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South Lanarkshire
New Lanark


Population c.185 - taken from New Lanark website

New Lanark, to the south-east of Lanark, has been a World Heritage Site since 2001. It lies on a particularly attractive section of the Clyde Walkway just down river from the spectacular Falls of Clyde.

The village includes an award-winning visitor centre and hotel. Highlights include a magical and futuristic ride called the Millennium Experience, the Interactive Gallery and Annie McLeod's Story, where the ghost of a mill girl tells the story of life in New Lanark in 1820.

You can find out more about how the villagers lived and worked by visiting the village store, a millworkers house and mill owner and social pioneer Robert Owen's house. Events are also staged throughout the year in the visitor centre and the New Lanark Mill Hotel.

The resident population is around 185. In addition to the 45 properties that can be rented from New Lanark Homes, a subsidiary company of New Lanark Trust, there are 20 houses which are privately owned.

For more information please go to the New Lanark website (this link will open in a new window).

History

This 18th century cotton mill village has been beautifully restored as a lasting monument to mill owner and social pioneer Robert Owen who bought the mill from his father-in-law David Dale.

Philanthropist and industrialist David Dale started workers' welfare reforms at his New Lanark cotton mills after entering into a brief partnership with Richard Arkwright, the inventor of the "spinning frame" machine. They built the New Lanark Mills on the banks of the Clyde, which opened in 1786. After the partnership broke up Dale continued alone and expanded his factory to such an extent that in the early 1790s it had become the largest water-powered spinning mills in Britain, with more than 1300 employees..

Dale (who eventually became one of Glasgow Royal Infirmary's first directors in 1795) had first hand knowledge from his industrial background of the ill health and disease common among the poor. He focused his concerns on how to improve the lives of his workers and undertook to provide them with decent housing, schooling and medical care, something other employers had never done before. His employees, by 18th century standards, were treated very well, working from 6am to 7pm after which the youngsters attended school for two hours. Day-time classes were even set up for children who were too young to work, a first for any factory.

News of what he was trying to achieve spread and attracted people from all over Europe, Russia and America to visit Dale's model industrial village with its large mills, innovative production techniques and forward-looking attitude to its workforce.

In 1799 Dale sold out to his son-in-law, Welshman Robert Owen, who went on to introduce radical ideas including the novel concept that you can get better work out of your employees if they are happy, prosperous and educated.

The cotton mills were operational until 1968 but by then New Lanark was in decline with many buildings under threat of demolition.

However, in 1974 the New Lanark Conservation Trust was established to conserve and restore many of the historic buildings. Today it is a living and working community attracting around 400,000 visitors annually.


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