• A UNESCO World Heritage Site

    Explore the facinating history of New Lanark

  • Introducing Robert Owen
Date
Date: 1771 - 1858
Title
Robert Owen

It was under the enlightened management of Robert Owen that New Lanark became famous.

Robert Owen married David Dale’s daughter, Caroline Dale, in 1799 and in the same year formed a partnership to buy her father's mills at New Lanark. Robert and Caroline set up home in New Lanark and went on to have seven children. Owen remains to this day the name most commonly associated with the site. Although Owen's period of ownership lasted only 10 years longer than that of his father-in-law, David Dale, Owen instituted a wide range of workplace, social, and educational reforms that led to the idea of New Lanark as an 'ideal' community and of Owen himself as a Socialist. Owen described his work at New Lanark as “the most important experiment for the happiness of the human race that has yet been instituted in any part of the world”.

Early Life & Background

Early Life & Background

Robert Owen was born on 14th May 1771 in Newtown, Wales to Robert, a saddler, and his wife Anne. Robert was a bright child who read extensively and was apprenticed for 3 years to Mr. McGuffog, a Scots draper in Stamford, Lincolnshire. From there, he moved to a busy London drapers, then to a wholesale drapery in Manchester where he remained until he was 18. These posts gave him excellent experience in book-keeping and the wholesale and retail trades. In Manchester, Owen formed his first business partnership with a mechanic named Ernest Jones to produce spinning mules. The business lasted only a few months and with his share, Owen embarked on a yarn spinning business with two other Scots and was soon making a profit of around £6 per week, highlighting his keen business acumen.

After a year or so, Owen applied for, and was appointed to the role of manager at Drinkwater's Bank Top Mill in Manchester, where, yet to reach his twentieth birthday, he found himself in charge of 500 workers and responsible for the whole concern, from buying raw cotton to its manufacture into yarn. It was at Drinkwater's that Owen not only honed his business knowledge, but also became interested in improving working conditions and other wider philosophical matters. Following his time at Drinkwater's, Owen formed the Chorlton Twist Company with new partners, and represented the partnership on business trips to Glasgow. It was on one such trip that he met Caroline Dale, and was invited by her to view her father's cotton spinning enterprise at New Lanark.

Family Life

Family Life

Robert Owen married Caroline Dale in 1799 and in the same year formed a partnership to buy her father's mills at New Lanark. Robert and Caroline set up home in New Lanark on the 1st January 1800 and went on to have seven children: Robert Dale (1801), William (1802), Anne Caroline (1805), Jane Dale (1805), David Dale (1807), Richard Dale (1809), and Mary (1810). The family spent many happy years at New Lanark where Owen believed in play, fresh air and sport, and where they were joined by their grandfather David Dale for holidays. In 1808 Owen leased the much larger Braxfield House on the outskirts of the village. Owen and Caroline had a happy marriage and the children were encouraged to become involved with the life of the community.

Owen at New Lanark

Owen at New Lanark

Owen believed that New Lanark was the perfect place to build on the reforms he had begun to implement in Manchester- an isolated community far away from the temptations of the city. He instituted a range of radical reforms aimed at improving the efficiency of the business and the moral fibre of its inhabitants, paying for these reforms from the substantial profits of the cotton-spinning business- an early form of social enterprise. Owen described his work at New Lanark as “the most important experiment for the happiness of the human race that has yet been instituted in any part of the world”.

Mill Management

Mill Management

The first period of Owen’s management of the New Lanark Cotton Mills was characterised by his efforts to expand the business and make it more efficient. He introduced such initiatives as report books and product books to record daily production as well as new reporting systems and stock control. A much stricter regime than under previous managers meant that employees could be dismissed for theft, fraud, absenteeism and persistent drunkenness. But although he was strict, Owen was also fair and established an unusual form of discipline known as the Silent Monitor- a daily grading system on behaviour and effort. White was excellent, yellow was good, blue just about acceptable and black- well as they say, ‘your jacket was on a shoogly peg’!

Most importantly, Owen reduced the length of the working day to 10.5 hours and abolished the practice of employing orphans in the mills, supporting this through the provision of world’s first nursery. Owen also added to the physical fabric of the complex with a new Mechanics’ Workshop, an Iron Foundry and a series of low-rise buildings on the river bank, called the Waterhouses, all built to help increase efficiency and production, hence increasing profits to be used in his reforms.

