The mill at Quarry Bank

Children watching the machinery in action in the mill

The huge cotton mill was the heart of working life at Quarry Bank. Visit the mill to watch the historic machinery thunder into action and feel the floors shake beneath your feet! Discover how Samuel Greg founded his cotton empire and the story of the cotton trade. You can also understand the hardships faced by the workers who toiled in the mill, and uncover engineering genius at work.

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Visiting the mill: what you need to know

We're delighted to welcome you back to the mill at Quarry Bank, which will be open daily from Monday 17 May, 10.30am-5pm. To make it a safe experience for everyone, we have introduced a one-way route. We'll also only be admitting 25 people every 15 minutes, with last entry at 4.15pm. This means you may need to queue for a short while.

While your ticket allows you to explore the gardens and estate as much as you like on the day you visit, we can't guarantee everyone will be able to visit the mill, particularly on very busy days. We appreciate this may be disappointing, but we hope you can understand that we need to make sure our visitors, staff and volunteers are safe. Thank you for your support.

You’ll find sanitising points at the entrance and exit of the mill, and sinks for hand washing can be found in the toilets. In line with government guidelines, you’re required to wear a face covering in indoor places, unless you’re exempt, so please bring one with you.

Please note that the mill lift is currently not in full operation. If you require an accessible visit, please contact us in advance on 01625 527468.

Costumed staff in the Apprentice House kitchen at Quarry Bank

Visiting the Apprentice House 

From Monday 17 May, the Apprentice House will reopen to visitors, 11am-4pm. Come and discover where Quarry Bank's child workers lived, ate and slept, or explore the gardens they tended after long shifts in the mill. There will be a limited number of daily tours, so please ask at Visitor Reception on arrival if you'd like to visit the Apprentice House.

Working historic looms in Quarry Bank mill

See working machinery in action

Experience heritage machinery at work in the mill. You can feel the floors shake with the power of the spinning machines or hear the clatter of the weaving looms at work. The machinery is demonstrated daily by members of our technical team, who can answer your questions and tell you more about working life in the mill.

A hand spinning and weaving demonstration in the mill

Samuel’s Industrial Enterprise

Find out about Samuel Greg, the founder of Quarry Bank, and his journey from being a young boy in Belfast to building his cotton business. In this gallery you can also see hand-spinning and weaving demonstrations, and discover more about the history of the cotton trade and the exploitation that was at the heart of Britain’s global expansion.

Historic machinery in the mill at Quarry Bank

The Workforce

See the mill through the eyes of its workforce. The sights and sounds of working in the mill are brought to life in an immersive audio visual experience. You can also find out about the different types of work done by men, women and children, and the accidents and injuries that happened to Quarry Bank’s workers. Please be aware that the audio visual experience contains loud noises and some flashing lights.

Steam engines at Quarry Bank

The story of power: Water Power, Steam Power, Brain Power

The ingenuity of engineers was essential to the early Industrial Revolution. In these galleries you can explore how the mill was powered and the brains behind the technology. Have a go at interactive engineering challenges in the Brain Power gallery, and see the historic steam engines and waterwheel in action.