New Lanark World Heritage Site Blog

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08/03/16 Roof Garden # , , , , , , ,

Roof Garden Diary: March 2016

Roof Garden Diary: March 2016

At first sight not much seems to be happening in New Lanark Roof Garden this month. Look closer, however,  and you will see the first tentative flowers of Spring appearing in spite of the wild and changeable weather. A few snowdrops are quivering under the hornbeam hedging, and some early daffodils have big buds full of the promise of the yellow trumpets to come.  The tree heather shrub creates  a vigorous splash of green  covered in tiny pink bell-like flowers, and there are buds waiting to burst on the Woolly Willow.

Click here to find out more about visiting the New Lanark Roof Garden

Liz – New Lanark Guest Blogger

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20/08/15 Ted at New Lanark # , , , , , , ,

Ted’s August at New Lanark

Ted’s August at New Lanark

Hi everyone! Ted here again, I’ve had a really busy month at New Lanark soaking up the last of summer – why is the weather always nice when the schools go back?!

We kicked off August at New Lanark by announcing the line-up for the first New Lanark Book Festival in October! It’s all very exciting…over 20 authors are going going to be speaking at New Lanark on interesting themes like Scottish History, Fiction and Food, Drink & Textiles! The festival is going to last for 4 days, from Thursday 1st – Sunday 4th October and there are lots of different ticket options & prices so everyone should be able to see at least one author! The Early Bird tickets are on sale right now…so what are you waiting for?! Check them out now.

New Lanark Book Festival

New Lanark Book Festival

On 11th August The Quaker Tapestry opened at New Lanark! This is our third tapestry exhibition in 10 months…you’d think we had a special history & connection with textiles!? We’re currently showing 20 panels from the tapestry which celebrate the significant contribution Quakers have made to the modern world. It’s an extra special link for us as some of Robert Owen’s partners were Quakers! The tapestry is open until Friday 28th August, and on that evening the tapestry’s curator, Bridget Guest, will be giving a talk on its ‘Secrets and Stories’! Find out more about the talk & buy tickets.

 

The excitement wasn’t over yet for that week! On Saturday 15th August The HandleBards pedalled up to New Lanark to perform their mad-cap rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We had a beautiful night in Robert Owen’s Garden and the performance was fantastic so I’ve got my fingers crossed that they will be touring again next year and will come to New Lanark.

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On 19th August we re-opened Robert Owen’s House which had been closed for refurbishment for 2 weeks prior. The house is a main part of our Visitor Centre, and is interpreted to show how the house may have looked when Robert Owen and his family lived there c.1799. I had a good exploration of the house and I have to say the New Lanark Heritage team have done a fantastic job!

Ted at Robert Owen's Desk

Getting down to business…

Ted at dinner table

Am I too early for the dinner party?

Ted in the kitchen

I hope the Scullery Maid doesn’t think I’m the starter!

Ted in the sitting room

I wonder who lives in those small houses?

So that’s all that’s been happening at New Lanark this August! Coming up next month in September we have the ever-popular Doors Open Weekend on 12th & 13th September! We’ll hopefully see you there for guided tours, building exploration, printmaking & more. Over the September Weekend (25-28th) we’ll also have daily guided tours!

Bye for now!

Ted – New Lanark Guest Blogger

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19/05/15 New Lanark World Heritage Site # , , , ,

Family history talk by the Genealogy Detective!

Family history talk by the Genealogy Detective!

Come along to our talk on Friday night (22nd May) where Liz Irving, the Genealogy Detective will be discussing how to use fascinating sources to can add facts, context and colour to your family tree. Tickets are £4 and can be booked by calling 01555 661345 or ‘on the door’ on the night.

 

Here’s a guest blog from Liz to give you a flavour of what she’ll be discussing on the night…

Researching your family history is an absorbing and fascinating activity, but really getting to know your ancestors involves more than simply finding out their names and the dates and places of their birth, marriage and death.

