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The Real Mill with Tony Robinson

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Tony Robinson explores the true story of the factory workers whose blood, sweat and tears forged the Industrial Revolution, focusing on Quarry Bank, from hit drama series The Mill

About the Show

Tony Robinson explores the true story of the factory workers whose blood, sweat and tears forged the Industrial Revolution, focusing on Quarry Bank, from hit drama series The Mill

Series 1 Summary

Tony Robinson explores the true story of the Industrial Revolution workers who launched a wave of social change that laid the foundation for the country we know today.

His investigation focuses on Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire, which inspired Channel 4's drama series The Mill.

  • Episode 1

    Tony and social historian Professor Emma Griffin discover who the Quarry Bank mill workers were and where they came from. They included orphan children who were legally bound to work at the mill, and adult workers who trekked hundreds of miles from the deprived south of England to secure work.

    Tony explores how the mill's visionary founder, Samuel Greg, offered this workforce an extraordinary deal. In exchange for their labour, he provided a factory community, with houses, a church, a school, 'adult education' classes and a shop.

    But Tony discovers how this close relationship between employer and worker came under pressure when one young girl began to question the system.

  • Episode 2

    Tony Robinson and Professor Emma Griffin discover how, as industrialisation transformed Britain, workers across the country joined together to fight for their rights.

    By the 1810s, steam engines were powering factories as never before, and Quarry Bank was no exception. But the steam-fuelled industrial boom had a tumultuous effect on the social fabric of the nation.

    Tony and Emma find out how a peaceful rally in Manchester ended in bloodshed. But the workers were determined to continue their fight, and Tony follows their story up to the 1840s, when demands for change evolved into the Chartist movement that swept the country.

    Tony also looks at the real story of mill worker Esther Price, who waged her own epic battle to secure her future.

The Real Mill with Tony Robinson synopsis

Tony Robinson explores the true story of the factory workers whose blood, sweat and tears forged the Industrial Revolution, focusing on Quarry Bank, from hit drama series The Mill

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2 Episodes