The Gregs


This section of the page features an image gallery, so if you're using a screen reader you may wish to jump to the main content.


William Greg (Andrew Lee Potts)

William has taken over Quarry Bank Mill, whilst his brother Robert works as an MP in Manchester. His poor business decisions leave him with no choice but to take drastic measures to the displeasure of his workforce. He clashes with Daniel Bate, leader of the Union at Quarry Bank, who is raising William’s daughter, Angela, as his own. As the series progresses William’s patience runs out…

The fact: William Rathbone Greg never ran Quarry Bank Mill, which remained under his brother Robert’s control from 1834-1870. William ran his own mill first at Bury and then at Bollington, but he was not particularly business minded, and had very little understanding of business problems. In 1850 he turned his back on the mill world. He had six children by his first wife Lucy Ann Henry, and one son by his second wife, Julia Wilson. William was not the biological father of Susannah Catterall’s child. He was a keen supporter of the Anti-Corn Law and abolition movements. He is remembered as an essayist writing about politics, economics and theology and authored many publications.

Hannah Greg (Barbara Marten)

Hannah’s husband Samuel died in the first series and now she dedicates her time to her causes; continuing to champion health and education amongst the apprentices, as well as doing all she can to support the abolition of slavery. She visited the Greg plantation in Dominica and brought back Peter, a freed slave to speak about his experiences in the hope that the Negro apprentice system will be abolished too. She uncovers a terrible secret about Peter’s past, but will she be able to tell him before it is too late?

The fact: Samuel outlived Hannah by several years. We do not know the extent of Hannah’s support for the abolition of slavery. She had many friends who were fighting for abolition, and it is highly likely that she shared their view. There are no surviving documents that indicate Hannah’s feelings about the Greg plantation, and her position as Samuel’s wife prevented her from speaking against him. She never travelled outside of the UK and died in 1828, before the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833.