Saturday, October 29, 2005

Marketplace consultation continues

I am pleased to see that the exhibition at the back of the Produce Hall continues. It would still be nice to see some publicity for it. As you can see, I am trying to compensate for that. See below for previous posts with more information.

The Cheshires are going to Malta for a reunion. Amongst their number are our own Hon. Chair, Jim, and volunteers Heritage Centre volunteers, Eric, Sheila and Grace. Jim says he has seen the Maltese version of the Glass Umbrella. If possible he will bring back a photo.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Stockport history & guide- comments from the author

front coverNew book on Stockport's History
by Steve Cliffe

People smile when I tell them that I am the author of a book, which breaks new ground in Stockport’s history. What can I possibly know which eminent local historians who wrote tomes on Stockport, like Dr Peter Arrowsmith, and Dr Henry Heginbotham didn’t? Well quite a bit actually.

Apart from all the recent evidence of early people which has come out of the excavations at Mellor, and my first-hand knowledge of the campaign to save and restore the old town centre and open Staircase House, our only medieval townhouse to survive, I also know lots about Stockport from my 18 years of editing and publishing Stockport Heritage Magazine.

All this knowledge is distilled and concentrated into a handy, readable, little book published by Tempus (in time for Christmas) which will tell the average person all they ever wanted to know about Stockport and perhaps a bit more than that. Did you , for instance know that Stockport was probably founded by a Saxon princess, or that it had a castle which was in rebellion against the king, or that a battle took place here during the English Civil War? Stockport, besides producing silk, cotton and hats, also gave birth to John Bradshawe, the man who became first president of an English Republic in 1649.

Stockport has historical evidence going right back to the stone age and the exciting thing is that it is still being uncovered. The dig at Mellor on the site of a hilltop encampment goes on each summer. Only recently in the town centre, remains of the medieval castle well and a wheelpit, from the 18th century mill which replaced it, were found beneath the old courthouse on Vernon Street. Stockport Heritage Trust volunteers were on site at both these finds.

You will find answers to lots of puzzling questions in this book – how did they build the railway viaduct, and why does it have a gap in the middle? Who is that bloke made of bronze on a pedestal in St Peter’s Square, our only statue of an individual, and what did he do for the town? Why did the Luddites use Stockport as their headquarters?

Find out by buying Stockport History & Guide by Steve Cliffe.

Available for £14.99 at most Stockport bookshops; or
for the same price at the Heritage Centre, St Mary’s Church (£3.75 goes to the Trust); or
from Stockport Heritage Publications (4 Fernilee Cottage, Fernilee, Whaley Bridge, High Peak, SK23 7HB) for £14.99 including p&p in the UK; or
from Tempus for £14.01 including p&p in the UK; or
from Amazon for £19.73 including p&p in the UK.

Synopsis
Originally a border market town above the Mersey, with a small medieval castle, Stockport grew into the leading cotton manufacturer of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Its sandstone rock is riddled with miles of water tunnels which once powered the early mill machinery. Today it is a lively modern town which retains the character of its historic market core with an increasing number of heritage attractions, including the Hat Works, Staircase House, the air-raid tunnels and Bramall Hall. The book looks at the evolution of the town to the present day, from its earliest history, Roman activity and civil war of 1642, through the industrial period and its many unrests, to the arrival of modern Stockport with the coming of the railway in 1840. Including two walking tours - one of the old town centre and another along the Goyt Valley and out to the fringes of the Peak District at picturesque Marple Bridge - the book is an essential guide for anyone with an interest in gaining an insight into the proud heritage of this fascinating town.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Woodlands Park Needs Your Vote

(Copied from the SMBC website) The Friends of Woodlands Park are appealing to the people of Stockport to support their bid to secure vital funding from the Big Lottery Fund to build a multi-sports play area.

The group will be appearing on ITV1’s The People’s Millions, going head to head with another community group from Lancashire. The group that gets the most votes from the public will secure the funds.

The programme will be broadcast on Wednesday 2nd November, between 6.00pm and 6.30pm, with voting taking place by phone.

