Monday, March 02, 2015

A Friend Dies

94 year old Arthur Lane passed away today after a short illness in Stepping Hill Hospital. 
 Arthur served in the Manchester Regiment and became a PoW when Singapore fell in February 1942.  
He is one of the last survivors of what was termed the 'Death Railway'.  
A great man a great father and a wonderful friend.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Plymouth Grove

Plymouth Grove was the home of Elizabeth Gaskell, the author of Cranford as well as many other 19th century books.

The house was built prior to the Gaskell family renting it but it has been restored and furnished in the style of their time and the paint and wallpaper was carefully researched from the layers of paint remaining on the door frames and fragments of paper hidden for years under painted woodchip.
 Our guided tour was done by Frank Galvin, who although now retired, was once the Stockport museum curator who worked on Staircase House and a friend to the Trust.

Most of the items in the house are there for you to touch and the tearoom in the basement added to a very pleasant trip out.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Word, Art and Creative Collaberation

Stockport Thru & Fru

Do you have a story to tell?
Have you ever said to yourself
“Someone should write about my life.”

Ever wanted to see your life in print?

We are looking for Stockport residents with unique, real life stories who want to share their experiences.

Supernatural – Dramatic – Unbelievable – Life or Death
All genres welcome.

The opportunity is open to all.

It doesn't matter who you are
 just as long as you are a Stockport resident
describing a real life event.

“But how, I'm not a writer?”

Stockport Thru & Fru is a creative project designed to showcase local people and their stories. A Stockport writer will meet with each participant. You tell the tale, the writer writes it.

To be considered for the project, please email with a brief description of your story and why it should be used. No more than 200 words please.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Jim Clare's wake - Arden Arms - 17th February 2015

Jim Clare's wake pics from The Arden Arms, 17th February 2015.
Jim's wife Margaret unveiled a large framed photograph of Jim, taken by Jim Birch.
His photo will be permanently on display in the Arden Arms, above the seat where Jim had sat on Tuesday and Fridays after the Stockport Heritage Centre in St. Mary's Church closed at 3.30.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Where Has Rock Row Gone!

Rock Row is a very old Stockport road. It is also of historic significance to the town as this was one of the sites, in 1852, where the famous 'Irish Riots' took place. When I say famous, they got a two full page spread in the London Illustrated News.

For those who do not know where this picture is taken from today you would be standing in front of the Plaza, looking up towards St. Peter's Square.

If you have looked for Rock Row lately you will find it has disappeared, to be replaced by Mersey Square signs. This error, the Heritage Trust are trying to rectify but it may take some time.

(Watch this space).

Thursday, January 01, 2015

The involvement of minorities during WW1 - a new project

A report by Stockport Heritage Trust committee member Robert Bridges, on a meeting held on 8th December 2014 at the University of Chester.

At the last committee meeting, I mentioned my intention to take up an invitation to attend a meeting at Chester University about capturing information relating to the involvement of minorities during WW1.  Jill Trumble expressed an interest, so the two of us attended.  The meeting was hosted by Dr. Jessica van Horssen from the Department of History & Archaeology.  A couple of other senior University figures were also in attendance.

Other groups and individuals from around Cheshire are involved with this project:

- Peace Strategy Group of East Cheshire Quakers
- Northwich and District Heritage Society
- Friends of Handforth Railway Station
- Cheshire Local History Association
- Burton and Neston Local History Society
- Macclesfield WW1 Centenary Committee
- Family History Society of Cheshire
- Big Heritage

The project kicked off early summer, and this was the second meeting.  A member from each group in attendance gave a brief verbal presentation as to any relevant activity that they/their group is involved with.  As an example, a guy from the Northwich group has produced three publications: WW1 memorials around Northwich, WW1 fallen of Northwich, and I can't remember the third!  Another group has been researching folk from Belgium that were over here at the time of the war.  A rep from the Quakers has done extensive research into conscientious objectors (C.O.'s), and has helped compile a list of all C.O.'s who were registered as such during the war.

Jill gave a summary of the status of her 'WW1 memorials in St. Mary's' project, which was well received.  I informed people of our very successful 'Stockport's WW1 Experience' event held in September, and also our willingness to liaise with any local minority group, or at least pass on relevant information to the project leadership.  I made a point of not raising expectations too high, as any input derived from us will be dependent on the availability and enthusiasm (for WW1 related matters) of our group members, many of whom are already very involved with their own projects. 

Two guys were representing a group called 'Big Heritage'.  They commented that many Heritage groups around the country were mainly comprised of white, middle aged/retired, middle-class people.  They thought this didn't encourage Joe Public (young people in particular) to get involved, or take an interest in what Heritage is about.  So in an attempt to redress this, they travel around creating 'Pop-Up' exhibitions (e.g. in shopping centres), and work with kids in an effort to bring history and local heritage into the community.  They have an interesting web-site at:
We were encouraged to initiate research into producing "diverse narratives of WW1".  This could be, for example, looking at the role of Stockport's Jewish community during WW1, or, I believe there were four people of Chinese descent living in Stockport at the time... did they have any out of the ordinary experiences or stories to tell?

By “minority,” we simply mean anyone who does not fit the traditional stories or narratives, whether this means via ethnic, national, religious, ideological, or a number of other differences.

