The First World War at Quarry Bank

Image of Quarry Bank workers in military uniform

The First World War shattered lives and left lasting legacies for families and industries across the globe. To mark the centenary of the Armistice that ended the War being signed, we've highlighted just a few of the stories from Quarry Bank from 1914 - 1918. The mill owning Greg family saw four of the five children participate in the war effort. Among the workers, vast numbers of men and women fought or served in the War, and by 1918 the small village of Styal would never be the same again.

Our research

Our research began back in 2013 and has taken us on an emotional journey to piece together the lives of eight people.

From the Greg family we researched Ernest and Marian Greg’s family, who lived at Norcliffe Hall in Styal and just two miles from Quarry Bank Mill. Their two daughters Madge (1892-1992) and Helen (1893-1984) joined as VAD nurses and their two eldest sons Arthur (1894-1917) and Bobby (1898-1918) enlisted with the Cheshire Regiment. Alec, their youngest son, born in 1901, had been too young to fight.

Through visiting record offices, delving into the collections at Quarry Bank and speaking to their relatives we were privileged to read the letters written to their loved ones and look at family scrapbooks and photograph albums commemorating their lives and in the process discovered more about Arthur’s fiancée Marian, whose collection of poems condemning the effects of War showed us just how close the family was.

The stories of the workers were more difficult to piece together. We didn’t have any of their personal letters and we relied on finding out about their lives through business archives, Census information and military records. Eventually our research brought to light two men, Edward Cooper and Alfred Sprowson. 

Our research also focused on the ways the War affected the future of the mill, the British textile industry and Styal village. 

Follow the links below to find out more about the people of Quarry Bank who were caught up in the First World War, and how the village of Styal went on to remember them.