Alan, Paul, Tom and myself took a trip out of Merseyside for a breath of fresh air and followed the Leeds/Liverpool canal into the industrial heartland of the Norwest.  

Quarry Bank Mill is in Styal just outside of Manchester. It is a working water mill from the late 1700’s on lovely grounds and ideal for a picnic. Everyone had packed their butty’s and we all crammed into the car. We listened to Radio 2 and Paul got loads of the questions right on pop master during the trip down. We all talked about music and films while we drove down the M6.

  We finally made it to Quarry Bank Mill and went to the reception area to pick up some pamphlets. Interesting fact. Quarry Bank Mill employed a lot of children from Liverpool poor houses. They were given an education and free medical care but often lost their little fingers in the looms! Life in Quarry Bank Mill was better than life in Liverpool workhouses though. Samuel Greg, the owner made sure that the grounds were kept beautifully and that his workers had a (relatively) good life. He made houses for them to live in and employed police, doctors, teachers and childcare to look after his staff. Other examples of philanthropic industrial revolution towns include Saltaire near Bradford and Port Sunlight on the Wirral. Saltaire is worth a trip. It houses the largest collection of David Hockney artworks in the world!

 We found a nice perch overlooking the factory and had our packed lunch. Everyone was quite hungry. Alan tried to count the windows while Paul told us all about his recent holiday to New York.

After lunch we took a walk round the grounds. Quarry Bank Mill was powered by water. We took a stroll along the weir. Alan’s wheelchair coped well considering. I had to put my back into it though when we travelled uphill in the mud and the cobbles made Alan’s voice shake when he spoke. The steep hill down to the grounds seemed a lot more formidable on the way back to the car. Fortunately, some volunteers spotted me huffing and puffing up the hill and offered us a lift in the golf cart.

We travelled in style up to the village in Styal. However, while we were looking around the worker’s houses it started to rain. We all decided that it would be best to head back to Liverpool. We had a lovely day out.