Last week our Year 11 GCSE pupils went on a visit to Quarry Bank Mill. This trip played a vital part in their course as it is the focus of their coursework. We were lucky enough to have a number of superb guides who knew the GCSE Specification inside out! The pupils’ day was packed full of interesting and insightful facts as we were led around the mill and the grounds…
During our trip we were able to walk around the village of Styal, the set for the hit Television show ‘The Mill’. It was here that the students were able to see the facilities that the factory workers had; a primary school was built in the village, as well as a shop and two churches (one Unitarian and one Methodist). The students were encouraged to consider whether these were for the betterment of the villagers or the Gregs as they would surely benefit from healthier and more content workers.
The Apprentice House
Our Year 11s could really draw on their own knowledge while being guided around the wonderfully maintained Apprentice House. Some were able to try out writing with quills, chalk and a few even practiced their letters in sand! The boys seemed to be quite taken with this…
Our guides shared with us a typical day/week for an apprentice and took us through a number of other rooms including; sleeping quarters, the Doctor’s treatment room, the Superintendents’ front room and the kitchen. It was in the latter that we could see the range of foods that were available to the apprentices and, in comparison to many other mills in and around Manchester, how well the apprentices were fed. They were able to have as many servings as they wanted; no Oliver Twist re-enactments here!
Throughout our time in the Apprentice House our guides never missed an opportunity to analyse their facts. Is this a reliable source? How did this compare to others at the time? Etc.
Students were encouraged to think whether the things they had seen were the norm of a mill at that time.
(See the link below for more information about Quarry Bank Mill)
Last but not least was the mill! Our guides tailored our tour to demonstrate how the mill provides evidence of the range of people that worked at QBM. We had a demonstration of the machines and were able to gain a further understanding of the job roles that many had. Seeing these things in action really brought the History to life for many of the students. A few even had the opportunity to try out some of the jobs themselves!
(See below for some extra information about accidents at QBM)
Here are a few more snaps from our visit!