Blast from the past: a visit to New Lanark

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View of New Lanark from the carpark

Groupon is a wonderful thing when you get great offers. The OH had mentioned visiting New Lanark in the past and during a dinner with some friends, it was brought up again, so when the half price entry offer appeared, we couldn’t say no to going for a visit this weekend.

The site was originally founded by David Dale in 1785, but was made famous for its forward thinking community under the management of Robert Owen between 1800 and 1825. The village was advanced for its time, as Owen believed in a beneficial community where happy workers are well looked after workers. There was no child labour and instead once children became of a certain age, they could attend a school that was set up especially for parents who worked at the mill during the day. There was no punishment, instead workers were encouraged to work harder using positive reinforcement techniques. One-fiftieth of the worker’s wages were used towards free medical care where this was needed – this is a similar concept to the modern NHS…but in the 1800s! The village shop was set up in such a way that stock was bought in bulk and any profits made went back into the mill to support the workers.

The mill is located next to the Falls of Clyde and the Clyde Wildlife Reserve where workers would wash their clothes in the river. There is also a Roof Garden which gives you a fantastic view of the village itself and the New Lanark Mill Hotel is close by if you wanted to stay for a short visit, or hold your wedding at this historic site. Only certain parts of the village is now open for renting, most of the buildings are still preserved by an independent charity.

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Gates to the mill

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Roof Garden at New Lanark

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

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A replica of wares and goods sold at the village store in the 1800s at New Lanark

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The Falls of Clyde

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Robes worn by school children at the mill

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Classroom

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Materials used by school children at the time

After spending approximately 4 hours visiting almost all the buildings available to visitors, we decided to stop for lunch at the New Lanark Mill Hotel on the suggestion of OH’s mum. We decided to go upstairs to the restaurant which had a nice set up, it had a nice atmosphere and the staff were all very welcoming and friendly. On perusing the menu at the cafe which is in the same building as the Mill, we decided there wasn’t much of a selection, but if you want something light we’ve also been told there’s a bar at the Hotel which is on the ground floor where Reception is located once you enter the front door.

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We were given the lunch menu, but we were quite surprised at how generous the portions were! As we were having a late lunch (at 3pm), it was quite filling for us and we would’ve ended up having a later dinner too if we weren’t eating with the OH’s parents.

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The OH had the fillet of sole with vegetables and chive mash

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I had mushroom and truffle risotto with garlic foccacia

New Lanark is truly a hidden treasure that is well worth a visit. It amazing how such a forward thinker like Robert Owen was able to keep his workers happy with his advanced views on a better society that he built that benefited all in the village.

The New Lanark World Heritage Site is open from 10am to 4pm from November to March (excluding Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) and 10am to 5pm from April to October.

Have you been to visit New Lanark? What was your experience at this historic village?

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