New Lanark World Heritage Site Blog


19/04/17 Uncategorized # , , , , , , ,

A taster of Archaeology at New Lanark

A taster of Archaeology at New Lanark

On Tuesday 18th April New Lanark took part in the global ‘World Heritage Day’ celebrations, showcasing what makes each of the 1,052 UNESCO World Heritage Sites unique and worthy of “outstanding universal value”.

A variety of activities took place at New Lanark over the Easter weekend from 16th – 18th April – all celebrating our unique heritage. These ranged from a Scanathon on Monday, a yarnbomb on Tuesday (you can read all about it here) and three days of Archaeology Taster Tours!

The tours were designed to give visitors a unique opportunity to get a taster of archaeology by seeing volunteers at work excavating post-abandonment deposits from 1 Double Row’s basement. There was an archaeologist on hand to explain the process and let visitors know about any interesting “finds”. As well as visiting the Double Row tenement block, the tour also visited the site of Mantilla Row where visitors had the chance to find out more about this lost building in New Lanark’s history. The tours were delivered by Northlight Heritage.

We went along on the last tour of the series on World Heritage Day…

Inspecting the visible (above ground) archaeology of Mill One – New Lanark Mill Hotel

After three days of excavation work the volunteers begin the backfilling so as to protect the finds for future generations and minimise disruption to the excavated area

Showing some of the fantastic restoration work to the exterior of Double Row

Feature details, like these wrought iron air vents have been maintained throughout the building to create a high-quality and authentic historic conservation

Amy, an Archaeology Student from the University of Glasgow has been volunteering on the Double Row excavation project

One of the three trenches excavated in the basement of 1 Double Row

Excavations have uncovered the fascinating area of paving stones, deliberately arranged so as to have a defined, curved edge – perhaps to allow the flow of another pathway from the doorway into the basement

The scaffolding is in the process of being removed at Double Row

Finishing touches on the stonework

Next on the tour, we saw the demarcation of Mantilla Row – where the exterior walls, doors and windows would have stood

The little-known history of Mantilla Row

A fascinating insight into the many names Mantilla Row has been known as through the years – the exact origins of its name are still unknown, but the presiding theory is that the name has evolved over the years through oral tradition and may have also been altered through interpretation of handwriting or accents!


The Archaeology Taster Tours were funded by a Townscape Heritage / Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme which is taking place at New Lanark over the next three years. Phase 1 of this large scale restoration project began in March 2016 and consisted of the restoration of Double Row, an 18th century tenement building. In 2017, Phase 2 of this project will include the construction of low rubble walls to indicate where the Mantilla Row tenement once stood before its demolition in 1988 and the repair and consolidation of the Church Wall. Total costs for this large scale regeneration project are over £4m. The two main funders are the Heritage Lottery Fund through its Townscape Heritage (TH) programme and Historic Environment Scotland through its Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS). Additional funding has been secured from the Renewable Energy Fund (South Lanarkshire Council), The Wolfson Foundation and New Lanark Trust.


If you would like to be kept up to date about any future activities linked to the project please sign up for New Lanark’s monthly e-newsletter here.

Melissa – Marketing and PR Officer

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19/08/16 CAVLP # , , , ,

Lanark Library to host Mapping the Past Exhibition and Guide Launch

Lanark Library to host Mapping the Past Exhibition and Guide Launch

Members of the public are invited to attend the FREE Mapping the Past pop-up exhibition and guide launch will take place on Monday 12 September, at Lanark Library.

The exhibition and guide explores the unique cartographic heritage of the Clyde and Avon Valley and a 2000 year history of mapping in Scotland, including connections to the Father of Modern Mapping, Carluke born Major-General William Roy and local sites of interest, such as the area’s trig pillars.

The exhibition, first displayed in Carluke earlier in the year, also showcases artwork created by local community groups, schools and Guide and Scout groups as part of the Mapping the Past Project. The project was undertaken by CAVLP Heritage, managed by Northlight Heritage and supported by Heritage Lottery Fund supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP) and Historic Environment Scotland.

“The creative maps are a wonderful addition to the more traditional elements of the exhibition,” explains Karen McCusker, CAVLP Heritage Project Officer. “We started the workshops by exploring the legacy of mapping survey techniques and the first Ordnance Survey maps that Major-General William Roy produced, before creating personalised and expressive maps based in the Clyde and Avon Valley.”

Visitors to the exhibition are encouraged to take home copies of the Mapping the Past Guide, which offers details about the mapping heritage of the Clyde and Avon Valley. The guide will be available as a digital trail from from September 12 onward.

