New Lanark World Heritage Site Blog

house history

31/10/16 Double Row Restoration Project # , , ,

1 Year of the New Lanark House History Project

1 Year of the New Lanark House History Project

Guest blog by Ruth Beattie, Head Researcher and Learning Officer…

In November 2015 I began a research project linked to the Townscape Heritage Project for the restoration of Double Row; the last derelict tenement at New Lanark to be restored.

Research would focus on the social history of the tenement, the families and past residents who lived there and of the history of people in the village. We chose the time period from 1900 to the 1970s for three reasons: it was the most recent time period in the building’s history, many past residents with memories of relatives and living their themselves had been identified and it was a time of great change in Scotland in terms of the world wars, the decline of industry, the modernisation of housing and of people’s lifestyles.

children-on-rosedale-street-c-1950s

Children on Rosedale Street c.1950s (Double Row)

When I began the project, I looked at the existing known New Lanark families living in Double Row from the early 1900s. Researching the village in the First World War had given me a good understanding of the family names, connections and their backgrounds. At this time in particular, many Irish weaving families had settled in New Lanark and were employed in the mills weaving nets and canvas for the Gourock Ropework Company.

Names such as Jess (of which there are around 5 separate families!), Harkness, Bones, Savage, Hawthorne, Leggatte, Lynas and Ashe among many others, came up time and again along with Scottish or long standing New Lanark names such as Mackin, MacPherson, Arnott, Kirkhope, Hay, Goddard, Dunlop, Romer, and Graham.

11-rosedale-st-c-1968

11 Rosedale Street c.1968 (Double Row) where Irish lady Susan Rocks lived.

Hugh Mackin with sister-in-law Susan Rocks at her flat 11 Rosedale Street (Double Row) in 1966

Hugh Mackin with his Aunt Susan Rocks at her flat 11 Rosedale Street (Double Row) in 1966

Then it was time to open the research to those people who had lived here, were born here, grew up here or simply remembered their relatives living here and held fond, happy memories of the village. The initial response was fantastic. We advertised in local Lanarkshire papers, on our website and social media and around our site. Many people got in touch with me from all over Britain and even as far as Canada! Through emails, phone calls and visits to our search-room we have pieced together the stories of the families recording memories and with documents and family photos. We now have 24 separate New Lanark family stories. Each family has a file containing a biography in progress, photos, documents and any interesting finds such as newspaper articles of the time or oral history interviews recorded in the 1980s.

The last resident to leave Double Row in the 1970s – Elizabeth Jess. Pictured with her grandson David Dunlop who was born there and lives in Lanark today. David has contributed immensely to the social history of the village.

The last resident to leave Double Row in the 1970s – Elizabeth Jess. Pictured with her grandson David Dunlop who was born there and lives in Lanark today. David has contributed immensely to the social history of the village.

 

Elizabeth with husband Joseph Henry Jess and son Thomas in September 1935.

Elizabeth with husband Joseph Henry Jess and son Thomas in September 1935.

 

chidren-in-snow-at-square-1950s-child-at-front-is-harry-jess

Harry Jess as a child at New Lanark (front with spade). Harry is the grandson of Elizabeth Jess and a cousin of David Dunlop. He also lives in Lanark today.

One of the most interesting stories to come out of the research was of the lost letter to Double Row resident Mary Savage, written in 1916 by a friend in County Antrim, Ireland after the family had moved to New Lanark. You can read more about this story on our blog post from June 2016 by our marketing intern Ronan Moore.

Sisters Margaret and Mary Savage who lived at 3 Double Row – the letter was written by Mary’s friend Annie Lynn from County Antrim, Ireland in 1916.

Sisters Margaret and Mary Savage who lived at 3 Double Row – the letter was written by Mary’s friend Annie Lynn from County Antrim, Ireland in 1916.

I would like to thank all the families who have been in touch for their amazing contribution and the volunteers helping with the research. As we move into the second phase* of the research project, we really couldn’t be in a better position with a wealth of interesting stories to build upon.

The Harkness family who lived at 9 Double Row.

The Harkness family who lived at 9 Double Row.

New Lanark is a special place and it means so very much to people whose families lived and worked here in the time of the mills. This has been perhaps the most moving aspect of the research and it is truly rewarding to be able to bring those family stories together. I hope that we can produce a legacy from the project to last and that would not have been possible without people’s memories of a past life, their enthusiasm and their sense of pride at having a connection to this historic village.

*Information about phase two of the project coming in early 2017.

Ruth Beattie, Head Researcher and Learning Officer, New Lanark Trust.

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14/06/16 Double Row Restoration Project # , ,

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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21/03/16 Latest News at New Lanark # , , , , , , ,

House History Project at New Lanark needs you!

House History Project at New Lanark needs you!

New Lanark Trust has launched a House History project to discover more about the lives of the people who used to live and work in the historic village.

New Lanark Trust is placing a call out for people with family connections to anyone who used to live and/or work at New Lanark, specifically with a focus on anyone who used to live in the Double Row or Water Row tenement blocks as part of their House History Project. 

The information gathered will be used to form a permanent record of the families who used to live in, or were connected to New Lanark. These details will be collated into a cohesive family portfolio within New Lanark’s Search Room Archive and will also be available to the public as a publication.

The research from the ‘House History’ project will also form the historical basis for the interpretation activities linked to New Lanark’s Double Row Restoration Project. This is a major Townscape Heritage / CARS Project at New Lanark to restore Double Row, the last block of former millworkers’ housing to be restored at the historic site. Building works started on Double Row in late February 2016, and are expected to continue until the end of the year.  The £4m project is being funded by a number of organisations, with the two main funders being the Heritage Lottery Fund (through its Townscape Heritage (TH) programme) and Historic Environment Scotland (through its Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS).

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

Further information on the House History Project and New Lanark can be found at www.newlanark.org

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

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