Statement of Special Interest
Remnant of earlier 19th century gas-making plant. As most Scottish stalks are of brick, this octagonal stone chimney at New Lanark is a rare survival and therefore particularly significant. It is the last remaining part of the village gasworks (coal gas was used to provide lighting for cotton production in the mills as well as for lighting in the village). Two small gasholders once stood next to a small U-plan Retort House (the site now occupied by a river viewing point).The chimney is also an important visual element at the S end of the mills complex providing a vertical accent at the termination of the view. In 1873 another large stack, this time in brick, was built for the steam boilers and appears in late 19th century views of the village but this has since been demolished.
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.
List description updated 2010.