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Owenite Community

Robert Owen 1771-1858

Owen's ideal community was drawn up in 1817 by the architect Stedman Whitwell. A large scale model was built and Owen used it on his lecture tours. The designed village spread over 35 acres and details included:

  • Gymnasiums for Exercise attached to the Schools and Infirmary
  • Conservatory in the midst of Gardens
  • Baths, warm and cold
  • Dining Halls with Kitchens beneath them
  • Schools for Infants, Children and Youths, and the Infirmary
  • Library, Detached Reading Rooms, Bookbindery, Printing Office etc
  • Ballroom and Music rooms
  • Theatre for Lectures, Exhibitions, Discussions.
  • Museum with Library of Description and Reference Rooms
  • Brew-houses, Bakehouses, Washhouses, Laundries, Dining halls
  • Suites of adult sitting rooms and chambers
  • Esplanade one hundred feet wide about twelve feet above the natural surface.
  • Paved Footpath
  • The Arcade and its Terracegiving both a covered and an open communication
  • Sub-way leading to the Kitchens.

As well as dwelling houses and dormitories for up to 2000 inhabitants. For more information visit Robert Owen's House in New Lanark.

Villages of Co-operation 2009
It is a great pleasure to welcome the proposals that are being put forward to establish the new community of Owenstown. The site is only 5 miles from New Lanark World Heritage Site, where Robert Owen rose to international fame. His progressive social experiments to improve the working and living conditions of the ordinary people of the New Lanark community became world famous at the beginning of the 19th century.

Villages of Co-operation were Owen's response to the economic crisis, destitution, and discontent, which followed the end of the Napoleonic Wars. The concept was based on his proven success at New Lanark and the intention was to carry his ideas onto a wider stage. In 1817 he wrote to the Times,

"In the Proposed Villages, in consequence of the principle of mutual co-operation being understood and practised to its full extent, the necessities and comforts of life are enjoyed by all in abundance".

As the Director and Village Manager of New Lanark, Robert Owen's successor, it is a particular pleasure to welcome the Owenstown proposal and to offer it every possible assistance. It is a new and inspired modern version of Robert Owen's dream, a realisation of his ideals. Owen was ahead of his time and was never to fulfil his ambition. It would be a wonderful achievement to realise the dream at the beginning of the 21st century.

Jim Arnold
Director and Village Manager at New Lanark
Chairman Designate of Owenstown