Adding to the atmosphere – behind the scenes of the Quarry Bank Project

The key to why we have embarked on the Quarry Bank Project, is that it will allow us to tell more of the incredible stories about this unique place. We can’t do this alone though and we are extremely fortunate that Hannah Barker, chair of Manchester Histories and expert in the Industrial Revolution has agreed to act as our historical advisor.

Hannah Barker, historical advisor to the Quarry Bank Project.
Hannah Barker, historical advisor to the Quarry Bank Project.

In Hannah’s words,

“I am lucky enough to be working with the National Trust at Quarry Bank…as a social historian who researches the use of domestic and work space in the north west of England in late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, this is, of course, very exciting.”

One of the first areas Hannah is looking into is the Apprentice House. One of the most popular areas of the site, the stories of the pauper children who came to Quarry Bank are amongst the most poignant we tell.  Hannah is keen to look at ways we could add even more atmosphere to the house.

“One of the things I would like to do in Apprentice House is to give visitors a clearer sense of what it was like from the point of view of the original occupants: that is, the child apprentices…In the weeks and months to come, along with the fantastic National Trust interpretation, learning and archival team at Quarry Bank, I’ll be exploring what we can do about this: how we can turn this quiet, still space into something that gives more of a sense of its earlier, noisier, smellier and more cramped past, when it was full of children.”

The Apprentice House at Quarry Bank
The Apprentice House at Quarry Bank

Hannah is currently carrying out research to find out whether the children would have had apprentices’ boxes. There is historical evidence to suggest that at this time, even the poorest in society would often have a locked box in which to keep what little possessions they had.  Although we don’t have any direct evidence of these boxes at Quarry Bank, we do know that the apprentices did earn small amounts of money and there are records within the Manchester Archives which show what they purchased.  More to come on this subject in the future…

For more details on Hannah’s research into this fascinating topic and the work she will be doing with us, we definitely recommend you read and follow her blog.

In the future, Hannah will also be working with us on Quarry Bank House and the Mill Worker’s Cottage which are scheduled to open to visitors for the first time in 2017.  With the wealth of information in our archive and the expertise which Hannah brings, over the next few years, more and more will be revealed about the rich history of Quarry Bank.

To find out more about the Quarry Bank Project and how you can help us, please visit our website.


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