Discover the stories of the workers in Styal village

Visitors in Styal village hub

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.

Explore the home lives of the workers in the village hub

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.

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 on a tour of the worker's cottage

What does ‘home’ mean to you? 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.

 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.