£1.4m appeal to restore Quarry Bank Mill estate

The dramatic backdrop of Quarry Bank Mill from the Mill meadow.
The dramatic backdrop of Quarry Bank Mill from the Mill meadow. Photo: Andrew Butler/National Trust

A £1.4 million fundraising appeal to help complete the restoration of a "unique" Industrial Revolution community in Cheshire has been launched by the National Trust.

Quarry Bank Mill was the heart of cotton production in the region from the 1780s through to the 1920s and is the most complete surviving example of such a community.

The site is cared for by the National Trust and the mill's working machinery, the Apprentice House occupied by pauper children who worked there, and the estate's gardens and walks are already enjoyed by more than 130,000 visitors a year.

But the £6 million National Trust project aims to restore and reveal currently unseen features of the estate and the archives of the Greg family, who built the mill on the banks of the River Bollin in 1784, their workers and pauper children.

The project will include the restoration of a worker's cottage and shop in the estate village to provide a glimpse of life at the time.

The trust also plans to repair Victorian glasshouses that were at the forefront of technology at the time and produced exotic and out-of-season fruit for the Greg family, and bring them back into production.

Original woodland "pleasure grounds" will be restored and the "northern woods" with bridges, pathways and vistas will be opened. And the Greg family's house will be opened to showcase the archive material, letters and documents of the family, estate workers and apprentice children spanning from the 1790s to the 20th century.

Quarry Bank's general manager Eleanor Underhill said: "Quarry Bank Mill is an extraordinary place that captures a precious time in this country's history. It's no wonder this industrial era featured so heavily in the Olympics opening ceremony last year. Through this appeal we want to be able to share its deep history and personal stories with millions.

"As part of the project we will be inviting volunteers and local communities to help restore key parts of Quarry Bank and develop their own restoration and conservation skills that can be passed on to future generations."

The project will cost a total of £6 million and take five years to complete. The National Trust has launched the public fundraising appeal and will also seek contributions from funding bodies and organisations.