New Lanark Building Celebrates 200th Birthday

The Institute for the Formation of Character building was officially opened by Robert Owen in 1816, and was used primarily for learning and leisure. As the entertainment hub of New Lanark the Institute would attract millworkers from Lanark and the surrounding areas for dancing, games and musical concerts.

The opening of the building attracted more than 1,200 people who witnessed an extravagant event complete with dancers, music, and speeches. Today, the institute houses the reception of the New Lanark Visitor Centre, as well as a handful of exhibition spaces.

To mark the bicentenary celebrations New Lanark World Heritage Site are hosting a series of exciting exhibits which will showcase the enchanting history to the public this summer.

Building Scotland

This free exhibition provides insight into the diverse materials that have been the building blocks of Scotland’s traditional villages and cities. This exhibition, which will run from 2 June–12 August is being organised in association with Historic Environment Scotland and will be housed in the Institute for the Formation of Character’s River Room.


Running from 2 June–31 July this exhibition will showcase Scotland’s best buildings of the last 100 years. This traveling exhibition is one of over 400 events taking place across Scotland in 2016 as part of the Festival of Architecture celebrations. Entry to this exhibition is free.

Back in Time Experience

Find out what life was like for the millworkers living in New Lanark when the original building was constructed in the 19th century. There will be dancing, storytelling, games and even opportunities to dress up in traditional costumes.

More information about New Lanark World Heritage, including travel and contact details can be found on their dedicated page of our website.