Introducing Heroes of Adventure
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Our brand new exhibition ‘Heroes of Adventure’ will open on Saturday 7 June. It explores the effects of the First World War on the Greg family, the workers and the Mill. It’s been a year in the making and an emotional experience for the research team.
The exhibition is located in two different parts of the Mill. In the exhibition gallery we explore the story of siblings Madge, Helen, Arthur, and Bobby Greg, and Marian Allen, Arthur’s fiancée. The Greg siblings were the children of Ernest William Greg, who co-owned Quarry Bank Mill with his brother Robert Alexander Greg.
Arthur joined the army in September 1914. He fought at the Battle of Ypres in 1915 where he was severely wounded. In 1916 he joined the Royal Flying Corps and was sadly shot down in an air fight in April 1917. He left behind his fiancée, Marian, who poured her grief into her poetry, all of which commemorated Arthur and lamented the horrors of the War.
In 1915, Madge was sent to the front, as a VAD nurse with the British Red Cross. She served all over Northern France, including at dressing stations at Ypres. Her practicality and no-nonsense style shines through her scrapbook entries, and she saved thousands of lives.
Helen was the next to go to France, and she too served as a VAD nurse, although she was constantly frustrated that her superiors didn't make more use of her talent and she frequently asked for Madge's expert advice. She met the love of her life, Sir Guy Lloyd, whilst they were both on leave and they married before the end of the War.
Bobby was commissioned in September 1917. In April 1918 Bobby was sent to the front as a Second Lieutenant, as part of the Cheshire Regiment, and acted as Liaison Officer between Battalion and Brigade in the trenches. Two weeks after his arrival a shell was dropped on his trench and he was mortally wounded, dying in early May.
Edward & Alfred
In the Mill Worker’s World gallery you can learn about the story of the Mill and the workers during the War. Our research brought to light two very interesting men – cousins Edward Cooper and Alfred Sprowson. Alfred was injured in the Gallipoli campaign and died on the way to hospital in Alexandria. Edward's absence was felt by the business and Quarry Bank begged the Cotton Control Board for his discharge so he could return to work.
Sadly not all the men of Styal who went to War returned, and they ended up scattered all over the globe as a result of the conflict. They are still remembered here in Styal thanks to the efforts of the villagers in 1920, who erected Styal War Memorial in their honour.
The exhibition will be open until Sunday 16 November.