“The guide includes three trails and is a great way for all to get out and explore the mapping heritage of the Clyde and Avon Valley,” says Gavin McGregor, Project Manager at Northlight Heritage. “It takes you on journeys between trig pillars, historic sites and even includes Alasdair Gray’s fantastic 1969 ‘Falls of Clyde’ mural at the Kirkfieldbank Tavern.”

The Mapping the Past exhibition and guide launch corresponds with the 80th birthday celebrations of the Trig Pillar this year. The first trig pillar was built by the Ordnance Survey in 1936. These pillars aided in the triangulation of Britain, which was vitally important to the creation of accurate maps of the country.  Around 6500 of these Trig Pillars were constructed, and from 1936 to 1962, OS surveyors gathered measurements to create a highly accurate map of Britain. Approximately 6000 of these still remain – two of which are in the Clyde and Avon Valley area at Black Hill and Milton Head.

The exhibition runs from Monday 12 – Friday 30 September at Lanark Library. It will be open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 9:15am – 5pm, Tuesday 9:15 – 8pm, Friday 10am – 5pm and Saturday 9:15 – 5pm. The exhibition will be closed on Sundays.

The exhibition precedes the launch of the Local Landscape Heroes CAVLP Heritage project later in September. This volunteer led project will celebrate the artists, writers, designers, architects and ordinary people of the Clyde and Avon valley who shaped the landscape and cultural heritage that defines the area as we know it today.

To find out more about CAVLP Heritage projects and how you can get involved, visit You can contact the team at [email protected] or on 01555 663 430. Follow them on Facebook at or on Twitter to keep up to date with events and workshops.

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25/07/16 New Lanark Search Room # , , , ,

Search Room Spotlight: Glass bottle of IRN BRU

Search Room Spotlight: Glass bottle of IRN BRU

This item was found on site during the restoration of New Lanark that began in the late 1970s. In comparing the design of bottles over the years it appears as though the date of the bottle is sometime during the late 1940s. The shape of the bottle was designed in the form of “BA BRU” who was featured in the long running cartoon strip that advertised the product, which began in 1930 until the early 1970s. Ba-Bru was inspired by the character of “Sabu” in Rudyard Kipling’s book “Sab: The Elephant Boy”.

Ba-bru-design 1948ba-bru

During the 1830s, Robert Barr started a family business of cork cutting in Falkirk. In 1857, Robert’s son, Robert decided to start selling aerated waters (soft drinks) out of Glasgow. During the nineteenth century, Scotland had problems with poor sanitation due to the industrial revolution. As a result, soft drinks became popular as they were guaranteed to be a safe, quality drink for people.

Iron Brew was officially launched in 1901 and featured Adam Brown on the design label, who was a famous highland athlete from Shotts. The production of Iron Brew stopped during the second war as it was not a designated “standard drink” and as a result of shortages of raw materials, production temporarily shut down. With their re-launch in 1947, the brand also changed their name due to emerging food labeling regulations enforced by the Government and since the beverage was neither brewed nor made of Iron, they changed their name to IRN BRU.


Today, Scotland remains one of the only countries where IRN BRU is more popular than Coca Cola.



Holly – New Lanark Archive Intern

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06/07/16 Behind the scenes at New Lanark , New Lanark Search Room , New Lanark World Heritage Site # , , , , , ,

Search Room Spotlight: Keys from New Lanark

Search Room Spotlight: Keys from New Lanark

There are numerous keys in our collection that were found during the restoration of New Lanark that began in the late 1970s. The photo above depicts a selection of keys that originally belonged to former residents of the village.

At its peak in 1818, there were 2,500 employees at New Lanark. The majority of people who worked in the Mills, lived in the early tenement blocks built by New Lanark’s founder, David Dale, to accommodate his workers. These buildings, including Braxfield Row, Long Row, Double Row, Wee Row, Nursery Row, Caithness Row, Mantila Row & New Buildings provided housing for around 200 families. Each family had one room with a window – excellent conditions for the period!. A typical tenement room had two “set in” beds on the wall opposite the fireplace. These consisted of a sturdy wooden framework built into the wall and a mattress which was a bag made of ticking and stuffed with chaff or straw. To accommodate larger families, a “hurlie bed” was used which was a simple cot-like bed on wheels that was stored under the “set in” bed. Each of the beds were shared by three or more family members as most tenements housed entire families that ranged from 8 to 10 members.

