Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Originally uploaded by miss pris.
I found this stunning photo, taken in Stockport, on the internet.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Infilling & landscaping of dry lagoon

As well as flood prevention works, as reported in the previous posting, work has started in Development Control order DC021269. Search for that number on development control planning database.

The application is fairly inoccuous in itself, it was a very scrappy piece of land, but presumably the next step is to build more office units on the land. It's directly opposite the Cheadle Heath sewerage plant on the otherside of the Mersey, so is not the most glamorous spot. But is currently attractive and I dislike the on-going encroachment on the Mersey. It's part of the Trans-Pennine trail, but not much is done to keep its rural charm.

Flood prevention

Much of the path along the Mersey between Vale Road and Mill Lane has been closed for some months for "flood prevention works", and seems likely to remain closed for some months more. The north bank is being strengthened and a smart set of stairs has been built up to Wilmslow Rd/Manchester Rd.
The old bank with remedial repairs where necessary
The new bank protected by stone

Friday, November 25, 2005

Quarterbridge Report - The Market

I have got my hands on the Quarterbridge Report, so I can reveal why the Council want HLF money. The Report criticises the Council for: lack of signs to the Market; the Stockport Masterplan is focused on the Merseyway and does not address the Market's needs; highway proposals do little to help the market; and the promotional budget for the Market is inadequate.

To view an summary version of the Report, click on the date below.

Market Traders Reject Changes

Stockport Council are seeking Heritage Lottery Funding to refurbish the Glass Umbrella. Readers of the weblog will be aware of my efforts to publicise the consultation process. I met with Steve Burns who assured me that two thirds of the Market Traders favoured Option 4.

Barbara Mulliner, a Glass Umbrella trader, wrote me arguing against the refurbishment. (See previous posting.) To back up her point, she has provided a list signed by 44 Market Hall traders showing that: 41 favour Option 2 (repair and maintenance only); 2 favour Option 4 (the HLF refurbishment); and 1 cannot make a decision on the details presented by the Council.

This gives the Trust a connundrum. We favour investment in the Glass Umbrella and worry that doing nothing but repairing the building will do nothing to counter a slow decline in the market. But what is the value of a plan that the Glass Umbrella traders are almost unanimous against?

Formal presentation of the Tester Bed

As any visitor to Staircase House will have seen, the Trust's tester bed has been an important feature of the House since it opened. It is even been lain on by David Dickinson.

The Trust has now officially presented it to the Council and, more importantly, paid for it with the funds raised as part of the campaign to rescue Staircase House for the town.

If you haven't seen it already, get along to Staircase House. Even better, join the Staircase House Stitchers and embroider your way into Stockport's history.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Stockport Times - 24/11/05

Library will be closed for decoration
The lending section will be closed from Monday 28 Nov until Saturday 10 Dec.
The Local Heritage and Information sections will be closed from Saturday 10 Dec until Tuesday 20 Dec.

Abney Hall Gate Post (not at risk from the cycleway)Abney Hall plan 'stupid' say Cheadle Civic Society. They are objecting to a cycle path across Abney Hall estate from Roscoe Roundabout to Mill Lane near Alexandra Hospital, then along Mill Lane to Cheadle. The Cheadle Civic Society object to making a 2.5 metre gap in the wall on Mill Lane.

I would have thought that improving travel for cyclists and opening the grounds up to cyclists would be a boon. Would a 2.5 metre hole in the wall be too greater a price to pay? What do you think?

Stockport in Adverts

I thought long and hard before adding adverts to this site, as to whether to go commercial. In the end I realised that we owe it to Stockport Heritage to raise revenue to support our activities. (All revenue raised goes to Stockport Heritage Trust - so far we have raised almost $10.)

An unforeseen bonus is that the adverts can be interesting. The following blurb comes from Hotels of Manchester.

Located just 6.5 miles south of Manchester city centre, Stockport is one of Greater Manchester's most popular towns. Steeped in industrial heritage, made famous the world over by LS Lowry's paintings, there are some amazing sights.