Social Reform

Social Reform

In addition to workplace reforms, Owen also aimed to improve the living conditions of his workers and promote a sense of community responsibility that made the village a happy and peaceful place to live. He implemented a series of strict rules for residents to abide by, including: ‘That all be temperate in the use of liquors’ ‘That parents be answerable for the conduct of their children, and householders for their lodgers ‘That every inhabitant, whether man, woman or child, above the age of ten, capable of working, be actively engaged in some legal and useful employment.’

Neighbourhoods were organised into 12 divisions, each with an elected spokesperson who formed a community council that met with Owen to discuss village affairs and adjudicate disputes. They also inspected households for cleanliness and became known as the ‘bug hunters’! Owen employed village doctor and operated a sickness fund, to which each worker contributed one sixteenth of their wages and from which they could draw payments if unable to work through illness. He believed that health could generally be improved by a clean living environment and fresh air and provided residents with allotments to grow their own fruit and vegetables as well as planting woodlands and laying out paths on the hillside above the village, to be enjoyed by the villagers.

Educational Reform

Educational Reform

The centrepieces of Owen’s experiment at New Lanark were his “Institute for the Formation of Character” finished in 1816, along with its companion building, the “School for Children”, finished a year later. Owen believed that every person had a right to an education and recreation and these buildings were used for this purpose. Under Owen's management, children who would previously have worked in the mill were sent to school and received structured full-time education. No child under 10 was allowed to work in the Mills. As soon as village children could walk, they were taken into the nursery, where they were looked after by two young village girls. This meant their mothers could go back to work and the process effectively formed the world’s first workplace nursery. From Owen’s point of view, the earlier children were removed from the influence of their parents, who had not had the benefit of his ‘rational system of education’, the better! From age 3 to 6, children attended the infant school where they were taught to share and be kind to each other. Then aged 7, they attended junior school where, in addition to banning corporal punishment, Owen expected lessons and the teaching environment to be interesting and stimulating. Music and dancing played an important role in the curriculum which was also extremely varied and included nature study, history, geography and art, as well as reading writing and arithmetic. Owen even devised a uniform for the children- a toga like garment made of white cotton that was light and comfortable for the children to wear and well suited to dancing and physical activity.

Many visitors came to New Lanark to observe the classes, as can be seen in this well-known picture of a dancing class by R Scott. It, possibly more than any other images, highlights the difference between New Lanark and the 'dark satanic mills' of Manchester and elsewhere. Starting work in the mills did not mean the end of education. Owen encouraged parents to leave children in school until age 12 but continued to provide evening classes for older children and adults, with the shortened working day making it possible for people to attend these. The Institute for the Formation of character acted as a library and social community centre for the village and balls, lectures, a weekly concert and religious services where all held in the building. The use of the Institute and School as social and educational centres continued with subsequent owners right up until the mills closed in 1968.

The Co-Operative Movement

The Co-Operative Movement

Another significant development made by Owen was the establishment of a village store around 1813. This was run for the benefit of the community and was regarded as an inspiration for the Co-op movement which was subsequently founded by the Rochdale Pioneers. In David Dale’s time, there were traders in the village but many of them sold poor quality goods at high prices. The goods sold in Owen’s village store were good quality, fresh and affordable and workers could be paid in tokens or tickets which they would use at the store, encouraging the villagers to shop locally. As a result, the store was successful and profits helped to fund what was for Owen the most important reform –education. For over 100 years the shop was owned and run by the mill company until 1933 when it was leased to the Lanark Provident Coop Society.

Publicity

Publicity
Never one to shy away from publicity, Owen commissioned a local artist called John Winning to produce a series of illustrations of New Lanark, and these were used as export labels, pasted on to each package of cotton yarn. By this time New Lanark had become one of the largest cotton manufacturing centres in the country with an international reputation. By 1813 the value of the mills had risen to £114, 000 (from £60,000 in 1799) and enough cotton was produced in a week to go around the world 2.5 times.