The group is hoping to win the public over with its exciting plans to construct a multi-sports play area to be used by all young people. The area would provide facilities to play football, cricket, volleyball, netball, short tennis and basketball.

Cath Severn, The Friends of Woodlands Park Secretary, said: “This area will provide much needed healthy exercise for the young people in the community of Offerton. It will allow both disabled and able-bodied young people to play sport together. We really do need your vote to make this dream become reality.”

Councillor Pam King, Executive Member for Leisure, said: “The Council is fully supportive of this bid and I would urge the people of Stockport and Granada TV viewers to vote for Woodlands Park.”

For further information contact Cath Severn on 0161 285 0028 or Dave Wright on 0161 487 2355 – both from The Friends of Woodlands Park.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Woodbank Hall - SCU's Reply


We have response to our email to the Charities Commission about Stockport Council's plans to sell Woodbank Hall.

Dear Mr Cliffe,

Thank you for your e-mail of the 22nd September 2005.

I note the comments you have made in relation to this Charity and its' property. The situation is that the scheme is now in force. It must be understood that the scheme is simply conferring a power to sell all or part of the overall property of the Charity. If the trustee ever intends to sell all or part of the property then they would be required to comply with the provisions of section 36 of the Charities Act 1993, which requires that they seek professional advice from a qualified surveyor and give public notice of the intended sale. The purpose of the public notice is to allow for the public to comment. If the trustee decides to exercise its' power to sell, which also covers leasing, then the public notice stage would be your opportunity to comment.

I would suggest, in relation to your current comments, that you contact the Council to seek a response from them as it is for them to comment on what their intentions may be.

I hope that my comments will be of assistance.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Clarke
Small Charities Unit

Charities Commission

The message seems to be, the Council can do what they want, but they must consult the public first. Our role is to try and find out what the Council intends to do, before the consultation. It is to be hoped that their plans are constructive, but if not then we will have to coordinate public pressure to protect Stockport's future and our Heritage.
On the internet, I found this statement by the Small Charities Unit on DISPOSAL OF CHARITY LAND AND BUILDINGS.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Consultation extended

The consultation exhibition
I am pleased to say that the consultation on the future of the Covered Market Hall was extended to include St Wilfred's fair. It is still not advertised, but the Trust's medieval food stall is drawing people to the back of the Produce Hall and the consultation exhibition.

The Trust has put some consultation responses forms in the Heritage Centre. So I hope that a lot of people are getting the message and responding to the Council. I just wish the plans were more informative.
Worringly, my neighbour who has three stalls inside the Market Hall has no idea what the plans are either.

So I suggest you pick up a form at our Heritage Centre, or stockport.market@stockport.gov.uk, or call the Market Office on 480 7659.

I am hoping to generate more interest on the Net and also create a pool of Stockport Market photos. See the Flickr pool Stockport's Glass Umbrella. If you want to add to the pool join Flickr, its free unless you want to post more than 200 photos.

St. Wilfrid's Fair - 21-22 Oct 05


Sarah invites us to
guess the objects.
Another great success for the Heritage Trust! Today's Medieval Market went off with a bang, in spite of the weather people flocked to taste the foods and delicacies of 700 years ago. A display of owls and a wise woman added to the spectacle. Sarah Cotton from Staircase House also had a 'guess the objects' stall. Members of the Trust dressed in
Sharza, Angie & Joan
Sharza, Angie & Joan serve medieval food
colourful costumes and walked amongst the shoppers handing out leaflets advertising the Heritage Centre which was packed out.
Coral 21/10/05
Geoff, Steve, Doreen, Jim, Angie, Coral & Alan
Members added some medieval
colour to the Market



The second day was also a success. I enjoyed a plate of Medieval foods, only a £1 and still it raised money for St Mary's and St Peters. This was the Stockport Heritage Trust stall. Next to it was a Heritage exhibition and on the reverse side the Covered Market Hall consultation. As I ate my platter of pheasant, venison, mushroom and fish, I overheard some ladies remember the good old days of the Market, when it stayed open "until almost midnight". Those days may have gone, but it was certainly lively this afternoon.
Coral on the Trust's medieval food stallOur Heritage Centre was also kept busy, thanks to Alan rounding up visitors from the market. Volunteers, Eric, Sheila, Grace and Jean kept the place running.
Bill 22/10/05

The Glass Umbrella ready to do its job under the darkening skyFollow this link if you want to know more about St Wilfred.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Public Consultation (do you feel consulted?)


