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

Behind the scenes - Machines

Sat 17 Nov 2018
14:00-15:00
One Saturday a month we invite you join us as we look at the Mill and its machinery in more depth. Led by our expert team, this is a real opportunity to find out more about this fascinating place.

Have-a-go: Nature Explorers

Sat 24 Nov 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.

Baby and Toddler meet Father Christmas

Fri 30 Nov 2018
10:30-11:00
Join us for a special Christmas baby and toddler storytelling and play session which includes a private family visit to Father Christmas and a gift just for your little one. Normal admission charges apply.

Once Upon a Winter's Day

Fri 30 Nov 2018
10:30-17:00
Get lost in traditional stories at Quarry Bank this Christmas. Explore the mill, gardens and houses to re-discover festive classics such as A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker and The Snow Queen.

Meet Father Christmas at Quarry Bank

Sat 01 Dec 2018
10:30-11:00
Wish lists at the ready! Join in with a special half-hour session of festive activities, including a private family visit to Father Christmas and a gift. Admission charges apply.