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

Mill Trail: Become a Factory Inspector

Sun 17 Nov 2019
10:30-16:00
Become a factory inspector and have a go at our family trail around the mill created by children’s author Philip Ardagh.

Exhibition: A Healthy Profit

Sun 17 Nov 2019
10:30-17:00
In a new exhibition we explore the physical, mental and emotional toil of working in a mill.

#ThanksToYou - National Lottery Thank You Campaign 2019

Sat 23 Nov 2019
10:00-16:00
We are once again this year participating in the National Lottery's #ThanksToYou campaign which offers free entry to Quarry Bank to anyone with a National Lottery ticket or scratch card from 23-24 November and 27-29 November.

Reindeer Winter Walk

Wed 27 Nov 2019
10:30-17:00
Take a walk at Quarry Bank this winter and see if you can spot the reindeer hidden around the gardens. How many can you find?

Christmas at Quarry Bank

Wed 27 Nov 2019
10:30-17:00
Explore Quarry Bank this Christmas with a variety of festive activities for all ages.

Baby and Toddler meet Father Christmas

Fri 29 Nov 2019
10:00-10:30
Join us for a special Christmas baby and toddler story-telling and play session which includes a private family visit to Father Christmas and gift just for your little one.