THE story of the Scottish Cotton Mill village, New Lanark, ran by social pioneer Robert Owen has been told in a new book out next year.
The book is a fictional reworking of the tale of Robert Owen, whose work went on to inspire the Rochdale Pioneers, and his father-in-law, David Dale, as they revolutionised working practises in the New Lanark cotton mills.
‘New Lanark – Spinning New Lives’, by C.A. Hope, will be launched in New Lanark on 28 February 2013, and will be available through bookshops and the internet from March 1.
The story will use real historical events to map the journey of Robert Owen, and how the mill he bought from his father-in-law helped to change the lives of workers throughout the world.
“Dozens of factual books and learned papers have been written about New Lanark and Owen/Owenism, but I wanted to lay out the unfolding, personal journey of the villagers and mill owners in a narrative that would be accessible to everyone. These people did not know they were making history, they were just going about their work and everyday life;” said author, C.A. Hope.
David Dale was considered an enlightened employer for his time, however it was under the influence of Owen that new social and educational reforms were implemented.
C.A. Hope works with the Scottish Wildlife Trust, while working in the village of New Lanark she found herself being asked about Owen by passing visitors.
“On encountering, for the thousandth time, a visitor gazing at the mills and wondering what it must have been like to live there in its hey-day – I decided to find out properly and tell them;” she remarked.
She explained that during the 1780s, when the book is set, many influential figures including Robert Burns, Thomas Muir and Thomas Hardy were standing up for people’s rights.
“What a background! What a story to be told – so I wrote the book! Hopefully it will be both an entertaining and enlightening read;” she added.
She hopes the fictional telling of the story will go some way to answering questions such as ‘what sort of man was David Dale’ and ‘why did Owen buy New Lanark Mills?’
The book is being published by Marluc, 400pp and a sequel called New Lanark – Living with a Visionary will continue the story.