29 MAY 1993, Page 28

The Apprentice House, Styal

Not so long ago.

Your grandmother's mother could tell what crossed the young girls' eyes into their escape routes, what came nibbling from the attic where the oats for the day's cold porridge were stored alongside corpses. And did those feet clatter down the cobbles to the mill for thirteen hours each day, and at night through stitchings of torn light stamp to keep out the cold, then cram into shared boxes?

Of those who forgot to raise their hands in gratitude, to lower their heads in time when crawling under the black shuddering looms of (charity, child labour, brimstone and treacle) their new Jerusalem.

John Greening