An old rule states that every train passing through the town has to stop at Stockport Station before making its way over the famous 27-arches of Stockport Viaduct, Western Europe's largest railway viaduct. The town centre also offers attractions like the Hatworks Museum, the UK's only museum dedicated to millenery and hat-making, or the interesting Stockport Air Raid Shelters, reliving life in 1940's war-torn Manchester.

For those seeking a more rural escape, the magnificent Lyme Park offers gardens and an ancient deer park. Whilst Bramall Hall, in its 70 acres of landscaped park, is a superb example of a black and white Tudor manor house.

Stockport also sits halfway between the Derbyshire Peak District and the rolling plains of Cheshire, making it the ideal place to stay if you fancy country parks, walks, canals and rivers set in stunning countryside.
Stockport also has an excellent range of leading high street retailers, as well as a great selection of pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants.

We all knew that, but it's nice to be reminded.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Stockport 100 years ago

I thought Stockport MBC had deleted all photo collections from their website, but I have just found this one. It's well worth browsing.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Jupiter seen crashing into the Pyramid

photo by Graham WalkerIntrepid photographer, Graham Walker, captured the dramatic moment as the gas giant hurtled towards the Pyramid. Fortunately the planet missed and hit Gorsey Bank instead, causing no noticeable damage.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Deciding the Trust's position on the Covered Market Hall

Inside the HallI spoke with Steve Burns on Friday and made clear the issues I had with the plans as presented at the exhibition:
the lack of evidence that thought had been given to market traders, inside and outside of the building;
the lack of evidence that thought had been given to how the Covered Market Hall relates to other buildings in the square;
the lack of publicity for the exhibition;
the placement of the exhibition at the back of the Produce Hall.

I was assured that these were points of presentation and that the Council is committed to ensuring the future of the Market and working with the traders.

He forestalled one of my questions, which would have been, why was Staircase House not used for the exhibition. Steve Burns explained that putting the exhibit in the historic Staircase House might have given the message that they were treating this as an exercise in preserving an historic building, when the objective is to ensure a future for the market.

I think I can safely say that the Trust is in favour of investment in the Market and in the Market buildings. We just have to be convinced that the plans promote the future of a vibrant and attractive market as well as preserving the long term future of the historic buildings.

Over the next two weeks, the Trust will compose a letter to the Council, setting out our position. Depending on our joint decision as to its contents, the Council may or may not find it useful support when applying to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Meanwhile, Trust members, shoppers, traders, blog readers, or anyone interested in this issue can leave comments here, or email me at stockporttrust@ntlworld.com. This weblog is here as a platform for the wide range of opinions that arise when promoting Stockport's heritage. We will take your opinions and observations into account as we draw up our response to the Council.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Who is to be consulted?

(From the Coucil's website)
SERVICE AREA: Environment & Economy
PORTFOLIO: Regeneration

Subject Area for Decision: To consider the development of Stockport market.

Objective/Outcome: To consider the current situation regarding Stockport market, to consider reports procured by the Council from Quarterbridge project management, and from New Market Solutions, procured by the local branch of the National Market Traders Federation (NMTF), and to agree a way forward for the market operation

Decision Maker: Executive

Who we intend to consult and how: Tame Valley Area Committee

So no consultation of traders, shoppers or Council Tax payers then!

By the way the next meeting of the Tame Valley Area Committee is 5th December, at the Town Hall.

Quarterbridge website

The following appears on the Quarterbridge website...

Quarterbridge were appointed by Stockport MBC to review the operation of their market's service operation and, crucially, support an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for assistance in refurbishing the Covered market hall. Stockport market has three elements - the Covered market hall, a separate Produce hall and a bustling Street market - but the historic Covered market hall has been the most problematic. This 1861 listed building needs some essential repairs but Quarterbridge undertook an operational analysis to demonstrate how its internal layout could be adapted at the same time to improve operational efficiency. These ideas were tested through consultation with the public, shoppers and traders and then embodied in a detailed brief to the Architects. Increased usage and public access to the Covered market will support the Council's major regeneration initiatives in the Markets / Underbank area and form the central plank to the HLF application.

Letter from a Market Hall trader

The Trust has received the following letter from Barbara Mulliner, a Market Hall trader...