In Scotland we’re lucky to have easy access to these “vital” or Statutory Records, along with other resources like Old Parish Registers, censuses and wills (known as Testaments).  We can work back through the decades and build up a family tree to be proud of.  But if you know where to look there’s much, much more that you can find out about your family, their neighbours, community and the world they lived in.

Being a genealogy detective means following clues, searching for evidence and building up a picture of our forebears and their lives.

New Lanark is a very special place, and its origins as a mill village have led to a large number of records specific to this community being kept together.  Glasgow University Archives holds a myriad of “name rich” material – including rent, wages and school certificate books, medical reports, letters, even a petition signed by villagers who wanted to continue worshipping in the village’s Old Gaelic Chapel.  Imagine the excitement of seeing your ancestor’s signature from a century or more ago.

Other archives and libraries also hold original volumes that record people’s lives in the past in intimate detail.

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It’s sad but true that our ancestors often turn up in official records when they’re having a hard time.  So the birth of an illegitimate child can lead to a mother appearing in Sheriff Court records as she attempts to have the father of her baby legally identified.  An accident and the resultant inability to work may mean an application under the Poor Law, when an inspector would visit and record in detail the circumstances of the applicant, spouse, and wider family members.  Committing a crime and being imprisoned can produce entries in prison registers, newspaper reports and even transportation records – often including a detailed description of the person.  And being accused of what may seem to us quite minor misdemeanours – such as “horrid swearing” – could see a person appearing before the Kirk Session for censure.

The Lanark Prison Register from May 1859 records that Elizabeth Nichol, a 16-year old millworker was accused of “theft of silver money”.  From this book, held at National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh, we also learn that Elizabeth had been born in Ireland but spent most of her life in Lanark.  She was a Roman Catholic, 4 feet 11 inches tall, weighed 110 pounds, had a swarthy complexion, dark hair and black eyes.  Elizabeth couldn’t read or write, but her health was good.  She was liberated after spending one day in prison, her conduct said to be “tolerable”.

Thirty-five years later, another New Lanark resident found that with his eyesight fading he could do little work as a tailor.  He was Patrick McGuckian, who lived in Double Row with his wife Euphemia.  In September 1894 he applied for Poor Relief, and the Inspector recorded details of the couple’s birthplaces in Ireland, the names and occupations of their parents, Euphemia’s state of health, and the names, ages and spouses of their grown-up children.  The report – held in the Mitchell Library in Glasgow – even reveals that Patrick and Euphemia had seven grandchildren, a two-apartment house that was “comfortably furnished”, and that while Patrick had resided in New Lanark for around 60 years, he had spent three months in America in 1857.

Documents like these turn our ancestors’ lives from monochrome to colour, words written in fading ink bring us details we could never have imagined.  We become time travellers, dipping into previous centuries.

Let’s jump back to the late 18th century, when David Dale of New Lanark Mills was paying three pounds, eighteen shillings tax for having fourteen windows, and fifteen shillings for having four clocks.  Or to 1823 when the Moderator of Lanark Kirk Session was admonishing “at great length” Elizabeth Dewar of New Lanark for her sin of Fornication, though he later absolved her from the scandal and restored her to church privileges.

Most heartbreaking of all, we find ourselves in March 1918 when Samuel Barr of the Gordon Highlanders was writing a will in his army paybook, leaving all he had to his four motherless children.  Less than three weeks later he was dead and his mother in New Lanark was embarking on a correspondence with the authorities to ensure her orphaned grandchildren would be cared for.  She also received and signed for her son’s effects – letters and photographs, his war medals and a gold ring.

These people come alive again as we see their handwriting, read their words, discover how they lived and understand their joys and sorrows.

Liz Irving – New Lanark Guest Blogger

Tickets for Liz’s talk on Friday 22 May are £4 and can be booked by calling 01555 661345 or ‘on the door’ on the night. http://bit.ly/1zR24ci

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17/04/15 Talks at New Lanark # , , , , ,

Talking ‘Full Circle’ with Docey Lewis

Talking ‘Full Circle’ with Docey Lewis

We’re delighted to welcome to the New Lanark Blog, Docey Lewis – a direct descendant of Robert Owen. Ahead of her talk at New Lanark on Friday 24th April (£4 tickets available here) Docey has blogged for us with a taster of what she”ll be discussing…

What would Robert Owen have thought of corporate social responsibility, fair trade, employee-owned companies, carbon neutral product manufacturing, zero waste-to-landfill, LEED points and so many other modern business practices?