The American Experiment

The American Experiment
Despite the profitability of the Mills, and for many debated reasons, by the 1820s Owen felt that it was time to move on from New Lanark. He decided to pursue his utopian ideas elsewhere and perhaps in a more conducive environment and set sail for New Harmony, Indiana, where he planned to build a truly utopian settlement. The experiment ran into trouble, being high on intellect with the so called ‘boatload of knowledge’ of eminent thinkers, but low on practical skills. Although it did not succeed in the same way as New Lanark, New Harmony did not disintegrate completely. Some of its most brilliant settlers remained and it boasted many American firsts, including the first free public school system and first free library, still in the town today. Many of Owen's family moved to and settled in the states while he himself returned to Britain and again took up campaigning for a better and fairer society.

Later Life, Death & Legacy

Later Life, Death & Legacy

Back in Britain, Owen became, for a time, a recognised leader of the working class movement. He helped to set up the Grand National Consolidated Trades Union and in 1832, established the National Equitable Labour Exchange in London. Aged 64, Owen founded the Association of All Classes of All Nations. This was later known as the Universal Community Society of Rational Religionists or, more briefly, The Rational Society. By 1840 it had around 50,000 members and it's weekly newspaper, the New Moral world, ran for over ten years with circulation peaking at 40,000. Owen also became involved with various attempts to establish model communities.

Although he was opposed to organised religion, in his last years, Owen converted to spiritualism. He continued to write and make speeches but was not taken particularly seriously. Owen died on 17th November 1858 in Newtown, Wales, where he was born.

You can find out more about Robert Owen from the following sources: The Story of Robert Owen, New Lanark Trust Ian Donnachie, Robert Owen Social Visionary (John Donald, 2005) Noel Thompson & Chris williams (Eds), Robert Owen and his Legacy (University of Wales Press, 2011) Robert Owen, A New View of Society and Other Writings (Penguin Classics, 1991) www.robert-owen-museum.org.uk

1739 - 1806

David Dale

The founders of New Lanark were David Dale, a Glasgow banker and entrepreneur, and Richard Arkwright, the inventor and pioneer of industrial cotton spinning. Their partnership dissolved after only a...

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  • 1700

    Artistic Inspiration

    Many of the greatest artists, writers and poets of the Scottish Enlightenment visit the Falls of the Clyde.

  • 1771

    Jacob More

    The Falls of Clyde series is painted by Jacob More.

  • 1784

    Industrial Inspiration

    David Dale, a Glasgow businessman and entrepreneur, and Richard Arkwright, the inventor of the water-powered spinning frame, visit a site near the Falls of the Clyde with a view to building cotton spinning mills.

  • 1785

    New Lanark Founded

    A new cotton-spinning village is founded by Dale and Arkwright just downstream of the Falls of Clyde. As historic Royal Burgh at the top of the hill is called Lanark, Dale and Arkwright decide to call their site 'New Lanark'.

  • 1785-1795

    Braxfield Row

    Braxfield Row, the first row of housing met with on the road into the village, was constructed somewhere between 1785 and 1795. In a 1903 insurance valuation, it had 18 houses of two apartments, 18 of one apartment and wash-houses in the basement.

  • 1786

    Going Solo

    After several business disagreements, Dale and Arkwright dissolve their partnership, leaving Dale as sole owner of the mills.

  • 1786

    Mill 1

    Mill 1, completed at the end of 1785, begins production. Three waterwheels drive 4500 spindles in 1793 and 6556 in 1802.

  • 1788

    Mill 2

    Mill 2 is completed in an identical style to Mill 1. It has 3 water wheels driving 6000 spindles. In the same year, Mill 1 burns down, only to be rebuilt on the same footprint the following year.

  • 1790

    Mantilla Row

    Mantilla Row is constructed c.1790. In 1903 it has one three-apartment house, three two-apartment houses and one one-apartment house, making it the smallest tenememt row in New Lanark.

  • 1790

    Managers Housing

    Two detatched houses (now known as 'David Dale's House and Robert Owen's House) are constructed, one as a secondary residence for David Dale and one for his Manager William Kelly.

  • 1791

    The Fortune

    Emigrant ship 'The Fortune' en-route to America from Skye, is forced into Greenock by storms. David Dale offers employment and accommodation to the passengers.

  • 1792

    Mill 3

    Mill 3 is completed and acts as the 'Jeanie house' for both common and lightly powered self-acting spinning jennies to William Kelly's patent.

  • 1792

    Caithness Row

    Built c.1792, Caithness Row is named after the origin of some of the Highlanders attracted to the village. In 1903 it contains five two-apartment houses and 20 one-apartment houses with wash-houses in the basement.