What fate for the Glass Umbrella?
Do the outside stalls have to go?
Today was officially the last day of the Stockport MBC consultation into plans for what they call the Covered Market Hall. I prefer the name, "The Glass Umbrella". The consultation period lasted only a week, had no publicity or signage, was hidden in the back of the Produce Hall and was only accessible on three days so was hardly comprehensive. So don't let the Council's artificial deadline discourage you from sending an email to stockport.market@stockport.gov.uk, or calling the Market Office on 480 7659. Whether it be to to critise or praise the plans, or to ask for information, it lets the Council know that people are interested and it can't bekept secret.

As well as contacting the Council, you can post your thoughts and ideas here. An online discussion of members and anyone else interested would help form the Trust's response.

I don't know if our Conservation Officer, Ray Preston, has been consulted.

I sent the following email this morning. I will tell you when I get a response. I posted it as an individual, with no reference to the Trust.

Dear Sir,

I visited the small display at the Produce Hall and would like to give you my feedback. My wife is a regular market shopper. She is attracted by the cheap prices and the fresh fruit and veg. I use the market less often, I am actually more likely to use Altrincham or Warrington markets during my lunch hour, but this has given me insight into how Altrincham has declined, while Warrington retains a large market.

The display presented 4 options:
the first option does not comply with the Council's statuary duties;
the second option defers the issue;
the third option is undesirable;
leaving Option 4.

I am not convinced that Option 4 is the only viable scenario. Consultation during or before the development of options would have been more constructive and might have led to a more imaginative solution. It would be premature to close down other options at this stage.

I could imagine, if carefully designed, an attractive and upmarket location could be created. But it is not just the building we have to preserve, but the Market. The Market's three main strengths are: its size; its variety; and its cheapness. Chip away at any of these and the decline will be terminal and we will have an attractive but empty square.

I do whole-heartedy agree with the objective of moving to 6 (or even 7) day trading and can see that this design will provide a very attractive amenity on non-market days. My concern is for the Market and for the relationship with the surrounding buildings.

THE COVERED MARKET HALL

The plans show a lot of space given over to cafes and restaurants. This significantly reduces the number of stalls inside the hall. Then there is the removal of a large number of permanent stalls. One of the reasons why traders pay to be inside the hall, is so that they have a permanent location where they can leave both their stall and their stock. That's why my neighbour gave up her external stall and now trades from 3 stalls inside the Hall.

Will traders pay the same rent as before, or will they be charged more for the better mess room and toilets? If so the traders will have to pass on their costs to the customers and that could be the end of the cheap market stalls.

As for the design, there are no artisit's impressions or architect's drawings, so it is impossible to judge whether the scheme preserves the unique character of the 'Glass Umbrella'.

In the ground plan one of the "sightlines and access routes to be reinforced and retained" goes straght through a stall and a wall. Is this a finalised ground plan or is it still under development?

I think there are the seeds of a good idea here, but not enough information has been provided to judge.

THE REST OF THE MARKET

There is no reference to the external Market, or the square or the surrounding buildings. Has consideration been given to these?

It seems that all stalls adjacent to the Hall will have to go to allow for cafe seating or to allow the double sided stalls to trade. Is the plan to reduce the number of outside stalls or to move them out of the Market Place? Has a decision been made?

There is also space taken by the dlass roofed area for the cafe seating. I think these plans risk destroying the very thing they are supposed to be supporting.

I don't think the market can survive with just the stalls in the Market Hall and the Produce Hall. They need the external market stalls to provide adequate size and variety to attract customers. Option 4 seems to require a significant reduction in external stalls, or their relocation outside the Marketplace. I know the council has tried before to relocate the market elsewhere. Is this part of the plan?