Traditional Housing at New Lanark

Traditional Housing at New Lanark

As the population of New Lanark declined over time, so the layout of the houses changed. Families would take over two rooms, sometimes even three, doors would be blocked up, new ones opened and most importantly, the house numbers would change with these alterations. Hence trying to match a key to a house is not as easy a task as it may seem!

Following a 40+ year restoration programme, all but one of the tenement blocks have now been restored (an the restoration of the last is underway).Today, there are 45 tenancies and 20 owner-occupied houses at New Lanark with a population of roughly 150-200 people who live here permanently. Mantila Row was unfortunately demolished during the restoration period as the building was unsafe but the exteriors of the other buildings remain pretty much unchanged. The keys however have got much smaller!



The Story of New Lanark, World Heritage Site

Living in New Lanark, New Lanark Conversation Trust

Historic New Lanark, Ian Donnachie & George Hewitt


Holly – New Lanark Archive Intern

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29/06/16 New Lanark Search Room # , , , ,

Search Room Spotlight: Sock Making Machine

Search Room Spotlight: Sock Making Machine

Since the New Lanark Conservation Trust was formed in 1974 we have acquired a number of objects either found during the restoration process or graciously donated by the public. Initially, we had no intention of creating a collection but have now managed to acquire a large collection of artefacts, books, archival documents, photographs, architectural drawings, and much more which are now all housed in the New Lanark Search Room. Each week, we will give you an up close and personal look at a featured item from our collection.

This week’s Search Room Spotlight: Sock Making Machine


This object is known as a sock knitting machine or circular knitting machine. It was donated by a woman whose husband purchased it in the 1980’s whilst he was working for a knitwear company, Lorne Knitwear in Kilmarkock. The machine is made to be clamped to a table, much like a vice. The main body of the machine is comprised of cast iron with metal needles used to thread the yarn from the top of the device into the bottom, forming a tube. The threading process is made possible by a separate piece attached to the top of the machine that threads the yarn into the device using a variety of gears that move using a hand crank that runs around the exterior of the device (please click the link for a full demonstration).

The exact make of the machine is unknown as there is no patent or any other indication of a company name. The previous owner had mentioned the name “Groz-Beckert” which is a German company that opened in the 1850’s specializing in the manufacturing of various parts for knitting/weaving machines such as needles. Although this may be a possibility, we have yet to uncover evidence to support this theory.

Circular knitting machines have been around since the early 1800’s when a French inventor Marc Brunel challenged the traditional flatbed knitting machines by arranging needles into a circular form. Since this development, there have been many alterations and improvements; more notably, Henry Griswold who was an American inventor that patented his own knitting machine in 1873 while visiting France and Britain. Since its invention, there have been many improvements such as a second set of needles to enable rib knitting and the cuff or welt for socks.

Knitting machines were used for mass production in English workhouses. It was also not uncommon to find children often using these machines as they were very efficient and quite compact. During the First World War the Red Cross urged the Home Front to knit socks for soldiers in order to prevent Trench Foot and machines such as these became an important part in the war effort. According to the previous owner, she believed it was used to make Argyll socks as well as socks for bandsmen. As New Lanark was known for its high quality cotton, knitting machines such as this would have used similar material to produce socks during the mid to late 1880s up until the second World War and are still used today by knitting enthusiasts.




You can find out more about the New Lanark Search Room, and becoming an Archive Volunteer on the New Lanark website.

Holly – New Lanark Archive Intern 

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24/06/16 Behind the scenes at New Lanark , New Lanark Search Room # , , , , ,

Search Room Spotlight – Clogs

Search Room Spotlight – Clogs

Since the New Lanark Conservation Trust was formed in 1974 we have acquired a number of objects either found during the restoration process or graciously donated by the public. Initially, we had no intention of creating a collection but have now managed to acquire a large collection of artefacts, books, archival documents, photographs, architectural drawings, and much more which are now all housed in the New Lanark Search Room. Each week, we will give you an up close and personal look at a featured item from our collection.

This week’s Search Room Spotlight: Pair of Lanchasire-style clogs

Pair of Lanchasire-style clogs

Pair of Lanchasire-style clogs

The item pictured is one of three pairs of wooden clogs that were donated to New Lanark. The boots are incredibly heavy and durable, made of leather with wooden soles and metal plates on the bottom as well as in the toe. These wooden clogs are similar to the 19th century Lanchasire style clogs that originated in Lanchasire, England. The Industrial Revolution gave rise to the popularity of clogs being used by workers in the mills, mines, and factories as they required strong, cheap footwear that was easy to repair. Further research indicates that many weavers adopted the wooden clogs while working in the mills which leads us to believe that these wooden clogs could have very well been used by the weavers at New Lanark during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Look out for next week’s Search Room Spotlight! You can find out more about the New Lanark Search Room on the New Lanark website.

