The Mill on Channel 4
The Mill on Channel 4
In 2013 Darlow Smithson Productions filmed a brand new drama series for Channel 4 based on the history of Quarry Bank Mill. The series follows the lives of the mill owners, mill workers and apprentices as they try to navigate their way through a time of rapid change. Highlighting these turbulent times by drawing on real events and personalities from Quarry Bank’s past, the story is given added drama by the creation of events and characters that are entirely fictional.
The result is a dramatic blending of fact and fiction, invention and reality, a story of people’s lives.
The Greg family
Samuel founded Quarry Bank Mill in 1784 and is finding it hard to leave his beloved Mill in the care of his son Robert. Meanwhile matriarch Hannah is trying to keep the peace and improve the lot of the apprentices.
Esther Price and Lucy Garner run away from their life at Quarry Bank Mill in search of justice for themselves and their fellow apprentices.
Susannah and Miriam are sisters whose circumstances at the Mill prompt Esther Price to start fighting for their rights, and bring the attention of socialist mechanic, Daniel Bate.
Daniel Bate and John Doherty have strong opinions on worker's rights but very different approaches.
The husband and wife team who look after the Apprentice House can't always keep their young charges under control.
Like father, like son?
One of the major storylines in the series is the conflicted relationship between Samuel Greg and his son Robert Hyde Greg and their clashes over the management of the Mill, but in reality were they really so different?
The real Esther Price
In 'The Mill' Esther is a headstrong young apprentice who stands up for herself and her fellow apprentices. The character is based on the historical Esther Price who was indeed an apprentice at Quarry Bank and did run away.
The fight for rights
At the onset of the Industrial Revolution there were no precedents set for the standard of care for workers, and so over the 1800s and beyond the workers had to fight for their rights.
What about the children?
The plight of the apprentices is a major storyline in the series, but throughout the 1800s there were reformers pushing to improve the conditions of working children.
The Mill website
The Channel 4 website about The Mill is full of even more information about the cast, characters and the research that inspired the programme.
The Mill exhibition
Visit us here at Quarry Bank and take a look at our exhibition exploring the making of the series