All year 11 students studying G.C.S.E. History have to visit Quarry Bank Mill at Styal in Cheshire. This visit is the basis of their coursework assignment. The students have to find out why Samuel Greg built the mill at Styal and what living and working conditions were like for those he employed at the mill. They must also decide if the mill was typical of textile mills in the early nineteenth century.
Samuel Greg built the imposing mill in 1784. It must have impressed the local people. Factories were the wonder of the age and had to be built specially to house the new machines, which had been invented to speed up the production of cotton cloth. Samuel Greg installed Water Frames and Spinning Mules in his mill. These were powered by the water wheel, driven by water from the river Bolin.
Samuel Greg used pauper apprentices as cheap labour in his mill; about one third of the labour force was pauper children under the age if 21. He built an Apprentice House for the pauper apprentices. All the students have a tour of the Apprentice House where they learn about the living and working conditions of apprentices.
The students visit the mill to see demonstrations of spinning and weaving; see the water wheel in action and to find out about the living and working conditions of adults employed by Samuel Greg at Quarry Bank Mill.
If you want to find out more about Quarry Bank Mill the museum has its own website at www.quarrybankmill.org.uk.