The Mill Series 2 on Channel 4

The Mill series 2

In 2014 Darlow Smithson Productions returned to Quarry Bank to film Series 2 of 'The Mill' for Channel 4 inspired by our archives and real events and personalities.

The new six-part series focuses on the lives of the mill workers against a backdrop of turbulent social, political and industrial change.

The story is given added drama by the creation of events and characters that are entirely fictional.

Meet the characters

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Chartism and the General Strike

The People’s Charter © Bridgeman Art Library

The People’s Charter

Daniel is trying to get the workers to realise the importance of the People's Charter, a revolutionary petition which will bring universal suffrage for working class men, ensuring that men of all walks of society have a say in their lives.

The struggle of the Chartists is explored throughout the series, often with disappointing results.

The Poor Laws

The New Poor Laws © Mary Evans Picture Library

The New Poor Laws

The New Poor Law of 1834, severely limited the amount and the ways in which the poor could obtain relief, leaving the formidable workhouse as the only available option.

Many unemployed labourers in the south jumped at the chance to work in the mills of the north, including John Howlett and his family.


The Hillsborough Plantation was owned by the Greg family for over 150 years © Quarry Bank Archive

The Hillsborough Plantation was owned by the Greg family for over 150 years

In the series we see Peter, a freed slave from the Greg's plantation in Dominica, searching for justice.

Samuel Greg's uncle, John, founded the Hillsborough plantation in Dominica in 1765. Samuel and his brother Thomas later inherited the plantation in 1795 after their uncle's death, but it was run by their aunt, Catherine, until her death in 1819. It was then run by a series of managers, overlookers and lawyers.

Apprentice Life

The Apprentice House © Quarry Bank Mill Images

The Apprentice House

The life of an apprentice appears to be a monotonous and without reward, but in comparison to the children living in the workhouses and working in the city mills.

Styal Village

The Apprentice House © Quarry Bank Mill Images

The Apprentice House

We see much more of village life in the second series, complete with pub and shop. The villagers are a tight-knit group leaning on each other for support.

Samuel Greg had begun developing Styal village for his workers back in the 1790s when his workforce first began to expand.

Working Conditions

Mechanics of Quarry Bank Mill in 1892 © Quarry Bank Archive

Mechanics of Quarry Bank Mill in 1892

The Gregs employed hundreds of workers from the local area, Greater Manchester and sometimes from further across the country.

Mill workers performed difficult, exhausting tasks during long working days and were always at risk from accidents and industrial illnesses.

Childbirth and Motherhood

Susannah Catterall is portrayed by Holly Lucas © Channel 4 and Ryan McNamara

Susannah Catterall is portrayed by Holly Lucas

The themes of childbirth and motherhood are explored in the series, highlighting the difficulties and the terrors women faced in a world without proper medical care.

Quarry Bank history

Thomas Greg with his family, including Samuel Greg

If The Mill has sparked your interest for all things Quarry Bank, you can delve deeper into the history by checking out our history pages, or our blog which are packed full of fascinating stories.

The Mill exhibition

Behind the scenes photo of the Quarry Bank Channel 4 drama - The Mill

Visit us here at Quarry Bank and take a look at our exhibition exploring the fact behind the fiction of the series, with behind the scenes photos, and props, costumes and parts of the set on display.

The Mill website

Taking a break on the set of series 2 of the Mill © Ryan McNamara Channel 4

The Channel 4 website (external link) about The Mill is full of even more information about the cast, characters and the research that inspired the programme

Children of the Mill

David Hanson signs copies of his book Children of the Mill for our shop © Nick King

This brand new book accompanies the series, and is written by David Hanson, the story-finder for Series 1 of The Mill.

Buy a copy in our shop or order over the phone 01625 445 835.