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

Exhibition: A Healthy Profit

Thu 23 Jan 2020
10:30-16:00
In a new exhibition we explore the physical, mental and emotional toil of working in a mill.

Mill Trail: Become a Factory Inspector

Thu 23 Jan 2020
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.

Baby and Toddler: Storytelling and Play

Sat 08 Feb 2020
09:30-10:15
Bring your little ones to Quarry Bank for a special storytelling and play session just for them. Suitable for children 6 months - 4 years. Please book your tickets in advance.

February Half Term: Natural History Adventures

Mon 17 Feb 2020
10:30-17:00
Join us this half term to explore the natural world around us.

National Trust at 125: Leap for Nature

Sat 29 Feb 2020
11:00-15:00
Join us on this special leap day for a variety of fun, nature based-activities for the whole family.

Nature Walk

Mon 02 Mar 2020
11:30-12:15
Join one of our ranger team every Monday and experience Quarry Bank's seasonal sights and sounds.