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Archive Stories

Browse through this collection of stories drawn from many sources including the Society's archive, newspapers and online sources. The catalyst to begin research varies from an inquiry that comes to Society, a document that arrives at the archive, or another trigger that sets the delving off.

Hollins Mill 1911:Dressed up for George V's Coronation

William Henry Chadwick: Chartist & Mesmerist

rose brow compstall 2William Henry Chadwick – a 19th century local lad who made a name for himself

This story is a result of researching the history of the above in response to a request from Christopher White, from Romiley, who now lives in France. William Henry was his gt gt grandfather.

William (not Henry then) was born in 1829, son of Jeremiah Chadwick (from Marple) and his wife, Rachel (nee Prosser). The family lived in Compstall Bridge but the children were baptized in Marple Bridge.

During his childhood William would become increasingly aware of Chartism, the working class movement for political reform which presented  petitions  to the House of Commons, signed by thousands of people. In the North West of England industrialisation had led to terrible conditions and poor pay in mills and factories –even children could be working a 12 hour day.

Read more: William Henry Chadwick: Chartist & Mesmerist

A Family Face

Ernest Bennett V2Most Marple people will have seen the time line in the Memorial Park with details and photos of the many local young men who lost their lives in World War I – a very poignant reminder of the heartbreak endured by their families from 1914-1918.

One brave young man, whose name went up this year, caught my attention. This was Ernest Bennett D.C.M., parents Sam and Mary from High Lane. Although my maiden name was Bennett the name Ernest, with parents Sam and Mary, meant nothing to me. As far as I knew there was no Ernest in my Bennett family records.

Read more: A Family Face

Bringing History Alive: letters from the archives

Crowds at Marple Bridge Things ain’t what they used to be” is a refrain we often hear but were they so good in the old days? These two letters describing Marple Bridge and Mellor in the 1920s and 1930s give a picture of life as it was.

Bill Hughes and Marion Woods,were both born in the first decade of the 20th century and their memories, written in 1983 and 1978, lend an unequalled immediacy to the past.

Read more: Bringing History Alive:  letters from the archives

What's in a name ?

Agatha ChristieWhat’s in a name? Well, quite a lot if your name is Miss Jane Marple, Agatha Christie’s eponymous heroine. The star of 12 crime novels and 20 short stories, local folklore believed that Agatha Christie’s amateur sleuth was named after Marple station because the author passed through it on one occasion. This is not true but the station does figure prominently in the actual story. In July 2015 the station celebrated its 150th anniversary (coincidentally, the 125th anniversary of Agatha’s birth) and her grandson Mathew Prichard was invited to Marple. He brought with him a letter written by his grandmother to a Miss Marple fan, explaining how she came by the name.

 

Read more: What's in a name ?

William Hyde - a man of all trades

Church Photo 1aThis wonderful image is of William Hyde who was born in Denton in 1801. He was sexton of All Saints Church, Marple for 42 years until his death in 1865. During that time, a sexton was a ‘man of all trades’ as the role included grave digging, clerk and maintenance of the church.

Samuel Oldknow’s Georgian Church replaced an older and much smaller wooden church. It was perched on Marple Ridge at the heart of a small isolated group of buildings set amongst pastures and lying beside the long-established route between Marple and Disley. Nowadays, we do not associate the area around the church as being ‘The Ridge’ but that is how the land between the Church and Hill Top Farm is designated on old maps. ...........................

Read more:  William Hyde - a man of all trades