Edward Hyde Greg Biography
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Born in 1827, Edward was the son of Robert Hyde Greg and became the third owner of Quarry Bank Mill
A Promising Career
In his youth, after following in his father’s footsteps, by completing his own Grand Tour of Europe, Edward became involved with local matters, in many different positions. He began as Councillor and Justice of the Peace and in 1888 he was nominated the County Councillor for Wilmslow and remained in this position until his death. He was also made Deputy Lieutenant of the County by Earl Egerton of Tatton. In the 1850s and 60s he served as an auxiliary soldier with the Cheshire Yeomanry, but did not see action.
In 1856, he married Margaret Broadbent with whom he had nine children and lived with them at Quarry Bank House. He had many hobbies throughout his life, including riding, hunting, collecting fossils and bird eggs and shooting, for which he won several prizes. He had a keen interest in steam engines and railways and later built a miniature railroad for his sons which ran from Quarry Bank House to the weir. Much of his collection is in the Quarry Bank Archive including parts of the railroad.
A Turbulent Time
Edward became master of Quarry Bank Mill upon his father’s retirement in difficult circumstances with falling prices and profit margins. This economic downturn lasted three decades and was on a global scale, discouraging expansion and investment, particularly in the coarse production upon which the Mill concentrated. The situation worsened due to increased foreign competition which affected the export markets upon which the industry had been largely dependent for most of the 19th century. The Mill’s orders and sales declined, and losses were made annually from 1880 – 1899.
An Extravagant Lifestyle
Edward did not share his father’s competency in business, nor his commitment to it, preferring to spend time on his hobbies. Nonetheless, he tried to solve problems by modernising the mill, investing in new technology when many other businessmen were unwilling to do so, and made the decision to abandon spinning in 1894 to concentrate upon weaving.
He largely used the business to subsidise his lifestyle to the extent that the Norcliffe Estate was firstly mortgaged and later let to raise money. His poor financial mismanagement led to many arguments with his sons. He was succeeded as master of the Mill in 1900 by his son, Robert Alexander, and died in 1910.