chapter  7
14 Pages

New Lanark

This chapter is a case study of New Lanark and the work of Robert Owen in building a community where the well-being of the workforce was considered to be as important as the maintenance of the machinery in the mill. The building of New Lanark spans the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Owen was developing his ideas at a time when the industrial and agricultural revolutions were having an immense effect on social conditions in Britain. He was operating when the dissenting voice of poetry was most loudly heard. Owen was very much part of this movement of dissent and protest at the conditions of the urban and rural poor. Owen built a community at New Lanark as an example or model illustrating the way he thought a healthy society could be organized. In effect he was working to the agenda of the poets and social reformers of the time. The chapter starts with a short account of Owen’s philosophy and his role in the development of the mill town; it will then use Gesler’s (1993) four aspects of the environment to analyse the contribution New Lanark makes to the development of ideas about the ways in which a healthy community can be developed. The concluding section of the chapter will draw

together Owen’s ideas for the implementation of this ‘healthy society in the development of small self-sufficient ‘‘villages of cooperation’’ throughout the countryside.’