New Lanark, Scotland

New Lanark Mills, Scotland

New Lanark became a World Heritage site in 2001. New Lanark is at the eastern end of the Clyde Valley and is just outside the market town of Lanark. New Lanark was built around 1785 by the industrialist David Dale, who constructed a series of mills close to the River Clyde. The fast flowing river provided power for the mills. The village's cotton mills continued to operate for nearly two hundred years until they closed in 1968.

The village was then managed by Robert Owen, the son-in-law of David Dale, from 1800 to 1824. The village introduced new ideas to keep the workforce happy - childcare, education, healthcare and cooperative shopping. He built schools, good housing and the world's first co-operative food store.

The UNESCO inscription states "When Richard Arkwright’s new factory system for textile production was brought to New Lanark the need to provide housing and other facilities to the workers and managers was recognized. It was there that Robert Owen created a model for industrial communities that was to spread across the world in the 19th and 20th centuries. New Lanark saw the construction not only of well designed and equipped workers’ housing but also public buildings designed to improve their spiritual as well as their physical needs.The name of New Lanark is synonymous with that of Robert Owen and his social philosophy in matters such as progressive education, factory reform, humane working practices, international cooperation, and garden cities, which was to have a profound influence on social developments throughout the 19th century and beyond"

David Dale was a self-made entrepreneur from Glasgow who had an estate at Rosebank, Cambuslang, not far from the Falls of Clyde (waterfalls). He constructed a dam above New Lanark and water was drawn off the river to power the mill machinery. Dale sold the mills, lands and village in 1800 to a partnership that included Dale's son-in-law Robert Owen.

Some 2,500 people lived at New Lanark, and Owen found the workers living conditions unsatisfactory and resolved to improve them. He opened the first infants' school in Britain in 1816. Although the mills were very profitable, Owen's partners were unhappy about paying the cost of his welfare programmes. Owen bought out his partners in order to be able to continue with the reforms.

In 1825, The Walker family bought New Lanark. The Walkers managed the village until 1881, when it was sold to Birkmyre and Sommerville. They remained in control of the village until the mills closed in 1968.

When the mills closed the inhabitants drifted away from the village, and the buildings began to deteriorate. In 1975 the New Lanark Conservation Trust was founded to prevent demolition of the village. Most of the buildings have now been restored and the village has become a major tourist attraction. In addition around 250 peopel live in the village. The buildings in New Lanark are listed in Wikipedia:-

New Lanark School

New Lanark World Heritage Site

New Lanark arial view

New Lanark Mill Hotel


World Heritage Sites in Britain