  • 1792

    Long Row

    Constructed c.1792, Long Row is, unsurprisingly, the longest of the tenement rows in New Lanark. In 1903 it has one three-apartment house, eight two-apartment houses and 20 one-apartment houses with wash-houses in the basement.

  • 1793

    Mill 4

    Mill 4 is completed and first used as a storeroom, workshop and boarding house for 275 children 'who have no parents'. After 1813 it was fitted up as a mule-spinning mill.

  • 1798-1810

    New Buildings

    The large tenement row called New Buildings is constructed over 12 years to replace earlier single-storey cottages on the site. In 1903 it contains a surgery, lavatory and doctor's house in addition to 18 two-apartment houses, four one-apartment houses and halls on the upper floors for Sunday Schools and Gaelic church services.

  • 1798

    Robert Owen

    Robert Owen, a young Manchester-based Mill Manager, visits New Lanark for the first time.

  • 1799

    Robert Scott

    The earliest illustrations of New Lanark are made by the artist Robert Scott.

  • 1799

    Marriage & Partnership

    Caroline Dale, the eldest daughter of David Dale, and Robert Owen are married. Robert Owen forms a partnership with John Barton of Manchester and John Atkinson of London and purchases the New Lanark Mills from his new father-in-law David Dale for £60,000.

  • 1800

    The Great Experiment

    Robert Owen assumes management of New Lanark on the first day of the New Year and begins his 'Great Experiment' of social, moral, educational and workplace reforms. His partners and workers are at first unsure of his reform.

  • 1806

    A Turning Point

    Owen continues to pay his workers despite no production taking place due to an American embargo on the export of raw cotton.This proves a turning point in attitudes towards Owen and his reforms.

  • 1806

    Mechanic's Workshop & Dyeworks

    The Mechanic's Workshop and Dyeworks (originally the brass and iron foundry) are added to the village by Robert Owen. These buildings mean New Lanark is near self-suffiient in making its own mchinery, millwright work and structural castings.

  • 1809

    Nursery Buildings

    Nursery Buildings, with its rear turnpike stair projections to allow for dormitories, is constructed to house New Lanark's 'pauper apprentices' then adapted to family dwellings shortly afterwards. In 1903 it contains one three-apartment house, seven two-apartment houses, one one-apartment house and washouses in the basement.

  • 1809-1810

    Waterhouses

    A series of 2-storey buildings stradling the tailrace are constructed to be used as a raw and waste cotton stores and picking houses. They stretch from Mill 1 along to Mill 4 but a fire in 1919 burns down those behind Mills 3 and 4.

  • 1810

    Partners

    Owen dissolves his partnership with Barton and Atkinson and finds new partners.

  • 1810

    The Village Store

    The Village Store is established by Owen. It is located on the ground floor of Nursery Buildings and sells quality goods at fair prices. Workers can elect to be paid in tickets or tokens which can be exchanged for goods at the store.

  • 1810-1816

    The Counting House

    The bowed Counting House is added to the end of Caithness Row by Robert Owen somewhere between 1810 and 1816. The Counting House acts as Owen's office, giving him oversight of the village and is where villagers collect their 'tickets for wages'.

  • 1813

    A Potential Bayout

    Faced with hostility and a potential buyout from his new partners, Owen travels to London to find new partners who will support his 'Great Experiment'. His new partners, including John Walker, are predominantly Quakers.

  • 1816

    The Institute for the Formation of Character

    Owen opens the centrepiece of his social experiment- The Institute for the Formation of Character, which is used as a social and educational centre for the villagers.

  • 1817

    The School for Children

    Owen opens the partner building to the Institute, the School for Children.

  • 1818

    John Winning

    Robert Owen commissions the artist John Winning to produce a series of watercolours of New Lanark. These are printed and used as export labels on packages of cotton.

  • 1819

    Fire

    Mill 3 burns down (a common occurrence in cotton mills) but is rebuilt in 1826 with a cast iron frame to help prevent fire.

  • 1820

    Report to the County of Lanark

    Robert Owen publishes his 'Report to the county of Lanark' in which he argues that reform alone is not enough and that a change of social order is required.

  • 1824

    Pasteurs New

    Owen leaves New Lanark for New Harmony, Indiana as he feels he will have more success promoting his ideals on social reform in 'the New World'.

