In 1789 Hannah Lightbody, a well-educated and intelligent young woman of means, married Samuel Greg and found herself at the centre of his cotton empire in the industrial heart of England. It was a man's world, in which women like Hannah were barred from politics, had few rights and were expected to be little more than good, dutiful wives. Struggling to apply herself to household management, Hannah instead turned her attention to the well-being of the cotton mill workers under her husband's control. Over the next four decades she fought to improve the education, health and welfare of cotton girls and pauper apprentices at the mill. Her legacy helped turn the north-west into the pioneering heart of reform in Britain. Here, the story of Hannah's remarkable life is told for the first time.