1806. 2-storey and basement (3 storeys to W), 17-bay, rectangular-plan, pediment-gabled classical block with slightly advanced pedimented central 3 bays and slightly advanced end bays. Random rubble with stugged and droved dressings. Eaves course; blocking course to end bays of E elevation. Long and short quoins. Regular fenestration with tabbed margins. Pediment gables to front and sides with blind oculi and short stacks to apex. 2-leaf timber-panelled front door accessed via ashlar platt oversailing basement; timber-boarded doors to side and rear elevations. W (rear) elevation linked to former dye works by stone arches at right angles to main building (see separate listing for workshops).
16-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows. Ashlar-coped stacks. Ashlar-coped skews. Grey slates.
INTERIOR: some original woodwork, including timber-boarded doors, survives. Timber floors carried on clustered iron columns (like those found in the School and Institute).
Statement of Special Interest
The building is of considerable historical importance as, along with the former foundry (later dyeworks), they are one of the earliest groups of surviving engineering and foundry buildings in Scotland. The works supplied machinery, millwright work and structural castings not only to New Lanark (enabling the village to be almost self-sufficient) but it also supplied machinery to other mills such as the new water wheel for Stanley Mills in 1811. With its simple classical detailing and regular fenestration The Mechanics' Workshop is also an important visual element at the S end of the mill and village complex.
New Lanark was a pioneering cotton-spinning village that 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. Under Owen the venture prospered and became one of the world's largest cotton mill centres in the world supporting 2500 people. 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.
List description updated 2010.