Research links:

Holly – New Lanark Archive Intern 

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31/05/16 CAVLP # , , , , ,

Future of Chatelherault lies in its past

Future of Chatelherault lies in its past

Guest blog from the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership…

A MASSIVE woodland management project is underway at Chatelherault Country Park.

Almost 20 hectares of non-native plantation conifers will be removed and native woodland regenerated, as well as the restoration of spectacular historical views and features.

The park, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), will remain open at all times during the work, although access from the western side will be disrupted from this month (May) until late September this year.

This work is being funded by South Lanarkshire Council and Heritage Lottery Fund supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP).

Detailed Forest and Conservation Management Plans are in place to guide the process with the trees removed from the west side of the gorge between the Cadzow oaks and the White Bridge. These were informed by two public consultations that took place last March.

Profits made from the sale of felled timber will be channelled back into much needed improvements to the parks footpath system. This will include replacing the White Bridge and restoring the paths linking to it.

Large machinery will be felling and moving timber throughout summer months and all visitors are asked to avoid the forestry operations for their own safety.

Signs will be placed at the affected paths and in the car parks and further information will be available in the visitor centre. Any areas where work is taking placed will be closed off to the public and clearly signed.

Chair of South Lanarkshire Council’s Community Services Committee, Councillor Hamish Stewart, said: “This work is absolutely essential to allow us to manage the woodland which makes up the spectacular setting that is Chatelherault Country Park.

“The park will of course remain open, the only difference will be some paths may not be accessible while the work is ongoing. Visitors should check the signage or go to the visitor area for more information.

“The tree felling will leave the area in question looking very sparse for the first couple of years, but we know from experience the native tree regeneration is very rapid in Chatelherault’s fertile woodland soils.

“In 2007 we felled a similar area of spruce and fir at Laverock Hill by Barncluith. After only four years the whole area was covered with young trees and after only six years the young woodland was alive with spring birdsong.

“We would ask visitors to be patient with us and understand that this work is essential to the restoration of this beautiful and historic landscape.”

CAVLP programme manager Donna Marshall said: “The regeneration of ancient woodland, which forms part of the Clyde Valley National Nature Reserve, will help reinforce the status of this part of woodland as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

“The project at Chatelherault is one in a growing number of rewilding projects in the UK which look at expanding native habitats, increasing biodiversity and connecting communities with the nature on their doorsteps.”

The 5th Duke of Hamilton’s hunting lodge at Chatelherault was restored 27 years ago. Once a crumbling ruin, surrounded by an abandoned sand quarry, William Adam’s 18th century masterpiece is now visited by 250,000 people each year.

From the 1940s through to the late 1960’s the ancient natural woodland at Chatelherault was felled and much of the area was planted with fast growing conifers, hence the need for the woodland regeneration programme.

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26/01/16 CAVLP # , , , , , ,

Kirkyard Tales: The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker

Kirkyard Tales: The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker

Guest post from Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership

Help exhume secrets of souls laid to rest at St Ninian’s Kirkyard, Stonehouse, by volunteering to take part in a FREE archaeological project on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 February.

Join CAVLP Heritage and Stonehouse Heritage Group to help shed light on the lives and work of 17th and 18th century bakers, millers, masons, weavers, blacksmiths, farmers and their families, by recording the tools of the trades depicted on the headstones.

No experience of archaeology is necessary – FREE training will be provided in using the latest 3D recording techniques to digitise the gravestones, and there will be activities for all ages and abilities.

“These type of stones were popular in the 17th and 18th century across the whole of Scotland, and they allow us to construct a picture of the people that were living and working around Stonehouse at this time,” explains CAVLP Heritage Officer Dr Paul Murtagh.

He continues, “It would be great if people could help us record these stones so that we can explore the industrial, horticultural and agricultural heritage of the area.”

John Young of the Stonehouse Heritage Group has been recording St Ninian’s Kirkyard for years. He explains that, “As a community we need to work together to preserve our ancestral history in teaching new generations to respect and take pride in preserving our village’s heritage.”

He continues, “One way we can do this is by promoting the importance of graveyards to local residents – helping them understand their historical context, as well as the significance of the carvings etched on the headstones. These records in stone provide us with an insight into the period in which they were erected and stand as monuments to the people who shaped the communities in which we live today.”

