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New Lanark World Heritage Village (Lanark)

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  • There isn't many other visitor attractions in the surrounding area.
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      25.08.2004 05:09
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      • "There isn't many other visitor attractions in the surrounding area."

      New Lanark is a village which is relatively small, but quaint. It has a school house and some mills and a few crampt houses. Doesn't sound like much, does it? I'll agree, to us, it sounds like nothing out of the ordinary, but try and imagine yourself living in the 1800s when young children were forced to work from a young age, often engaged in dangerous and even life threatening tasks. Working hours were long, people often lived in squallor and there was no such thing as sick pay. Now, think about New Lanark again and consider that it was a working mill in the 1800s ran by the revolutionary Robert Owen. Owen was the first man to really take great strides forward in changing things for the better. He provided his mill workers with decent accomodation and insisted that they kept it in good condition for their own health and safety. He insisted that children were educated up until at least the age of 10, and he even provided a nursery for younger children so their mothers could return to work. Education was not just dull and colourless, either. He wanted the children to be educated in music, dancing and art as well as reading, writing and maths. He cut working hours and gave breaks. He also established a fund to provide doctors and wages for those too sick to work. He also provided a village store for the inhabitants of the village, and this was what inspired the creators of the Co-Op stores. It's actually quite breathtaking when you think about it, and frightening to consider that New Lanark was neglected for many years and we almost never had the chance to enjoy it. However, it was saved, and is now a World Heritage Village set in beautiful surroundings. A Visitor Centre is open there where you can learn all about the work of Robert Owen and get a glimpse of life for the people who lived there in th
      e past. The old schoolhouse is open and there is displays to see there, and there is a working mill in part of the visitor centre. The village store is still here, too, and still sells old-fashioned goods. I had great fun satisfying my sweet tooth after having a glance at all the old fashioned sweeties on sale! The mill also has a shop which sells woolen goods made in the village, as well as sweets, clothes, toys, Scottish themed souveniers etc. There is also an Edinburgh Woolen Mill shop and a small cafe in the main building of Mill 3. Let's not forget the workers' houses that they have on display, and the display in Robert Owen's house. If you wander down the path from Mill 3 there is some small craft shops that are open on occassion such as a potter's shop. There is also a small wildlife shop and some picnic tables from which you can view the falls of the Clyde. There is also a very scenic woodland walk along the falls of Clyde that the more energetic of us can take. One of the mills has been converted into a hotel, so you can even choose to stay here for a few nights and visit the village and the surrounding area in more depth. There is also a youth hostel on the site. What makes the village even more special is the fact that people are living here once again. Some of the buildings were sold as 'empty shells' to allow people to design their own apartments, and this proved to be quite popular. The Visitor Centre is open daily from 11am-5pm and the prices are as follows: Adults £5.95 Concessions (Senior Citizens, Children, Students) £3.95 Family of 4 (2 Adults & 2 Children) £16.95 Family of 6 (2 Adults & 4 Children) £19.95 Be aware, though, that although there is parking down at the actual village, visitors
      are disuaded from using this since the village is a residential area in itself now and the house owners' do need parking facilities. There is a large car park at the top of a path leading down to the village, but this is rather steep so you would be best to phone prior to your visit if you have mobility problems. I would recommend New Lanark to any potential visitor. It is amazing that one man could care so much for his workers and have so much dedication to bringing about change as Robert Owen did. Check out www.newlanark.org for more information. Capital letters courtesy of: http://www.chuckleweb.co.uk/fixit.php