What consideration has been given to the relationship between the Hall and the surrounding buildings? The glazed transparent facade may be nice for the cafe seating, but surely it is going to obscure the view of the Produce Hall and it's neighbours. Does that comply with planning regulations?

If a new glazed area is to be added, wouldn't it be far better if it was the Castle Yard? The Castle Yard could be developed to expand the market, providing new covered stall space, areas for cafe seating and, perhaps most importantly, serving to link the old Magistrates Court Building with the Market. The introduction of escalators linking to the Merseyway is a major development, but Option 4 shows no indications of trying to exploit this.

CONSULTATION

As far as I can see, the only publicity about the public consultation was an article in the Stockport Times. This article was enough to draw me to the Market specifically to see it. But nowhere round the market did I see signs about the consultation, not even in or around the Produce Hall itself. It was only thanks to the Stockport Times article that I hunted around the Produce Hall and found 4 notice boards at the back. Even these notice boards did not advertise what they were about. The first two boards were about the Market's history. Fascinating though it was, it appeared to be a history exhibition. It was only on the third board was there reference to changes being made and a consultation. It was almost as if the boards were designed to deter interest from the busy shopper.

Why choose the Produce Hall which is closed four days out of seven? It may be open on Market days but what about people who hear about the consultation through that article or by word of mouth and go specifically for the consultation? I put a piece on a website about this consultation. One of the website visitors tells me he went to the Produce Hall on three different days before he was able to see the exhibition.

I have searched the Stockport MBC website. There is one article about a consultation excerise aabout to begin, but offering no information on either the plans or the Produce Hall exhibition.

Will there be a larger and more publicised consultation excercise?


I hope you have found my comments useful. I would appreciate it if you would send me more information. I hope a fuller public consultation will take place before plans develop much further.

Stockport people are very proud of the Glass Umbrella. Developments should be an opportunity to engage the population and promote Stockport.

yours faithfully

Bill Hoad

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Plaza Steps

Has anyone got any ideas as to what the wording is on the stone below this badge on the Plaza Steps. It seems to have faded over the years.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

St Marys Clock


Reading the post about St Marys clock and the masonary falling. I was suprised just how much fine masonary there was round the clock faces. I just hope it can be repaired as soon as possible

Monday, October 17, 2005

Palmer Mill

Palmer Mill (1992) on St Marys Way Before the Courts Warehouse

Market Hall Plaque

Its the first time I've noticed the plaque. Its at the base of the Market Hall opposite the Food Hall (Hen Market)

Brunswick Chapel




The remains of Brunswick Chapel on Portwood Roundabout look set to be rebuilt just hope the grounds of the chapel are kept in order and maintained to a decent standard.Only time will tell (photos taken 17.10.05)

Old Doorways

Some doorways around the center of Stockport

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Castle Yard and Vernon St 1990 and 2005


Market Place 1990 and Market Place 2005

And it looks like its going to alter again. After reading the post below.

Market consultation

low key consultation on the future of the MarketplaceHaving read in the Stockport Express, that the Council are conducting a consultation process on the future of the marketplace, as reported below, I went along to the Produce Hall to see. I saw no mention of the consultation outside the Produce Hall, or anywhere, until I made my way to the back of the hall and found some notice boards. Theew was nothing to draw one's attention to the fact the future of the Marketplace is at stake.

On the boards and in a handy A4 booklet, there is a potted history of the 750 old market and the 144 year old Covered Market Hall. More importantly, it sets out the future.
'"The perfomance of the Stockport Markets Service reflects the national trend of rising operational costs, declining occupancy and reduced viability resulting from intense competition and Retail Consolidation. 85% of UK household goods are now sold by four 'Multiple' retailers, and the impact on markets, local economies and the character of town centres is now becoming apparent. The retail industry is constantly evolving new forms of competition, and this coupled with the enlargement of existing outlests into 'Superstores' and diversification into own-brand fashion is eroding the viability of Markets. This trend is bound to continue as the 'Multiples' intensify their efforts to win more market share."
The Council also resolved to make a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for assistance with the renovation of the building, and have appointed Buttress Fuller Alsop Williams to draw up the plans.'


