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Tony Grist

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Quarry Bank Mill [May. 7th, 2008|09:53 am]
Tony Grist
Quarry Bank Mill at Styal was opened in the 1780s and is now a working museum. We went there with Ruth, my sister-in-law. I now know about carding and spinning and weaving and have some idea of the hellishness of factory work in the early years of the industrial revolution. Samuel Greg, the owner of Quarry Bank, was a model employer by the standards of the age, but still expected his child "apprentices"- boys and girls- to work 13 hours a day, six days a week. 





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Comments:
From: (Anonymous)
2008-05-07 09:21 am (UTC)
Looks much the same as last time I went. There's a women's prison nearby, kind of pithy, given what the Mill used to represent.
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[User Picture]From: goddlefrood
2008-05-07 09:22 am (UTC)
That was me, in case you wondered.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-07 09:24 am (UTC)
I think you'll find the garden has changed. In fact, I don't believe it was open to the public before last year.
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[User Picture]From: goddlefrood
2008-05-07 09:30 am (UTC)
It must be 30 years since I went last. The building looks much as it did then. I couldn't tell you if the gardens were open back then, it was not widely visited except by school groups at that time.

On an unrelated note, I kept meaning to pass on this link:

http://www.readbookonline.net/books/Balzac/14/

Don't know if it'll have any stories you haven't read, but it may, there's a lot there.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-07 10:21 am (UTC)
I visited the mill with a school group about 25 years ago.

Thanks for the Balzac link. There are some titles there I recognise and some I don't. I reckon some of them may be early rarities.
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[User Picture]From: goddlefrood
2008-05-07 10:25 am (UTC)
I'll get to Balzac soon enough. Oddly enough, around the time your first review of his work appeared I'd been saving links all over the net to various bits of his. It's time to start reading some of them. Some at the readbooksonline site looked to be unavailable elsewhere, excepting antiquarian bookshops maybe.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-07 10:56 am (UTC)
The English speaking world is woefully ignorant of Balzac. The more I read the more my admiration grows.
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[User Picture]From: goddlefrood
2008-05-07 09:43 am (UTC)
This year, apparently. Still, the mill hasn't changed much and it was those photos I was looking at, not the garden ;-)

http://www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/nwh_gfx_en/ART55060.html
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-07 10:23 am (UTC)
Yes, the mill is pretty much as it always was.

So this is the first year the garden has been open to the public. Nice.
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[User Picture]From: goddlefrood
2008-05-07 10:27 am (UTC)
Maybe next time I'm up, which could be fairly soon, I may go along. Meanwhile, as I have to be in Court at the bizarrely early hour of 8.15 a.m. I'll be off.
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[User Picture]From: aellia
2008-05-07 10:30 am (UTC)
So good to see the restoration of our history!
Have you seen abandonedplaces
I think you'll like it
x
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-07 10:59 am (UTC)
That's great. Right up my street. I'll link to it. Thanks.
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2008-05-07 02:26 pm (UTC)
I'm always glad to see when industrial heritage is preserved. It makes people just a bit more aware of how good things are now in general and how horrible factory work conditions were in the past. They're teaching museums in many ways. This one looks very well cared for.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-07 08:14 pm (UTC)
It's owned by the National Trust- and they get lots of parties of schoolchildren. There was one following in our wake.
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[User Picture]From: richenda
2008-05-07 04:38 pm (UTC)
Doesn't a fairly well known footpath pass along the back of that building?
It looks remarkable like the beginning of a ten-mile walk I did with Stockport friends about 12 years ago - but I don't know if it had been restored or was open to the public then.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-07 08:19 pm (UTC)
The mill belongs to the National Trust and has been open for at least 20 years- because i remember going round it with a party of schoolkids when I was a vicar. I don't know about the footpath, but it seems highly likely.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2008-05-07 05:52 pm (UTC)
I think shot #3 says it all: that black iron walkway cutting off the sky. It's also just a gorgeous shot.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-07 08:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks. That's my favourite.
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2008-05-07 07:21 pm (UTC)
A while back the national historic urban parks in this country decided to restore and preserve as museums the old mills of some of America's mill towns. Lowell Massachusetts has done a great job with their urban industrial historic park, including the making of films about the days of child labor, and the days when mill girls were recruited from nearby farming communities to live in town and work in factories. They have restored the old boarding houses where "young ladies" lived amid strict rules of behavior, etc. Among the displays are photos of actual operations at the time the factories were fairly new. Oh, yes, and some truly heartbreaking stories of the mill children, too.
In the lecture I attended at the Lowell Parks they pointed out that American mills were patterned after the British model of the eighteeenth century. After seeing your photos, I can see it for myself. These photos could have been taken in Lowell, or Lawrence, or any other of the mill towns along major rivers in the northeastern US.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-07 08:24 pm (UTC)
W.H. Auden said mills were the most distinctive British buildings of the 19th century. I think he had a point. They can be magnificent. A lot of the ones round here have been demolished- something I suspect future generations will regret.
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[User Picture]From: mummm
2008-05-09 07:37 am (UTC)
Fascinating... wonderful and awful... like a prison of sorts.

Edited at 2008-05-09 07:37 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-09 09:18 am (UTC)
Prison isn't too far from the mark. If an apprentice ran away he or she was hunted down, returned to the master and punished. Liberal reformers at the time looked at the cotton mills, compared them with the American cotton plantations and concluded there wasn't a great deal of difference. Millhands- especially the children- were slaves in all but name.
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[User Picture]From: mummm
2008-05-09 11:41 am (UTC)
*ugh*!
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