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Textiles demonstration – Schools

Go back in time to the working mills of 150 years ago, experience the deafening sounds of the machinery and find out what life was like for thousands of mill workers.


Time: 11.00 and 12.00
Age: Recommended for ages 5 and older

We're looking for weavers, scavengers and piecers of all ages to become our new apprentices. Come and learn all the tricks of the trade as we turn cotton into the thread that made everything from napkins to knickers!

This demonstration is especially for families and will give you a taste of what it was like to work in a cotton mill amongst all the noise, dust and elbow grease. Find out which job you’d have and what life was like for the workers that made Manchester.


Time: 14.00 and 16.00
Age: Recommended for ages 7 and older

This thunderous demonstration of historic mill machinery will show you the whole journey of how cotton is processed from its raw state to the finished product—a piece of calico cloth.

Learn about working conditions during a time when respiratory diseases were rife, and children as young as five were employed as mill workers. See and hear our original working machines from the hopper to the loom and learn how each one works to produce fabric that travelled the world and gave Manchester the nickname ‘Cottonopolis’.

What will they learn?

  • Understand how raw cotton from a plant can be turned into cloth via a number of scientific processes.     
  • How machinery during the Industrial Revolution employed scientific processes to mass produce cotton cloth.
  • Why Manchester was known as Cottonopolis.
  • About the dangerous working conditions in Victorian mills, and the jobs that mill workers had to do.
  • How the cotton industry in Manchester impacts on today.


Textiles demonstrations are also available for families. Find out more.

Scheduled dates