Four Options are presented:
1) Do nothing - this is not possible as the Council has a statutory duty to maintain the Covered Market Hall.
2) Repair only - which does nothing to reverse the decline of the market.
3) Repair of fabric & removal of the fixed stalls. This includes removing the side walls. This returns the Covered Market Hall to pre-1895 conditions, but is likely to accelerate the decline of the market.
4) Repair of historic elements & improvements to the interior. This is a general upgrading of the Market Hall. It includes: 2-sided stalls which face both out of and into the hall; replacing some boards with glass to make the hall more inviting; improved access for wheelchairs; improved food and cafe units. Perhaps the greatest innovation is the introduction of an area without permanent stalls for alternative use for events, particularly in the evening. The aim is to move towards 6 day trading.

So of the 4 options, one is impossible and two are undesirable. I am not convinced that the fourth option is the only viable solution, but it is interesting.

Assuming it is done attractively, it could be quite a draw and move the Marketplace upmarket (no pun intended). The market currently survives on being cheap and cheerful, not always the best recipe for economic success, but the Council has to be careful. If the market stall rents increase, as I suspect they will do, they could chase off the current stalls and won't necessarily attract the more upmarket traders or customers.

There is no mention of what will happen to the market stalls outside the hall. I don't always like the way the stalls obstruct and obscure St Mary's and other gems of the marketplace, but they are an important part of the market.

I am not sure if the proposals are good or not, I just know there is not enough information.

I don't know whether the Trust are consultation with Council on this matter. I would love to see your comments added to this posting (just click on the work "comments" below). Meanwhile you may wish to get in contact with the Council for yourself. The Council has invited the public's response by email to stockport.market@stockport.gov.uk or visit the Produce Hall before 20 October. Follow this link for a not very informative piece on the Stockport MBC website.

In Memory of Howard Beckwith


On the side of Wellington Bridge
Originally uploaded by A G 1.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Central Library Window


Central Library Window
Originally uploaded by A G 1.
Photo taken on Lawrence St at the rear of the Library

Tunnel under the A6 (Old Tiviot Dale Railway Line )

You can still see the way the railway ran from Tiviot Dale as you walk up Wellington Road North

Meadow Mill


Meadow Mill from Brewery St . Before Tesco Extra

St Mathews School Chatham St Edgeley1990


The old St Mathews School 1990
Originally uploaded by A G 1.

Back of Portwood Place 1992


Back of Portwood Place 1992
Originally uploaded by A G 1.
Photo taken back of Portwood Place near the River Tame back of Lancashire Hill

Portwood Place 1991


Portwood Place 1991
Originally uploaded by A G 1.
Photo taken under the Tiviot Railway Bridge over Portwood Place

ALLIGATOR MILL 1992


ALLIGATOR MILL 1992
Originally uploaded by A G 1.
Photo taken from Water St

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Old Tiviot Dale Railway Lines 1992


Old Tiviot Dale Railway Lines 1992
Originally uploaded by A G 1.

Consultation on the future of the marketplace

This Thursday's Stockport Times West has an article entitled, Traders setting stalls out for new market. This Friday (14 Oct), the council are starting one week's consultation on the future of the Marketplace.

Proposals will be on display in the Produce Hall. I suggest that as many people as possible visit it and make sure that the council gets the message that we care about what happens to the Market. The public only has one weeks, so let's make the most of it.

Comedy legend Ronnie Barker was inspired by ‘tatty’ Bramhall theatre


COMEDY legend Ronnie Barker, who died yesterday (Tuesday) was once a stage manager and actor at a "tatty" and long forgotten weekly repertory theatre in Bramhall where he met the man who he said "was to teach me everything I ever learned about comedy."

