It must be a couple of years since we last visited Quarry Bank Mill in Styal in Cheshire. I knew that there had been lots of changes since our last visit so we decided to drive up there to take a look. Road closures and road works made getting there quite difficult but we eventually arrived to find more building work going on in the car park and entrance area.
There was a brand new reception building too.
It was all very muddy and water was standing in puddles on the new paths.
Our first call was to the Styal Village Hub where we were advised to go first in order to book a tour of the newly opened No 13 Oak Cottages, one of the houses in the village built by the Gregg family for their workers at the nearby mill.
We booked on a tour for 12 noon and wandered back along the path towards the garden as we had over an hour to wait. It's not far to walk, less than 10 minutes, from the reception to the village.
The village is a 'living village' and people have their homes in all the cottages except No 13 which has been opened for viewing by visitors after essential maintenance work.
We passed The Apprentice House along the way back but didn't go in this time. Instead we headed towards the gardens to see the new displays and rebuilt glass house and back sheds there.
Above some aspects of the new displays at the top of the garden in the back sheds of the glass house.
The original glass house was built in the 1820s to impress guests and visitors of the family's wealth. It was built in cast iron and had thousands of panes of glass.
The back houses were originally used by the gardeners to organise planting, cleaning tools, take deliveries and take care of the heating for the exotic plants in the glass house. Now there are displays on the history of the gardens and a also shop in there. Here is a link to a short film about the restoring of the glass house.
It was time to go back towards the village for our tour of the workers cottage. There was a wonderful display and film in the hub and we spent time looking at this before our guide arrived.
After our tour we walked in the now pouring rain back towards the mill for a light lunch of scones and coffee. After a wander around the shop we ventured up to the third new building which had opened since our last visit.
Quarry Bank House, built c1798 next to the mill, was the home of its owners the Gregg Family. It had only opened to the public the day before so it was a treat to be able to see inside.
I'll take you inside this house and No 13 Oak Cottages in my next post.