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New Lanark

New Lanark World Heritage Site
New Lanark is an eighteenth century restored cotton mill village on the banks of the River Clyde, close to the Falls of Clyde in Southern Scotland.

New Lanark was created as a cotton-spinning village in the late eighteenth to early nineteenth century and was transformed under the management of Robert Owen.

Owen greatly improved the conditions, facilities and services for the workers and their families and this led to many social improvements including progressive education, factory reform, more humane working practices and garden cities.

By 1799 New Lanark was the biggest cotton mill in Scotland and formed one of the largest industrial groups in the world. Over 2,000 people lived or worked in the village. The mill continued manufacturing cotton for nearly 200 years, until 1968. This helps explain why the buildings in the village are so little changed.

Inscription and Significance

New Lanark was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001.

The Outstanding Universal Value of New Lanark is based on its remarkable degree of survival as a late eighteenth, early nineteenth century planned mill village. The benevolent paternalism of mill owner Robert Owen is physically expressed at New Lanark through its planned layout. His concern for the well being of workers is demonstrated by the provision of the education institute, school and spacious workers’ housing.  Owen’s social philosophy had a profound influence on the development of social developments throughout the nineteenth century and beyond.

Read the full Statement of Outstanding Universal Value [pdf, 209kb]


New Lanark is located in southern, central Scotland, adjacent to the market town of Lanark.

Managing the Site

New Lanark is a living community in the care of the New Lanark Trust, whose aim is to preserve the area as a sustainable community with a resident population.  The Trust manages the Site in partnership with South Lanarkshire Council and Historic Scotland. The Site Management Plan guides sustainable management to maintain the Outstanding Universal Value. The current Management Plan 2013-18 and Action Plan can be found here:

Visiting the Site

The New Lanark Trust offers a range of attractions and educational experiences for visitors, including the mill, museum, village store, school classroom, and Robert Owen’s house. For more information see the New Lanark Trust website.

Further images of New Lanark can be seen at the Scottish Ten website.

For further information contact
The New Lanark World Heritage Site Coordinator
Historic Scotland
Longmore House
Salisbury Place
Edinburgh EH9 1SH

World Heritage Site Logo

Contact us

World Heritage Site
Coordination Team
Historic Scotland
Longmore House
Salisbury Place
Tel: +44 (0) 131 668 8763

Free downloadable resources

Free downloadable leaflets and fact sheets about New Lanark can be found on our Information & resources page