Sunday, April 30, 2006

Gorsey Bank footbridge to be replaced

Gorsey Bank 14.09.05
Originally uploaded by A G 1.
According to election bumpf, this bridge is to be replaced with money raised from the development of Gorsey Bank. A figure of £292,000 is mentioned, but that is probably the total that SMBC hope to raise for improvements to the area.
It's not the smartest of bridges and it could do with a lick of paint, but looks to be sound for many years to come. There are probably better uses for the money.
I wonder if the money is being spent because it is assumed that this will please local residents, if so they may be mistaken, or because something more modern is required to create the right ambience for the new Gorsey Bank development, in which case they may have a point.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Bradshawe letters

I came across a couple of letters from John Bradshawe on the 'Net. They come from a site which claims to show the papers published by the Manx Society between 1860 and 1862.
The letters aren't very informative, but here are links in case they are useful for someone's research:
John Bradshawe to Colonel Duckenfield, 12 Dec 1651
John Bradshawe to Colonel Duckenfield, 23 Dec 1651

book coverWhile on the subject of Bradshawe, readers with an interest in the trial of Charles I may be wish to know about The Tyrannicide Brief: The Story of the Man who Sent Charles I to the Scaffold (2005), by Geoffrey Robertson published by Chattos and Windus, pp448. This book is not about Bradshawe, but about the life of John Cooke, chief prosecutor of the king.

The first Bradshawe reference in this book is: "In 1646 Cooke teamed up with another obscure Puritan lawyer, John Bradshawe, to argue for the release from prison of the Leveller firebrand, John Lilburne. Robertson (p. 87) argues that this case established in English law the famed ‘right to silence’."

Friday, April 28, 2006

Wartime pillbox is unearthed

[Manchester Metro News excerpt - 28/4/06]
The remains of a WWII bunker has been discovered on a mud bank in Cheadle and experts say it has probably been hidden since the war ended. Historian Ian Sanders, who runs a website dedicated to preserving Britain’s wartime defences, was told about the site by a fellow enthusiast. However, it had not been listed on any official records until now.
He says the bunker, just yards from the Wilmslow Road bridge, is an unusual find this far north.
During the war, the gun emplacement would have been used to hold a large anti-tank gun and would have been surrounded by a ditch allowing soldiers to hide. But now the ditch has become filled with mud and all that remains is a bracket – originally used to mount the mortar gun – sticking out of the ground.
Stockport Council conservation officer Paul Hartley said that there had been no record of anything on the site before Ian told the organisation about the bunker. Council officials have now contacted Manchester University historians, recommending it is added to Greater Manchester’s sites and monuments record.
If the bunker is included on the list, this will mean developers will have to take the historic site into consideration when applying for planning permission. This could mean that potential developers would have to preserve the site.
[Photos from]

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Stockport Times excerpts – 27/4/06

Town makes a racquet for Fred Perry tribute
A campaign to mount a statue of Stockport tennis legend Fred Perry in Mersey Square is gathering momentum after winning the financial backing of a former mayor’s charity fund.
Fred, the first ever player to win all four grand slam titles, is remembered at the Wimbledon Championships in the form of a statue. But no such monument stands in his hometown. Instead a 14-mile path, which runs from Woodford to Reddish, bears his name. However, a campaign to commemorate the great man in the centre of Stockport was given a boost after Eric Pyle pledged £9,000 from his charity fund.
Born the son of a Labour MP in 1909, Fred grew up in Portwood and became a world champion table tennis player before switching to the larger game at the age of 18. He went on to win 14 grand slam titles, led Great Britain to two Davis Cup triumphs and was the last British man to win Wimbledon. He was made a freeman of Stockport in 1934.
[For a more complete biography of Fred Perry and his Wimbledon statue, click here. Bill]

Building projects on top shortlist
Two Stockport buildings have made it on to the shortlist of a prestigious property awards event being held on Friday. Staircase House and Houldsworth Mill have been named among the most outstanding building projects in the North West by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
Staircase House has been nominated in the conservation category while Houldsworth Mill has been shortlisted in regeneration.
Steve Burns, Stockport’s assistant director for regeneration said: “Both buildings are excellent examples of very successful projects, where sensitive restoration has produced some outstanding results. Having just won the British Urban Regeneration Award for Houldsworth Mill and a Civic Trust award, among many others, for Staircase House, we are proud to be recognised by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.”

