Centenary of New Lanark’s Ulster declaration

NEXT month sees the 100th anniversary of the day when New Lanark played a now largely forgotten part in the long and troubled history of Ireland.

The date may be almost forgotten here, perhaps, but memories over the Irish Sea are notoriously long.

Indeed, it was from there that the Gazette was alerted to the significance of the date of September 28, 1912 when over 100 villagers queued up at the village’s Old Counting House to sign the Ulster Covenant, a declaration that the Six Counties should always remain British.

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But why should so many New Lanark millworkers and their families have cared a jot about Irish politics 100 years ago?

It’s because many of them WERE Irish and from that very part of Ireland which had declared its undying loyalty to the British Crown.

There is still evidence today of the World Heritage Village’s Ulster Connection in some of the names you’ll find in the 2012 edition of the Lanark Pink Book telephone directory; Jess, Bingham, Hunter.

These families, and others, were among the influx of Ulster clans who came to this area to work at the New Lanark mills and stayed.

Many others eventually returned to their homeland, some with the children who were born Scots here during their New Lanark sojourn.

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