Sunday Sevens #92 16.7.17

This week’s Sunday Sevens sees our summer break beginning in earnest…

So long Gibraltar 

Last Sunday, myself and the three Little Postcards boarded a plane bound for Manchester. The summer holidays got off to a flying start in every sense of the word. As we left, we got this great view of the Rock and the Spanish Mediterranean coast before taking an unusual flight path along the Strait of Gibraltar hugging the Moroccan coastline before heading north. I have never flown that way before and it was interesting to see the Moroccan mountains complete with lakes and winding roads so closely.

Looking for colour on a grey day


I am a great lover of Manchester, having been born and brought up there. Marrying a southerner, I had to put up with years of abuse about it raining constantly in Manchester (it doesn’t by the way). Anyway, just to prove me wrong we have had a bit of iffy weather at the start and end of the week. To divert my attention away from the grey skies, I found tons of beautiful colour in the front gardens close to my parents’ house.

Cinema time


Another sketchy weather day on Tuesday saw us head to the cinema in the Trafford Centre to see Despicable Me 3. We try to go to the multiplex most summers when we visit. Being used to just 2 small screens at the cinema in Gibraltar, it’s a rather grand affair here in comparison. 

A trip to the country


Wednesday, and we took a trip to a very familiar place for me, Dunham Massey. This National Trust property featured heavily on my childhood Sunday afternoons. It’s beautiful deer are always a treat to see.

Harvest time

Back in June, I made a quick trip home to visit my parents and we stopped for a pub lunch on the outskirts of Warrington. At the time, I posted a photo of the beautiful field next door in my Sunday Sevens. We revisited the pub with the Little Postcards on Thursday as it was a warm and dry day and the pub had a great kids play area and football nets too. As we ate our lunch, we spotted some activity in the next door field – it was harvest time. That’s something we don’t get to see in Gibraltar!



Old and new

On Friday I took the Little Postcards into town to visit the fantastic Museum of Science and  Industry. We have been before, but not for a few years and felt it was due at return visit. The boys loved all the hands-on experiments. After the museum, we took a walk into the centre of Manchester. It has changed so much in recent years, but amongst all the new modern developments there are still some reach architectural jewels.

An astronomical trip


Yesterday we took a drive out to the Cheshire Plain to see the Jodrell Bank radio telescope and visitor centre. The venue for stargazing tv extravaganzas with the likes of Dr Brian Cox and Dara O’Brien, it’s certainly undergone a bit of a transformation since our last visit around 8 years ago. It was another hit with the Little Postcards for the hands-on exhibits. 


Thanks for joining me for this week’s Sunday Sevens. Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins blog.

A history lesson

  
We have been lucky enough to visit two National Trust properties this week; Quarry Bank Mill and Dunham Massey. They are both in Cheshire and less than an hours’ drive from Manchester. We were blessed with good English summer weather with just a few light showers of rain. 

   
At Quarry Bank Mill, we learned about how cotton production moved from a domestic setting to an industrial one. We also learned the origins of several common English words and phrases; ‘spinster’ – an unmarried woman would spin cotton into thread in order to make a living; ‘spinning a yarn’ – the practice of gossiping while spinning cotton; ‘ heirloom’ – a manual loom for weaving cotton (and the knowledge of how to use it), which would passed down from generation to generation, thereby guaranteeing an income in lean times.

 
The spinning wheel and hand loom would have been a common sight in homes at around the time Gibraltar was ceded to Britain (1713).

   
Quarry Bank Mill was built in 1784 when water power became widely used to run machinery. It uses the water of the River Bollin to run it’s machinery.

    
The machines were so noisy! Not all of them were running – it must have been deafening to work there.

  This giant waterwheel powers the machinery upstairs.

 
Quarry Bank Mill was built by Samuel Greg, a Unitarian, who along with his wife, Hannah, believed in providing a better standard of living for their indentured workers. Conditions at Quarry Bank were tough by today’s standards, although vastly better than in some of Manchester’s inner city mills.

   
A short walk from the mill is the Apprentice House (above). In this three storey building, sixty indentured children would live while working at the mill – yes sixty. They would come to Quarry Bank from workhouses (mainly in Liverpool) at the age of nine and sign up to spend the next nine years of their lives working six days a week in the mill.

 
This picture (above) is of the girls’ dormitory, forty girls would be locked in here at night, two to a bed. The children would rise at 5:30am and have a quick breakfast of porridge before beginning work at 6am. A thirteen hour working day would follow, with a 30 minute break for lunch (porridge again, with added vegetables). A great guide took us around the house, beginning with the school room, where children would learn the basics of reading and writing and on to the treatment room, where a doctor would use leeches and other delightful remedies to keep the workers healthy and productive.

   
The kitchen made use of the nearby allotment garden, where the boys would help grow crops to eat.

   
It was a great day out for the whole family, and helped my boys realise just how lucky they are to be born nowadays.

   
  The River Bollin  
  

Quarry Bank Mill is a beautiful and fascinating place to visit, I would highly recommend it.  
 
As I mentioned before, we also visited Dunham Massey. The property is a finalist in the Museum of the Year 2015 for it’s recreation of a World War One military hospital. The Stamford Military Hospital is re-enacted inside the main house with actors, the property also has beautiful gardens. We, however just took advantage of the beautiful estate parkland to give the children a chance to ‘run wild’ for a bit. In more than thirty years of visiting the park at Dunham, I can never remember being so up close and personal with the resident fallow deer. They are beautiful creatures and seemed incredibly tame this time.

   
 
Another treat for the boys was a great den built with storm fallen branches! You can’t beat a bit of stick collecting and tree climbing to while away an afternoon.

  
For more information on Quarry Bank Mill and Dunham Massey, please click on these links: Quarry Bank MillDunham Massey