Quarry Bank Mill, Styal


Photos by John Moss

Quarry Bank Mill

An 18th Century Working Mill in Cheshire

The Mill & Styal Estate

Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 4LA. Telephone: 01625 445 896 (Infoline) .
Email: quarrybankmill@nationaltrust.org.uk.
This is a major Georgian mill, restored as a fully working cotton mill and museum, which is situated close to Manchester Airport, in Styal village alongside the River Bollin. This is a highly recommended visit for those interested in the history of Manchester and its industries. Tours available of the mill and its hospital, school and the Apprentices' House.

Quarry Bank Mill, Styal Quarry Bank Mill Quarry Bank Mill 4 Quarry Bank Mill 6
Quarry Bank Mill 5 Apprentice House, Quarry Bank Mill

Samuel Greg founded the mill in 1784, and it is still producing calico which can be bought at the mill shop. Products were never finished at Styal - they were and still are sent away for bleaching and dyeing. Products can be bought at other National Trust venues. The mill is operated by former mill workers, mechanical and hand-spinning and weaving can be seen in progress on the mill factory floor.
The original water wheel, built by Fairbairn, was 32ft high and 21ft wide but had decayed so much it was useless and has been replaced by a wheel from Pateley Bridge in Yorkshire. It is the most powerful water wheel still in use in Britain and was visited by the Queen Mother in 1986. The mill tour takes well over an hour, but is well worth it.

The Apprentice House

Is a large detached house about 5 minute's walk from the mill. It housed about 60 boys and girls. The children came from local workhouses or from parents who could not afford to keep them. The house is now turned into a museum which is open to the public and guided tours are conducted by an originally costumed custodian. It can be seen how the children lived, very basically and primitively by today's standards, but compared to other mills their treatment would have been regarded as decent and humane by the standards of the day. A doctor and school was provided for them, where they learned to read and write - though their main purpose was almost certainly to provide readily available, trained and cheap millworkers.

Average length of visit: Mill: 1½ hours approx. Combined Mill & Apprentice House: 2½ hours. Onboard coach welcome. General guided tour, out of hours tours and special interest tours available including specialist tour with the chief engineer.

Parking, 200yds, Coaches under 12ft high can drop off/collect from Mill yard by arrangement. 200 yard walk downhill to the Mill.

Mill Restaurant (licensed), assisted service, 90 covers off Mill yard. Children's menu during school holidays. Set menu, private room available.

Telephone numbers:
01625 445 896 (info line); 01625 527468; Fax: 01625 539 267.
Email: quarrybankmill@nationaltrust.org.uk
Website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-quarrybankmillandstyalestate

Please note - prices as of March 2010 - but prices may change over time - enquire before setting out.
Gift Aid Admission (Standard Admission prices in brackets) Mill, Apprentice House and garden: adult £14.20 (£12.89), child £7.05 (£6.40), family £35.40 (£32.16). Mill and Apprentice House or garden: adult £10.50 (£9.54), child £5.25 (£4.77), family £25.20 (£22.90). Mill only: adult £7.35 (£6.68), child £3.90 (£3.53), family £18.60 (£16.90). Garden only: adult £5 (£4.54), child £2.50 (£2.27), family £12.50 (£11.36). Garden upgarde: adult £3.50 (£3.18), child £1.75 (£1.59), family £8.75 (£7.95). Estate: (Standard Admission) Cars £4, motorcycles £2, coaches £15. Free upgrade when travelling by public transport or cycle.

Please note times as of March 2010 - but times may change over time - enquire before setting out.
Open Bank Holiday Mondays, Boxing Day, 1 January and 15 and 16 February. Closed 24 and 25 December. Mill: last admission one hour before closing. Apprentice House guided tours: limited availability – timed tickets only (available from Mill on early arrival. Popular school visit destination during school term time. Restaurant, garden and shop open daily 26 to 31 December. The Garden closes at 3.pm.

Shop (gifts, souvenirs, cloth), licensed cafe, toilets, parking. Wheelchair users please phone in advance - some access, though certain areas of the mill inaccessible or difficult. Sympathetic Hearing Scheme - audio tapes. Braille and large print guides available. Talking Map. Snacks and light refreshments at the Mill Pantry. Dogs allowed under close control on estate. On lead only in Mill yard. >

1½ miles north of Wilmslow off B5166. 2½ miles from M56 junction 5, 10 miles south of Manchester. Buses from Chesterfield-Airport. Rail station nearby at Styal (not Sundays).

Parking: in main car park. Buggy transfer available most days. Transfer available.
Building: 61 steps to entrance. Ramped access from car park down to Mill Yard. 2 wheelchairs. Lift to function rooms or stairs with handrails. Mill: 3 floors accessible by ramps or chairlift. Mill: Restricted access for wheelchairs to Mill, particularly battery operated. Access to 3 floors by ramps and stair lifts for most wheelchairs. Limited numbers of wheelchairs permitted at any one time for safety reasons. 2 wheelchairs available for use. Function rooms: Lift to function rooms or stairs with handrails. Apprentice House: level access to ground floor only.
Toilets: adapted WC off Mill yard also one in function block.
Grounds: accessible route.
Shop: 7 steps to entrance with handrail. Stairlift available.
Refreshments: level entrance .

Styal Village Estate

Was built by Samuel Greg for adult workers, and included a shop and a chapel. To maintain the workers close to the mill, the Old Oak Cottages were built in 1820s, with their very modern outside toilets, and a spacious two rooms per floor. Even so, they were overcrowded with two families per house. Each house had a vegetable plot, so that tenants could be virtually self-sufficient.
Close by are older farm houses such as Cruck Cottage, (pictured above right), pretty enough for any post card. Considering it is only two miles from Manchester Airport, the area is remarkably quiet and peaceful, and the adjacent Styal Country Park facilitates pleasant walks in the beautiful Cheshire countryside.

Sources: See Bibliography - Books about Manchester

See Also:

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This page last updated 16 Nov 11.