Hannah Greg: The Quarry Bank Mill Trailblazer

by - Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Happy International Women's Day! This weekend I went to Quarry Bank Mill in Styal, Cheshire. They had an amazing exhibition on about the work that women put into QBM that contributed to the Mill's success and how women's lives changed in the North West in the Georgian and Victorian era. I would like to use my blog as a place to also talk about some of the things I have learnt at National Trusts across the UK, now I have a membership, and QBM offered up lots of stories. The one that caught my eye was that of Hannah Greg. 

Hannah Greg (1766 - 1828) was born the daughter of a successful Liverpool merchant. She was keen to learn and at the age of 16 was sent to school in London where she was taught French, maths, history, religion and other intellectual topics, as well as things which were considered to be necessary for women such as sewing, deportment, dancing sewing and music. 

In 1789 she married Samuel Greg, who was the owner of Quarry Bank Mill in Styal and ended up having 13 children with him. Hannah Greg was integral to the reform of women's and children's rights at the mill as she believed that education shouldn't be restricted to men or the upper classes. She made sure all the apprentices at QBM were educated, and unusually for the time period, made sure that this included girls, who Hannah taught to read and write. She was instrumental in the setting up of the school in Styal village which also taught evening classes to the adult workers at the mill. 

For her time, Hannah Greg was a real trailblazer, she was politically aware and a keen educational reformer. I think that when visiting National Trust properties, it is the stories of these women that interest me the most. Quarry Bank Mill is definitely worth a trip, you can find out more about the "A Woman's Work is Never Done" exhibition here

To help me write this piece, I used some sources online as well as the information I learnt at Quarry Bank Mill from the amazing guides there. Some of my sources are the National Trust, the Quarry Bank Mill blog & here. The photos here were all taken at the apprentice house at QBM by myself as always!

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  1. Great post for International Women's Day!

  2. This was a really intriguing read. I'm always slightly fascinated with historical events such as this (that occur within the Victorian Era), and this post was no different. Hannah Greg seemed like a very educated woman ahead of her time! Thank you so much for sharing.

    -Alicia. x

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