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Textiles demonstration

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.

Manchester Mills

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’.

Weavers Wanted

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. 


Textiles demonstrations are also available for educational groups. Find out more.

Part of the Science Museum Group