Until the construction of Quarry bank Mill in 1784, Styal was a small hamlet consisting of isolated cottages and farmsteads.
Samuel Greg (an industrialist of Irish descent) chose Styal as a location for a cotton spinning mill - harnessing the power of the River Bollin.
Initially the workforce consisted of adults from the surrounding areas (many supplementing their agricultural incomes) and child apprentices from the parish workhouses. The apprentice system was abandoned in 1847. Employee levels peaked at 454.
The early workforce were housed in converted outbuildings such as the Dutch barn at Farm Fold, but this supply was quickly exhausted. In 1806, a programme of house building commenced for the expanding workforce.
The new housing consisted of short rows of two storey terraces with their own back yards and privies, separated from the next row by a passageway. There were also a small number of three storey houses. Each cottage had its own allotment. Rents were deducted from salaries at source (as were shop purchases).
By the 1820's, a chapel, school and shop had been built as the village developed into a community. Some of the earliest millworkers had settled in the village and had children who also worked at the Mill. .
The Gregs purchased large tracts of land over the years to become the dominant landowner in Styal - "Squires" in all but title.
The estate houses are now occupied by tenants of the National Trust.
The primary school is still in use as are Methodist and Unitarian Chapels.
On Altrincham Road can be found a post office/newsagent, pub (The Ship Inn) and restaurant (39 Steps).
20th century housing development took place in linear fashion along Styal Road/Hollin Lane (B5166).
Styal Prison was formerly a home for destitute people from the area.
Styal maintains a village character despite its proximity to Wilmslow and Manchester Airport and is well worth a visit.