Follow the title link to read the full story in the Stockport Express.

historic stone fireplace


AN historic stone fireplace, believed to date back 200 years, has been unearthed on an allotment in Reddish.
...It is being considered for display in the new local history museum to be opened next to Staircase House next year.

Follow the title link to read the full story in the Stockport Express.

Over 1,200 new flats, based around St Peter's Square and Hillgate, are planned to go up within the next 5 years

STOCKPORT is set to receive a £100 million cash injection as an urban housing boom promises to breath new life into the town centre.
Over 1,200 new flats, based around St Peter's Square and Hillgate, are planned to go up within the next five years.
Construction work or planning proceedings have already started on more than ten developments and include proposals for a 110 bedroom hotel off St Peter's Square.
Council officials believe the draw of over 2,000, mainly young adults into the area will provide a major boost for the local economy.
The investment represents the first major step towards the £500 million 'Masterplan' vision for the town centre, which was trumpeted by the council at a launch exhibition last December.
Masterplan project director Sandy Penfold said: "You need a resident population to stimulate an area; a town centre without people living in it is dead."...
Follow the title link to read the full story in the Stockport Express.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Civic Trust Awards

Civic trust logoI visited Staircase House today as a member of the Civic Trust Awards assessment team. We visited several buildings in Stockport and it is likely Staircase House will be recommended for a national award, but I am pre-empting the team's report, so all we can say is watch this space!

We were very thorough and poked our noses into every nook and cranny, including places the public don't normally get to, like the hidey hole staff offices right on the top floor and even a Jacobean storeroom. It did my heart good to see the museum staff surprised at their keyboards when they thought they were safe in their inner sanctums!

Sarah Cotton looked quite guilty when we pushed her door open, led by Stockport's intrepid conservation officer, Paul Hartley. We even examined the interesting hoist frame currently redundant in the staff rest room. The team were very impressed with it all and just how much space is hidden in there. "It's like a tardis" was the usual comment.

Regards, Steve

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Mersey Basin Walk Sunday 9th October

Halliday Hill farmA big thank you to Kath Taylor and Ray Preston for organising a very interesting and enjoyable walk through the Goyt Valley from Offerton Hall to Marple Hall, taking in a visit to Halliday Hill farm en route.
Ray Preston

Member's News Bulletin Sep 2005-Feb 2006

The events listing has already been posted. Here are the four news items that went with it. (Trust members should have recieved this by mail.)

STAIRCASE HOUSE OPENS
At last, our efforts over many years have resulted in the final and long awaited opening of a restored Staircase House as a first class interactive museum experience for all the family. Not only can people discover the amazing extent of the warren of buildings for the entrance fee of £2.50, they can sit on, lie down in, and handle furniture, artefacts, and even clothing. Some of our longstanding members got preview tours, but there is still so much to see and hear with the aid of the hand held audio guide. Don’t take my word for it – go and find out! The house is open on the Marketplace, seven days a week from 1pm to 5pm and the staff are really helpful.

book launch at Staircase House
STOCKPORT HISTORY
A new history and guide to Stockport has just been published by Tempus, written by Trust founder member Steve Cliffe. It sells for £14. 99 and copies are on sale in St. Mary’s Heritage Centre and book shops, or direct from Steve at the address in the Heritage Magazine. He will even sign them for you! The summer Heritage Magazine is also now in the shops.

EMBROIDERY PROJECT
This involves making bed hangings and other work for Staircase House and the trust members did a display on the launch day in 17thC. costume. Volunteers should contact Sarah Cotton for details on 0161 477 3701.

HERITAGE EXHIBITIONS
If you haven’t seen Angela’s wedding dress exhibition in St. Mary’s Heritage Centre yet go and see it. There is a picture exhibition in the other room which has been in preparation for months – ask the volunteers about it. [There is also Lan's startling red and gold, traditional Vietnamese wedding dress, from our wedding at Bredbury Hall. - Bill]
Coral and Angela are involved in other displays at Merseyway, the Market Place and Broadstone Mill Reddish. We have all been busy over the summer at Chadkirk Festival, Torkington Fun Day, Marple Locks Festival and other events. If you missed these you should get out more! Or at least visit Stockport as there is so much to see! We had a double stall at Chadkirk and our own trumpeter in Napoleonic costume, Anthony Boardman, who also played his trumpet at the opening of Staircase House.

