Alexander Carlton Greg Biography

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Alexander was born in 1901, the son of Ernest William Greg and his wife, Mary Cross. He grew up at Norcliffe Hall, built by his great-grandfather, Robert Hyde Greg in the 1830s. He attended The Leas boarding school for his primary education and received excellent school reports throughout his time there. He excelled at history and geography.

Alexander was the youngest son of Ernest. He had two elder brothers, Arthur Tylston and Robert Philips, and two sisters, Madge and Helen. It seems they had a happy childhood together, and Alexander recorded in the winter of 1913 that they whiled away the hours playing in the snow, building snow forts and sledging. Sadly, Alec’s elder brothers both died serving in World War One, leaving him as the heir to Quarry Bank Mill.

Alec was extremely interested in nature and during his youth he kept a nature diary in which he documented the different flora around Styal and the gardens at Quarry Bank and Norcliffe. This interest in the natural world continued into adulthood and left Alec with little desire to enter the family business. Instead, in the 1930s, he moved from Styal to Acton Bridge in Northwich, Cheshire to become a farmer, where he remained for the rest of his life, with his wife Kathleen and their children Naomi and Mark.

In 1923, Robert Alexander Greg, Alec’s uncle, along with his father, had turned R Greg & Co. into ‘Quarry Bank Mills Company Limited’, the principal shareholders being Robert and Ernest. However they stepped back from the business and largely left the running of the Mill to the mill manager, Samuel Henshall.

In 1934 Ernest died, and as Alec had no desire to return to Styal, nor had he ever been involved in the family business, he was faced with the problem of what to do with the Mill and the surrounding estate. With Wilmslow Council planning on building houses on the adjoining land, Alec donated Quarry Bank Mill, Styal Village and the surrounding estate and woodland to the National Trust in 1939.