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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

Nothing New Under The Sun

court scene2018 marks the centenary of some (but not all) women getting the vote but the battle for equal treatment with men had started well over a hundred years before that. Earlier this year I spoke with Val Dingle who has spent over 20 years researching her Chatterton ancestors who were land and property owners living in Mellor and Marple in the 18th and 19th centuries. Legal documents including wills have revealed some interesting stories. In particular, Val is intrigued by Peggy (née Chatterton) (1754-1815), a cousin and second wife of William Chatterton (c1738 – 1817), who claimed her rights more than a century before 1918.

Read more: Nothing New Under The Sun 

1911 Coronation Celebrations

Coronation 1911Three days of celebration marked the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary. On Saturday, 22nd June 1911, the King and his consort were crowned at Westminster Abbey. Some 45,000 soldiers and sailors from across the Empire either participated in the procession or lined the route.

The next day, the return procession was reconstituted for a further extended parade though the streets of London. It travelled along the Strand into the City of London, passing St Paul’s Cathedral, across the Thames by London Bridge, back over Westminster Bridge. Finally returning along The Mall to Buckingham Palace.

Read more: 1911 Coronation Celebrations  

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 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