A Woman's Work is Never Done

Illustration of women working on a spinning machine at Quarry Bank

From the girls in the Apprentice House to the ladies of the Greg family, women form the backbone of the Quarry Bank story. This exhibition, running from Saturday 21 January to Monday 17 April 2017, shines a light on the experiences of the women and girls whose stories have often been invisible.

Margaret Magan worked at Quarry Bank from the age of ten, brought to work in the mill as a child apprentice. Over her years of service for the Greg family she learned many skills, working as a spinner, a weaver, and a winder. In her last job in the mill, she achieved something that very few women ever did. She became an overlooker in the winding room; the highest paid person in the room who was responsible for overseeing everybody else’s work.

Bessie Greg had a strikingly different start to life. Born into the mill owning Greg family, she was raised to be a lady, to play with expensive dolls and have her hair curled, and to take care of her younger siblings. Yet Bessie yearned to do more than be a wife and a mother. She had a passion for map-making and dreamed of travelling the world. Finally, aged 37, she set off on her intrepid travels…

Women have always been at the heart of Quarry Bank, and their experiences were diverse and at times gruelling. In the first exhibition of 2017, we’re exploring the lives of women whose stories have often remained invisible, and exploring what it meant to ‘work’ at Quarry Bank. Following a visit to the exhibition, continue your journey through the mill and to the Apprentice House to experience the real environment in which many women at Quarry Bank worked.

" Researching in the archive alongside the Quarry Bank volunteers has been a source of non-stop fascination and excitement for me. The inspiring women’s stories we have uncovered for this exhibition are just the beginning. The archive holds so many more fascinating and hidden voices just waiting to be discovered. "
- Ruth Colton, exhibition curator and academic at the University of Manchester

Upcoming events

Explore the Outdoors

Wed 24 Jan 2018
10:30-16:00
Head outside and discover all the wonderful wildlife and amazing family adventures you can have in the gardens and woodland at Quarry Bank.

February half-term - Welly Walks

Mon 19 Feb 2018
11:00-11:30
Get your wellies on and take a walk on the wild side this February half-term. Explore the gardens and woodland at Quarry Bank with an interactive, exciting and wild walk for all the family.

Have-a-go: Nature Explorers

Sat 24 Feb 2018
13:00-15:00
Every month you can have a go at a wild outdoor activity at Quarry Bank. From pond-dipping to wild art, there's always a new adventure to enjoy.

Lost Voices

Sat 03 Mar 2018
10:30-16:00
Lost Voices explores the experiences of women whose stories were not heard, and which are often lost to us today because of their age, status or means. Installations across Quarry Bank will bring their voices to life.

Lost Voices Launch Event

Sat 03 Mar 2018
11:00-16:00
Explore the lost voices of Quarry Bank's women with a special tour, an opportunity to meet our writer-in-residence and a special performance from AbouTime Dance Company.

Lost Voices Launch Event - Talk and tea with Dr Ruth Colton

Sat 03 Mar 2018
13:00-15:00
Dr Ruth Colton from the University of Manchester will be hosting a talk with tea and cake, exploring the themes of Lost Voices and how they relate to women's experiences today.