Church’s fund raising plans rejected
Church plans to build new homes and then sell them to fund refurbishments have been branded ‘horrific’ and rejected by councillors. The Parochial Church Council was refused permission to construct semi-detached houses on land at St Mark’s Vicarage on Berlin Road, Edgeley. The development was turned down because its position at the top of a slope means it would overlook neighbouring property.

Proud to be loud
Stockport has been lampooned in the latest addition [sic] of The Rough Guide to England for inventing karaoke.
In the Manchester section, author Phil Lee writes: “Only one blot stains the city’s modern reputation: it was in Greater Manchester, Stockport to be precise, that a certain Roy Brooke invented the sing-along machine in 1975, later adapted by the Japanese into karaoke”.
It is the only reference to the borough, in the soon to be published, seventh addition [sic] of the travel guide.
A petition with more than 500 signatures has been handed to councillors urging Stockport Council not to change the duties of the village ranger, Phil Rimmer.
Worries surfaced after plans were announced to make rangers pick up more litter instead of liaising with residents and traders to stamp out anti-social behaviour.
 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Stockport Heritage Magazine

Stockport Heritage Magazine, Spring 2006The latest edition of Stockport Heritage Magazine is out now and in most local newsagents and bookshops. Contents include:
  • loo with a castle wall;
  • Spot the building;
  • crime of passion;
  • Marple's milltown;
  • aquaduct or viaduct;
  • future for workhouse (Shaw Heath); and
  • Stockport under fire;
  • St Thomas Hospital/Workhouse development

    Stockport College have put their proposals for the development of the St Thomas Hospital (which includes the original workhouse buildings) on the 'Net. Click on the image below. They are in the form large PowerPoint files and would need broadband to download.

    Slide 13 reads as follows:
    "The St. Thomas’ Hospital site is a historic complex of buildings and an important part of Stockport’s past. However, the condition of many of the buildings is extremely poor and the most important listed building, the Workhouse, is in a particularly poor condition. The College has assessed the quality and the condition of the various buildings and explored how it can most effectively bring about investment to enable the restoration and positive reuse of some of the key buildings, in line with the overall masterplan. The College has to bear in mind the sustainability of the various buildings for educational use and the need to create a sufficient stock of large floorplate buildings to provide efficient and flexible accommodation now and in the future. "Taking all these considerations into account it is not considered viable for the College to refurbish and retain all of the buildings on the site. Instead a strategy has been provided which allows for selective demolition and allows for significant investment to be concentrated on preserving the most important buildings, with selective demolition of others. The Workhouse and the Waiting Room are considered to be the most important historic assets on the site, and their refurbishment and reuse is proposed. Unfortunately, they are also the buildings in worst condition - especially the Workhouse, which has been extremely neglected and in a very poor state of repair. The buildings proposed for retention will be costly to refurbish - estimated at over £7 million. Nevertheless, given their conservation significance the College proposes to retain the Workhouse together with the Waiting Room. The masterplan proposals represent a major opportunity to secure a long term, viable future for these fine buildings. "Demolition of some of the listed buildings is therefore an essential aspect of achieving the overall development. The acceptability of the proposals will be demonstrated through the detailed stages of obtaining planning permission and listed building consent, in line with PPG15 ‘Planning and the Historic Environment."

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    5 metre extension to phone mast, Cheadle Hulme - planning application

    5 metre extension to existing 15 metre dual polar column (overall height 22 metres including antennas) with addition of 2 telecommunications dishes plus associated works
    Manchester Rugby Club, Grove Park, Grove Lane, Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, SK8 7NB
    Applicant: Orange Personal Communications Serv Ltd
    Consultation Expiry Date: 18-05-2006
    Case Officer: Ms C Hodgson 0161 474 3540
    Information Office: Bramhall Library, 70 Bramhall Lane South
    Contact SMBC development control: click here
    Documents: click here

    5 metre extension to phone mast, Cheadle Hulme - planning application

    5 metre extension to existing 15 metre dual polar column (overall height 22 metres including antennas) with addition of 2 telecommunications dishes plus associated works
    Manchester Rugby Club, Grove Park, Grove Lane, Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, SK8 7NB
    Consultation Expiry Date: 18-05-2006
    Case Officer / Telephone: Ms C Hodgson 0161 474 3540
    Information Office: Bramhall Library, 70 Bramhall Lane South
    Applicant: Orange Personal Communications Serv Ltd
    Documents: click here
    Contact SMBC Development Control: click here

