For Christmas, in lieu of giving each other gifts, Matt and I bought a membership to the National Trust. Founded in 1895, this is a charity (aka not-for-profit) that restores/conserves/protects over 350 historic homes, gardens and monuments–to name a few. (They look after a whole lot of things, but that description wrapped it up quickly!) With our membership, we get free entry into all of the places…the perfect way to visit really old historical sites throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Today was gorgeous-sunny and 45 degrees-so we decided to take advantage and visit one of the more outdoorsy sites. About 25 minutes from our place is Quarry Bank Mill.
One of the best preserved textiles mills of the Industrial Revolution, it was built in 1784, and is now a museum of the cotton industry. We loved the visit…Sarah got to walk around in the mud and see a lot of dogs. I got to check out the old buildings and architecture, read up on the history and check out the gardens. Matt got to see steam engines at work, old looms and cotton spinning wheels, and Europe’s most powerful working waterwheel–this thing was huge, I couldn’t even get a decent picture. Seriously…huge…we both said, ‘Whoa, look at that thing.’ (Matt just looked it up, the wheel is 32 feet in diameter and 21 feet wide.)
By the way, the small bit of Mill info was paraphrased from Wikipedia and there is a lot more history involved here that is truly interesting – the use of child labor, why this was a great pinnacle for the Industrial Revolution, and the Greg Family background. There’s actually a mini-series that was filmed on site and aired last year about the family and industry!