New Lanark World Heritage Site Blog

January 17, 2018 at 5:04 am

Historic letter marks 100 years of history at Double Row

Historic letter marks 100 years of history at Double Row

Double Row is currently being restored as a block of modern tenements which will be sold as a shell and the new tenants will be able to customise this new living space in their own way. Over the many years that Double Row has stood, people from multiple different generations have been able to call the tall standing building, with the scenic riverside view, their home. Along with all the history that surrounds us at New Lanark lies a beautiful story involving the Double Row building and a family who lived there.

Double Row and River

The Double Row tenement block at New Lanark

In 1906 James and Sarah Savage moved to Double Row and started a new life, raising their children in the town of New Lanark. One of their children, Henry Savage, was born in 1927. Henry Savage had a daughter called Maria Mannion – maiden name Savage. Maria kindly reached out to us at the New Lanark Trust to discuss the Savage family who lived at Double Row and to provide an insight on the life of her historic family.

Henry Savage and family pic. Double Row residents.

Henry and Margaret Savage. Mary Savage aged 7/8 years old is standing next to her mother.

Shortly before Maria Mannion reached out, a woman called Allison MacDonald contacted us to tell us about a letter which her father, Arthur Kelly, found whilst working for a construction company who took part in the first wave of restoring Double Row in the 1980’s. The letter was found in an attic room of the building, tucked into a notebook used for stamp collecting. Allison went on to further explain how the letter was addressed to Miss Mary Savage who is the great aunt of Maria Mannion. The letter was sent to Mary Savage from a friend from Country Antrim, Northern Ireland in 1916.

Allison MacDonald and her family came to New Lanark to meet with Maria Mannion, her husband Dermot and her cousin Sally who is also a Savage descendant. This was an emotional time for both the families as Allison passed over the letter which Mary Savage was meant to open in 1916 to Maria Mannion (Savage) who eventually opened it in 2016.

This historic letter had been reserved in an attic in Double Row and in the safe hands of Arthur Kelly for 100 years and has finally been delivered to a descendant of the Savage family. Originally, Allison MacDonald had asked if we wanted to keep the letter here in our archives, however, due to the emotional connection to the letter Maria Mannion decided to keep it and return home with it to where the letter was once sent from 100 years ago, Northern Ireland. A fitting end to a truly moving story, a letter written 100 years ago finally with a descendent of the family and returned back to where the letter was written and to where the family originated from.


Savage family at New Lanark.

Savage family at New Lanark.


Arthur Kelly, Sally, Allison Macdonald and Maria Mannion.

When Arthur Kelly, Sally, Allison MacDonald and Maria Mannion came to meet us at New Lanark!

You can find out more about New Lanark’s Double Row Restoration and the House History Project on the New Lanark website.

Ruth Beattie, Lead Researcher says “The ‘House History’ project is a fantastic opportunity for us to learn more about New Lanark’s people in the early 20th century and bring to light family stories and memories. We look forward to hearing from past residents or their relatives, and would encourage anyone with a story to share to contact us using the details below.”

Anyone with information, photographs or artefacts they would like to share should contact Ruth Beattie at New Lanark Trust on:

  • Email: [email protected]
  • Call: 01555 661345
  • Post: ‘House History Project’, New Lanark trust, New Lanark Mills, Lanark, ML11 9DB.


Ronan – New Lanark Marketing Intern

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