Imagine Robert Owen’s Facebook page or perhaps picture him debating Pope Francis or having a conversation with the Dalai Lama on YouTube. What would his Tweets say?

Would he oppose GMO foods, be a vegan, or demand organic cotton for his factories?

Would he be a champion of distance learning, work globally to educate women and girls? Would he be a pioneer on social, environmental and economic frontiers? Would he have found sympathetic investors through crowdfunding on Kickstarter or Indiegogo? Would his big ideas have spread virally, globally? What would his Ted Talk look like?

(Would Anne Caroline have enjoyed better health and accompanied Robert on his journeys?)

How much the world has changed since 1799 when Robert Owen arrived on the New Lanark scene. The technology revolution may have made the world seem a smaller place, but all our connectivity, productivity and mobility have exponentially multiplied the options for how and where to make one’s life and livelihood and how to spread one’s ideas.

Robert Owen’s impact on my life started in early childhood, when two of the books my grandmother read to me were Town of the Fearless and The Bekoning Road, both involving Robert Owen’s Utopian experiment in New Harmony, Indiana. I first visited New Harmony when I was ten years old, for the dedication of Philip Johnson’s Roofless Church. My first large weaving commission was in 1974 for the New Harmony Inn. I designed the wool yarn for and wove 60 bedspreads by hand on a wide fly shuttle loom. In 1967 my mother became active with the Cooperative League of the USA and until her death in 1983, traveled the world, lecturing on Robert Owen and the cooperative movement. She also wrote a book entitled Look to the Distaff which is a compilation of Owen family letters going back five generations. She wrote long letters to me about her numerous trips to New Lanark and New Harmony. And now, I find myself not only living in New Harmony, but making regular pilgrimages to New Lanark myself.

I’m so looking forward to sharing the story of “Full Circle,” the (mostly textile) design and development work being done in partnership with our international buyers and the producer groups we work closely with in the developing world. Robert Owen’s philosophy and big ideas have informed our work and continue to inspire us.

Full Circle Logo

Full Circle Logo

 

Docey Lewis – New Lanark Guest Blogger

Tickets for Docey’s talk at New Lanark on Friday 24th April are available to purchase by calling 01555 661345, emailing [email protected] or online.

Docey Lewis

Salleri Monastery School (Our program supports the meals for the boarding students)

Weavers@EAPFactory - The weavers are at our main woven wall covering factory in Kathmandu

Weavers @ EAPFactory – The weavers are at our main woven wall covering factory in Kathmandu

VocationalSchool- EAP (Everest Art Paper--our partner business in Nepal-- is in partnership with the World Food Programme and Himalayan Health and Environmental Services Solukhumbu (HESS) on running short term training programs

Vocational School- EAP (Everest Art Paper–our partner business in Nepal– is in partnership with the World Food Programme and Himalayan Health and Environmental Services Solukhumbu (HESS) on running short term training programs

HempYarnKnotters - Some of our cottage industry subcontractors for yarn preparation

Hemp Yarn Knotters – Some of our cottage industry subcontractors for yarn preparation

OwenLewis@vocationalschool - Training center in the mountains of Solukhumbu (Owen and I volunteer there 1-2 times per year); we design the curiculuum, teach, and then hire the trainees

Owen [email protected]chool – Training center in the mountains of Solukhumbu (Owen and I volunteer there 1-2 times per year); we design the curiculuum, teach, and then hire the trainees

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14/04/15 A Visitor's View # , , , , , , ,

New Lanark: A Visitor’s View – Scotland Traveloholic

New Lanark: A Visitor’s View – Scotland Traveloholic

Are you looking to spend a fantastic day out in a nature reserve? Do you want to get back to the past and experience the life of an enlightened community in Europe? If so you must visit the New Lanark World Heritage Site and the Falls of Clyde Wildlife Reserve.

