Lanark lies to the east of Strathaven and is perched high above the River Clyde. The town was established when David I built a castle here in the 12th century. Though nothing remains of the castle today, Lanark is still an important centre, as it is situated among fine farming land and has a market capable of handling 15,000 head of sheep and 2,500 head of cattle.
Drop down to the banks of the Clyde and you come to New Lanark, a world heritage site. Your first site of the village is large broken curving walls of honeyed warehouses and tenements built in Palladian style.
At the close of the 18th century philanthropist David Dale and his son-in-law Robert Owen embarked on a massive social experiment. Owen managed the local mill and believed that the happiness of the workforce was critical to its commercial success. So he introduced various welfare schemes, reduced the number of hours in the working day, abolished child labour, introduced subsidized shops and built schools for the workers’ children. The village has been faithfully restored to its former glory and flies in the face of the usual image of the ‘dark satanic mills’ of the 19th century.
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