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        10.01.2003 01:26
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        NEW LANARK is a visitor attraction set in a deep gorge at the eastern end of the Clyde Valley just south of the ancient Royal Burgh of Lanark itself. At first glance, it seems quite unusual that a village of abandoned cotton mills and the homes of the former workers would be one of Scotland's top tourist attractions, but New Lanark is about as far removed from the image of those 'Dark Satanic Mills' of the Victorian era as North Korea is from enlightened liberalism. From the UNESCO site: 'New Lanark is a small village in a beautiful Scottish landscape where a model industrial society was created in the early nineteenth century by the philanthropist and utopian idealist Robert Owen. The imposing mill buildings, the spacious and well-designed workers' housing, and the dignified educational institute and school still survive to testify to Owen's humanism.' * HISTORY * In 1783 David Dale, (a prosperous cloth merchant) and Richard Arkwright (inventor of the 'spinning jenny') visited this site and marvelled at the power of the river as it tumbled over a series of waterfalls through a gorge in the Clyde Valley. It seemed a perfect location to set up a completely new type of industrial settlement. And so, the village of New Lanark was founded in 1785 by David Dale. Water-powered, cotton-spinning mills and tenement style housing for the workforce were built from local sandstone and within ten years the population of the village had grown to 2,500, becoming one of the largest cotton-manufacturing centres in the country. From 1800 to 1825 Robert Owen, who was David Dale's son-in-law, expanded the business and used the profits to implement social and humanitarian improvements. He did not allow children under 10 to work in the cotton-mills and he established schools and evening classes for the village, including the first infant school in the world. In an age w
        hen most children (and many adults) would have been illiterate, this must have seemed a very enlightened place where the children were encouraged to study art, music and nature etc. No punishment was allowed, the inhabitants had free medical care, a creche, shorter working hours and subsidized food and household goods in the world's first co-operative store. New Lanark's fame grew as one of the earliest examples of a planned community with experimental and vastly improved living and working conditions. All this, ironically, at a time when the fast-expanding industrial revolution was throwing up cramped and teeming slums (some of the worst in Europe) in the heavy industrial areas of Clydeside, just a few miles downstream. As technology advanced, the water-wheels were gradually replaced by water turbines, and the mills produced their own hydro-electricity from 1898. The mills eventually closed down in 1968 and the village fell into decline. The New Lanark Conservation Trust was set up in 1974 and the whole village has been restored and opened for visitors. * NEW LANARK TODAY * The village has survived with very few physical changes and is now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, under the auspices of an independent charity, New Lanark Conservation Trust. Wandering around the cobbled streets, it is relatively easy to imagine how people lived and worked all those years ago as the village has been restored to a living, working community - albeit with a smaller population of around 180. A Passport Ticket costing £4.95 for adults, and a pound less for concessions, allows access to four different areas of the site. If you do not have time to see everything, keep your ticket as any unstamped parts are valid on a return visit. Of course, as this is a real, living village, to just walk around is absolutely free. * THE MAIN VISITOR CENTRE * This is hous
        ed in three historic buildings: The Institute for the Formation of Character (community education centre), the Engine House, and Mill 3. There's a large steam engine here and an introductory video presentation before leading through to THE MILLENIUM EXPERIENCE This is an audio-visual presentation which takes visitors on a journey through time in a Disneyworld type ride, illustrating what life was like in the earlier days, using images of local children to tell the story. It's OK but it's aimed more towards children than adults. On Level 4, there are examples of working, 19th century machinery. There are also displays about Owen's ideas on welfare, children and education. The old school is now open as an attraction but wasn't when I was there. There is a restaurant, gift shop and toilets on a lower floor in this building. * THE MILLWORKERS HOUSE * Here, you can enter a tenement and see what the living conditions were really like. There are actually two homes, one set in the 1820s, and one set in the 1930s. There's also a display about the changes in housing conditions in New Lanark from its beginnings to the restoration programme of recent times. I personally find these interpretations of ordinary life fascinating. * THE VILLAGE STORE * In the Square is the Village Store, which was part of Owen's overall plan to improve the standard of living for his workers. You enter through a 1920s style Village Store, where there are traditional goods and gifts for sale. There's also a representation of the store from the 1820s. The New Lanark Store was the inspiration for the Co-operative Movement. * ROBERT OWEN'S HOUSE * Next to the gardens in the centre of the village is Robert Owen's House. Some of the rooms are furnished as they would have been when he lived here with his family. There are displays about the legacy of his thoughts and ideas,
        and his failed attempt to establish a Utopian community in the USA after he left New Lanark in 1825. Many of the historic buildings are now in use as craft workshops where it's possible to purchase a wide variety of goods. There are many special events in the village throughout the year, including: antique fairs, victorian markets, music and dance displays, exhibitions and very popular Christmas events. As for accomodation in the village, one of the former mills has been coverted into a modern hotel; some houses are available for self catering; and a row of workers tenements has been converted into a youth hostel. The town of Lanark is well supplied with hotels, pubs, restaurants and shopping, and is less than a mile away. The walk down to the village from the official car park is very steep but for less able-bodied, cars are allowed access into the heart of the village to drop off or pick up passengers. The site is open every day of the year except 25 December and 1 January from 11.00 - 17.00. It can get very busy as it attracts almost half a million visitors annually and during school term-time, it is literally swarming with hordes of schoolchildren. Although New Lanark is a premier industrial heritage site, it's location in a beautiful wooded gorge ensures there is more to a visit here than industrial antiquities and examples of altruistic vision. * THE FALLS OF CLYDE * The densely wooded surrounding area with its sandstone gorges and dramatic, gushing waterfalls is now the Falls of Clyde Nature Reserve. The Reserve is owned and managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and there are many, lovely riverside walks throughout the Reserve directly from the village. There are three waterfalls upstream from New Lanark lying on the Clyde Walkway. These are : Dundaff Linn, the closest to the village. Corra Linn is the largest of the falls with a drop of
        around 85ft and is quite a sight after heavy rain. This is about a 20 minute walk from the village with Bonnington Linn about 10 minutes further on. THE CLYDE WALKWAY is a 65 km walking route through the Clyde Valley linking the centre of Glasgow to the Falls of Clyde at New Lanark. Lanark (the town) is one of Scotland's most historic Royal Burghs and is a great place to visit in its own right, as is the rest of the lower Clyde Valley. But that's another story..... For more information: http://www.lanark.org.uk Thanks for reading ©proxam2003

