"planned' town
World Heritage Site

page 1 | 2


postcode ML11 9DB
nr Lanark
on the River Clyde
South Lanarkshire




World Heritage Site
New Lanark Site
Undiscovered Scotland
Robert Owen


New Lanark

Looking down on the planned town of New Lanark

Urban Planning

We may think of modern 'planned developments" as the epitome of urban planning nowadays, but this early effort to create a utopian township dates from 1786. David Dale built a mill here, and as part of the experiment with his son-in-law Robert Owen, built housing, shops, schools, and an entirely contained village.

Owens was a philanthropist and interesting in the creation of a utopian socialist society. The town had a population of about 2500 -- brought in from surrounding cities to run the mills. The families of the millworkers were of particular interest to Owens, and he built schools and implemented worker safety programs that were revolutionary for the time. He treated his worker well; they had the option of good medical care and education, and housing was certainly an improvement over the conditions in most Scottish towns and mills.

the visitor center

The mill was profitable and continued to operate until 1968 (although not under the "utopian" plan that Owens originally built, of course.

The town has been restored to its original condition (as much as possible), with attention paid to keeping the buildings and fittings as historically accurate as possible. There is a permament population in the town of about 200 people, who have all the modern conveniences, although they are carefully hidden from veiw to keep the appearance of the original Lanark town.

The town contains tenement blocks, townhouses, schools, a church, four mill buildings, a gaswords, and mechanics workshop, among other supporting buildings.

Visiting requires a rather steep walk down to the village from the carpark, but it does offer lovely views of the restored buildings. There is a hotel and hostel in restored buildings in the town.

looking past one of the mill buildings to the river

page 1 | 2