New Lanark World Heritage Site Blog

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19/10/15 Talks at New Lanark # , , , , ,

Free talk at New Lanark on Historic New Harmony & Jane Blaffer Owen

Free talk at New Lanark on Historic New Harmony & Jane Blaffer Owen

Robert Owen is known for being one of New Lanark’s most enlightened mill managers, but perhaps one of the lesser known facts about Owen is that in 1825, frustrated by constant opposition to his new ideas, Robert Owen sold the Mills at New Lanark and decided to buy the settlement of Harmony in Indiana, which he renamed New Harmony.

In the less conservative climate of the New World, Owen planned to create a Utopian Community or Village of Unity and Mutual Co-operation. Owen was partnered by William Maclure, a Scottish Geologist and social experimenter who shared his belief in rational and scientific education.

Just 2 years later, in the spring of 1827 the Owen / Maclure New Harmony was abandoned after a series of disagreements within the community organisation. Despite the failure of Owen’s utopian dream, New Harmony did not disintegrate completely. Some of its most brilliant settlers remained and made significant contributions to American scientific and educational theory, study and practice.

Over the years the relationship between New Lanark and New Harmony has continued to grow, with many visits ‘across the pond’ being made by residents and representatives from both communities.

On Friday 30th October, Nancy Mangum McCaslin from New Harmony will be giving a free talk at New Lanark related to New Harmony and Jane Blaffer Owen CBE, the wife of Kenneth Dale Owen – Robert Owen’s great-great grandson.

“In 1941, Kenneth Dale Owen, great-great grandson of Robert Owen, brought his bride, Jane Blaffer Owen, to his ancestral hometown, New Harmony, Indiana, where two communal societies took root in the early 1800s: the religious Harmonie Society from Germany, who relocated and sold their entire town to Robert Owen, who together with a like-minded Scotsman and scientist William Maclure, began an educational and scientific model community based on mutual cooperation. New Harmony’s historic significance, however, had faded by the time of her arrival in the 1940s.”

Jane Blaffer Owen dedicated herself not only to the preservation and revitalization of the historic buildings but also to bringing some of the finest intellects of her time to the town. Jane Blaffer Owen recounts her activities in the posthumously published memoir New Harmony, Indiana: Like a River, Not a Lake (published by Indiana University Press, 2015) and edited by Nancy Mangum McCaslin, who also serves on the Advisory Board of Historic New Harmony.

Nancy will give a presentation on Robert Owen & his family in New Harmony, followed by a brief documentary showing an interview with Jane Blaffer Owen, entitled Conversations in New Harmony. The free talk will take place on Friday 30th October 2015 at 2.30pm within the New Lanark River Room. Afterwards, copies of New Harmony, Indiana: Like a River, Not a Lake will be available for sale and signings.

No booking is required for the talk. For further information please call New Lanark Trust on 01555 661345.

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19/10/15 Events at New Lanark # , , , , , ,

An evening with Lorna Gibb, author of A Ghost’s Story

An evening with Lorna Gibb, author of A Ghost’s Story

North Lanarkshire author, Lorna Gibb, will be launching her latest book, A Ghost’s Story: A Novel, at a special event at the New Lanark Institute on Tuesday 10th November at 6pm.

At this special launch event, Gibb will discuss the haunted history of New Lanark and explore why we continue to be fascinated by the spirit world.

A Ghost’s Story, Gibb’s first novel, is a spell-binding tale which tells the story of Katie King, the most famous ghost of the last two centuries. Katie King made her first appearance in New Lanark and infamously haunted the social pioneer and mill-owner Robert Owen throughout his life.

From the candle-lit drawing rooms of the Victorian era through to the appearance of spirits in the 21st century, Gibb will take you on a social history of the séance from the 19th century to present day, exploring the boundaries between what is real and what is unreal and ultimately examining why we are all so gripped by ghost stories.

A Ghost’s Story will be on sale at the event at the special discounted price of £10.00.

