Lanark, Illinois, party visits New Lanark

A group of over 30 Lanarkians have travelled thousands of miles to visit New Lanark.

And, no, it WASN'T the result of taking a disastrously wrong turning on Braxfield Road.

It makes sense when you learn that the party arriving at the World Heritage village were, in fact, from Lanark's namesake community in Illinois, USA, as part of that small but bustling town's 150th anniversary celebrations.

Why Lanark was chosen as a name for the area, founded as a railway town, remains a mystery.

But the local geography suggests a strong Scottish influence on that part of Illinois — and the nearest large town to the 1600 population Lanark, USA, is called Stirling!

More Caledonian connections were revealed as some of the 34-strong party talked about their personal family histories.

Lisa Mackay said: "My maiden name is Libberton. And, yes, I know that you've a village called that near here. In fact, I visited it this morning! I suppose my ancestors must have come from around here."

The newly-appointed director of the New Lanark Conservation Trust Lorna Davidson was on hand to welcome the visitors personally and send them on their guided tour of a village founded almost a century before Lanark, Illinois.

For more information on this story, pick up a copy of this week's Carluke and Lanark Gazette which is in the shops now, priced just 48p.