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          14.09.2001 03:45

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          The New Lanark Mills “Experience” is truly a magnificent one. I went there to attend a wedding reception last autumn and came away wishing I had another day to spare. Location, location, location! It’s situated on the bank of the River Clyde in what appeared to be world of it’s own. It’s fairly close to Glasgow and Edinburgh. It took our party just over an hour to get there from Glasgow. We returned by train to Glasgow from Lanark station, which was about 5 minutes taxi drive away. The History: The village of New Lanark was founded in the 18th century. It was to become a village of a socialist ideal through the proprietor, Robert Owen (‘father of English Socialism’). His idea was of self-help; communities of co-operatives. He advocated education to all children and would them to work in the mills until they were a minimum of 10 years old. The hotel itself is the recently restored cotton mill.. Accommodation: We stayed in one of their six two bedroomed apartments (there’s two more with one bedrooms), which was behind the main hotel, known as the Waterhouses. It cost around £60. The entrance led through a hallway to a large kitchen and separate lounge area. The two bedrooms and bathroom were downstairs. Bizarrely the larger room had twin beds and the smaller had a double. I woke up with river running past my window – it was truly awesome. There are 38 bedrooms in the main hotel (around £75 for a room) and apparently the views are also stunning. In addition, there’s also a Youth Hostel offering 60 beds. Things to do: If the peace wasn’t enough, there are plenty of places to go. The millennium experience takes you on a ride hosted by Harmony, a fictitious girl who decides to travel time to discover the history of New Lanark. There’s also a visitor centre and the children’s school planned to
          open this year. In addition, there’s various village style shops, working craft areas and houses from the past, including Robert Owen’s. All in all… It can start to feel like a history lesson after a while, but all you have to do is go back to the hotel bar to remind you you’re not at school anymore. The food is fine, although some might find this a bit pricey as there are not many other options for you. You can also start to feel a little isolated and it’s definitely a wedding reception venue, a getaway venue or historical interest site. However, that’s what it was meant to be and if you are going for any of these reasons, it’s the perfect place.

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