Date: Tuesday 10th November

Time: 6-8pm

Location: River Room, New Lanark Institute, South Lanarkshire ML11 9DB

Entry: Free but RSVP is essential: [email protected]

LORNA GIBB was born in Belshill, North Lanarkshire, Scotland. She is a university lecturer and now lives in London. She is the author of Lady Hester: Queen of the East and West’s World: The Extraordinary Life of Dame Rebecca West.  A Ghost’s Story is her first novel and will be published in hardback by Granta Books on 12th November 2015 priced £12.99.

 

For more information, please contact Sara D’Arcy: [email protected] / 020 7605 1374

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18/06/15 Talks at New Lanark # , , , , ,

Chatelherault Country Park: Developing a Long Term Forest Plan

Chatelherault Country Park: Developing a Long Term Forest Plan

Tomorrow, we will be joined by Malcolm Muir, Countryside and Greenspace Manager, South Lanarkshire Council, for his talk, ‘Restructuring an Ancient Treescape at Chatelherault.’ The talk will outline the Long Term Forest Plan which is being prepared to ensure the stunning native wildlife, landscape and views at Chatelherault County Park are there for future generations to enjoy. Sarah O’Sullivan from the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership fills us in on why the organisation are supporting the exciting plans.

Formerly a royal hunting park for the ancient Kings of Strathclyde, the Hamilton Family were granted the lands of ‘Cadzow’ around 1320. Chatelherault was built in the 1740s as a hunting lodge for the Dukes, at the end of a long tree lined avenue which led from Hamilton Palace. It reflected the formal symmetry of the great, designed landscape surrounding Hamilton Palace to the front, while the back of the building offered magnificent views over the Avon gorge which was, at that point, covered in native broadleaved woodland. The Dukes built paths, bridges and maintained viewpoints which are still in use today, although in varying states of repair.

Throughout these long centuries, the ancient broadleaved woodlands had been carefully managed for timber, charcoal and game. They had seen little change until the 1950s when a high proportion of the woodland was cleared and replaced with fast growing commercial conifers, mainly from Europe and America. These non-native trees have had a negative impact on native wildlife, blocking light and lessening the habitats supported by native broadleaved woodlands. They have also grown much taller than the native trees, blocking breath-taking views across the River Avon. Ancient woodlands are now protected against felling and work across Scotland is now underway to restore Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) – of which Chatelherault Country Park is one.

The remaining ancient woodland, one of the richest and most diverse habitats in Britain, supports thousands of species of animals, plants, fungi and micro-organisms. They are of national importance, forming part of Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve (NNR) and specific parts within it having being designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and European Special Area for Conservation (SAC).

The Long Term Forest Plan lays out a 25 year schedule for conifer removal by felling, using modern harvesting machinery. The removal will take part in sections to minimise disruption to users of the park. Existing paths will be improved and a new path will be created through Meikle Glen to communities to the south and west of Hamilton, to allow for vehicle access. These paths will improve access across the park and offer a more varied range of circular walks, having a positive benefit on visitors and communities close to the park.

Although the felling will have an impact on the aesthetics of the area, the area’s fertile soils contain a rich seed bank that which means that natural tree regeneration is very rapid. Laverock Hill near Barncluith was felled in 2005 and by 2009, had already greened over and was covered with young, predominantly birch trees. By spring 2011, the whole area was covered with young woodland and was alive with birdsong. Over the next ten years, the regenerated birch will be thinned and spaced out to provide room for slower growing tree species, such as ash and oak.

Money raised by the sale of the conifer timber will go towards further improvements in the park such as path, bridge and access improvements, restoration of some of the neglected historic structures in the wider park, as well as the potential restoration of the White Bridge.

The plans are being led by South Lanarkshire Council and South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture Ltd who are working with the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership, Forestry Commission Scotland, Historic Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Central Scotland Green Network Trust, Eammon Wall & Co and Land Use Consultants, to ensure that the project is developed in accordance with the best available advice and guidance, following best practice as set out in the UK Forestry Standard.

