Gathering Downstream, a programme of activity, called Unintended Consequences

Gathering support for nature at National Trust Quarry Bank

Gathering Downstream
Exhibition in the mill at National Trust Quarry Bank
Saturday 7 May – Friday 25 November 2022
Exhibition opening hours: Monday – Sunday 10.30am – 5pm.
Normal entry charges apply – free for National Trust members

A brand-new exhibition exploring the legacy of the industrial revolution is heading to National Trust Quarry Bank this spring. Entitled Gathering Downstream, the exhibition launches a programme of activity, called Unintended Consequences, that will encourage visitors to consider what everyone can do to create a more sustainable future.

With its 18th century cotton mill, workers’ homes, and a grand house built for the wealthy Greg family, Quarry Bank is the most complete industrial revolution-era community in the world. It represents the beginning of the industrial revolution that changed our world forever. Although the industrial revolution that Quarry Bank exemplifies is seen by many as a driver of progress and positive global change, it also saw a dramatic change in how people used the natural world. This makes Quarry Bank the ideal place to explore the story of the past, present, and future of these unintended consequences of industrialisation and its global and environmental impacts.

The programme will launch with a specially commissioned exhibition by artist Jen Southern, in partnership with FutureEverything, entitled Gathering Downstream. The artwork, created with the help of machine learning technology, takes the form of five films, that are embedded in a river-like installation inside Quarry Bank’s historic cotton mill. Each short film focuses on a different aspect of Quarry Bank’s landscape and its relationship to water, inspired by the River Bollin that lies at the heart of the estate and which brought Samuel Greg (1759-1834) and his cotton mill to Quarry Bank in 1784.

Artist Jen Southern said:

“Quarry Bank is a fascinating place to work with, to find historical relationships between natural systems like waterpower, industrial technologies and human lives, that have shaped our future environments, for better and for worse.

“The work will ask, what can humans and machines learn about the impacts of climate change and ecological emergency from the trees, meadows, moss, rocks and river at Quarry Bank?”

This exhibition will highlight the global and local impact of climate change and will inspire a call to action. Encouraging visitors to think about the changes they could make in their day-to-day lives that could make a difference to the environment.

Jo Hudson, General Manager at National Trust Quarry Bank, said:

“We are delighted to be working with Jen and FutureEverything to deliver a project about an idea that is so important to our visitors, bringing them an experience they will be able to engage with in a very real way.

“At Quarry Bank we are making a positive change for nature. Our rangers and volunteers are going to extraordinary lengths to look after nature. From creating green corridors, and graded woodland, to planting 40,000 trees across 3 farms on the estate by 2024, including 100 native Black Poplars”.

Whilst experiencing the exhibition, visitors will also have the chance to explore the seasonal beauty of the gardens, ancient woodlands, and the wider estate. A chance to see first-hand the work being done to enhance nature and habitats at Quarry Bank.