I have a business in the covered market hall and have been a trader at Stockport Market for 17 years.

photo from Quarterbridge siteI have seen the plans and read the Quarterbridge Report which was commissioned by the council and I know I speak for all the traders when I express my concerns at the lack of information and consultation with the Council.

There are currently four proposals for Stockport covered market refurbishment and whichever proposal the council adopts, it would be naïve to think they have not got an agenda to accompany each one. However, no indoor trader has received any information on how their plans will affect our businesses. I have completed three forms asking the same questions but to date I have received no reply. The questions we would all like answers to are the following –

1. If the market hall is to be refurbished is it going to be completed in phases or will the whole covered market be closed?
2. Where are the traders going to be re-located considering it would be totally inadequate for some businesses to trade from outside stalls?
3. Does the Council have a contingency fund to pay traders disturbance allowance?
4. What will happen to traders on the outside of the market hall if the indoor units are going to be opened up and able to serve from both sides, as the plans show.
5. The plans which are in conjunction with lottery funding and the Quarterbridge Report show the food hall being transferred over to the covered market hall. My unit happens to be one which on the new plans would be food along with quite a few other traders units. Where are the Council going to re-locate us? Do they intend not offering us another unit in the covered market as there will not be enough space to accommodate all the units currently there. If they close our businesses do they have a contingency fund which would enable them to compensate us?
6. How are the Council planning to select who will be eligible to apply for a new unit?
7. Will trading licenses be transferred over to leases?
8. Do the Council intend severely increasing the rents because the market will have been re-furbished, even though it won’t have cost them a penny as it will have been done with Lottery funding?

Why have so many questions remained unanswered by the Council?

I have spent 17 years building my business up, and there are numerous new businesses which have invested a lot of money in their enterprise. I know as traders we stand united in our bid to keep the market with similar units with a good variety of stalls. Re-furbish it by all means, but not without the consultation of the traders and the people of Stockport.

I trust you will take all my comments into account when considering your decision to give support to the Council, and hopefully you would consider supporting the covered market hall traders instead.
Barbara Mulliner
Unit 37, Covered Market Hall

Thursday, November 17, 2005

News update - 17 Nov

Outcry at plans for phone mast on green belt
Phone masts continue to feature in the news. It seems that only 3 houses are within the area were they need to be notified by law, so it almost slippted past notice until local residents packed out a Marple Area Committee.
More details in the Stockport Express.

Using the Sign Language interpreted tourStaircase tour for the deaf
I am pleased to learn that there is now a hand-held video display for visitors with hearing impairment, which complements the audio guides that most visitors rely on to tour them round the house. It is eveident that the Council is taking access for all very seriously. On the preview visit I went on, the Council were taking advice from a wheel chair user and a blind visitor.

Covered Market Hall discussion

Just to let you know, I am meeting with Steve Burns of the SMBC Regeneration team tomorrow afternoon. If anyone wants to contact me with further thoughts or observations before then, I will use it to inform my discussion.

Steve has seen my posting of 20 October 2005. Very briefly, I am in favour of investment in the Market Hall, rather than just a strategy of repair and mend, but I am not convinced that the plans put forward are the best. There may even be a risk that they undermine the market. But information is lacking to make this judgement. I hope at least to be better informed after the meeting.

These are my personal views. They may be at odds with market traders who, I am told favour maintenance only. Except for one trader, I haven't received any feedback from members or blog readers that contradicts me.

Contact me on stockporttrust@ntlworld.com, or leave a comment to this or any of my postings. Or, even better, add your own posting.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Staircase House Stitchers

We are delighted with the number of volunteers who have come forward to join the ‘Staircase Stitchers’ embroidery group. This project, funded by the Stockport Heritage Trust, was set up to encourage members of the community to embroider items which will be displayed in the historic rooms in Staircase House. Embroidery tutor Jane Dew, Embroiderer for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, is co-ordinating the project. Jane will teach the group the correct historic embroidery techniques for each item embroidered. The main project for the group will be bed curtains for the replica 17th century bed donated to the house by Stockport Heritage Trust in 2005, but the group will also be working on smaller items to furnish each of the period rooms in Staircase House.

