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New Lanark becomes World Heritage Site

14/12/2001

New Lanark, the 19th century mill complex on the banks of the River Clyde, has been added to the list of World Heritage sites.

The decision by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) ranks New Lanark alongside the Taj Mahal, The Great Wall of China and Venice as a cultural site of international importance.

It becomes the fourth part of Scotland to be recognised following neolithic Orkney (1999), Edinburgh's Old and New Towns (1995), and the islands of St Kilda (1986) on the list.

Tourism, Culture and Sport Minister, Mike Watson said:

"I am delighted that the international significance of New Lanark has been recognised with the award of World Heritage status. Inclusion on the World Heritage List will raise awareness of New Lanark, help to promote tourism and benefit the local economy.

I am particularly pleased that Scotland now has an industrial World Heritage Site to join the three existing sites. Through our World Heritage Sites alone we can demonstrate that Scotland has a wealth of world class cultural and natural heritage which demonstrates the diversity of our country.

I congratulate New Lanark Heritage Trust on restoring and preserving such an important part of our heritage."

Historic Scotland, an agency of the Scottish Executive, wrote the nomination for New Lanark in June 2000 and it was submitted on behalf of the UK government by Donald Dewar, the then First Minister for Scotland.

World Heritage Sites are classified as places or buildings of exceptional universal value which deserve protection for the benefit of humanity.

Built in an outstanding natural setting, New Lanark is a focus for architectural, technological and historic interest. It was created as a cotton-spinning village in the late 18 th to early 19 th centuries and developed under the enlightened management of Robert Owen.

Owen acquired international fame as the creator of the model community which provided unprecedented facilities and services for the resident workforce and their families. The extent of the influence New Lanark had should be noted as it led to many social improvements including progressive education, factory reform, more humane working practices and garden cities.

The village has survived little changed since it was originally built. It has been the subject of major conservation works since the mid-1970s. This has been largely carried out by the New Lanark Conservation Trust, an independent charity set up in 1975 to restore and preserve the historic village. The Trust owns a good deal of the village and also manages the housing. New Lanark is a major visitor attraction.

Historic Scotland has funded a number of the works carried out at New Lanark, at the time of the nomination being submitted in June 2000, the total amount was £1.7 million.

The nomination for New Lanark was evaluated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) before the final decision was taken today by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO in Helsinki.

Other British sites nominated for World Heritage site status are the Derwent Valley Mills in Derbyshire, Saltaire in Yorkshire, and the Dorset and East Devon Coast.