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