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New Lanark: As Seen by Robert Southey and Robert Owen - Term Paper Example

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The author compares and contrasts Robert Southey's impression of New Lanark with Owens's account of his reforms at New Lanark. Robert Southey’s impression of New Lanark contrasts with Robert Owen’s own account of his reforms. Southey approves of the infrastructure of Owen’s Institute…
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New Lanark: As Seen by Robert Southey and Robert Owen
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Download file to see previous pages The Statement set out Owen’s proposals for community management and social reform. This was followed by A New View of Society from 1813 – 1816. The location of the New Lanark mills in the vicinity of the Falls of Clyde made it a popular tourist destination. Robert Southey, who was one of the ‘Lake Poets,’ and Poet Laureate of England, recorded his observations of the mill in his Journal of a Tour in Scotland in 1819. Southey’s tour included a day-long visit to New Lanark, where Owen personally conducted him around the premises. For the large part, Southey’s impression of New Lanark differs markedly from Owen’s own account of his reforms. While Southey approves of Owen’s new buildings and childcare, he is critical of Owen’s other reforms and beliefs in ‘character formation.’

Southey is greatly impressed by Owen’s maintenance of the buildings at New Lanark. He concedes that the rows of houses constructed for the mill worker are “cleaner than the common streets of a Scotch town” (Southey, 1819, p. 260). He appreciates the cleanliness and ventilation of the mills. He declares that the mills “are perfect in their kind” and commends Owen’s “admirable management” (Southey, 1819, p. 260). Southey also approves of the mill stores which cater to the needs of the workers. All the facilities listed in the Statement - playground, store-cellar, kitchen, dining cum dance hall, church cum lecture hall, and good roads – are now in place at the ‘New Institute.’ Southey’s approval demonstrates that Owen has lived up to his promise to build up the mill community and “add to its domestic comforts” (Owen, 1812, p. 118). Southey’s impression supports Owen’s claim that the workers’ “houses were rendered more comfortable, their streets were improved, the best provisions were purchased” (Owen, 1816, p.122, II). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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