"Barrhead (Gael. barr, ` point or upper part, ' with its English rendering, head, suffixed), a large but straggling manufacturing village, chiefly in the N of Neilston parish, but stretching also into that of Abbey. Standing on Levern Water to the W of Ferneze Hill (585 feet), it is 3½ miles SSE of Paisley by road, and has a station on a joint section of the Caledonian and Glasgow & South-Western railways, 8 ¾ miles SW of Glasgow, and 14¾ NNE of Kilmarnock.
It was founded about 1773, and its growth has been rapid, its one main street, about half a mile long, being now connected with the populous suburbs of Grahamston, Arthurlie, Newton, etc., whilst its present industries comprise the printing of shawls and calicoes, cotton-spinning, dyeing, bleaching, iron and brass founding, and machine-making. Barrhead has a post office under Glasgow, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, branches of the Bank of Scotland and the Union Bank, 13 insurance agencies, an hotel, a public hall, a mechanic's institute with a good library, a gas company, an agricultural society, and a Saturday paper, the Renfrewshire Independent (1856). Justice of Peace courts sit on the first Monday of every month; and a fair is held on the last Friday and Saturday of June. In the presbytery of Paisley and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, a quoad sacra parish of Barrhead, all on the right bank of the Levern, was formed in 1869, with stipend of £120; there are 5 places of worship-Established, Free, U.P., Evangelical Union, and Roman Catholic,-of which none but the U.P. church (1796) is older than 1837. Barrhead public and Roman Catholic schools, and Cross Arthurlie public school, with respective accommodation for 505, 258, and 455 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 343, 156, and 342, and grants of £329,14s. 6d., £110, and £286,2s. Pop. of town (1841) 3492, (1851) 6069, (1861) 6018, (1871) 6209, (1881) 7495, (1891) 8215; of quoad sacra parish (1891) 7359. - Ord. Sur., sh. 30, 1866."
From Frances Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland 1882-4.