Lanark has always loved processions
1832 saw the Great Reform Bill become law, widening, parliamentary representation. Lanark organised a local celebration, joined by neighbours from New Lanark, Nemphlar, Kirkfieldbank, and Cartland, with deputations from Carluke and Symington. In all some 800 joined in a procession which included banners, bands and led by a printing press, set up on the straits of a gig drawn by a steady horse. Copies explaining the Bill were thrown from the gig to two young boys, dresses up in pink dresses, distributing the sheets to the crowd, throughout the procession. They had marshalled at Castlehill at 5pm and paraded through Lanark, returning around 7pm for a social meeting and entertainment. Some 150 enjoyed the fayre until around 10pm.
The town was then illuminated from 10 to 11pm. On the boundaries, Bonnington House, Corehouse and Byretown Farm were also lit up with flares, and bonfires were visible from every viewpoint in the area. These celebrations were part of a nationwide response to the widening of access to parliament – but they had more than a 150 more years of further legislation to bring the selection of Members of Parliament to what we would recognise today.