The first project is for each of the embroiderers to work on a small individual piece of work. Once that is complete, work on the larger projects can begin. Watch this space for regular updates on the progress of the stitchers!

2006 Meetings:

Every third Tuesday of each month:
 Tuesday 17 January
 Tuesday 21 February
 Tuesday 21 March
 Tuesday 18 April

On each of the above dates there will be two sessions – the first beginning at 11am until 3pm, the second beginning at 6pm until 8pm. We encourage stitchers to come at any time within those periods. Please choose whether you would prefer to come during the day or in the evening.

If anyone would like to bring lunch and eat it at Staircase House there are facilities to do so.

Coffee, tea and biscuits will be provided.

Nearest parking is Churchgate or Millgate pay and display car parks. If disabled parking is required please telephone Sarah Cotton beforehand.

If you would like any further details please contact Sarah on 0161 4773701.

This is an ongoing project which we hope will be very enjoyable for all involved.
Thank you for your contribution.

Sarah Cotton
Projects, Curatorial and Technical Support
Stockport Heritage Services

Pledge fulfilled

In 1988, the Stockport Heritage Trust was formed with the objective of protecting Stockport's heritage. The focus of the Trust was the rescue and repair of Staircase House, the oldest building in Stockport. To this end money was raised to purchase the building on behalf of the town.
Much campaigning later and the Council stepped in to compulsory purchase the building and raise Lottery funding for its restoration as the excellent Staircase House we know today.
Meanwhile, the Trust has been holding the money raised on behalf of Stopfordians and in memory of founder members, such as Jean Cliffe, who did not live to see their hopes fulfilled.
Including compound interest, the funds stand at £11,700. We wanted a lasting momento, that would be an integral part of Staircase House and be something that Stopfordians could relate to and be involved with. So the fund has been allocated as follows:
£6,500 for an authentic 17th century reproduction tester bed;
£1,500 for period stuffed mattress, bed hangings, and coverings;
£2,000 to initiate the Staircase House Stitichers embroidery project; and
£1,700 for the Stockport Underground exhibition.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Catch up with Stockport Times news

Park wins 50k TV lottery grant
Friends secretary Cath Severn said: "It's absolutely fabulous and it is going to make such a difference to our diverse population of young people. We would not have been able to do it without the enormous support we recieved from local people and businesses."
Congratulations Cath. Do keep us informed of progress.

Mill regeneration wins award
BURAThe highly successful regeneration of Reddish's Houldsworth Mill has earned Stockport Council recognition from the British Urban Regeneration Association. The council has recieved the Award for Best Practice in Regeneration.
Houldsworth MillWork on the 19th century mill - a grade II* listed building - started in 1996 and created 35,000sq m of floor space. Formally opened by Prince Charles in 2003, the former cotton mill has been transformed into a mixed-use premise - containing flats, college, offices and health club.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Approved Planning Briefs

I have added links to Approved Planning Briefs on the left hand side bar. Many of them are for The Hillgate Initiative (THI), but there are other sites, including Hopes Carr.

They are quite long, but are worth browsing if only for the photos and historical titbits.

Am I right in thinking that Hempshaw Brook, is also known as Tin Brook? May be Grace has this covered already and it's probably too late to add anything to the draft of her book on Tin Brook. I don't know what this means exactly, but the Hopes Carr Planning Brief says that Hempshaw Brook may be re-classified by the Environmental Agency as a 'main river'. This would mean that should be no development or tree removal within 8m of the 'river'.

Cheadle Literary InstituteSteve, we were talking about the Cheadle Literary Institute as we passed it on our returning from our Mersey walk. Well there is an approved Planning Brief. I also found this. It reckons that the Institute, built in 1887, is one of only two buildings in Britain to be designed by a woman in this era. It's on a fascinating site, Save Britain's Heritage, unfortunately it's over a year since it was last updated.

Heritage Centre on the internet

1920s bride
Originally uploaded by Trevira.
Trevira has posted a number of photos of the Heritage Centre to Flickr. You will see her photo of our toy soldier elsewhere on this page. I thought you might like to see the rest.

