Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
South Lanarkshire
Planning Authority
South Lanarkshire
NS 88096 42347
288096, 642347


1806 with alterations circa 1881. 19-bay, slightly curved, rectangular-plan former foundry adjacent to and following the curve of the River Clyde and consisting of 3 parts: single storey, 4-bay, gabled workshop to N with louvred ridge and overflow openings to W; 2-storey, 3-bay piended central block arched opening for tailrace to W; single storey, gabled, 12-bay section to S. Predominantly sandstone rubble with stugged and droved ashlar dressings; brick to river elevation of N block. Fairly regular fenestration river (W) elevations; irregular arrangement of doors and windows to E. 2 ashlar-coped walls with depressed arch vehicle openings linking central section to Mechanics' workshop opposite, forming small courtyard.

Predominantly 16-pane and 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows. Ashlar coped stack to central 2-storey section. Ashlar-coped skews to N and S sections. Grey slates. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

Statement of Special Interest

This building is considerable historical importance because it is one of the oldest surviving foundry buildings in Scotland. It was a brass and iron foundry and an important element to the economy of the village as it produced machinery and structural castings, thereby making the New Lanark mills virtually self-sustaining. It also supplied other mills - for example it provided a new water wheel for Stanley Mills (Perthshire) in 1811. The arches linking the foundry to the Mechanics Workshops have hooks with block and tackle to assemble larger cast items, such as waterwheels. It was powered by an overshot waterwheel 7m in diameter until it was removed in 1929. The building is an important visual element in the village, being physically linked to the Mechanics' Institute and situated prominently on the edge of the river.

In the 1880s it was converted to be used as a dyeworks (one of the arches carried a launder to the wheel in the dyeworks) when Henry Birkmyre, who bought the mills in 1881, diversified the products and started to produce woven cotton in the mills alongside the original function of cotton spinning. 5 bays to N, which originally may have been clad in timber, were replaced in brick at about this time. The louvred ridge ventilators in the N section indicate the dye works function: they were required because of the humidity of the process. The building is now used by the Scottish Wildlife Fund as a visitor centre.

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. 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.

Previously listed as 'New Lanark, Dyeworks'.

List description updated 2010.



William Forrest, The County of Lanark from Actual Survey (1816). 1st edition Ordnance Survey map (1857-58). Historic Scotland, Nomination of New Lanark for inclusion in the World Heritage List, (2000). R Paxton and J Shipway: Civil Engineering Heritage of Scotland: Lowlands and Borders (2007), p233-236.

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority advises on the need for listed building consent and they also decide what a listing covers. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

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Printed: 25/03/2019 03:36