As we think about industrial architecture, buildings made from red brick, surrounded by heavy appliances and complex installations immediately come to mind. We see large windows and floors made from grey stone. Although a community of post-industrial architecture buffs is growing at an quick rate, it must be admitted however that such architecture is usually associated with a gloomy atmosphere. Quarry Bank is a factory located in the east part of England in the small village of Styal. Its uniqueness is related to combining both the industrial character and charm of the surrounding nature.
Quarry Bank – largest factory producing cotton
In its prime time Quarry Bank was the UK’s largest factory producing cotton, has beenfounded in the era of the great industrial revolution in England, in 1784. Founder of the factory, Samuel Greg cared about their employees and created the entire infrastructure to facilitate everyday life of his employers. As a result workers built houses, a school and a chapel were raised around Quarry Bank, also the doctor was brought here to provide medical care for factory workers. Over a hundred years later this idea has been implemented again by Karol Scheibler around his factory in Łódź – he created a workers’ neighbourhood called “Księży Młyn” (“Priest’s Mill”), sometimes also called as “city within a city”. Wh
at is interesting for today, at the time of production peak in Quarry Bank dozens of children from the surrounding neighbourhoods were also employed. Working conditions were indeed difficult and often dangerous, but many of very young people wanted to work in a factory because then they had room and board provided, which their parents or caregivers not always were able to provide.
The factory operated until 1959 and nearly 50 years later was taken over by the National Trust, a British organization dedicated to the protection of historical sites and wildlife. Under the leadership of this organization Quarry Bank has turned into Museum of the Cotton Industry. The new owners have made every possible effort to preserve the unique character of Quarry Bank. The result is a place perfect not only for family walks and picnics, but also demonstrates how it was like to live and work in the factory at the time of its glory in 1:1 scale. Visitors have the opportunity to participate in workshops about cotton spinning, observe operation of historical machines and watch the original eighteenth-century factory interiors. It’s all performed with the company of museum staff, dressed in costumes of the era.
To be moved 200 years back
Quarry Bank is a place where time has stood still. Going for a walk around this area, we had an impression to be moved 200 years back in time. This is not only an area of enormous scientific values, but also an idyllic place offering true relaxation experience.