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Spain’s Borgonya celebrates Scottish links

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The local football team still emulate the St Mirren kit
Credit: CD Borgonya


Whilst it is generally known that the Scots have influenced the world, it is something of a surprise to discover St Andrew’s flag flying in a Spanish town.


Although it’s not the only municipality to honour its Scottish links (as Teba has its own Douglas Days Celebration), the village of Borgonya in the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees goes a step further.


Paisley moves to the Pyrenees

In 1893, J P Coats which was based in Paisley, Scotland decided to create a new factory in this quaint little village to weave the Paisley cloth that it had become famous for.


Interestingly, although Paisley cloth is forever linked with the town in Scotland, the design was first seen in Persia and cloth was imported in large volume from India in the 17th and 18th century until savvy manufacturers in Paisley decided to make their own.


Turning back to Borgonya, employees from Coats travelled to the village to train the locals and their influence saw the building of terraced houses with back gardens as seen in Scotland as well as creation of new streets with such names as Carrer Paisley, Coats and Escòcia.


A view of Borgonya, note the former factory and terraced houses
Credit: Josep Maria Viñolas Esteva CC
Links with St Mirren Football Club

The factory continued to grow and expand and lasted more than 100 years before finally closing in 1999 but the Scottish influence still remains today, none more obvious than the local football club, CD Borgonya whose team plays in the same black and white stripes as Paisley based St Mirren and even has a saltire (blue flag with white cross) on the shirt.


When the local football stadium was damaged in a storm not so long ago, a St Mirren fan on holiday in the area set up a crowdfunding page and raised £1,600 to help with the restoration efforts.


Although still a small village with a population of less than 400, Borgonya is proud of its Scottish links and its parent municipality Sant Vicenç de Torello hopes that one day it will be able to create a museum covering the 100 years of Scottish influence.


In the meantime, it’s a nice place to visit with great views and places to eat and drink.


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Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica.
Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene.
Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development.
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