Craig St John , Marketing Intern here , about to regal you in the tale of my first experience of the New Lanark World Heritage Site’s Guided Tour, and little did l know l was in for a treat.
I, like most who visit here , have fond memories of visiting New Lanark in my younger days, whether it was a school trip, day out with the family or just out for a leisurely stroll up the River Clyde, those memories stay with you all your days , but l never truly took in the vast amount of history this place was built upon, that is until l was invited to take the Guided Tour, and as you imagine l jumped at the chance.
Why go on the tour you ask ?
Well the tour is designed to give visitors the chance to learn about the Mills rise through the industrial revolution.
The tour began just outside the Institute for the Formation of Character, where we were greeted by our tour guide Lesli, who’s passion for New Lanark was truly evident, as she took us back to the beginning of New Lanark. Lesli was very engaging with the visitors , involving them in her tour and the banter was truly flowing.
I always thought it was Robert Owen who got the ball rolling at New Lanark, but it was in fact his father in- law David Dale , who took 15 years to build some of the Mills we see today. Trading mostly in cotton shipped over from America and wool from the sheep on our own doorstep. It wasn’t until Robert was welcomed into the family, by marrying David Dale’s daughter, that things really got started at New Lanark
What was really surprising was when Lesli informed us that in the beginning, children as young as six worked the Mills (Its a good thing most of us were born in the 20th century). Robert Owen’s tenure ensured that this stopped of course, his belief was that every child had the right to a education and the right to play.
Lesli also informed us that back then , Robert wanted New Lanark to be a hub for all cultures and nationalities, bringing people together for the common good (She also mentioned that he didn’t like wee Weeji’s or Edinbronians coming down to spy on his work, which l though was hilarious).
Next on the tour was the wash house, and Lesli informed that this was the main meeting place where if you had the gift of the gab ( like most woman do ) this was the perfect place for women to socialise and gossip till their heart’s were content.
We were then taken through to witness the living conditions of the townspeople of New Lanark, and it was fare to say it seemed like a bit of a tight squeeze, but they made the best out of the situation, even if they had to life with the chamber pot under the bed , which contents funnily enough Robert Owen (ever the visionary) sold to farmers for fertiliser for crops.
To end the tour we had a nice stroll by the River Clyde, taking in natures beauty and serenity.
Obviously, l am not going to spoil the full context of the tour, but if your a history buff like myself or you just looking for a super day out please visit: www.newlanark.org, call us on 01555 661345 or email [email protected]
But from me it’s
Ciao For Now
Craig- New Lanark Marketing Intern