Methodism may have been introduced by English workmen building the canal in 1807. A large chapel was erected in George Street in 1810, but in the Warrenite agitations of 1834 half the members seceded, eventually calling themselves the Congregational Methodists. They returned to George Street when the resulting financial problems forced the WM congregation to move to a smaller property in New Sneddon Street, but in 1851 George Street was bought by the Swedenborgians. The WM society died out by 1862, but the PMs had been active since 1828 under the inspiration of James Johnson of Carlisle. After renting various premises including the Philosophical Hall in Abbey Close, in 1874 they bought a property in Canal Street, replaced in 1884 by one in St James Street, where they remained until amalgamating with the Central Mission in 1960. The WMA also had a cause until the late 1850s.

WM was reactivated in 1896, but made little progress until 1904, when the Rev. W.H. Rolls and the evangelist Josiah Nix made a strong impact, notably on John Slack, a notorious gambler and drunkard. After his conversion he worked with Rolls to establish the Paisley Central Mission (1908), which from the first has accommodated community groups, including the Suffragettes, whose local leaders were members of the church. The Mission survived the adverse effects of large-scale emigration to Canada and the USA c.1910 and through close association with the Good Templars was involved in thetemperance movement. The Mission premises were modernized in 1966.

  • George Sails, At the Centre: the story of Methodism's Central Missions (1970), p.84
  • A. Leitch, Paisley Central Hall, a History [1983]