Disposal of Woodbank Hall

Stockport MBC is considering disposing of a list of properties, including Woodbank Hall. The Trust is concerned that the best interests of Stopfordians, to whom the property was left, are protected. This doesn't necessarily mean that the Trust opposes development. Commercial development can be the best way to protect the long term future of heritage sites as has been demonstrated by a number of Stockport developments.

The MBC has consulted the Trust on this matter. Attached is our response to the Charity Commission who over see the legacy of donations such as Woodbank Hall.

Email to Charity Commission from Steve Cliffe, Hon. Sec. of Stockport Heritage Trust
Dear Commissioners,

I am the hon. secretary of Stockport Heritage Trust and have been asked to make some observations on the above.
Bearing in mind the best interests of preserving Woodbank hall for the future we would hope that any re-development plans will respect the integrity of this Harrison designed building.
We also wish to observe that the hall and park are an integral unit and an area of special natural beauty and historical interest. The Marslands who had it laid out and resided there once owned the largest cotton mills in the world and were Stockport's earliest public benefactors creating water supplies and gas lighting.
The park is a traditional place of resort for the inner suburbs and the hall is its central landmark. The hall has a very pleasant aspect and atmosphere, both inside and out. The majority of the original interior features eg.(staircase,doors,fireplaces,plaster frieze) are intact and in good condition. We would wish to see these retained.
Our understanding is that the current use by Heritage Services would be continued if the hall is not sold or otherwise disposed of. A resident caretaker, which the hall currently enjoys, is perceived as an essential feature of the building's preservation, given its isolation during evening hours.
The original Trust deed indicates the possibility of assignment of parts of the gift. We would favour the letting of the building on a repairing lease as the Council does with its Pugin building in Cheadle, Abney Hall.
We believe that the historical and architectural importance of Woodbank Hall is underestimated and that it is vitally intrinsic as an historical landscape of unique survival and importance to the history of the development of Stockport.
Yours faithfully,
Steve Cliffe
For Stockport Heritage Trust.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Marketplace news

Lumps of stone have fallen from around St Mary's clock. Railings have been put out below to prevent injury, but there are no plans to repair this landmark, meanwhile the pavement just in front of the railings has collapsed. The old graveyard extends under the pavement and road of Churchgate and one or more of the tombs have subsided.
A piece of fallen stone (pictured here) along with stone from the chancel and vestry has been analysed at Manchester University. I probably should not reveal the findings here. I'll leave it for Jim's talk (8pm 2 Nov, The Old Rectory).

Across Churchgate, the recent strong winds have blown down scaffolding and boarding surrounding the Mealhouse and adjacent buildings. The silver lining of this ill-wind is that the boarding has been replaced with wire fencing, so now we can see the renovations in progress.

Gates of Stockport

After reading Stockport Heritage Summer/Autumn 2005 Edition.There is an article of Stockports Nine Steps. Reminded me of a question I was asked a few years ago . Could I name the "Eight Gates of Stockport" Do other people know them ?

Allen

Beating The Bounds


Beating the Bounds 1989 Who remembers this? Allen

Friday, October 07, 2005

First Post


This is the first post I've ever sent to a blog and was hoping you could tell me is there any more boundary signs of Stockport , if so where are they located

Thanks Allen

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Do you want to blog?


If you want to post pictures and text to this blog then give your email address to Bill, Coral or Steve.

I don't know how to put my email address here, without getting deluged with spam, but you can text or phone me on 07960 717193. (It's usually on answer phone)
Bill

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Early Railways of Stockport



Kevin Dranfield, assisted by his wife Coral, provided a fascinating talk on the development of railways, from horse drawn freight at Marple locks to a maze of lines in 1910.

This is the latest of our monthly gatherings on the first Wednesday of the month, 8pm at The Old Rectory, Churchgate.