A year of Quarry Bank – 2013

This year has been absolutely jam-packed for us at Quarry Bank.

It all kicked off back in February when we launched our £1.4m fundraising appeal  to help us complete the story of Quarry Bank. Currently we have managed to raise just over £600,000 – nearly half way there!

Pupils from Styal primary School try some Apprentice House porridge
Pupils from Styal primary School try some Apprentice House porridge

The appeal will help us to complete vital work across the property; restoring the glasshouses in the Upper gardens, opening up Quarry Bank House the home of the Greg family, restoring paths and bridges in the Northern woods, recreating a worker’s cottage in Styal Village, training people in the skills needed to operate our heritage machinery, and continuing the work in the archive.

The glasshouses as the appear today
The glasshouses as they appear today

We had several fantastic exhibitions; ‘Best Wishes’ explored what cards meant to the Victorians, the kinetic sculptures of ‘Beastly Machines’ wowed visitors, ‘A Lady of Letters’ looked at the life of Hannah Greg (and saw me wrestle with sticky tape), ‘Sparkle and Spin’ intrigued with its alien-like fabric figures and ‘Tech Styles’ made us all think about how technology has developed and become woven into our everyday lives.

Pigs Might Fly
Pigs Might Fly

Quarry Bank hosted many popular events, including our Easter Eggstravaganza, Victorian May Day with its Victorian Swing Boats, a spectacular performance of Agatha Christie’s ‘The Hollow’ by the Wilmslow Green Room, a perfectly frightening set of Spooky Tours, and just these last two weekends, a festive-filled Victorian Christmas.

Staff and volunteers enjoying a turn on the Swing Boats!
Staff and volunteers enjoying a turn on the Swing Boats!

Cataloguing work began in the archive and we uncovered many previously hidden stories, shedding light on the history of Quarry Bank. So far the team has been working their way through drawers upon drawers of the Greg family letters, but work has already started on the business records and in the New Year more and more stories of the workers will come to light.

You can see Mary's kisses to the right of the page
You can see Mary’s kisses to the right of the page

Channel 4’s television series ‘The Mill’ was of course an absolutely huge part of our story this year, and received the highest viewing figures of any Channel 4 drama since 2010. Here on the blog I explored the fact that inspired the fiction and we launched a special exhibition in the Mill for the same purpose. The series will be back next year and will introduce several new characters, and is loosely inspired by the period 1837-1842 of Quarry Bank’s history.

The apprentice girls of Channel 4's 'The Mill'
The apprentice girls of Channel 4’s ‘The Mill’ – Photo courtesy of Channel 4 and Ryan McNamara

2014 looks to be another brilliant year at Quarry Bank – you can already check out the website for the events we have lined up and there will be so much more happening on the property, including the completion of our hydro and fish pass project, the filming of series 2 of ‘The Mill’.

Salmon will be able to swim up the River Bollin once more in 2014
Salmon will be able to swim up the River Bollin once more in 2014

We have two brand new exhibitions; ‘Style at Styal – 1850-1950’ opens on 18 January and explores what fashion meant to the Greg family, the workers and the villagers of Styal, and includes utterly gorgeous recreations of costumes. There’s also ‘Heroes of Adventure’ which commemorates Quarry Bank in the First World War, which opens on 7 June.

Little Sarah Eleanor Greg's outfit is one of many costumes that have been recreated
Little Sarah Eleanor Greg’s outfit is one of many costumes that have been recreated

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from us all at Quarry Bank and we hope to see you next year!

Laura

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. As an oldie I am not familiar with Twitter of Facebook but thank all for seasonal greetings which I warmly reciprocate.

    I also seize this opportunity to salute and thank all the volunteers who have given and continue to give so generously of their skills, time and energy on the development and improvement of the Quarry Bank project.

    Well done!!

    1. Thank you Michael, we’re very proud and grateful for our volunteers!

      Merry Christmas,

      Laura

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