Quarry Bank Mill

Quarry Bank.

Telling the whole story of Quarry Bank for the first time

For three years, we worked with the National Trust to redesign the complete Quarry Bank site with a new welcome building and six individual venue experiences. This allowed visitors to see tailor their visit and fully access all areas of the site for the first time. It is now a flagship venue for the National Trust for interpretation and visitor experience.

Quarry Bank Mill

We changed the storyboard and focused on the first dramatic 50 years of the mill’s history, a period which saw Quarry Bank at its most globally significant belonging to the first generation of cotton mills in the world.

We used the evocative historic spaces across the site to communicate the emotion of the place and allowed visitors to experience the sights and sounds of mill life.

“It tells a story of social change and industrial revolution, rich and poor, mill owner and mill worker, the power of nature."
Joanne Hudson, General Manager, National Trust
Quarry Bank Mill
Quarry Bank Mill

The Mill is the flagship experience at Quarry Bank, with four floors of exhibition to explore and live demonstrations to watch and participate in. We used the threads of the cotton to guide people through the building. Our intricate warp and weft design in the first gallery cleverly weaves itself across the mill floor, creating pockets of exhibition display to tell the story of the site and operation.

On the upper floor we bring out the emotional story of the mill worker’s lives. The focal point of the zone is a sculpture constructed of ‘indentures’ the apprentices would have to sign to work at the Mill. People can investigate the individual lives of each worker around the edge and inside, experience the daily sounds, sights and experiences of the workers in a sensory, immersive AV show.

“Mather & Co have done an amazing job with the design, weaving the stories together against the backdrop of the real environment.”
Rebecca Mileham, Project Script-writer
Quarry Bank Mill
Quarry Bank Mill

When working with history and heritage, it’s always a challenge to represent those whose lives weren’t recorded. With no records and no photos, we used silhouettes to showcase the workers, and used information on their working conditions to help interpret what their lives might have been like.

Rather than create very detailed scientific exhibits, we chose to tell the story of power and engineering in a highly visual way using a beautiful lightbox story book. Styled as a working notebook, it opens up across the space and reveals how the Mill adopted technology over the course of its history. Striking silhouette illustration and animations bring the pages to life.

Quarry Bank Mill
Quarry Bank Mill

The other offers across the site are tailored to different audiences. From new hands-on interactives and displays in the Back Sheds, to the hub in Styal Village that tells the stories of people who lived there, to an insight in the mill owner’s house, the offers are rich and varied.

Quarry Bank Mill
Quarry Bank Mill
Quarry Bank Mill
Quarry Bank Mill
Quarry Bank Mill

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