While the mill owners were responsible for general overall business and merchanting strategy, the mill managers were responsible for the day to day operation of the mill. Mill owners such as the Gregs took a close keen interest in their family business, but others, like Edmund Potter or Richard Cobden, became heavily involved in politics and the wider issues affecting the cotton industry. They had less time for their business interests, so their mill managers would have to shoulder extra responsibilities.
The mill manager usually lived on, or very close to, the mill site. The general duties of a mill manager would include overseeing the keeping of accounts and financial records; the making-up and distribution of wages; and the writing of a journal recording the daily events and progress of the mill. Managers were also responsible for the recruitment and discipline of workers; maintenance of mill machinery and the mill races; levels of production output and quality checking; and ensuring that the mill complied with the evergrowing body of legislation regarding working practices plus health and safety in mills.
A list of the mill manager's typical duties at Quarry Bank Mill in Styal is given below:
checks on power: water/steam, coal supplies, spare parts etc
checks on raw material supplies
upkeep of quality and production targets to meet orders
book-keeping and wages
weekly production figures
register of workers
records of doctor's visits and treatments
age certificate books
school attendance records
indentures and agreements
maps and plans
View the Managers collection to find out more >