Discover the stories of the workers in Styal village

Visitors in the workers cottage

The beautiful village of Styal hides an industrial past. Families, young couples and former apprentices lived together in a tight-knit community of mill workers, farmers, bakers and shop owners. Together they faced the challenges of a new industrial world, and forged a community that continues to thrive today.

Just so you know...

This article was created before the coronavirus crisis, and may not reflect the current situation. Please check our homepage for the most up to date information about visiting.

Visitors on a guided tour of the workers cottage

Take a tour of the worker's cottage

Step inside the worker’s cottage to discover layers of history from the 1820s through to the 1970s. You can explore ideas of home, privacy and community in an intimate guided tour that challenges you to think about how your life compares to that of the mill workers’. Please note that the tours have limited availability due to the small size of the cottage.

Visitors in Styal village

Discover the home lives of the workers

In a permanent exhibition in the Styal village hub you can uncover more about the domestic lives of the workers and see how life in Styal differed to the slum conditions in the centre of Manchester. You can find out about some of the residents of Styal in the nineteenth century, including William Taylor who was born in the cellar of the worker’s cottage. The worker’s cottage opened for guided tours in 2017 following a period of conservation work as part of the Quarry Bank Project. In the village hub you can watch a video about the layers of history that we uncovered during the conservation work and hear from curators and academics about why this small house is so significant.

Visitors in Styal village

Styal village

Styal village expanded rapidly in the 1820s when Samuel Greg created purpose built housing for his expanding workforce. The new terraced cottages brought a brand new style of architecture and an expanding population to this sleepy rural community. In the tiny two-up-two-down cottages workers lived in cramped conditions, with as many as 14 people living in one house and tenants sub-letting rooms to other mill workers.

Visitors enjoying a cup of tea at Quarry Bank

A thriving community

Styal remains a living, breathing community with a primary school, community shop, pub and many small businesses. When visiting Styal please be respectful of our tenants’ privacy.


Academic research - Family life during the Industrial Revolution

Working with Professor Hannah Barker from the University of Manchester, we've delved deeper into finding out more about family life in Styal during the Industrial Revolution. Hannah Barker is Professor of British History at the University of Manchester. Hannah is a specialist on the Industrial Revolution and how it affected people in the north, and she worked with us as a Historical Advisor at Quarry Bank. Hannah’s research informed the stories we now tell at the Apprentice House and in the Village. Take a look at this video to see how Hannah worked with staff and volunteers, and the impact her research is having on visitors to Quarry Bank.