    22.5 metre 'lattice' mast, Adswood - planning application

    Erection of 22.5 metre (including antenna) 'lattice' mast plus associated works
    Airpark services off Adswood Road, Davenport, Stockport Sk3 8HR
    Applicant: O2 Uk Ltd
    Consultation Expiry Date: 13-05-2006
    Case Officer: Ms C Hodgson 0161 474 3540
    Information Office: Bramhall Library, 70 Bramhall Lane South
    Contact SMBC development control: click here
    Documents: click here

    Friday, April 21, 2006

    Gorsey Bank as it is now. Only the road and lamp posts remain. Posted by Picasa

    Thursday, April 20, 2006

    Stockport Time excerpts - 20/4/06

    Reddish Baths meeting planned
    The Friends of Reddish Baths are holding a meeting at Reddish Community Centre next Wednesday April 26. The group will be discussing its next move, following SMBC's decision to turn down it attempts to reopen the local swimming pool.
    The meeting will start at the centre, on Gorton Road, at 8pm.

    Organ's star role for church
    Val & Ken Cottam aim to raise £18,000 to restore the organ, built by William Hill, at St Elisabeth's in Reddish.

    Fly flag for George
    On Saturday the eve of St George's Day, Stockport Market will host it's own special tribute to England's patron.
    On Sundaym, the Layor councillor Shan Alexander will be attending a special evening of vinatge cinema, celebrating life in Stockport from 1900.
    The archive footage will include the St Geiorge's Day parade of 1929, Stockport Market in 1910 and carnivals across the borough in the 1930s.
    To learn more about St George, the history and the legend, vosit Stockport Central library.
    The Tourist Information Centre, in the Market Place, will also host a display area.
    The 1929 film can be seen in the Town Hall Ballroom at 7.30pm, just £2.50 in advance (0845 8330973) or £3 on the night.

    Parade rolls out for St George
    Marple-based Hare & Hounds Classic Vehicle Club has chosen to mrk the occasion with a club tour through the local countryside. Steve Divall chairman of the Hare & Hounds club, said: "April 23 is a very important date to make a note of as it is the day denoted by the Federation of British Vehicle Clubs as National Classic Day. This date is also St George's Day, Shakespeare's birthday and exactly 60 years since Piaggio launched the Vespa motor scooter."
    Members of the Hare & Hounds club will meet at Marple Memorial Park at 10:30 on April 23.

    Open gardens
    Five of the borough's loveliest gardens will be on display as part of this year's National Gardens Scheme.
    June 11: West Drive Gardens, Gatley
    June 18: 19 Dorchester Road, Hazel Grove
    July 9: Edith Terrace Gardens, Compstall
    August 6: 73 Hill Top Avenue, Cheadle Heath
    Mar-Oct, by appointment only: 2 Claremont Avenue, Marple
    [I can recommend the West Drive Gardens and the Edith Terrace Gardens - Bill]

    Gorsey Bank to be developed

    I don't know when the photo in the article below was taken but, as noted when a similar article appeared in last week's Stockport Times, there is not much left to bull doze on Gorsey Bank. The problem with all these new developments is that they are encroaching on the Mersey. At the moment the view from the Trans Pennine Trail of Gorsey Bank is of trees and it looks quite pleasant. Soon walkers will be surroinded by business parks on both sides of the river. Posted by Picasa

    Thursday, April 13, 2006

    Stockport Times excerpts - 13/4/06

    Merseyway to get huge Facelift
    A 2 month project at Merseyway Centre will be carried out to revive the damaged, old fashioned building and give the gateway to the town a new lease of life.
    Richard Paxton, centre director of Merseyway said: "Merseyway Shopping Centre is one of the oldest in the UK and so needs a specialist company to undertake the work.
    "This entrance is highly important as it is the first impression of Merseyway from the main A6 road and the bus and train stations."

    The local authority revealed this week plans which could help create 500 jobs across Stockport by siting a multi-million pound blue chip business parrk at Tiviot Way, Portwood. The site was originally earmarked by IKEA.

    Gorsey Bank 9.4.06As part of the town's regeneration efforts, one of Stockport most notorious housing estates at Gorsey bank, Cheadle Heath is also set to be demolished this summer.
    [I don't know what they are going to find to knock down, apart from lamp posts. The houses went long ago, leaving only the road network - Bill]

    The council will apply for £1.5m for urgent strengthening work to the grade II listed High Lane Canal Bridge, which carries Buxton Road over the Macclesfield Canal.

