The National Trust Hand Spinning & Weaving Co-ordinator, dressed in costume, shows visitors how the cotton was processed at Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, Cheshire © National Trust Images/John Millar
I travelled to Manchester to visit the Quarry Bank Mill with Susannah Mansfield from the National Trust. Trafalgar, along with The Travel Corporation’s not-for-profit organisation, the TreadRight Foundation, are very excited to be supporting this project for 2014 and we wanted to see first hand what our guests on three 2014 Great Britain Trafalgar itineraries will experience. The mill itself has significant industrial revolution history. A visit to the cotton mill, powered by Europe's most powerful working waterwheel will certainly give our guests an insider’s view to what it was like to live and work in the 18th century during one of history’s most significant eras. Besides the mill where our guests will have an interactive guided experience to see the machinery, they will get to also see the giant waterwheel and the Apprentice House, which is where young pauper children were accommodated to work inside the Mill.
The National Trust has owned the Quarry Bank Mill itself since 1939 – but for many years, key aspects of the property were in private ownership, preventing them from telling the complete story of this historic site. Between 2006 and 2012 they were able to acquire the parts that were in private ownership so that now they have a complete industrial village.
Quarry Bank is arguably the most important early textile manufacturing community in England; and because of Britain’s pioneering role in industrialisation, it is one of the most important in the world. It is a place where the whole range of life in an early industrial revolution cotton mill and community can be explored in as near to original context and completeness as is possible today.
The National Trust in the United Kingdom is a charity and is completely independent of government. It has over 3.7 million members and 61, 000 volunteers. More than 17 million people visit their pay-for-entry properties, while an estimated 50 million visit their open-air properties. The National Trust protects and opens to the public over 350 historic houses, gardens and ancient monuments. They also look after forests, woods, fens, beaches, farmland, downs, moorland, islands, archaeological remains, castles, nature reserves and villages - forever, for everyone. Trafalgar has supported three significant projects over the past three years – The Giants Causeway project in Northern Ireland where we take many of our guests every year on Trafalgar vacations; the White Cliffs of Dover project and this new project for us from 2014, the Quarry Bank Mill. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/quarry-bank-mill