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

Bale to Yarn

Fri 20 Sep 2019
10:00-10:30
In this exclusive out of hours tour, discover how 800 shirts could be made from a single bale of cotton.

Mill Trail: Become a Factory Inspector

Fri 20 Sep 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.

Rights of the Child

Fri 20 Sep 2019
10:30-17:00
In this new exhibition, explore the experiences of the hundreds of children who worked at Quarry Bank and discover how children's rights have changed over time.

Glorious Phantoms

Fri 20 Sep 2019
10:30-17:00
200 years after the Peterloo Massacre, two films created by artist family Gary, Grace, Hope and Merrick will inspire conversations about rights and responsibilities, freedoms and the power to create change. Shown at Quarry Bank and Dunham Massey

Spoon Carving Workshop

Sun 22 Sep 2019
10:00-16:00
Come and try your hand at carving a spoon in the setting of the beautiful Quarry Bank estate

Nature Walk

Mon 23 Sep 2019
11:30-12:30
Join one of our ranger team every Monday and experience Quarry Bank's seasonal sights and sounds.