    Valuable land under stores
    I look at buildings and believe they just don't build them like they used to
    This is most apparent near the Portwood Tesco, where an old mill nearby is now used by retail outlets. It is 5 storeys high whereas Tesco is almost as high but has, mostly, just one floor.. I will not mention B&Q - inside which the Town Hall could perhaps be fitted!

    When was it that companies started to build these very tall but mostly empty buildings sprawling over millions of square meters? And more importantly - why?
    Tesco and those like them could hae a mush smaller 'footprint' if they had only put a second floor over the entire area. The same can be said about the carparks. Why can they not build multi-storey ones? Why can they not build carparks under the buildings as basements?
    The costs must add to the price of the goods and the cost to the environment must be horrendous.
    [I suspect the answer is that planning guidelines deliberately prohibit excessive density of development to reduce the loading of cars onto the road network. It would be nice, however, if the land was used more efficiently so that the remainder could be park space - but that would be more expensive to maintain and risk restrictions being placed on future developments. - Bill]

    Park becomes a pond
    Manchester Road Park, in Heaton Chapel, which was once dubbed "the forgotten park" because of lack of equipment, is under water after recent wet weather - and people living nearby can't get access to it.
    A council spokesman said there was still standing watrer on part of the park, but 80% of it was clear and children are able to use the play area during their Easter holdidays.
    "The new drain in the park is completely clear and we are further investigating the culvert which goes on to private property near the entrance to the park", he added.

    Landmark mill enjoys new lease of life
    Goyt Mill has stood proudly as a one of Marple's biggest landmarks since 1907. The original moll had at its heart a 2,500hp steam engine which drew water from the adjoining canal, and along which the coal to feed this massive powerplant was also delivered.
    But by 1960 the then-owner, plastic foam manufacturer Kay Metzler, sought permission to demolish it, and use the land for housing.
    Peak Gas, then operating from Arrowsmith Mill in nearby Glossop, stepped in and bought the site. Adapting a formula which had been successful at the Glossop site, Peak Gas set up its own offices at Goyt Mill and set about rentin ght rest of the space to other small firms.
    Today, the mill has upwards of 80 tenants, operating businesses ranging from engineering and textile manufacturing to a gym and snooker club/restaurant.

    Back in time to fancy '40s
    Do you remember the old IKEA adds that comanded us all to chuck out the chintz? Well, those of you who ignored this message - aren't you glad you did? You should be smiling because chintz has been back in fashion for a good year or so now. And the style, once popular in the 1940's, has now been adopted by many designers.
    Unbelievably, people in the 1940s had a truly optimistic outlook on life, which can definitely be seen demonstrated in their cheerful home decor.

    Do you recall this bookie?
    I am trying to recall the surname of a leading independent bookmaker from the early 1960s.
    His trade name was Score Racing and his office was at the top of Brinksway on the Cheadle Road.
    I am sure his first name as Fred.
    Can any old historian of punter help?
    Frank Ravlen, Woodley
    [If anyone has the answer, email me on and I will forward it to Frank Ravlen - Bill]

    [For the latest letter on the horse controversy in the Stockport Letters page, see the comments to last weeks posting, here.

    Sunday, April 09, 2006

    Cheadle Heath walks

    River Mersey, towards Manchester Rd B5095 5/3/06The Trans Pennine Trail between Vale Road and Manchester Road (B5095) along the north bank of the Mersey is open again. It is rather muddy and it is to be hoped that grass re-establishes itself but it will be a struggle against the churning up of the fresh soil under foot and bikewheel. The motorbike fraternity has been busy removing stakes in the gates to ensure they can still get through.

    noticeboard 9/4/06Abney Hall Park has been graced by a new information sign. I like these boards, but it doesn't take long for them to become vandalised. This board is provided by SMBC and supported by English Nature and the Stockport Nature Network. It's the first time I have seen the SNN logo. It looks rather like our logo, but they invented it first. The SNN was formed in January 1998, whereas we adopted our new logo in 2005.

    Saturday, April 08, 2006

    Travel Through Stockport, Through the Ages

    A series of talks on the subject of travel through Stockport was given by Paula Rand, Frank Galvin, Kevin Dranfield, introduced and organised by Kath Taylor, and supported by Jim Clare and Coral Dranfield.

    Metro News - 7/4/06

    Poster in Staircase House window, with the Glass Umbrella in reflection10,000 years of Stockport
    Two galleries have been opened of the Stockport Story at Staircase House. This is Phase I of the process (to make sure that at least part of it was opened before the elections).
    To see the MetroNews story, click here.