A web-site has been created by the University to post contributions on, making them accessible to all:
Dr. Horssen mentioned that grants may be available via several routes, e.g. Heritage lottery fund, parish councillor funds etc.  The University is in the process of compiling an information pack on how best to apply for funding.
Now that Christmas and New Year are over with (for most of us), could you please consider getting involved with what I think is a project with lots of potential.  It also offers an opportunity for us to get involved with other like-minded people and groups, and swap notes on successful ways to promote our local heritage, etc.  It is planned to hold monthly workshops, the first of which will be held in January to discuss grant application writing.

We can discuss the project in more detail at our next committee meeting.

Best regards,

rob bridges

Useful links:
Imperial War Museum's website for searching War Memorials in the UK, which can be found here: 
Heritage Lottery Fund:

Monday, December 08, 2014

Stockport Dungeon Open

Stockport's Medieval dungeon was the sight of a Stockport ghost reading event, on Sat 20th Dec.
John Bardsley our own Mr. Pickwick read from Steve Cliffe's book 'Shadows', which can be bought from the Stockport Heritage Magazine website.

As well as the readings there was an exhibition on the Stockport Workhouse followed by a free talk by Derek Morgan in his shop across the road.

Next year we are hoping to have a full program of events based around the medieval dungeon, beginning on Easter Sat 4th April. If you don't have next year's calendar we still have a few left in the Heritage Centre, which will re-open on Tues. 5th Jan. 2015.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Friday, November 28, 2014

St. Mary's Parish Church-surviving gravestones

The Stockport Heritage Trust has produced a CD of the surviving gravestones at St Mary’s parish church, Stockport. There are four worksheets for area one, north, area two, east, area three, south and area four, internal and one for the plot plan of the graveyard.
On them are transcriptions of the stones and information about individuals taken from the parish records. The CD is available to view in the Heritage Centre at St Mary’s.
There are also copies in Manchester Central library, at N.C.F.H.S. contact Liz de Mercado at, and Stockport Heritage library.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Winter 2014 Heritage Magazine

The Winter Issue of the 
Stockport Heritage Magazine is out NOW!!
With all the usual features and letters, there are articles about-
Vikings in Stockport
Stockport's 17 hospitals in the Great War
Baker's Vaults
Words & Whistles
Christmas 100 years ago
Greg's mills
Marple Hall
The Home Front
and much, much more.

If you have trouble getting your copy contact the Editor at

Sunday, November 16, 2014

100 years Commemoration at Bramhall

 Ford's Lane Church in Bramhall began their commemoration with a walk to the war memorial, followed by a British Legion service.

After the walk back a WW11 lunch was provided with songs, hymns and a short remembrance day talk.

 A good number joined in on the day with authentic costumes and displays of WW1 posters and letters from the front, adding to the effect.

The Geurnsey Evacuees Reunion

 Gillian Mawson is pictured talking to the Mayor and our own 1940s expert, Angela Kenrick at the Guernsey Evacuees Reunion in St. Mary church on Sun 8th Nov.

 The Evacuees gather together occasionally to share memories and catch up on old times.

Many of the memories were recorded for posterity by the BBC and stalls displayed interesting facts including the kind of items the children would have carried in their very small suit cases. 
The crowd was entertained by a George Formby act with familiar songs and jokes and everyone seemed to enjoy the day.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Stockport's First Viking Festival

As Part of the first ever Viking Festival in Stockport, the Heritage Trust put on a timed charity sprint up Bridge Street Brow.
 The youngest competitor just 14 months, the oldest (we didn't ask).

The winners
were -
For the men - Brett Clarke
For the women - Rose Heathcote
and the fastest child 0 - 12 was Dorna Asadi

 Other entertainments included concerts in St. Mary's Church, a stage with a variety of acts. There were also long boats, viking warriors and stalls with crafts and medieval wares.

wise women to cure all ailments and knights in medieval armour.

And with a rare chance to go down into Stockport's 15th C dungeon, definitely a weekend not to be missed.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Trip to the Imperial War Museum Salford

Another enjoyable trip out for a group of enthusiastic heritage hunters.

I would definitely recommend a visit to the special exhibition "From Street to Trench", a fascinating look at life around Manchester 1914-18.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Stockport's Great War Experience

As part of the 2014 Heritage Open Days, Stockport Heritage Trust and St. Mary's Parish Church put on a whole day of 'Great War Experience'.

The exhibitions, talks and guided walks gave a picture of life in Stockport between 1914 - 18.

All aspects of the Home Front were covered including John Bull, who was utilised at the time to encourage recruitment. Our own recruitment barrow was set up in the Market Hall, to encourage the young people to take part and discover the kind of roll they would have been expected to play, from women making ammunition at Heaton Norris and engines for tanks at Mirrlees, to men being sent to man submarines, build roads and railways or dig tunnels.
There were two choirs, the Tiviot Dale Methodist  Church Singers and St. Mary's Church Singers as well as the Stockport Accordion Band, all entertaining with songs popular at the time.

Exhibitions included the Conscientious Objectors, Willow Grove Cemetery, Heaton Mersey Red Cross Hospital, postcards and letters sent home and a selection of the hundreds of posters use for recruitment, propaganda and public information.

The dungeon was also open with a display of crime and punishment.

The staff in the Heritage Centre did an amazing job trying to cope with the numbers of public and the organiser, Kevin Dranfield would like to thank ALL the volunteers who worked so hard on the day to make the event a huge success