Throughout the Easter weekend the site organised two events – Easter Holidays Daily Tours and Peregrine Watch with Scottish Wildlife Trust Association.

New Lanark rooftops

PEREGRINE WATCH TRAIL

From the 3rd to the 6th of April in the Falls of Clyde Wildlife Reserve there was the Easter Weekend Special at the Peregrine Watch. This special event has encouraged people to visit the viewing station, which has the best views of nesting peregrine falcons in Britain! We followed the red trail called the “Clyde Walkway”. On this trail all visitors learn about these lovely wild creatures in 10 exciting stages. At each of the stages there is a quiz and you can check your answers at the end of the trail in the viewing station.

New Lanark Peregrine watchNew Lanark Peregrine watch

The trail goes along the beautiful, tumbling River Clyde. It was easy to miss some of the stages because of the awe-inspiring natural beauty and scenery all around. An interesting fact is that the area has been a conservation success story with peregrine falcons returning to nest there in 1997 after a long absence. People coming back from the viewing station were very excited that they had seen peregrines. Their excitement was understandable, I discovered, when we reached the viewing station. At the station staff were describing exactly what was happening with the nesting peregrines. The brilliant thing was that you could look at any time through telescopes if you had not brought your own binoculars. We saw a sitting female peregrine and something more exciting- a peregrine eating it’s mid-air caught pigeon.

New Lanark nature reserve

New Lanark - Bonnington Linn

Don’t worry if you missed the Easter Weekend Special, you can still follow the peregrine clue trail until the 21st of June from 10am to 4pm or you can visit the Scottish Wildlife Trust website to see peregrines live on webcam! I warmly recommend it.

THE NEW LANARK TOURS

During the school holiday period until the 19th of April you can take part in the Easter Holidays Daily Tours with one of New Lanark’s guides. The first group of 25 people leaves the reception every day at 2pm and goes to the Millworkers’ Houses and The New Lanark Village Store.

New Lanark tours

New Lanark tours

This 45 minute tour takes you back into the past, to the 1820s when workers’ families often lived 10 in one small room. Our guide Lesley brought the past of New Lanark back to life in a fantastic, humorous and interesting way. It was surprising, especially for younger visitors, to hear how people were lived in such different conditions to the modern day. The room from the 1930s showed the contrast in living standards. The oldest visitors in our group remembered their childhood homes, so it was nice to hear them share their stories.

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The second part of the tour was in The New Lanark Store, established in 1813 by Robert Owen. It provided goods at retail prices so that anyone in the village could buy whatever they needed. From the historic displays you can find out how New Lanark became the biggest cotton mill in Scotland exporting vast amounts of cotton, how the manufacturing looks today and which famous brands use organic cotton made in New Lanark.

New Lanark Roof Garden

New Lanark buildings

After this short but brilliant tour you can continue to explore the rest of the interesting sites. Highly recommended is taking part in the Annie McLeod Experience Ride, where you really feel like you going back in time in a dark ride which features mill girl Annie who magically appears and reveals the amazing story of her life and times in New Lanark in 1820. If you then take a rest on the Roof Garden you will be delighted by the stunning views around New Lanark and the River Clyde. Don’t forget to take your children to Clearburn Picnic & Play Area, which opened last year. It has a fantastic giant willow storytelling dome, bug hotels and a secret hideaway tree house. Your kids will love this unique adventure playground!

It has surely proven to be one of the best places to visit in Scotland!

Scotland Traveloholic – New Lanark Guest Blogger
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New Lanark World Heritage Site Aerial View

New Lanark is a beautifully restored 18th century cotton mill village in Scotland, and is one of Scotland's six UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

On our blog you'll find a behind-the-scenes look at all the latest news, events, stories and general 'goings-on' from New Lanark World Heritage Site.

We are always looking for guest bloggers to become involved with the blog. If you are interested in writing for us, please get in touch.

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