Treasure from the Archive – The Gregs
As part of the project to restore and reunite all the parts of Quarry Bank, our archive is finally being properly catalogued, and the archive cataloguing team, led by Ally and Jane have already found some really intriguing finds. This week I’ll be looking at a selection of objects which relate to the Greg family, but in September I’ll be having a look at documents relating to the workers.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while you may recall a post I wrote called “The fatal ring” about the blossoming relationship between Robert Hyde Greg and his soon to be wife Mary Philips.
Well Jane has found a letter from Samuel Greg to his son just before his engagement in March 1824. We don’t really know very much about Samuel’s personality so this letter is a really lovely insight. Samuel and Robert had a quite a fraught business relationship, as viewers of The Mill will know, but in this letter Samuel expresses a lot of love for his son and future daughter-in-law, extolling her virtues and imparting some fatherly advice:
“…live not for the world, but for your own joint happiness.”
I talk quite a lot about the earlier Greg’s here, particularly Samuel, Hannah and Robert Hyde, so Ally and I chose several objects from todays work which shed light on some of the later Gregs. Below is an image of Ernest William Greg’s diary from 1885, (Ernest was Robert Hyde Greg’s grandson). I love this diary as it seems just like something you could pick up in your local stationery shop today.
Ernest bought the diary for 2 shillings and sixpence, and it included several handy lists, including the names of the Royal family, the names of Her Majesty’s household, an almanac, and a list of all stamp duties.
On the first page of his diary Ernest asserts that what follows are “being more a recount of my introspective actions…rather than deeds done”.
In 1888, Ernest’s brother, Robert Alexander Greg, turned 21 and the workers of Quarry Bank Mill sent him a beautiful letter of congratulations, upon his coming of age.
However, the letter does more than congratulate Robert, it also serves as a reminder to endeavour to be a good employer as his ancestors had been, and twelve years later, in 1900, Robert became the owner of Quarry Bank Mill. The letter states:
“Representing as you do the fourth generation of your family actively associated with the Mill (a fact very rare in the history of firms), we trust that your connection with the concern, in relation to those employed, may of the same friendly character as that of your predecessors.”
Robert had a busy year in 1900, for he not only became the owner of Quarry Bank upon his father, Edward Hyde Greg’s death, he was also deployed to South Africa. Robert had been working his way up the ranks of the army until he reached the rank of Captain in 1893, and was made Instructor of Musketry to 3rd Battalion the Cheshire Regiment. In January 1900 he transferred to the 3rd South Lancashire Regiment and was sent to serve in the Boer Wars.
The pamphlet below, called “The Styal Captain” was composed by a Styal inhabitant and includes a poem dedicated to Robert to celebrate his deployment. The pamphlet was sold for 1 penny in Styal shop and the funds went to the Wilmslow branch of the Patriotic War Fund.
The poem describes Robert as “A specimen of manhood, his voice bold and loud”, and paints a picture of a jolly good send off for Robert by the inhabitants of Styal, cheering, clapping and weeping for him as he sets off on the train to war.
Fortunately, Robert survived the Boer Wars and in 1906 he married Mildred Worthington. Below is their wedding photograph. Ally and I think he looks incredibly dashing, and spent a good five minutes saying “ahhh” as we examined the photo. We’re not sure where the photo was taken, but our guess is that it may have been at Norcliffe Hall, the other Greg family home.
You too can become explorers of our archive by having a look through these photos on our Flickr account. We need your help to identify the people in these photos, so if you think you see anyone you know please comment on the pictures and help us uncover even more stories.