Traveller's tales

Friday, August 15, 2008

New Lanark and the Lanark Medieval Festival

Where on God's Earth could you find a Viking fighting man, a Roman Centurion, one of King George's foot soldiers, broadswords, and Scots carrying the saltire in one hand and a claymore in the other - all together facing up to each other in one field? Answer - the Lanark Medieval Festival on Sunday, 17th August, 2008. Quite what my friends Tarek, Shu, Dimitry and Ahmed made of it all, I am not sure, but I do know they all enjoyed the spectacle of it all, as we did.
Ealier in the day, we had been round nearby New Lanark, Robert Owen's social experiment cum commercial venture on the banks of the infant but furious Clyde as it rushes down wooded ravines on its way to a more tranquil Clydebank, under the bridges of Glasgow on its way to become the Firth of Clyde flowing out to the Irish Sea and beyond.
We had seen the mills and tied cottages that housed some 1,500 workers, Owen's own house where he penned his wise soliloquies and kept a punctual, orderly working population with everything they could possibly need to start work in the mills at 6 every morning. These included free education, healthcare, subsidised food and cheap housing along the edges of this crowded, teeming part of the valley of the River Clyde.
Robert L. Fielding

Robert Owen
A village boy who hobnobbed with royalty,
A shop assistant who became a factory manager,
An educator with little education,
A rich man who fought for the poor,
A capitalist who became the first "socialist",
An individualist who inspired the Co-operative movement.
Robert L. Fielding and Robert Owen

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