The Worst Children's Jobs in History (at Quarry Bank!)

The Worst Children's Jobs in History (at Quarry Bank!) logo

You'd better be ready to put in a hard day's work at Quarry Bank this summer! From Saturday 29 April to Sunday 10 September 2017 we'll be putting you through your paces on an interactive family exhibition and trail. Join us for the Worst Children's Jobs in History (at Quarry Bank!), inspired by Sir Tony Robinson's captivating Worst Jobs series.

Fancy twisting together pieces of cotton for 12 hours a day? Perhaps you’d rather sweep the floors? Follow in the footsteps of the Gong Scourers, Mole Catchers, Piecers and Bird Scarers this summer and find out exactly what kids had to put up with to earn a day’s wages in the past.

The Worst Children’s Jobs in History (at Quarry Bank!) combines Sir Tony Robinson’s captivating Worst Jobs series with our amazing archive to uncover what life was really like for the children at Quarry Bank. Follow the interactive family trail around Quarry Bank to test your mettle against some of the most exhausting, dirtiest and disgusting jobs in all of history.

Illustration of a child working as a piecer


If you were a piecer, your job on the spinning mule was to stick any broken pieces of cotton together while the mule was moving. In order to do this you had to spit on the ends and then twist them backwards and forwards, which made your fingers bleed and you weren’t allowed to sit down while you were doing it.

Summer holidays

Grafting in the Garden: Monday 24 July to Friday 4 August (weekdays)

Are you scary enough to chase away the birds, or agile enough to catch a mole? Try out the worst gardening jobs in history.*

Muck in at t’Mill: Monday 7 August to Friday 18 August (weekdays)
Can you stoke a boiler, move the muck from under a mule or carry a can? Find out which worst mill job is for you.*

Illustration of a child working as a stoker


How do you fancy shovelling coal into a huge boiler? Think it might have been fun? Think again. Hour after hour of heaving shovelfuls of heavy coal, as the ferocious heat burned your skin and the coal dust and smoke clogged your lungs. Only older boys and men would have been considered strong enough to take on this thankless task.

‘Ard work at the Apprentice House: Monday 21 August to Friday 1 September (weekdays excluding Bank Holiday Monday)
Calling all cobble collectors, thieving toe-rags and poop scoopers! Come and tackle the
worst jobs done by children at the Apprentice House.*

*All events included in Quarry Bank admission charge. Free admission for National Trust members.

Upcoming events

Percy the Park Keeper's winter wander trail at Quarry Bank

Wed 08 Dec 2021
This winter, treat your little ones to a world of adventures at Quarry Bank with Percy the Park Keeper's winter wander trail. Join in the fun with Percy and his animal friends and give nature a helping hand.

Baby and Toddler meet Father Christmas

Fri 10 Dec 2021
Join us for a special Christmas baby and toddler storytelling and play session which includes a private family visit to Father Christmas and a gift just for your little one.

Meet Father Christmas at Quarry Bank

Sat 11 Dec 2021
Wish lists at the ready! Join us for a special half-hour session of festive storytelling and crafts, including a private family visit to Father Christmas and a gift.