In 1790 the Lanark Burgh Council established a company by selling fifteen shares at £50 each to 'Gentlemen of the County' for the purpose of erecting a 'modern inn'. The Council retained six shares.

The Clydesdale Inn opened in 1792, catering to visitors to the Falls of Clyde and New Lanark Mills. Many of the crowned heads of Europe visited and in 1803 William and Dorothy Wordsworth with Samuel Taylor Coleridge stayed there. The Inn was the location for a meeting held in December 1841 at which the Caledonian Railway Company was formed. Charles Dickens was a visitor during the 1860's.

Her opinion of the Clydesdale inn, which got off to a shaky start was balanced out by the food which was served to the group at dinner. “This first dish was true Scottish - a boiled sheep’s head, with the hair singed off; Coleridge and I ate heartily of it; we had barley broth,   in which the sheep’s head had been boiled.