1771 - 1858

Robert Owen

It was under the enlightened management of Robert Owen that New Lanark became famous. Robert Owen married David Dale’s daughter, Caroline Dale, in 1799 and in the same year formed a partnership to...

Read More

  • 1798

    Robert Owen

    Robert Owen, a young Manchester-based Mill Manager, visits New Lanark for the first time.

  • 1799

    Robert Scott

    The earliest illustrations of New Lanark are made by the artist Robert Scott.

  • 1799

    Marriage & Partnership

    Caroline Dale, the eldest daughter of David Dale, and Robert Owen are married. Robert Owen forms a partnership with John Barton of Manchester and John Atkinson of London and purchases the New Lanark Mills from his new father-in-law David Dale for £60,000.

  • 1800

    The Great Experiment

    Robert Owen assumes management of New Lanark on the first day of the New Year and begins his 'Great Experiment' of social, moral, educational and workplace reforms. His partners and workers are at first unsure of his reform.

  • 1806

    A Turning Point

    Owen continues to pay his workers despite no production taking place due to an American embargo on the export of raw cotton.This proves a turning point in attitudes towards Owen and his reforms.

  • 1806

    Mechanic's Workshop & Dyeworks

    The Mechanic's Workshop and Dyeworks (originally the brass and iron foundry) are added to the village by Robert Owen. These buildings mean New Lanark is near self-suffiient in making its own mchinery, millwright work and structural castings.

  • 1809

    Nursery Buildings

    Nursery Buildings, with its rear turnpike stair projections to allow for dormitories, is constructed to house New Lanark's 'pauper apprentices' then adapted to family dwellings shortly afterwards. In 1903 it contains one three-apartment house, seven two-apartment houses, one one-apartment house and washouses in the basement.

  • 1809-1810

    Waterhouses

    A series of 2-storey buildings stradling the tailrace are constructed to be used as a raw and waste cotton stores and picking houses. They stretch from Mill 1 along to Mill 4 but a fire in 1919 burns down those behind Mills 3 and 4.

  • 1810

    Partners

    Owen dissolves his partnership with Barton and Atkinson and finds new partners.

  • 1810

    The Village Store

    The Village Store is established by Owen. It is located on the ground floor of Nursery Buildings and sells quality goods at fair prices. Workers can elect to be paid in tickets or tokens which can be exchanged for goods at the store.

  • 1810-1816

    The Counting House

    The bowed Counting House is added to the end of Caithness Row by Robert Owen somewhere between 1810 and 1816. The Counting House acts as Owen's office, giving him oversight of the village and is where villagers collect their 'tickets for wages'.

  • 1813

    A Potential Bayout

    Faced with hostility and a potential buyout from his new partners, Owen travels to London to find new partners who will support his 'Great Experiment'. His new partners, including John Walker, are predominantly Quakers.

  • 1816

    The Institute for the Formation of Character

    Owen opens the centrepiece of his social experiment- The Institute for the Formation of Character, which is used as a social and educational centre for the villagers.

  • 1817

    The School for Children

    Owen opens the partner building to the Institute, the School for Children.

  • 1818

    John Winning

    Robert Owen commissions the artist John Winning to produce a series of watercolours of New Lanark. These are printed and used as export labels on packages of cotton.

  • 1819

    Fire

    Mill 3 burns down (a common occurrence in cotton mills) but is rebuilt in 1826 with a cast iron frame to help prevent fire.

  • 1820

    Report to the County of Lanark

    Robert Owen publishes his 'Report to the county of Lanark' in which he argues that reform alone is not enough and that a change of social order is required.

  • 1824

    Pasteurs New

    Owen leaves New Lanark for New Harmony, Indiana as he feels he will have more success promoting his ideals on social reform in 'the New World'.

1855 - 1855

The Walkers

Charles and Henry Walker were the sons of John Walker, Owen's wealthy and much respected Quaker partner. Like Robert Owen, the Walkers were humanitarian employers. As members of the Society of...

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  • 1825

    New Owners

    Having decided to settle in America, Owen sells New Lanark to Charles and Henry Walker, the sons of his Quaker partner, John Walker.

  • 1825-1881

    Life Under the Walkers

    The Walkers continue to run a successful business at New Lanark, despite fierce competition from mills in the north of England. They also continue with some of Owen's ideas, mainly maintaining the Institute as a social and educational centre.

  • 1851

    No Sale

    The Walkers make an unsuccessful attempt to sell New Lanark.