Says Trevira, "I really enjoyed this display, being an aspiring dress historian, and it was an inspired idea to curate a selection of garments that everyone invariably keeps and treasures."

Explore her photostream for old ephemera including fashions, toys and wrapping paper.

The Heritage Centre, if you don't already know, is in St Mary's, Churchgate, Stockport and is open Tues, Fri and Sat (market days) and is run by volunteers always keen to talk about Stockport's history and heritage.
2 war time dresses



war time bride

mother of the bride


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Future Stockport, 1/11/05

Extracts from a recent SMBC website article -

It’s one year since Future Stockport – the £500m regeneration scheme for Stockport town centre – was unveiled to the public, ...

...a number of residential and business developments are underway. These include...; Mealhouse Brow (28 flats & retail space), Wellington Street (22 apartments & office space), Hillgate - SK South (94 apartments) and Greenhale House (96 apartments).

One of Future Stockport’s key proposals was the development of high quality public spaces within the town centre. ... St Peter’s Square was highlighted as ... under-utilised and dominated by traffic, but one which had the scope to become a major new public square with links to the Market Place and Mersey Square. Early designs show more pedestrian-friendly areas, reduced traffic levels and a destination that encourages new leisure and evening use, with cafés, bars and restaurants. ...

Sandy Penfold, Project Director for the Town Centre, commented: “The St Petersgate and St Peter’s Square project is fundamental to the success of the whole vision and will provide a setting for cafés, bars and restaurants to be enjoyed by workers, shoppers and visitors to the town. Well designed open spaces, which give priority to people over vehicles, are part of what people expect from a town centre – a green, vibrant space in which to relax and enjoy the outdoors.”

Future Stockport ... proposals outline the growth of the main shopping area around Merseyway by up to a third. This will be supported by growth in the adjoining retail areas, such as the Market Place, Portwood and the Peel Centre. ...

...The Market Place has also seen investment with the next big project being the refurbishment and regeneration of the Covered Market Hall.
Already the regeneration of the town centre is making an impact, with a 30% growth in new residential units and new full-time and part-time jobs. Boosted by sustained public and private sector interest, the future for Stockport remains bright.

In the news:
Boom time for Stockport, 7 Oct 05

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Millgate 1990

Is this building the Old Golden Ball? mentioned in Steves new book "STOCKPORT history & guide

The Cheshire Regiment website

I am adding a link to the Cheshire Regiment website because many Stopfordians enrolled or were conscripted into this regiment. Amnogst their number was Jim, our Hon. Chair, and Eric, one of our Centre volunteers. You will see a display about the Cheshire to the right as you enter the Heritage Centre.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

St Peter's Square Masterplan

SMBC have upgraded their pages about St Peter's Square Masterplan. It includes a 6 page document of computer generated views and an aerial photo.

There is also an online questionnaire. So you don't need to find the 'Stockpod' to comment.

The questionnaire is cleverly constructed. The first question is, "What are your first impressions?", so even if you answer "poor" (the most negative response allowed for) it could be dismissed as a first impression. After that, the questions are: what in the square needs the most improvement, what are the most important aspects of the new design and , what would you use St Peters for if the improvements are made. So a negative response is impossible. The closest you can get to a negative response, is to leave the answers blank, but that just excludes you from the statistics. Well done SMBC for producing a questionnaire which guarantees that every response can be used to show support for the scheme.

I trust that canny Stopfordians will not limit themselves to answering the questions and tell the Council what they really think.

Not that we necessarily have to be negative about the plan, I would just like to see a more genuine consultation.

Market consultation display removed

The display boards which formed what SMBC call a consultation, have been removed.

I have spoken to a stall holder in the Covered Market Hall, she reckons that all the stall holders are against the plans. They have seen what happened to the Produce Hall when it was redeveloped. The perception is that what was one a bustling market hall is now quite quiet, which is why some of the stalls are now empty. The belief is that that suits SMBC who would like to turn it into a conference hall.

