Stories of Places
I am intrigued by these two photographs of a cricket bat, which were given to the Society a few days ago by Andrew Mather who owns the bat. Cricket has been a popular sport in the area from the 19th century, with village clubs in Compstall, Hawk Green, High Lane, Marple and Mellor. However, I have never heard or seen any reference to Brabins Cricket Club. Perhaps the club was sponsored by the Hudson family at Brabyns Hall - certainly, permission from the family would have been needed if matches were held in the hall grounds.
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 Rossard 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.”
‘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)
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
Recreating the Apprentice's Walk
In May this year, I was asked by Philip Alston, the Children and Families Worker at All Saints Church, to help with a project about Samuel Oldknow, involving two classes from All Saints school.
Together with Philip we assisted teacher Heather Manning to plan the project for Years 1 and 2. It involved the children recreating the apprentices’ walk from Brick Bridge up to the church, climbing over stile at the back of the Churchyard. The children dressed up as apprentices and as you can imagine, a good time was had by all! The weather was kind and the walk was filmed for the DVD that is being produced as part of the Revealing Oldknow’s Legacy project.