An artist who paints views of Neilston from bygone times says he loves taking people down memory lane with his work.

Tom Boyle, who has lived in West Sussex for the past 35 years, has created almost 50 depictions of the village where he was raised and lived until his job with a major airline took him and his family down south.

He used to do pen and ink watercolours, but his work now mostly consists of pure watercolours. He depicts setting such as Neilston Bowling Green in the 1950s and Main Street in the 1950s and 1960s.

Barrhead News: The old St Thomas’ PrimaryThe old St Thomas’ Primary

The paintings, which recreate scenes in old photographs, have been enjoyed online by residents of the village.

The 71-year-old has even sold quite a few works abroad to those who hail from Neilston but have emigrated. 

“I do a bit of research on the picture and then get the dates and do some sketches and then just try and bring it back to life,” explained Tom. 

“I’ve had good feedback from a lot of people in Neilston who say ‘oh I remember the village when it was like this’. 

Barrhead News: Main Street, 1960sMain Street, 1960s

“When they see a picture like one of the ones of Kirkton Dam, they start to reminisce like ‘oh I remember when I went up there for a picnic with my mum’ and it really brings back memories for a lot of people.

“I think the reason for selling abroad is that a lot of people from Neilston have emigrated to Canada and Australia, so that’s the kind of places I have been selling art to.

“People are reminiscing about the old times and want to tell their grandchildren about what it was like in the ‘olden days’.”

Barrhead News: St Thomas ChurchSt Thomas Church

Recently, Tom has also been painting a rat discreetly into his paintings for people to find, to the delight of his online following.

“The latest ones all have a rat in it and it drives people wild,” he added. “It’s become a signature now and everyone looks for the rat.” 

Tom, whose father James was also a keen artist, hopes that at some point in the future he can hold an exhibition in Neilston to display his work.

Among the paintings likely to take pride of place are those of St Thomas’ Church and his old school St Thomas’ Primary and of the historic Crofthead Mill, where he worked for a year and a half before joining British Caledonian at their engineering base at Glasgow Airport.

Barrhead News: Tom’s sons and a friend at Killoch Glen in the 1970sTom’s sons and a friend at Killoch Glen in the 1970s

The painting he most enjoyed creating was completed during lockdown. It shows his two sons Kenneth and James and a friend at Killoch Glen and is based on a photograph Tom took in the 1970s.

“It brings me back to the time they were sitting there, catching baggie minnows and tadpoles and the water was coming down. You could just hear nature,” he explained. “I look at the picture and I’m straight back there.”

To find out more and see more of Tom's work visit