Saturday, 2 July 2011

Quarry Bank Cotton Mill

The Quarry Bank Mill was an excellent way to cap off our time in the Midlands.  The mill combined a number of the components we had been learning about thorough readings and other site visits and gave an excellent look at the working conditions of the time.  The setting was spectacular, and the day perfect (a welcome change after a string of dreary weather) - it was often hard to picture the brutal working conditions that occurred in such a picturesque location.
The Quarry Bank Mill
Our tour guides, Tony and Jamie led us through the cotton evolution at the mill starting with hand spun cotton thread to mass produced fabrics utilizing steam powered equipment.
A demonstration of the early woman-powered looms
A dramatic increase in scale
It was amazing to think that this process began with individual spools and ended with dozens.  Below is a video of this amazing piece of equipment, called a spinning mule, invented in the 1700's:

From a single loom to hundreds powered by steam
Below is a video of one of the steam powered looms in action:

We ended the day with a surprise stop at the Old Trafford soccer pitch - home to the Manchester United team.  Our group toured the stadium and got to see the inside of the changing room, the team pre-game waiting room and even got to sit in the cushy pitch-side manager's seats.  If only we could have run around on the lovely green pitch itself...

Learning a little stadium history
The changing room

Number 1 fan...
The boys trying out the benches
checking out the player's lounge
Super psyched Sam
Team photo

Our time in the Midlands coming to an end, we headed back to Shrewsbury for a quiet evening before venturing on to our primary home for the summer: Cambridge.

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