Why was the mill built at Styal?

Essay by lucydutton June 2004

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Quarry bank mill was built in 1784 by Samuel Greg. Greg was born in Belfast and was one of 13 children. His parents: Thomas and Elizabeth Greg were both merchants. He was adopted by his uncle, Robert Hyde when he was a child and went with him to live in Manchester. When his uncle died is 1782 he left over £26,000 to Greg. This money gave Greg the chance to build the mill so he did. He had learned about cotton spinning from his uncle and he taught him all about cloth production. He was inspired by Arkwright who built the first mill at Cromford and made a fortune. Greg chose to build the mill in 1784 because he would not have to pay Arkwright to use his waterframes because by this time the patents would be overturned.

He chose to build his mill at Styal for a number of reasons.

The main one being that the mill was water powered so he needed a water supply to the waterwheel. So Greg chose a site which was right next to the river Bollin. Also, Greg needed to transport the cotton and the canal, which ran from Liverpool to Manchester, was close by and was very useful for him. It could bring the cotton as far as Altrincham and then it would be brought the rest of the way by road. He used to canal to bring in the cotton bales. The land was cheap because the river frequently flooded it and so it was unsuitable to be used for agricultural land and to grow crops on and nobody wanted it to farm on. It was in plentiful supply for the same reason, which meant there was room for expansion in the future and Greg could extend the mill when...