The initiative is part of a wider project, Capturing the Past, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP) and Historic Scotland, and managed by Northlight Heritage. The project seeks to research and record a variety of local sites of archaeological interest, so there are a plethora of opportunities to get involved in numerous sites of archaeological interest throughout the Clyde and Avon valleys.

A series of FREE, hands-on learning opportunities relating to the historical working lives of people in the Clyde and Avon valleys are also available from the CAVLP Heritage team and run concurrently with the Capturing the Past project until August. MapCRAFT, Tasting Through Time, Sheep to Shawl and Brick by Brick courses explore the mapping, agricultural, horticultural and industrial heritage unique to the area. Designed to fit in with the Curriculum for Excellence, Duke of Edinburgh and John Muir Awards as well as Badge Activities for Guides, Scout and the Boys and Girls Brigade, courses can be tailored to meet the needs of any age group and ability and can last between 2 to 4 hours.

The FREE weekend event at St Ninian’s Kirkyard, Stonehouse, will offer volunteers a chance to engage in the latest techniques used by archaeologists to digitally record sites, and to help enhance the record of this important historical kirkyard. Further events and training weekends will take place on the first and third weekends in February, March and April.

Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 of February – Archaeological survey of St Ninian’s Kirkyard

St Ninians Kirkyard and Stonehouse Lifestyles, 10.30am – 3.30pm, adults, children and families all welcome. Free but booking essential. For more information and to book, call 1555 661555 or email Paul and Karen at [email protected].

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19/08/15 Events at New Lanark , New Lanark Search Room , New Lanark World Heritage Site # , , , , , , ,

New Lanark welcomes visitors for ‘Doors Open’ Weekend 2015

New Lanark welcomes visitors for ‘Doors Open’ Weekend 2015

On Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th September New Lanark will take part in the nationwide Doors Open Days initiative, giving visitors a fantastic opportunity to explore its buildings not usually open to the public.

Between 12pm and 4pm the Counting House, Robert Owen’s School for Children, The Search Room and War Memorial Garden will be open to the public for free. Also open will be the ‘Museum Stair’ tenement. This derelict building is one of 8 in Double Row, a block of tenements which will be restored as part of a £4million project funded by Historic Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Due to the building’s historic & fragile interior it is currently only open for special events. As part of the project an exciting new 3D virtual tour of the ‘Museum Stair’ interior will be opening within the New Lanark Visitor Centre in future years.

The Counting House

The Counting House

Double Row - Museum Stair

Double Row – Museum Stair

During the Doors Open Weekend there will also be lots of free activities for families to enjoy as part of the Scottish Archaeology and Heritage Festival. Craft workshops will be held allowing visitors to try their hand at printing historic wallpaper, and families will be able to discover historic artefacts around New Lanark & claim a prize with the fun Discovery Trail.

There’s so much going on for Doors Open Weekend that New Lanark’s founders, Richard Arkwright and David Dale, will be travelling forward in time to see how New Lanark has changed since they founded it in 1785. They will also be giving free tours of the site to visitors and there are sure to be hilarious results!

School for Children

Robert Owen’s School for Children

The Search Room

The Search Room

War Memorial garden

War Memorial Garden

Visitors on Doors Open Weekend can also take advantage of a special offer of 25% off visitor centre tickets, allowing them to explore other parts of the site including the Annie McLeod Experience Ride, Millworkers’ Housing, Village Store Exhibition and Robert Owen’s House.

Further information on Doors Open Days at New Lanark, and New Lanark’s upcoming events including the 2015 Book Festival in October can be found at

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14/08/15 New Lanark World Heritage Site # , , ,

2016 EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards – entries open!

2016 EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards – entries open!

The European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards is Europe’s most prestigious prize in the heritage field. It recognises the excellence and dedication by architects, craftsmen, cultural heritage experts, volunteers, schools, local communities, heritage owners and the media.

The awards are given to the most outstanding achievements in conservation, research, dedicated service, and education, training and awareness-raising.

In 2016, up to 30 heritage projects and initiatives will receive an award. Up to seven will be selected as Grand Prix winners and receive €10,000 each. One will receive the Public Choice Award, chosen in an online poll conducted by Europa Nostra.

All the winners will be celebrated at the European Heritage Awards Ceremony 2016 in Madrid, Spain.

Submit your project and share your success!

Deadline: 1 October 2015

More info:



Group photo of the 2015 winners and representatives from the European Commission and Europa Nostra before the European Heritage Awards Ceremony at Oslo City Hall on 11 June 2015. Photo: Espen Sturlason

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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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