Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire, the world’s oldest working cotton mill, has become the 61st recipient of a prestigious Engineering Heritage Award.
Founded by Samuel Greg in the late 18th century, at the height of the industrial revolution Quarry Bank Mill used to produce 700,000 years of cotton a year. Its iconic waterwheel, built in 1851, still remains the most powerful in Europe.
The National Trust venue received the heritage award on 11 March 2011, joining the likes of Trevithick’s Penydaren Locomotive - the world’s first railway locomotive – the Channel Tunnel and the Thames Barrier.
Isobel Pollock, chair of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Heritage Committee, said: “Not only is the Quarry Bank Mill a beautiful working example of the engineering technology that turned Britain into an industrial superpower, it also acts as a window into the North-West’s past.
“The work the mill’s staff and volunteers are doing in bringing the industrial revolution alive for today’s schoolchildren cannot be praised highly enough.”
Barry Cook, chief engineer at Quarry Bank, described the award as a “fantastic honour”, particularly as almost all of the team are volunteers.
“At Quarry Bank Mill we pride ourselves on making visits interesting and enjoyable for both adults and children, taking great pleasure in sharing the history of this fascinating Georgian mill which is still producing cotton today,” he said.
Once among the most profitable businesses in Britain, the mill still produces around 6,500 yards of cotton each year.
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