Rights of the Child exhibition

Quarry Bank visitors looking at exhibition

2019 marks 200 years since the Peterloo Massacre, a key moment in British history when working people marched to demand a voice and were cut down. In the aftermath of the massacre, there was increased demand for representation and opportunity, particularly for children.

6 April to 29 September 2019

This new exhibition explores the experiences hundreds of children who worked at Quarry Bank, living and working in conditions inconceivable in Britain today. Children made up over 50% of the workforce at Quarry Bank when the mill first opened and were a vital part of its operation. Children as young as eight years old were brought from the workhouses, or from their family homes, to the Apprentice House in Styal.  As many as 90 children lived together, working long, gruelling hours in the mill under dangerous conditions, in exchange for food, clothes and board.

Discover their stories and explore how children’s rights have changed over time as we ask ‘what are the rights and freedoms we can expect today, and how did we secure them?’

The exhibition draws upon the extensive archive collections held at both Quarry Bank and Dunham Massey, which capture stories of working class people and the evolving right for fair and appropriate treatment of children in our society through business records, newspaper articles, letters, testimonies, photographs and pictures.

Exploring Quarry Bank's connections to Peterloo

In 2019 we’re exploring what the Peterloo Massacre meant to the people who were there at the time and its significance today. The exhibition features new protest banners created by banner maker Ed Hall with help from local community groups and schools.

Through the exhibition you will discover Quarry Bank’s connection to these events and how mill owners Samuel Greg and Robert Hyde Greg witnessed the massacre and spoke out against the atrocities.

Featuring new protest banners created by Ed Hall with help from local schools and communities, Rights of the Child explores what the Peterloo Massacre meant to the people who were there at the time, and its significance today.

During your visit

Whilst at Quarry Bank you can also join a guided tour of the Apprentice House, to see where the child workers lived, ate and slept under the strict watch of the Apprentice House superintendents. Tours of the recently restored workers cottage in Styal village also explore the domestic lives and living conditions of the adult mill workers and their families. Pop into Quarry Bank House where the mill owners lived, and see a different side to life at Quarry Bank.