Specifically, the traders don't like making the north side of the hall cafes. They think shoppers want penetrate into the south end so trade will die.

She thinks these plans could bring to an end the 700+ year old market.

If you haven't sent your message to the Council, call 480 7659, email stockport.market@stockport.gov.uk, or write to Market Office, 1st Floor, 19 Market Place, Stockport, SK1 1HA.

I would be interested in your comments to this posting, to help the Trust form it's formal stance.

For more information see, "do you feel consulted?"

Recent news items

A review of recent heritage and history news items:


St Peter's Square Development

Stockport Times West has an article on the Masterplan for St Peter's Square. See if you can catch the elusive "Stockpod".

Monday, 7 November, 11am-4.30pm, Warren Street
Tuesday-Wednesday, 8-9 November, 11am-4.30pm, St Peter's Square

The plans will then be on display in St Peter's Church, 10-25 November

"Questionnaires will be available during the consultation and FREEPOST postcards available in Central Library, Council buildings, Tourist Information Centre and other community access points to feedback comments."

The deadline for public comment is Monday 28 November. Work on the site is expected to start by the end of 2006.

You will find links to the Masterplan on the left hand side bar.

£1 million needed to save St Mary's
This is Rev Roger Scoones estimate of the possible total repair bill for St Mary's Churchgate. He believes that it could cost £20,000 just to repair the stonework round the clock. An application is being made to English Heritage for a lottery grant.
(Previous posts: Marketplace News, St Mary's Clock.)

More conservation areas
Consultation is underway for conservation areas in Bramhall, the Heatons, Marple and Heavily. Future plans include Edgeley, Heatherlow and Chadkirk Estate.


World War 1 mustard gas discovered in Woodford

I posted something about phone masts only yesterday evening, I didn't realise Hazel Grove was featured in the news: Woman claims masts have damaged health.
I am not about the conflicting claims of the health issues concerning mobile phones. It is a subject very close to the heart of my mum, who is convinced that low level pulsing interferes with sleep patterns and causes health problems.

Are mobile phone masts a health hazard?

Worried about mobile phone masts? They can be very ugly. Phone companies are getting more and more clever at hiding them as fake trees, in church spires and MacDonalds signs. Some people are concerned about effects on health and there seem to be increasing number of scientific studies questioning their safety, does the low level pulsing at night disturb sleep patterns?

Stockport MBC provide this list of where phone companies are going to build the next set of masts. Unfortunately they have to searched out one by one. It would have been so easy for them to map them out, but there you are.
Go to the OFCOM site if you want to find out if you live or work near a mast already.

If you want to read more on the subject, S.C.R.A.M. is an informative site.

Or there is a the commercial site http://www.electrosmog.org.uk/. This site is also trying to sell you products, so it might be biased.

A name for the most popular Heritage Centre volunteer

It is time this old soldier got a name. He is popular with children, he guards the Heritage Centre entrance, and features on the Internet.

Put your suggestions as a comment, or email me on stockporttrust@ntlworld.com.

I will ask Sheila, the volunteer who bought him to life, to judge the best name.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The History of St Mary's

Jim and 1066 StockportJim gaves us an interesting and lighthearted history of St Mary' church from 1066 to current day. Jim provided his own illustrations, which should be a hit with children when he takes the talk to schools.
Runcorn RedJim showed us a fresh piece of Runcorn Red, a piece of sandstone broken from the debris fallen from St Mary's church. It must been beautiful when the whole church was this colour.
Dumvilles Brow

With all the rebuilding of the Market Area, and Lower Hillgate.Will Dumvilles Brow (from High St down to Lower Hillgate) be kept and refurbished.?

Was the brow named after N Dumville (watchmaker) of the 1800s on Hillgate

Trust logo

Presumably, you will have already seen the new Trust logo. We had to adopt a new logo that could be carved into the 4 poster bed we donated to Staircase House. Our old logo was too detailed to carve and too modern to be appropriate. Anyway, the old logo has been copied by too many other organisations, including a local bus company, to remain distinctive.
The logo was designed and drawn by the Chair, Jim Clare.
Reproduction bed donated by Stockport Heritage Trust