1817. 2 storey (3 to rear) and basement, 11 bay, rectangular-plan, piend-roofed, symmetrical, astylar classical block, originally School, now Education Centre with advanced, pedimented, central 3 bays. Squared, coursed brown sandstone with stugged and droved cream ashlar dressings; polished ashlar to door architrave. Band course above basement to front and side elevations; blocking course. Long and short quoins. Regular fenestration with raised, tabbed margins and projecting cills. Steps to timber panelled entrance door set in deep cavetto-moulded architrave with simple bracketed cornice; blind oval oculus to pediment with capping block above.
16-pane (top floor and basement) and 20-pane (1st floor) glazing in timber sash and case windows; some blind windows. Scottish slate roof. Cast-iron rain water goods with hoppers. Circular ties to E and W elevations. Plain railings to basement area.
INTERIOR: symmetrically planned interior. Cantilevered stone staircase (steps worn and now protected by glass) with simple iron plain iron balusters and hand rail. Musicians' galleries in E and W rooms at top floor supported on slim cast-iron clustered columns; similar cast-iron columns also found elsewhere. Some original wood panelling and plasterwork. Remnants of the original heating system with slots in walls for warm air to exhale.
Statement of Special Interest
The School building is of great importance historically as one component of the ideal industrial community begun by David Dale and developed by Robert Owen, and architecturally as a striking feature in the village with its simple classical facade. Together with the New Institution for the Formation of Character it served as part of Owen's complex system of education that provided facilities for all ages from babies to adults. It is built on the lines that Owen set out in the new 'Articles of Partnership' for a school based on the ideas of the educational innovator, Joseph Lancaster - for example in the galleried rooms on the top level. The School taught a wide curriculum and had 12 teachers to 194 pupils in the elementary school and 7 teachers to 80 pupils in the infant school.
The School is also important because it still has the visible remains of the sophisticated heating system installed by Owen. From the firebox, the remains of which are still visible on the W elevation, two brick flues ran up through the building. Warm air exhaled from letter-box sized slots at various points. The system is similar to that used by William Strutt in his Derbyshire mills and later in Derbyshire General Infirmary and was presumably copied from there by Owen.
The building ceased to function as a school in 1884, when the new primary school was opened on Braxfield Road above New Lanark and was subsequently used by the cotton company for net-making and testing. It was converted to an educational centre in 2000.
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 ands 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. The mill 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, the School'.
List description updated 2010.