New Lanark is a restored 18th-century cotton mill village on the banks of the River Clyde, close to the Falls of Clyde in southern Scotland.
New Lanark was created as a cotton-spinning village in the late 18th to early 19th century. It was transformed under the management of Robert Owen.
Owen greatly improved the conditions, facilities and services for the workers and their families and this influenced many social improvements.
Social improvements influenced included:
- progressive education
- factory reform
- more humane working practices
- garden cities
By 1799, New Lanark was the biggest cotton mill in Scotland and formed one of the largest factory sites in the world. More than 2,000 people lived and/or worked in the village.
The mill continued to manufacture cotton for nearly 200 years, until 1968. This helps to explain why the buildings in the village have changed so little.
New Lanark is located in southern central Scotland, near the market town of Lanark.
The New Lanark World Heritage Site Coordinator
Historic Environment Scotland
2 Inscription and significance
UNESCO inscribed New Lanark as a World Heritage Site in 2001. The Outstanding Universal Value of New Lanark is based on its remarkable degree of survival as a late 18th to early 19th-century planned mill village.
The status also recognises New Lanark’s significant role in the development of model industrial settlements. It was a milestone in social and industrial history to see planning and architecture combine with a humane concern on the part of employers for workers’ welfare.
Mill owner Robert Owen’s concern for the well-being of workers is physically expressed in the planned layout of New Lanark. It is clear from the presence of the education institute, the school and the spacious workers’ housing.
Owen’s social philosophy had a profound influence on the growth of social developments throughout the 19th century and beyond.
3 Visit New Lanark
Attractions and educational experiences include:
- the mill
- a museum
- a village store
- a 1700s school classroom
- Robert Owen’s house
Download the New Lanark leaflet
4 Management of New Lanark
New Lanark is a living community in the care of the New Lanark Trust. Its aim is to preserve the area as a sustainable community with a resident population.
The Trust manages New Lanark in partnership with:
- South Lanarkshire Council
- Historic Environment Scotland
Statement of Outstanding Universal Value and management plan
Each World Heritage Site has a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, which:
- clearly states the reasons for the site’s inscription on the World Heritage List
- identifies what must be protected, conserved and managed to protect its Outstanding Universal Value for the long term
UNESCO also requires each site to have a management plan. This provides a shared framework for a site’s active:
You can also view the current New Lanark World Heritage Site Action Plan.