Tickets for Malcolm’s talk are £4 and this includes the chance to explore New Lanark’s current ‘Homecoming’ exhibition and a glass of wine or refreshment. Tickets can be booked in advance by calling 01555 661345, emailing [email protected], online or ‘on the door’ on the night. The talk is in Robert Owen’s School for Children at New Lanark, which is located past the waterwheel.

Sarah – New Lanark Guest Blogger from the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership

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16/06/15 Ted at New Lanark # , , , , , , , , ,

Ted’s June at New Lanark

Ted’s June at New Lanark

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all been enjoying June so far – I’ve had a really busy month already celebrating Lanark Lanimers. You’ve probably heard of it already, but if not you just need to know that it’s a traditional week of celebrations in the town of Lanark which all cumulates on Lanimer Day when the Lanimer Queen is crowned and there’s a big procession down the High Street with local schools & groups dressed up in brilliant costumes.

To look my best for the week, I decided to dress up as a Lanimer Lord Cornet complete with Harris Tweed jacket, hat, sash & flag (all that’s missing is a horse!). My fantastic Harris Tweed jacket was made by Irene Murray from I heart bags. Irene makes lots of wonderful products, like bags and tablet cases using lovely bright colours of Harris Tweed. She can be emailed on [email protected] if you’d like to find out more about her products. My jodhpurs and riding boots were knitted by Janice and Lesli from the New Lanark Visitor Centre using New Lanark wool, they certainly did keep my paws warm!

Ted's Lanimers outfit

Posing with the traditional Lanimer birch trees

 

I showcased my new outfit at the Ride Out at New Lanark on the Tuesday night of Lanimer Week where I even got to meet the Lanimer Queen Jenna and Gordon the Lord Cornet!

Lanimer Ride Out at New Lanark

Jenna the Lanimer Queen, Gordon the Lord Cornet and myself!

Lanimer Ride Out at New Lanark

Spot the difference?!

On Thursday the sun was shining for the people of Lanark to enjoy Lanimer Day. It was my first time watching the procession and I can’t wait until next year!

Lanimer Day

Prime viewing spot for the crowning of the Lanimer Queen!

 

After the excitement of Lanimer Week I visited the new exhibition in the New Lanark River Room. Run by Spectrum Art Group, there are some wonderful paintings from the art group’s members. The exhibition is free to view, and it’s running until Saturday 4th July.

Spectrum exhibition

Spectrum exhibition

 

It won’t be long now until the local schools finish up for the Summer holidays! If you’re looking for something to do with the kids then why not check out New Lanark’s programme of Summer Craft Workshops? Ruth from the New Lanark Learning Team gave me a sneak peek at some of the brilliant crafts the kids will be making – like this mythical dragon costume and paper lantern hot air balloon! Find out more & book a place today. 

Summer crafts - mythical creatures costumes

Summer Craft workshops – mythical creature costume!

Summer Crafts - hot air balloon

Summer Craft workshops – paper lantern hot air balloon!

 

On Monday 15th June the refurbished Village Store opened again! It’s looking great and is the perfect place to pick up traditional sweeties, toys, New Lanark food & gifts, guide books and postcards.

Ted at the Village Store

The new bike was a bit big for me so I just had a go in the basket!

Ted at the Village Store

Us bears do love sweet treats!

Ted at the Village Store

Lots of fun New Lanark souvenirs to pick up!

 

Later on this month…

On Friday 19th June Malcolm Muir is giving a talk at New Lanark on the fascinating restoration project of Hamilton High Parks’ Ancient Treescape. Tickets are just £4 and can be bought by emailing [email protected], calling 01555 661345, online or ‘on the door’ on the night. The talk starts at 7.30pm in Robert Owen’s School for Children. (past the waterwheel)

I can’t wait for Live at New Lanark on Saturday 27th June! It’s going to be a day of live music for the whole family to enjoy, hosted in the beautiful Robert Owen’s Garden. You can bring a picnic or pick up a snack from some food & drink stalls. Tickets are just £6 for adults (or 2 for £10), Under 16s are £4 and Under 3s are free! Find out more and buy tickets. I’ll see you then – I’ll be hanging with the bands backstage! 🙂

 

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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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.

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