weekend.The traditional Sma' Shot Day celebrates the historic victory of the weavers over the mill owners of 19th century Paisley.

The event, which takes place this Saturday (5 July), has developed into an annual celebration of arts and culture in Renfrewshire.The festival is the result of a political battle between the weavers of Paisley (who created the famous Paisley pattern cashmere shawls) and the mill-owners.The Sma' (small) Shot was a thread binding the shawls together. However, as it was unseen, the manufacturers, also known as the corks, refused to pay for the thread which the weavers had to buy.

The Charleston drum, which was beaten through the streets of Paisley to summon the weavers in times of trouble, was used to rally them in protest marches. After a long hard struggle, the manufacturers backed down and the weavers were paid for the Sma' Shot. The first Saturday in July was declared a public holiday by the weavers, who beat the drum and took part in the annual trip until 1975.

However, in 1986, local councillors and the people of Paisley revived the traditional event and the Charleston drum still rallies the people for a procession through the streets, led by an effigy of one of the mill owners known as The Cork.The burning of The Cork is the climax to the Sma' Shot Story as told by PACE Theatre Company.Provost Celia Lawson said: "Sma' Shot Day is a unique tradition and an important celebration of Paisley's cultural heritage."The parade will set off from Brodie Park at 11am and will weave its way through the streets to Abbey Close beside Paisley Town Hall.Once there, entertainment will include stalls, funfairs, the re-enactment of the Sma' Shot story, Loud 'n' Proud celebrating the Charleston Drum with a drumming extravaganza, and the burning of The Cork.Coinciding with Sma' Shot day this year is the Danny Kyle Memorial Concert, being held in Paisley Town Hall at 7.30pm.The concert commemorates 10 years since the death of one of Scotland's most famous folk musicians, and a number of acts are paying tribute."

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