The Prince of Wales visited Quarry Bank Mill yesterday, in his capacity as President of the National Trust. Prince Charles arrived by helicopter, direct from Highrove, and spent over an hour touring the 18th century cotton mill where he was accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, David Briggs MBE.
Upon arrival Prince Charles, met with dignitaries and senior staff of the National Trust then visited the Victorian Apprentice House where he observed children from Styal Primary School, wearing 19th century costumes, taking part in a victorian school lesson. He then visited the victorian kitchen before the Head Gardener Alan Knapper walked Prince Charles through the gardens.
Prince Charles stopped to speak with Dorothy Williams, Apprentice House Gardener, and the team of volunteers whom he commended on their work before continuing his tour of the recently restored gardens. He also met with tenants Dr and Mrs Rex who occupy Quarry Bank house, the original home of the Greg family.
Heritage Manager Amanda Lunt, who accompanied Prince Charles on his tour, said "Prince Charles was very keen to see our recent acquisitions. As founder of the Princes Regeneration Trust, which is involved in work to restore and regenerate old mills, he was very keen to see our working mill and meet the engineers who run it.
"We are very pleased that Prince Charles confirmed what we're doing is the right thing. He enjoyed it all and kept using the word magical. He was very interested in the work we have been doing to restore the buildings and maintain our heritage and he was very passionate about the gardens which we are very proud of."
After stopping for tea with American couple Dr and Mrs Rex, Prince Charles was given a tour of the mill's Mule Room, with it's working mules, the Water Force Gallery and Power Gallery by Barry Cook the Mill Manager and Chief Engineer.
Barry Cook said "He said we were doing a fantastic job keeping the mill running, and he was very impressed that we are still producing cloth with the only spinning and weaving mill left in the country.
"Prince Charles also expressed an interest in Nether Alderley Mill and asked me to get in touch with him personally. I have got the mill running but it still needs more than one man can do so I am over the moon."
At the end of the tour Professor James Keaton, North West Regional Chairman of the National Trust, presented Prince Charles with a hamper containing English wine, honey from this region, polish made with beeswax from the area, jams and locally made biscuits.
Prince Charles last visited Quarry Bank Mill in 1995 and Professor Keaton said "Prince Charles commented that 15 years had gone by rather too quickly for both of us. As ever he appreciated meeting the volunteers as they are at the heart of the National Trust and the backbone of the place."
Before heading in to Manchester, to watch the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra rehearse, Prince Charles chatted with members of the public who had been eagerly waiting to catch sight of him.