  • 1880

    Alterations

    The Gourock Ropework Compant make a series of alterations to the fabric of the site to help improve and increase production. These include the extension of Mill 2 and the dismantling of its pitched roof as well as the addition of the Engine House to the side of the Institute to house the 550HP Petrie Steam Engine.

  • 1881

    Henry Birkmyre

    Walker & Co. sell New Lanark to Henry Birkmyre of the Gourock Ropework Company.

  • 1883

    Mill 4 Fire

    Mill 4 is burned to the ground and never rebuilt.

  • 1884

    School Move

    The School for Children is given over to net production and pupils are relocated to a new Board of Education School at the top of the hill.

  • 1898

    Village Church

    Villagers petition the Gourock Ropework company for land on which to build a church. An area of hillside opposite Mantilla Row is allocated and the foundation stone of the church is laid by The Hon. James Hozier MP, a Right Worshipful Past Grand Master of the Craft.

  • 1933

    The Co-Operative Society

    The Village Store is leased to the Lanark Provident Co-Operative Society.

  • 1957

    Saltire Society Award

    Saltire Society award for Gourock Ropeworks’ maintenance of the village.

  • 1963

    New Lanark Housing Association

    The New Lanark Housing Association is formed to restore and refurbish the millworkers' tenements. Formation of New Lanark Association by Norman Dunhill, visit of Kenneth Dale Owen, start of Caithness Row and Nursery Buildings restoration through Housing Acts

  • 1966-1968

    Restoration of Caithness Row

    The interiors of Caithness Row are altered and renovated by architects Ian G. Lindsay and Partners.

  • 1968

    Mills Close

    The New Lanark Mills shut down with the loss of c.350 jobs.

1795 - 1845

Gourock Ropework Co.

On 16th May 1881, Birkmyre and Somerville, joint partners in the newly established Lanark Spinning Company, paid £20,000 for the mills. Henry Birkmyre of the Gourock Ropework Company (GRC), and his...

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  • 1880

    Alterations

    The Gourock Ropework Compant make a series of alterations to the fabric of the site to help improve and increase production. These include the extension of Mill 2 and the dismantling of its pitched roof as well as the addition of the Engine House to the side of the Institute to house the 550HP Petrie Steam Engine.

  • 1881

    Henry Birkmyre

    Walker & Co. sell New Lanark to Henry Birkmyre of the Gourock Ropework Company.

  • 1883

    Mill 4 Fire

    Mill 4 is burned to the ground and never rebuilt.

  • 1884

    School Move

    The School for Children is given over to net production and pupils are relocated to a new Board of Education School at the top of the hill.

  • 1898

    Village Church

    Villagers petition the Gourock Ropework company for land on which to build a church. An area of hillside opposite Mantilla Row is allocated and the foundation stone of the church is laid by The Hon. James Hozier MP, a Right Worshipful Past Grand Master of the Craft.

  • 1933

    The Co-Operative Society

    The Village Store is leased to the Lanark Provident Co-Operative Society.

  • 1957

    Saltire Society Award

    Saltire Society award for Gourock Ropeworks’ maintenance of the village.

  • 1963

    New Lanark Housing Association

    The New Lanark Housing Association is formed to restore and refurbish the millworkers' tenements. Formation of New Lanark Association by Norman Dunhill, visit of Kenneth Dale Owen, start of Caithness Row and Nursery Buildings restoration through Housing Acts

  • 1966-1968

    Restoration of Caithness Row

    The interiors of Caithness Row are altered and renovated by architects Ian G. Lindsay and Partners.

  • 1968

    Mills Close

    The New Lanark Mills shut down with the loss of c.350 jobs.

1855 - Present

New Lanark Trust

New Lanark Trust is a Registered Scottish Charity (SC008552) which was established in 1974 with the aim of restoring and regenerating the former cotton mill village of New Lanark as a living and...

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  • 1970

    MetEx

    The Mill area of New Lanark is sold to MetEx, an aluminium extraction company. Metal Extractions take over industrial area for scrap business, School roof collapses.

  • 1971

    Debating the Future

    A working group is set up to consider the future of New Lanark Village. Complete demolition is one consideration. First Civic Trust award for housing restoration at Nursey Buildings and shops.

  • 1972

    Scottish Civil Trust

    New Lanark Working Party convened by Scottish Civic Trust and chaired by Provost Harry Smith.

