Quarry Bank Mill is located in Styal, not far from Manchester in the north of England, and is in an impressively well-conserved condition. It is an old textile mill from the Industrial Revolution that has been better preserved than most other buildings of this type. Today, it has been turned into a museum showcasing the cotton industry, and it was actually the inspiration behind the popular TV series known as The Mill.
History of Quarry Bank Mill
The mill started off as a cotton factory in 1784, and was built by a man by the name of Samuel Greg, who made it a huge success. He developed the factory, and had made it into the largest business of its kind by the time he decided to retire. His son took over the factory in 1832, and wanted to keep up his father’s good work, so one of the elements he decided to introduce was weaving. The Gregs also developed the land surrounding the mill, and built houses for the workers, a chapel and a school, and eventually also moved in next door. They created an industrial community where everything was centered around the factory. This came to be a very important milestone in the history of Britain, and the Industrial Revolution as a whole. Alexander Carlton Greg donated the mill and the family’s home to the National Trust in 1939, and both of the buildings are now open to visitors. The mill is a very popular attraction, and had approximately 130,000 visitors in 2013. Millions of people have come to visit the site over the years, and one of the reasons is because it has the most powerful waterwheel in all of Europe.
In 1790, Greg decided to build the Apprentice House, where children from the workhouses could live. It was located right next to the factory where the children had to work many hours every day of the week. Even though the work they did was sometimes very dangerous, the conditions were much better than those from which they came. Greg hired a doctor to care for the children when necessary, and he also appointed a superintendent who would teach the children about morals. The children were cared for, which was more than most could expect during those times. The system continued until 1847, and the last child joined the program in 1841.
What to Do at Quarry Bank Mill
The site was the home of many industrial workers, and visiting it is like going back in time. Visitors get to see what it was like to live and work at the mill, both as an owner and as a worker. It is a great chance to get a real-life lesson from an incredible time in British history, and an excellent opportunity to learn more about the Gregs, their ambitions and the cotton industry. A visit to the mill includes a guided experience of the machinery, a chance to see the big wheel and the Apprentice House, and much more.