The New Lanark

The New Lanark site is amazing. Lovingly restored, there’s a before and after film sequence in the display which shows clearly that it looks better than it ever has done – curves of buildings long the flow of the valley, following the Clyde which provided Owen with the power he needed for his mills.

There’s a massive schoolroom, bright and airy, with a huge globe and bright coloured aids. It has a musical gallery, and enough space for children to dance, as well as do their sums. Owen knew that the children needed to get stimulating education before they were old enough to work at the mill, and then to have a continuing link with it until they were adults. Not just to give them a good time, but because happy, creative people make more energetic and intelligent workers. Or, at  least, that’s how it looked to Robert Owen, two hundred years ahead of his time. And there’s so many business and schools which are nowhere close to catching up.