  • 1973

    A-Listing

    All of the buildings on the site are given 'Category A' listing by Historic Scotland, meaning they are 'buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, style or building type.' “A Future for New Lanark” report by Lanark County Council and Strathclyde University School of Planning published and adopted

  • 1974

    New Lanark Conservation Trust

    New Lanark Conservation Trust is founded with the aim of restoring and revitalising New Lanark as a living and working village. Work beginning initially on the millworkers' housing.

  • 1975

    Local Government Reorganised

    local government reorganised – SRC and CDC replace County and Burgh as partners;

  • 1975-1980

    Restoration of Braxfield Row

    Braxfield Row is developed into ten single terraced houses for sale to restorer-purchasers.

  • 1977

    Braxfield Row

    Braxfield Row sold to restoring purchasers.

  • 1977

    Restoration of Long Row

    Long Row is developed into 10 terraced houses for sale to restorer purchasers and an additional 4 for let by the New Lanark Housing Association.

  • 1978

    Dale & Owen's Houses

    MetEx is persuaded to sell David Dale's House and Robert Owen's House to the New Lanark Housing association.

  • 1983

    Restoration of the Mills

    Restoration of the mill area of the site begins following the transfer of the ownership of the mills to NLCT through a Compulsory Purchase Order.

  • 1983

    Purchase Order for the Institute and Industrial Buildings Confirmed

    compulsory purchase order for the Institute and industrial buildings confirmed by the Secretary of State for Scotland George Younger, NHMF acquisition grant, New Lanark Conservation Trust created by Trust Deed, industrial buildings transferred to NLCT, Robert Owen’s School building restored and mothballed.

  • 1984

    Falls of the Clyde Opened

    SWT centre and Falls of Clyde reserve opened, mills area cleaned up, Development Officer appointed (SDA funding), Friends of New Lanark formed; Harry Smith’s MBE.

  • 1985

    First Inclusion

    first inclusion in UK Tentative List for World Heritage status, Bicentenary celebrations.

  • 1987

    Europa Nostra Medal of Honour

    Europa Nostra Medal of Honour, NLA properties restoration completed (45 tenancies), New Buildings opened by the Duke of Gloucester.

  • 1988

    Mantilla Row Demolished

    After being temporarily shored in 1977 following settlement of its foundations, Mantilla Row is demolished conditional to its rebuilding by 1993. This condition is later removed and rather than being rebuilt, the footprint of Mantilla Row will be laid out (2017) and interpreted, in a similar style to the site of Mill 4.

  • 1989

    New Lanark Trading Ltd established

    New Lanark Trading Ltd established; Jim Arnold's MBE.

  • 1990

    New Lanark Visitor Centre

    The New Lanark Visitor Centre is opened in Mill 3.

  • 1993

    Restoration of Mill 1

    Work begins on the restoration of Mill 1, with a view to transforming it into a hotel.

  • 1994

    Wee Row Youth Hostel

    Wee Row (the smaller of the two Double Row tenement blocks) is transformed into the Wee Row Youth Hostel and managed by the Scottish Youth Hostel Association.

  • 1998

    New Lanark Mill Hotel

    The New Lanark Mill Hotel opens in Mill 1.

  • 2001

    World Heritage Status

    New Lanark is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • 2001

    School for Children Restored

    Robert Owen's School for Children is restored and converted into part of the New Lanark Visitor Centre.

  • 2007

    Roof Garden

    The New Lanark Roof Garden opens on the roof of Mill 2

  • 2010

    The Scottish Ten

    New Lanark is the first site to be documented as part of the 'Scottish Ten' project- a five year project by the Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation to digitally record scotland's five World Heritage Sites and 5 international sites. http://www.scottishten.org/

  • 2013

    Search Room

    The New Lanark Search Room opens to the public. This contains New Lanark's historic collections and archive.

  • 2014

    Clearburn Natural Picnic & Play Area

    Clearburn Natural Picnic & Play Area opens on the site that Robert Owen originally used for nature education.

Call Us on +44(0)1555 661 345

Our friendly team will be happy to talk

Contact Us

Fill in our quick contact form and we'll get right back to you

Visit Us

New Lanark Mill Hotel
New Lanark World Heritage Site New Lanark
ML11 9DB

Email Us

trust@newlanark.org

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