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

A peek at Christmas 1951

Christmas 1959 Manchester‘Christmas comes but once a year.’ And the year is 1951. Dusting off the sheet, and gently lifting a corner, what surprises await us as we gaze down through 65 years?
Back to the time when a three-bedroom semi could be bought for £750, on an average wage of just over £10 per week. For this you would work 42 hours, in contrast to the average today of 32 hours. Rationing was still in force in 1951; people could still buy only 10d. (4p) worth of meat each week. Pensioners made up 6pc. of the population, today the figure stands at 14pc. In 1952 the number of people celebrating their 100th birthday was just 300, now the figure is close to 15,000. (left, a little licence taken, Manchester City Centre crowded with Christmas shoppers on a wet Saturday December afternoon. 19th December 1959)

Read more: A peek at Christmas 1951

If Walls Could Talk

Beechwood House

Many of you will recognise this imposing stone house, Beechwood, which is at the top of Lakes Road leading down to the Roman Lakes.  However, why was such a fine house built so near to Oldknow’s workers cottages at Stone Row and who lived in it? Documents in the Archives and the census returns can answer some of these questions and provide a fascinating insight into the lives of those who lived there over one hundred years ago.

The house was built for Edward Ross by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MS&L), on land it owned above the Marple South Tunnel. The house commands an impressive view of the valley below and across to the hills of Mellor and Kinder. Edward was born in Marylebone, London in 1827 and at the age of 19 he joined the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway. Five years later, he was appointed secretary of the MS&L, and held that position for 42 years. According to George Dow who wrote a detailed history of the Great Central Railway he was “kindly, shrewd and diplomatic. Handsome in appearance and impeccable in his dress, nothing seemed to ruffle him. He assiduously followed the maxim that what is worth doing at all is worth doing well. He also enjoyed immense popularity amongst the officers and staff alike.”

Read more: If Walls Could Talk

Old Manor Farm

Marple has five nationally important buildings, listed by English Heritage as either Grade 1 or Grade II* One of these is Old Manor Farm, tucked away above the Marple Brook which runs in the valley near Dan Bank. Described by Pevsner as 'a small medieval manor house, the central part timber-framed, probably 15th century, with a two-bay hall of cruck construction. Later wings were added, the service wing of stone, the other half-timber.' Its importance was recognised in 1951 when it was featured in Cheshire Life as one of the “Homes of Cheshire”.

(left: Old Manor Farm at Dan Bank, 1981)

Read the article from the Cheshire Life

1683 Thomas Massey House

A story that comes courtesy of Marple Historical Society.The Marple in Pennsylvania, which had a population in 2010 of 23,478,and area of 10.5 square miles whilst Marple’s, Cheshire population in 2011 was 23,686 in an area of 11 square miles, almost identical twins ! Marple Township, Delaware County,  originates from 1684, on the 29th September 1863; Quakers had settled the county Delaware after sailing along the River Delaware, in the ship Endeavor.

The following article is taken from the Spring-Summer issue of the Marple Historical Society newsletter, not to be confused with the Marple Local History Society.Special thanks to Rich Paul of Marple Historical Society.

Read more: 1683 Thomas Massey House

A Tale of Two Torrents

A tale of local deluges, separated by eighty years, and the damage that they caused.

Both stories are drawn from contemporary newspaper reports of their day. The first from the Stockport Advertiser of 1911, describes a flood in the May of that year, in Compstall and beyond.

Whilst the second, from the Stockport Express of December 24th 1991, reports on the collapse of the retaining wall in Town Street, Marple Bridge

Read more: A Tale of Two Torrents