In 1794 David Dale, the Scottish philanthropist, founded a church in Abbey Close, Paisley, locally known as Dale’s Kirk. Its members were known as the Abbey Close Independents. In 1795, seven or eight Baptists from this group formed themselves into a separate body, meeting in each other’s houses until they had a meeting place of their own, also in Abbey Close. In the spring of 1798 the Baptist Church here mentioned, having found their premises too small, agreed to build a new place of worship on ground in Storie Street, Paisley. By December of that same year the new church had been erected. Thomas Coats became a member of this church in which he served for upwards of 44 years. Thomas Coats died on 15th October 1883.
On 28th January 1885 Dr Oliver Flett, minister of the Storie Street church, intimated to his congregation that the family of the late Thomas Coats had resolved to build a church in his memory. The church was to be used to the very best advantage to make it “a living memorial to his name, so revered by all”.
On Sunday 13th May 1894 Mrs Coats arrived at the door of the East Transept of the newly constructed church and with a golden master-key unlocked the door. She and her family were conducted by the architect of the building, Hippolyte J Blanc, to the West Transept where seats were reserved for them. Following behind the family group, came members from the church in Storie Street.
For 124 years the church was in continuous use as a place of public worship. On 28th January 2018, however, at the Half-Yearly Business Meeting the congregation agreed to give serious consideration to the prospect of closure resulting from a combination of declining financial resources and a dwindling membership. At a special meeting on 25 February 2018 it was decided that the church would close with the final service being held on Sunday 26 August 2018. Prior to the final service a special Thanksgiving service was held on Sunday 12thAugust 2018. A memorable and happy day. The service was conducted by the minister, the Reverend Theo L Corney while the praise was led by a choir in good voice ably supported by a congregation of around 300 including invited guests and friends of the church.
Historic Environment Scotland– a national body responsible for the protection of many aspects of Scotland’s national heritage – afforded a Grade A status to the Memorial Building which signifies the highest level of recognition of its significance. The grading covers not just the magnificent structure but also the internal contents of the building in which there is craftsmanship of the highest order.
The congregation has disbanded and the onerous task of finding a secure future for the Memorial Building rests with its four trustees – all former members of the congregation – who own the building. The trustees favoured option is to see the church converted into a multi purpose venue that can be used and enjoyed by people from Paisley and beyond.