Cheshire Wandering (3) Quarry Bank


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 (Styal 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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quarry_Bank_Mill

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.

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peterloo_Massacre

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Antigua – Bettys Hope


bettyshope

Antigua – Betty’s Hope Plantation

From Wikipedia:

Betty’s Hope was a sugarcane plantation in Antigua. It was established in 1650, shortly after the island had become an English colony, and flourished as a successful agricultural industrial enterprise during the centuries of slavery. It was the first large-scale sugar plantation to operate in Antigua and belonged to the Codrington family from 1674 until 1944. Christopher Codrington, later Captain General of the Leeward Islands, acquired the property in 1674 and named it Betty’s Hope, after his daughter.

Just a few of the photographs taken during our visit to this site.

 

Weald and Downland Open Air Museum


Thursday and another day spent blowing away the cobwebs. The question was where to go,  where could we get some fresh air but without risking getting soaked. The answer was The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum at Singleton.

Just a short twenty-mile drive from home, the museum is set in the heart of the South Downs and is encompassed by the South Downs National Park. It is home to around 50 historic buildings that were previously facing destruction. Those buildings were carefully dismantled and have been rebuilt here. All of the buildings, spanning the period c.1300 to c.1910, originate from the Weald and Downland of the counties of Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. The museum is set against an ever-changing backdrop of the Sussex downs.

A small portion of the Sussex countryside

Brilliant scenery, interesting historical buildings with animals mixed in. What better way to get fresh air and exercise.

On entering the site and paying a quite modest entry fee you pass through the Hambrook Barn. The barn has an interesting audio / visual display, with many photos of past and present artisans, some of whom may have worked in some of the buildings in the museum

Barn from Hambrook, Sussex

Passing through the barn you are presented with a high level view over The Market place and down to the pond which has a wind powered water pump. The pump was relocated from Pevensey in Sussex.

The Market Place

Wind Pump

As you stroll down to the pond area you pass the old Tollhouse which was originally from Beeding in Sussex.

Tollhouse

Sat below the pond is the mill that the water drives. The mill is in operation and you can go inside and view the workings as well as purchase fresh ground flour and other goodies. We came away with a number of packets of local biscuits. Yuuumy !!!

Watermill

Pond

Further round the site there is a working Smithy. The building originates from Southwater which by the way is where some of my family have lived in past times. My grandfather used to work the horses on farmlands around Sussex and who knows he may have visited this building or may have had his horses fitted with shoes from this forge and anvil.

Outside the smithy there is a vertical sculpture. The photo below is a close  up of just a part.

Detail From Sculpture near the “Smithy”

Although the buildings are the main reason for the museum one cannot avoid nature. The museum setting means that you are surrounded by beautiful trees, open fields and water.

Naked Tree

Lower Mill Pond

Around the grounds there are various animals most of which are traditional breeds including  Shire horses, Sussex cattle, South Down sheep, Tamworth pigs, geese and Light Sussex chickens. The shire horse can be seen  working around the site.

A plump / pregnant sheep

One of the shire horses pulling a cart

It is estimated that you need around three hours to take in all the museum has to offer. That is presumably if you don’t just sit on one of the many benches to absorb the sunshine, the beautiful scenery and the peace and tranquility.

Well for the most part anyway. Our little piece of tranquility was punctuated by a very yappy French Poodle and a large family group who could only communicate by shouting and screaming at each other.

Despite the minor negative moments we had a brilliant time and sadly we had to make our way home.

The road home.

For more information take a look at The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum website. Better still go and visit. You will not be disappointed.