Ancient Monuments

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New Lanark, Mill Number Four

A Scheduled Monument in Clydesdale North, South Lanarkshire

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Latitude: 55.6628 / 55°39'46"N

Longitude: -3.7808 / 3°46'50"W

OS Eastings: 288069

OS Northings: 642472

OS Grid: NS880424

Mapcode National: GBR 221Y.8V

Mapcode Global: WH5SJ.WXSP

Entry Name: New Lanark, Mill Number Four

Scheduled Date: 23 December 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12701

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Industrial: textiles

Location: Lanark

County: South Lanarkshire

Electoral Ward: Clydesdale North

Traditional County: Lanarkshire


The monument comprises the foundations of a cotton spinning mill constructed in 1791-3, the remains of the largest of four mills built by David Dale as part of the original cotton spinning complex at New Lanark. It lies on the N bank of the River Clyde, within the New Lanark industrial village, now designated a World Heritage Site.

In 1883 a fire destroyed much of the mill's fabric, but excavation in the later 1980s showed that the foundations survive relatively intact. Modern walls now mark the line of the original footings. The mill footprint is rectangular on plan, measuring around 50m long by 10.5m wide. An area once occupied by a sunken 'well' bounded by a retaining wall extends along the NE wall, and measures 50m by 4m. In the centre of the mill footprint, the stone-lined wheel pit survives; it consists largely of original fabric, although the upper courses were rebuilt between 1986 and 1993. A tail race leads south-west from the wheel pit to the River Clyde.

The area to be scheduled comprises the rectangular footprint of the mill and former sunken area to the north-east, together with a rectilinear area where the tail race flows to the River Clyde to the south-west, to include the remains described, as shown in red on the accompanying plan. On the NW side, the scheduled area extends up to but excludes the former NW gable of the mill, which has been integrated into the fabric of Mill Number Three. In order to allow for maintenance, the scheduling specifically excludes the waterwheel and associated machinery, the above-ground elements of the reconstructed walls and all path surfaces, cobbling, and concrete steps to a depth of 300mm below ground level. The scheduling also specifically excludes a sewage pumping station installed in 2008 within a new concrete chamber sited to the north-west of the wheel-pit (centred on NS 88060 42472 and measuring c 6.5m by 6m by 3m high), together with an area of ground up to 0.75 m below the chamber where pipes have been installed.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

This monument represents the remains of the largest of four mills built by David Dale as part of the original cotton spinning complex at New Lanark. The OS 1st edition 1:2500 map depicts the mill but a plan of New Lanark Village in 1852 shows its ground plan in more detail. The structure resembled the original form of Mill Number Three, with the same slightly advanced central bay, but it also had slightly advanced end bays with Venetian windows and was architecturally the most elaborate of the New Lanark mills. An engraving of around 1818 reproduced as an export label shows the NE facade as does a photograph of the mill burning down in 1883. A photograph taken in the later 1880s suggests much of the debris was soon cleared away after this fire; a brick-lined shaft at the NW end of the footprint was built in the 1880s to allow the insertion of a new turbine below Mill Number Three, but it seems that little more was done to the site for around 100 years. A 1961 photograph shows the footprint occupied by a grassy bank, with the top of the NE wall foundations apparently visible at ground level, while photographs of 1976 show scrap dumped in the area. Then, in the later 1980s, excavation revealed the mill's foundations, and photographs taken in 1986 appear to show the retaining wall north-east of the mill surviving in situ, together with elements of the wheel-pit. One small fragment of a waterwheel was found during excavation of the wheel-pit, but the present wheel was obtained from the Hole Flint Mill, Kirkcaldy, Fife, and installed on rebuilt foundation blocks in 1993.

