Marple Local History Society Trips
Each year members of the Society have a choice of trips to various historical locations to choose from, the cost of which varies dependent on the destination.
Some times we leave Marple early in the morning to visit factories and mills many miles away before returning in the evening. We've been to Blackpool to climb the tower, eating fish and chips to fortify us for a trip on a tram to see the lights. We've also had an afternoon trip along the Peak Forest Canal before a buffet at the Ring o' Bells.
In November 2021, Manchester City Councillor Andrew Simcock came to speak to the Society about how he arranged for a bronze statue of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst to be made and placed in St Peter’s Square Manchester in 2018. Following the talk many people wanted to go to Manchester to see the statue. We suggested that Andrew himself might guide us, but he felt that Blue Badge Guide Jonathan Schofield would do a better job, and so it was that on the afternoon of Tuesday 5th April 2022, 16 of us met with Jonathan at the ‘Meeting Circle’ in which the bronze ‘Mrs Pankhurst’ stands.
Covid has a lot to answer for. Not only has it disrupted our monthly meetings for well over a year but it has also eliminated the interesting trips that Judith arranges several times a year. It has been a long and barren period but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Because there were intimations of demand over the summer Judith decided to arrange an uncomplicated trip to test the water. No coach arrangements. No coffee stops. Space for social distancing. Where? The obvious answer was Stockport - a walk around the town centre to see how it has developed. And she was right. There was a demand for such a tour. In fact enough demand for a second auxiliary tour to accommodate those who couldn’t make the first. The primary tour on 21st October 2021, the auxiliary tour on 12th November.
One family has dominated Poynton for over 600 years, the Warren family. Edward Warren became Baron Stockport in 1332 and he purchased the manor of Poynton as his family hereditament. And so it remained although when property was passed on through the female line it changed to first Bulkeley and then Vernon in the nineteenth century.
The other enduring and influential feature of Poynton is the Red Rock Fault, a major fault which runs approximately along the line of Towers Road. Everything to the west of this line is 600 feet lower so in effect the coal measures were far more difficult to reach. The area to the east, stretching towards Higher Poynton has several thick seams of coal, 44 feet in total thickness. This was much easier to mine than the thin seams in surrounding districts such as Marple or New Mills and eventually resulted in more than eighty mines being sunk over time in the village.
Tramway Wharf and its related industries
This walk is focused around the Marple tramway Upper Wharf, its role in the completion of the Peak Forest Canal and the associated cargoes it would have carried.
(1) The route starts with parking on Strines Road, alongside Marple recreation ground.
(2) After crossing the road, walk through the site of Oldknow’s limekilns. The interpretation board here has a good artist’s impression of how the kilns used to look as well as an interesting period plan showing the lime kilns and associated buildings in relation to Samuel Oldknow’s private basin and wharves on the upper level of the canal.
Limestone and lime was the primary reason for the construction of the Peak Forest canal. With the industrial revolution in full swing its uses in agriculture (for soil stabilisation and fertilisation) and construction (for mortars, paints and cements) were in high demand as well as its use as a high quality building stone. This canal was designed to bring primarily lime, as well as coal and gritstone, from the quarries of Derbyshire through the Bugsworth canal basin complex and onwards to Manchester. When the railways developed, transport by train became practical via an interchange at Guide Bridge near Ashton-under-Lyne.
A generation ago, two enterprising teachers developed an Interest Trail for second year pupils at Marple Ridge High School. Mrs J Harker and Miss R L Niven (unfortunately we have no record of their first names) were trying to encourage an interest in the natural world and local history by creating a marked trail around Brabyns Park. 21 stopping places were identified and features of interest described, though it would appear that two of these stops were afterthoughts as the numbers go from 1 to 19 with extra points inserted as 14a and 17a. They obviously intended this to have a permanent appeal because 21 marker stones, each engraved with the appropriate number, were installed around the trail. These were quite substantial and attractive stones, rough cut in a rectangular shape, approximately 11 to 14 inches wide, six or seven inches deep and usually buried so that they had an apparent height of 15 to 18 inches.