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Quarry Bank Project

Green academy programme volunteers on a path repair project at Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire
Young volunteers on a path repair project at Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire | © National Trust Images/David Watson

During 2015–2020 Quarry Bank was at the centre of a large restoration project. Visitors can now explore the complete industrial heritage site thanks to the work that’s been carried out. Discover more about the £9.4 million project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and thousands of generous donors.

Restoring Quarry Bank

The project overview

Quarry Bank was once one of the largest cotton manufacturing businesses in Britain. The site comprises the huge cotton mill including working machinery, the mill owner's home and workers’ cottages. Many areas were not open to visitors due to the amount of conservation work required. Careful repairs were also needed to the 19th-century glasshouse to help complete the industrial landscape the site once was.

What’s been achieved?

Being able to restore these buildings has helped to tell the stories from the entire community including mill owners, mill workers and child apprentices. The grand Georgian home of the mill-owning Greg family and contrasting two-up-two-down mill workers’ cottage are both now open. A new visitor welcome area offers space for visitors to plan their day.

Essential maintenance work on the exterior of Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire showing scaffold built against the exterior wall.
Essential maintenance work on the exterior of Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Work completed on the main buildings

Transforming the mill

The Quarry Bank Project has transformed how stories of the men, women and children who lived and worked at Quarry Bank are now shared. New galleries have been installed across all five floors of the mill. These include the sights and sounds of working in the cotton mill in a new audio-visual experience.

Visitors can now see life at Quarry Bank through the eyes of the workforce and the mill owner Samuel Greg. There’s also a chance to understand more about the dangerous jobs in the mill including the accidents and injuries that frequently occurred.

Quarry Bank House

In 2017 the Georgian home of the mill-owning Greg family opened for the first time to visitors. Portrait paintings and Georgian furniture has been placed to bring the home to life. New interactive displays reveal the stories of Hannah Greg and her family.

Fixtures and fittings were carefully cleaned by the conservation team and the fabric of the building was restored. The large decorative tiles in the stairway were lifted and carefully cleaned, with each one labelled in order to put them back in the same location.

Inside the workers' cottage at Quarry Bank

A two-up-two-down workers’ cottage in Styal village was also restored and opened in 2017. Layers of history were gradually revealed when the walls and floors were repaired. Wallpaper dating back to the 19th century was found.

New research conducted by Professor Hannah Barker at the University of Manchester revealed more about the home lives of Quarry Bank’s workers.

A new welcome hub with creative displays opened in Styal village where visitors can uncover the lives of the people who lived here.

Green academy programme volunteer on a wildflower planting project in the upper garden at Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire
Young volunteer on a wildflower planting project in the upper garden at Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire | © National Trust Images/David Watson

Restoring the garden and wider landscape

A curved glasshouse

The upper gardens and a rare curved glasshouse have been restored by Quarry Bank’s garden team with the help of specialist contractors. By using information from the archives, the space has been recreated to how it once looked. The walled garden is now a working garden with a variety of seasonal vegetables grown.

The once-derelict 1830s glasshouse that sits as the centre piece sparkles once again. Over 7,000 individual panes of hand-made glass have now been installed. Look out for the back sheds in the upper garden to discover stories of Quarry Bank’s kitchen garden and the work of Head Gardener, William Brough.

Restoring a picturesque landscape

Over in the woodland estate the ranger team has been restoring Chapel Woods to the picturesque pleasure ground it once was. The grounds were enjoyed by the mill-owning Greg family from the 1790s. Explore the woodlands and discover the historic bridges and heritage trees that were introduced to the landscape.

Thousands of wildflowers have been replanted to restore natural habitats. Fresh, accessible paths have been laid and a new outdoor play space is being introduced in this natural location soon.

A new way to arrive

The car park and welcome building

The visitor car park is now extended to almost double its original size. The new welcome building enables every visitor the space they need to plan a full day out at Quarry Bank.

The welcome team can help with booking guided tours of the Apprentice House and the workers' cottage in this area. You can also find out about activities and exhibitions that are running on the day of your visit.

Thank you

Thanks to the Quarry Bank Project, the mill has been transformed. Stories have been revealed about the men, women and children who once lived and worked here.

Thank you to everyone who has donated to the Quarry Bank Project. You have helped to restore one of the most complete industrial heritage sites in Britain and transformed how visitors can experience and learn about it today.

Exterior of Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire

Discover more at Quarry Bank

Find out when Quarry Bank is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

Our partners

Heritage Fund

Inspiring, leading and resourcing the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

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