Mill Number Four represents a multi-use monument which functioned for some 90 years that allowed rapid processing of raw cotton into yarn. The building at first housed pauper apprentices (upper storeys) and a workshop for mechanics and engineers (below). After 1813 Mill Number Four was equipped as a mule spinning mill following Robert Owen's erection of a purpose-built apprentice house and mechanic's workshop. The account of the aftermath of the fire in the 'Works Managers Report Book' hints at the structural development that may have occurred during the lifetime of the mill. The book states that masons were employed removing iron beams from 8 May to 8 June 1883. If the mill was originally designed for light wood-framed mules it may have been constructed with timber beams supported at their mid point. The reference to iron beams may imply a second system of support, the structure perhaps being reinforced before heavier iron-framed machines were installed around 1813. Although the beams were removed in 1883, the potential reinforcement of the structure may have left its mark on the foundations. The buried remains may contain information on the development of the structure in addition to the plan form as depicted on historic maps and plans. Buried remains also have the potential to inform our knowledge of the mill's functional systems.

Contextual characteristics

The mill was designed and built as an integral part of the New Lanark industrial village, which lies just south of Lanark in the Clyde Valley. By 1799 it was the biggest cotton spinning complex in Scotland. The remains of Mill Number Four lie between Mill Number Three to the north-west and Robert Owen's School for Children to the south-east. After the rebuilding which followed the destruction by fire of Mill Number Three in 1819, Mills Three and Four were physically attached, the two structures being joined by a three-bay extension to Mill Number Three, which was intended as a firebreak. When Mill Number Four was destroyed by fire in 1883, tie rods were inserted to attach its surviving gable to the structure of Mill Number Three. Although the two mills each had a waterwheel for a primary power source, their proximity also allowed power to be redistributed from one to the other at times of maximum demand. The apertures for drive shafts which survive in the original NW gable of Mill Number Four clearly indicate this. Mill Number Four's wheel pit was centrally placed along its length, whereas a new wheel pit was inserted at the SE end of Mill Number Three around 1840, adjacent to Mill Number Four.

Associative characteristics

The New Lanark industrial village, of which Mill Number Four was an integral part, played a pivotal role in the history of the Industrial Revolution, both in Scotland and further afield, as reflected by its status as a World Heritage Site. New Lanark was founded by David Dale in conjunction with Richard Arkwright. Dale's humane philosophy helped to shape the first phase of buildings at new Lanark. Deeply religious and noted for his philanthropy, Dale was widely admired for his treatment of the orphan apprentices, whom he wished to see educated as well as properly fed and clothed. These apprentices were housed in the upper levels of Mill Number Four until alternative accommodation was constructed. This emphasis on concern for the workforce was developed and enhanced by Robert Owen who took over management of the mill village in partnership from 1799. Owen was responsible for some of the best-known buildings at New Lanark, including the Nursery Buildings, the School for Children, and Institute for the Formation of Character. Owen left Scotland for America in 1825, but his ideas had wide resonance and have remained influential.

Richard Arkwright, co-founder of the complex, was a key figure in the development of new technology and its application to cotton spinning. His patents were critical in allowing the expansion of production, and were widely adopted across the spinning industry. The importance of Mill Number Four is greatly enhanced by its association with Arkwright, Dale and Owen.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular the Industrial Revolution and the development of cotton spinning in Scotland and worldwide. It also has the potential to enhance our knowledge of the development of the New Lanark industrial village, which in addition to being the largest such complex in Scotland was also widely influential in terms of the treatment of its workers. The monument, the remains of Mill Number Four, was put to a variety of different uses over a working life which spanned around 90 years. Initially, it was partially used to house and care for orphan apprentices, whose care and treatment was one of the notable achievements of the complex. Latterly, once a range of specialist buildings had been constructed, it entered spinning production. By this time, the machines employed were perhaps bigger and heavier than those the mill was initially designed to house. This may have required alteration of the structure, which may be represented in the surviving foundations.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records this monument as NS84SE 58.04. WoSAS SMR records this monument as 21121. The


Historic Scotland, 2000, Nomination of New Lanark for inclusion in the World Heritage List, Edinburgh: Historic Scotland.

New Lanark Trust 2007 New Lanark Conservation Plan 2000, Section 4, Updated March 2007, unpubl doc.

New Lanark Trust 2006 New Lanark Power Trail, New Lanark Trust.

New Lanark Trust 2008 New Lanark Heritage Trail; A Guide to New Lanark's Historic Buildings, New Lanark Trust.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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