Spent a glorious afternoon at Dunham Massey, here in the North of England. By the time we arrived back at our base, Moreton, nobody wanted to prepare a meal. So we took off down to West Kirby, where we picked up some Fish n Chips. Then headed down to the promenade to eat them. What could be better on a warm evening than taking in the views, looking towards North Wales over marine lake and the Dee estuary.
There were many sail boats on the lake, which was about as flat as a mill pond.
And with little wind it made for a very tranquil scene.
Sadly the Welsh coastline was obscured by mist with just a few twinkling lights managing to break through the murk.
As for the Fish n Chips, they were superb. We got them from Marigolds in West Kirby
After the girls had, two days ago, overdosed on retail therapy, and I had walked my pins to stumps exploring the River Weaver, it was time to absorb some more Cheshire history. And so off we set, into previously uncharted territory. Our destination, Quarry Bank Mill.
Quarry Bank Mill (also known as Styal Mill) in Styal, Cheshire, is apparently, one of the best preserved textile mills of the Industrial Revolution. Built in 1784, it is now a museum of the cotton industry. The mill was established by Samuel Greg and was notable for the innovative approach to labour relations. This was largely as a result of the work of Greg’s wife, Hannah Lightbody.
On entry to the mill you are guided through the wool/cotton making process, entering on the ground floor. The various informational boards lead you, initially, up to the top floor. This is probably a good thing as by the end of the tour, on weary legs, you exit at ground level, not far from the cafe. Thankfully there is a lift to get you to the top.
Weaving Machine – Quarry Bank
Lancashire Overpick Loom – Quarry Bank
As one explores there are plenty of information boards which enable you to understand the environmental and the social changes that were happening at the time. Lots of examples of the typical “contracts of employment” and apprentice indentures. The mill employed men, women and children. Men, then as now, were typically paid more than women doing the same jobs. Nothing changes.
Perhaps, one of the most significant events of the time was Peterloo …..
The Peterloo Massacre took place at St Peter’s Field, Manchester, England, on 16 August 1819, when cavalry charged into a crowd of 60,000–80,000 who had gathered to demand the reform of parliamentary representation.
The end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 had resulted in periods of famine and chronic unemployment, exacerbated by the introduction of the first of the Corn Laws. By the beginning of 1819, the pressure generated by poor economic conditions, coupled with the relative lack of suffrage in Northern England, had enhanced the appeal of political radicalism. In response, the Manchester Patriotic Union, a group agitating for parliamentary reform, organised a demonstration to be addressed by the well-known radical orator Henry Hunt.
Shortly after the meeting began, local magistrates called on the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry to arrest Hunt and several others on the hustings with him. The Yeomanry charged into the crowd, knocking down a woman and killing a child, and finally apprehending Hunt. The 15th Hussars were then summoned by the magistrate, Mr Hulton, to disperse the crowd. They charged with sabres drawn, and in the ensuing confusion, 18 people were killed and 400–700 were injured. The massacre was given the name Peterloo in an ironic comparison to the Battle of Waterloo, which had taken place four years earlier.
Last week my wife and I took a trip up to the Wirral, to visit the outlaws. My wifes sister, our niece and her daughter. As we always do on such visits, we like to do the touristy thing and go on days out, to visit some stately pile, gardens or perhaps country views.
On this occasion, our first trip out, was to Tatton Park.
Tatton Park is an historic estate in Cheshire, England, north of the town of Knutsford. It contains a mansion – Tatton Hall, a medieval manor house – Tatton Old Hall, Tatton Park Gardens, a farm and a deer park of some 2,000 acres.
On our arrival we came across these vehicles. Apparently there was to be a fair in the park over the weekend. These were just some of the support trucks for the various fairground rides.
These are the heavy haulers that I used to see on the roads when I was a kid.
There is a lot of ground to cover at Tatton Park. Before exploring we popped into The Stables for a bite to eat. The weather, being kind, allowed us to eat al fresco. Although that was a dubious honour as we were kept under constant observation by the resident Jackdaws.
These guys were not shy. It wasn’t quite like a scene from Hitchcocks “The Birds” but they certainly had plans for us, or rather our food. It wasn’t long before one of our observers made a high speed run and stole a chip from our plate whilst we were still eating. I noticed that they were selective too. They had no interest in the salad stuff left on an adjacent table. They did inspect it, but then went back to trying to intimidate us into leaving our sausage and chips.
Suitably fuelled up we headed out into the grounds, looking for the Japanese and Italian gardens. En-route we passed through this tranquil lawned area.
Still en-route, the signs lead us down to the Golden Brook Pits area. Tranquil waters surrounded by Rhodedendrons and Azaleas.
Eventually we did reach the Japanese Garden, very peaceful and beautiful…
Strolling round the grounds is very relaxing and ones senses are overwhelmed with the sights, scents and the sounds of bird song that greet you round every turn.
But there is more to Tatton than just the great outdoors. Heading back up to the mansion we wander into the Orangery, Fernery and the Victorian Glasshouses. Here there are actually Oranges, Lemons, various varieties of Grapes and Strawberries ready for picking.
From these fabulous structures we headed over to the Italian Gardens. To be honest we found them to be a little disappointing. Maybe it was the wrong season or, maybe, the scale seemed out of keeping with the rest of the grounds.
As is typical of our wanderings, we were too late to enter the mansion. This ensures that we will have to return to complete our tour. If you are ever in the vicinity I would recommend that you spare the time to visit. Having said that, we spent nearly five hours here and still failed to see it all.
To finish off our visit, we had a cream tea in the Gardeners Cottage Tea Rooms.