Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, Cheshire

Wednesday last week was earmarked for a visit to Tatton Park in Cheshire.  Tatton Hall is a National Trust property and since receiving a National Trust annual membership as a super duper Christmas gift from Caroline and Trev we have been eager to put it to good use.  Hence the visit to Tatton Park on Wednesday.  Really looking forward to the day out, an early start was planned, I made a picnic and off we went.  On the motorway and halfway there I needed to check the membership handbook just to confirm the directions.  At the same time I looked at the opening times.  January and February didn’t have any opening times!  Tatton Hall  is closed during those months for annual cleaning and restoration et cetera.  Oops!

Time to come up with Plan B.

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Quarry Bank Mill, Styal is also a National Trust property and was also on our list of places to visit.  Fortunately it wasn’t too far away from where we were at that minute and a quick check in the handbook showed the property was open.  So, Quarry Bank Mill was where we ended up.  Happily as it turned out.

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Quarry Bank Mill, a cotton mill, was built in 1784 when cotton was fast becoming king.

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Before taking a tour of the mill it was picnic time.  It was a very cold day but it was sunny and beautiful too.  Might not be everybody’s idea of perfect weather for a picnic, actually we were the only ones taking advantage of the picnic area, but I don’t know why.  It felt good to me to be having our first picnic of the year and in such a beautiful place.

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Quarry Bank Mill holds a lot of history within its walls and educational visits are a daily occurrence.  There must’ve been at least two or three school groups while we there.

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Instructors imparting their knowledge.  The engraving on this end of the machinery shows it was made in Accrington, England.  If new machinery were to be installed today I wonder where that would be manufactured.  Not Accrington I’ll bet!
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The bobbins threaded up. 

I had aunts who worked in cotton mills like these.  In fact my mother in law worked in one for a time in the 1950s and ‘60s and William remembers going into the mill to wait for her after school.  He remembers the deafening noise, smell and feel of the old buildings.  Not a place for the weak or fainthearted to toil in every day.

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I remember as a little girl playing in the yards of the, by then derelict, old cotton mills in my hometown.  In the run-up to Bonfire Night we would go collecting wood, bonty stocking  we called it, for our bonfire.  In those days gangs of children would scour their neighbourhoods for weeks before Bonfire Night looking for any bits of old wood to take home to burn on bonfires.  The spools in the wooden boxes above look very familiar to me and  I’m sure we collected many of them to burn on our bonfire.  Happy days.

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After taking in the mill we walked up the hill to the Apprentice House.  Boys and girls as young as nine years old were brought from workhouses all over the country to Styal to be trained for work in the mill.  We took the guided tour which was really very interesting.  All the historical facts about the mill and Apprentice House can be found on the web here.

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The laundry room.  I’m glad I wasn’t around then.  I just know I’d have been one of the laundry maids and not the mistress of the house!

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William tried his hand with the posser in the dolly tub.  I don’t think he would’ve liked to have been a laundry maid either or one of the apprentices for that matter.  It wasn’t an easy life for the majority of people in those days was it?

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Like I said this was a National Trust property and a short walk away from the mill are these cottages.

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Oak Cottages were built by the mill owner for his workers in the 1820s.

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I think most if not all are owned by the Trust and like this one are available to rent.

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I bet they were quite something in their day.

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And indeed still are.
 
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   How cute is this one?

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The whole area was very pretty even the mill (pics at the top of page) itself was in a very picturesque setting.

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Snowdrops in the Apprentice House gardens.  Always a cheery sight.  A pointer that spring is hovering just around the corner.  Now isn’t that a pleasant thought?

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Yep, we enjoyed our day out at Quarry Bank Mill and intend to visit as many National Trust properties as we can this year.

Joining with the wonderful website Communal Global found here.

Until next time,


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4 comments:

Rebecca said...

What a wonderful day. I love this kind of historical visit. I've got a list of places to visit too. THanks for stopping by my blog.

May said...

I was sighing and wondering why I wasn't born in a lovely previous time....right up until I got to the laundry room shot!~May@Achieving Clarity

Life Images by Jill said...

the day might not have turned out how you planned originally, but it looks like you had a wonderful and fascinating day. I am glad too I wasn't around in the days of the work-house-children!
Have a wonderful week and many more National Trust visiting!
Nice to "meet" you today over at Communal Global.

Anita Johnson said...

I say almost the same thing every time I visit here, I love the beauty and history of where you live...and Snowdrops! A sure sign of spring. I'm guessing we have at least 6 weeks before we see them here.