Quarry Bank Mill in Styal was founded in 1784 by a young textile merchant, Samuel Greg.

Quarry Bank Mill was one of the first generation of water-powered cotton spinning mills. The mill is now run as a living history centre by the National Trust.

Quarry Bank Mill is notable for its use of unpaid child apprentices, a system that continued until 1847, with the last child to be indentured starting work in 1841.The archive gives a fascinating insight into the lives of the workers at the mill, many of whom were child apprentices who came from as far away as Liverpool and London.

Esther Price was one of around 900 children known to have been apprenticed at Quarry Bank Mill between 1785 and 1847. When Esther was first examined by the physician at Style Mill in 1831 she was considered too ‘delicate’ to begin working as an apprentice. Visit Archives+ to find out more about Esther’s turbulent time at the mill.

Quarry Bank Mill workers, c.1900. George Venables, a mill mechanic, is on the right.
Styal Mill, by Frank Wightman

Esther Price's apprenticeship indenture at Quarry Bank Mill, 14 Nov 1833