Spinning stories for the National Trust
Why did Samuel Greg build his cotton-spinning mill in this Cheshire valley? Who worked here at Quarry Bank – and why were so many of his employees children? How did engineers harness the power of the river to run so many machines? What was the biggest impact of the textile industry on Britain?
I worked with the National Trust team at Quarry Bank to develop text based on their extensive archive of documents, records and indentures, seeking to invite visitors deep into a history that has shaped us all.
When I saw the galleries during October half term 2018, they were buzzing with visitors including this local family who were reading the text out to one another and had just learned the origin of the phrase ‘carrying the can’.
Mather and Co have done an amazing job with the design, weaving the stories together against the backdrop of the real environment where it all happened, beginning in 1784.
The text below is maybe my favourite from the project, within the gallery about the workers in the mill. We know some of their names and roles, but almost nothing of their lives, compared to those of the rich family who owned the mill. What if they were you? What if you were them?