A HUGE gamble made forty years ago has finally paid off with a huge Lottery `win’ to complete the rebirth of New Lanark.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has announced a £1.5m grant for the World Heritage Site, making possible the restoration of the last corner of the village left untouched since the project to transform the once near-ghost town began in the mid-1970’s.The money will be used to restore the last block of millworkers’ houses awaiting restoration, South Row.
Making the announcement of the New Lanark grant and another for the restoration of Glasgow’s former Briggat market, Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said:“These buildings are incredibly different.
“What they have in common is that they are part of Scotland’s history and that, sadly, they are all in a semi-derelict state.
“Thanks to players of the National Lottery, we are delighted to be able to help bring them back to life, not in the way that they were first intended, but in a way that is relevant to today. This will not only help secure their future, it will bring enjoyment and learning to very many people and a boost to their local economies.”
He went on to say that New Lanark had earned the award with “thousands of adults and children from home and abroad visiting every year to learn about the Industrial Revolution and the lives of the people who lived in the 18th century cotton mill village,”
Indeed, today New Lanark stands as the jewel in Lanarkshire’s tourism crown, a far cry from the mid-Seventies when total demolition of the redundant mill village was seriously considered.
Specifically, the money will be used converting seven of the eight flats in the block to new accommodation while the last will be preserved much as it is to allow visitors to get a sense of the amount of work it took to restore the village after it fell into semi-dereliction after the War.
Naturally, the news of the grant has delighted the team at the New Lanark Trust, headed by director Lorna Davidson, who commented: “We are thrilled to receive this significant grant which will enable us to realise our long-standing aspiration to complete the restoration of the former millworkers’ housing within this internationally important site.
“Built in the 1790s, the Category A listed Double Row has been vacant since the last family moved out in the 1970s and is now in a poor and deteriorating condition.
“This project will ensure the building’s survival and fulfil the Trust’s vision to maintain the historic village as a living, working community with a resident population.”