Robert Owen Memorial Museum

The Cross, Newtown, Powys, SY16 2BB, Wales

Welsh Tourist Board

Robert Owen was one of the most influential thinkers and social reformers of his time. The Robert Owen Museum in Newtown houses a collection of objects, pictures and written material relating to the life of Robert Owen.

The Museum is in the centre of Newtown just a few feet from where Owen was born. It tells the story of Robert Owen (1771 - 1858) who inspired the Co-operative movement He started his working life as a shop assistant and became a factory manager.

He was famous for his socialist principles and for caring for the welfare of his workers.He campaigned and lectured throughout his life nand in 1812-13 he wrote “A New View of Society” which explained his vision.

In his late twenties, Owen became a partner and manager of a large cotton mill at New Lanark on the River Clyde. He decided to create a model environment, improving the factory and village, built a school and provided a shop where quality goods could be bought at a fair price. The school curriculum included music, dancing and nature study. Visitors came from all over the world – even the Tsar of Russia.

Owen tried to repeat the success of New Lanark when in 1824 he created a model community in New Harmony, Indiana. The ideal was a village based on co-operation and profit sharing. New Harmony and similar experiments by his followers did not succeed as he had hoped. But his ideas continued to have influence and one group of followers in Rochdale set up the famous Co-operative shop in 1844 and pioneered the world wide co-operative movement.

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