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.