Statement of Special Interest
The two adjacent parts of Double Row form a part of the prominent group of housing at the north end of the village and mill complex and are a significant component of the townscape. They demonstrate Dale's ingenious solution to the problem of planning his Utopian village.
The housing provided for the workers in New Lanark is particularly important as it is not typical of social housing of the 18th century. Many planned settlements for the accommodation of workers sprang up in the age of Improvement all over Scotland - for example, at Charlestown (Fife), Grantown-on-Spey, Newcastleton and Inveraray. Generally the buildings were low rise and arranged in a grid plan around formal squares focussed on public buildings. The topography of the New Lanark site prevented low-rise housing and so these tall tenements were built instead. These stacked tenement-like structures prefigure the City Improvement scheme and other tenements which appeared in the cities in the second half of the 19th century. Later mill complexes such as Stanley and Catrine returned to the more conventional grid of two-storey blocks.
Double Row is the only row of workers housing in New Lanark that is 2 rooms deep, allowing flexible accommodation depending on the needs of each family. Each 3-bay unit contained two stairs, one over the other, entered from either Rosedale Street or Water Row. There were 4 rooms on each floor and these could be allocated as 1, 2 or 4 apartments.
The 6 north bays of 1-4 Double Row were probably built at the same time as the 6 south bays of 5-12 Double Row, as the texture and colour of the stone of these adjacent parts is similar whilst the other parts of each terrace are different and were perhaps built earlier. Early views of the terrace would seem to confirm this. The severity of the long terrace is alleviated by its good proportions, the warm colour and texture of the stone and contrasting cream coloured dressings.
Double Row was occupied by employees of the mill continuously for 200 years. It was restored as a Youth Hostel in 1994 when most early internal features were lost to comply with fire regulations.
New Lanark was a pioneering cotton-spinning village, which became a model for industrial communities that was to spread across the world in the 19th and 20th centuries and is recognised as being of outstanding importance historically and in visual terms because of its completeness and its physical form. Elements of sophisticated early town planning are evidenced in the orchestration of the various components in the village, from the mill weir, its lade and tunnel to south, to the tunnels and sluices leading off to the individual mills, the crucially generous circulation spaces, gardens, tailored walks and viewing points realised from the start. It is surrounded by an incomparable natural and designed landscape, the mill buildings sitting on the natural terrace to the east of the River Clyde in this deeply incised, wooded river valley.
Built to exploit the water power offered by the Falls of Clyde, the mills were in operation from 1786 to 1968. The mill village is made up of industrial, residential and community buildings, dating predominantly from between 1786 and the 1820s. It was founded by David Dale, a Glasgow merchant, in conjunction with Richard Arkwright, a trailblazing inventor of the cotton spinning industry whose patents enabled operation on a considerable scale. Dale's humane philosophy, realised from the start in the buildings of New Lanark, was expanded by Robert Owen, who took over management of the mill village in partnership from 1799. Owen created an environment where child labour and corporal punishment were abolished, and provided workers with good homes, education and free health care as well as affordable food. He had a profound influence on social developments such as factory reform throughout the 19th century.
Within World Heritage Site inscribed 2001.
Previously listed as 'New Lanark, 1-8 (Inclusive Nos) Double Row, Known as Wee Row'.
List description updated 2010.