After Lyme Park we drove to the Pack Horse Inn in New Mills on the edge of the Peak District, where a few days earlier I had spontaneously booked us a room for the night in celebration of Florian’s birthday. What a delight this place was! And so different to the last inn we stayed at (The George and Dragon near Penrith – read that experience here). We couldn’t fault the place. The staff were so friendly and welcoming, the bedroom was modern and cozy with a great view of the opposite hills (see pics below), and the food was simple, hearty, unpretentious and honestly priced pub grub. We would highly recommend it if you’re ever passing by.
The next morning we went for a walk on the hill behind the inn to burn off the full English, and then, armed with our temporary National Trust membership card, we headed off to Quarry Bank Mill and Styal Estate.
Quarry Bank Mill is a preserved textile mill founded in 1784 by Samuel Greg. As in the case of other Victorian mill/factory owners housing was provided for the workers in the vicinity, in the village of Styal. The mill was also notorious for its use of child labour, disarmingly referred to throughout the tour as ‘apprentices’ or ‘indentured workers’. The vegetable garden below is at the Apprentice House, where they still grow many historical varieties of vegetable. They no longer keep child slaves.
We then made a full tour of the mill where I experienced major flashbacks of GCSE history. The highlight was a live demonstration of a spinning jenny! The mill still produces its own cotton calico, a piece of which we bought – it’s supposed to be a large glass cloth but it doubles as a nice table-cloth.
After the mill and a spot of tea and cake, we explored the extensive gardens just as the sun came out.