Quarry Bank Mill

The mill was founded by Samuel Greg in 1784 in the village of Styal on the River Bollin. Its original iron water wheel was designed by Thomas Hewes and built between 1816 and 1820 which is the biggest water wheel in Europe. The over head shafts above the machines were attached to the water wheel by a belt. When the water wheel turned, the motion moved the belt and powered the machine.

The factory was founded for the spinning of cotton and by Samuel Greg's retirement in 1832 was the largest such business in the United Kingdom. The water-powered Georgian mill still produces cotton calico. After Samuel Greg died in 1834 his son, Robert Hyde Greg took over the business and soon took the decision to introduce weaving at the mill.

The Hewes wheel finally broke in 1904. After that the River Bollin continued to power the mill through two water turbines. When steam engines were being made, the mill owners in 1810 bought a Boulton and Watt steam engine and then a few years later purchased another. This is because water was a struggle to get in summer and brought production of cloth to a standstill during some years. Steam engines were consistent and produced power all year round. Today the Mill is home to the most powerful working waterwheel in Europe, an iron water wheel which was originally at Glasshouses Mill at Pateley Bridge. This wheel was designed by Sir William Fairbairn, the Scottish engineer who had been an apprentice of Thomas Hewes.

The estate surrounding the mill, also developed by Greg, is the most complete and least altered factory colony of the Industrial Revolution.[citation needed] Originally Greg converted farm buildings in the nearby village of Styal to house the workers for the mill. As the mill increased in size, purpose-built housing in Styal was constructed for the workers. The village is still a thriving community.

The estate and mill were donated to the National Trust in 1939 by Alexander Carlton Greg and are open to the public. The mill continued in commercial production until 1959. In 2006 the National Trust acquired Quarry Bank House and Gardens and, in 2010, the Gardener's House and Upper Gardens. As 2013, the mill receives 130,000 annual visitors. In 2013, the Trust launched an appeal to raise £1.4 million for a project to restore estate buildings, including a worker's cottage, a shop and the Greg family's glasshouses. The project also encompasses digitising records about the Greg family and the mill workers.

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