    Wrong colour flagstones put shops in jeopardy
    Chaos on Mealhouse Brow is accused of damaging business. It is this sort of mistake, which gives heritage conservation a bad name. To see the MetroNews story, click here.

    Excerpt from the MetroNews:
    "Deal done in £500m town plan
    "Developers are chosen to create extension of Stockport Centre. Lend Lease has been given the task of creating a 100,00 square metre extension to the town centre on the Prince's Street site next to the M60.
    "he project is expected to take a number of years to come to fruition and there will be extensive public consultation throughout. Detailed plans will be drawn up over the next few months."
    More information can also be seen at the SMBC site: click here.
    (The same report also appears on the Invest In Manchester site.

    Stockport Times excerpts 6/4/06

    Pyramid 5
    Originally uploaded by Torve.
    How the Co-op cast off Pyramid 'curse'
    Co-operative Financial Services is celebratin gthe 10th anniversary of its move to one of Stockport's most distinctive buildings.
    Stockport Council launched a design and tender competition in the Spring of 1987, with a brief that any proposed development should contain at least one significant landmark building.
    Architects Michael Hyde and Associates teamed-up with developers Provincial and City Properties and drew-up an office park design consisting of five buildings, one of which was the pyramid. The tender was declared the winner in June 1987.
    Following the start of construction in September in 1989, managment contractors Rush and Tompkins becase a victim of the recession and ceased trading in April 1990 when the steel feam of the pyramid was nearing completion.
    In 1991 with project funding from the Co-op, construction started again in April under management contractors, Ballast and Nedam. And, in spite of the additional recievership of the electrical works contractor in September that year, the project was completed on schedule in March 1992.
    The pyramid stood empty for four years until The Coo-perative Bank took control and moved into the glass landmark in 1996.

    TV man hears of museum's restoration
    Staircase House was featured on the BBC TV programme Flog It recently.

    Family firm leads made-to-measure menswear revival
    The oldest surviving family business in Stockport town centre, is embracing modern technology to sell made-to-measure suits at High Street rather than Savile Row prices. Freedmans, the 114-year-old menswear business in Little Underbank, has been chosen to spearhead the UK launchof a revolutionary system which allows individually-cut suits to be sold for £300-£400.
    The Stockport shop is owned by sprightly 73-year-old David Freedman. His father founded the business in 1892 in Church Road. At one time, it was based in Princes Street on a site which is now part of the Marks and Spencer shop. Mr Freedman, who has no thoughts of retirement, says he is the only tailor left in Stockport.

    Shuttered and empty: a sad sight
    The future of Edgeley precint will go under the microscope after it was revealed it has the highest proportion of empty shops of any Stockport District centre. Around £1m has been spent on improving the Castle Street area in the last year but the vacancy rate for retail untis stands between 20-25%.
    Edgeley Councillor Philip Harding said: "Castle Street is at a pivotal point in its history."
    But council regeneration officer Steve Burns has spoken to recent aria committee meetings saying Stockport's district cnetres - except Edgeley - are reversing the national declining trend.
    It is thought Castle Street suffers from its proximity to the town centre.
    Mr Burns told the Victoria Area Committee: "Edgeley has always had high vacancy levels. The time is right to take a hard look at the boundary and shop front policy."

    New dates for walks
    Bruntwood Park's weekly health walks are changing dates from Fridays to 1pm on Wednesdays. To join simply meet at the ice crea, kiosk near the main car park, or call 428 5391 for details.

    "In the last few days, an area of scrub has been levelled to provide yet more space for the ever increasing horse population. In doing this, birds like blackcap, willow warbler, song thrush and bullfinch have lost a home, as well as the site being ruined for butterflies like comma and speckled wood.
    "To me, horsey-culture is a bigger threat to biodiversity in Stockport than farming, and leaves the fields the churn up useless for anything - they are just not suited to large number of horses.
    "I would like to ask people who like wild places to keep an eye open for this sort of development, and to oppose any planning applications associated with them."
    Andy Bisset

    Thursday, April 06, 2006

    Presentation of Images of England

    Adrian Shaw, an amateur photographer, described to us the Images of England project and showed us his collection of photos, 115 of which have been adopted by the project and put on display on the Internet.

    Below is one of Adrian's photo's, of a building close to our heart - Staircase House.

    All images are taken on 35mm film provided by English Heritage. The photographer is given a list of buildings to snap. He or she then has the challenge of locating the building and finding a position on publicly accessible land to capture a clear picture of the whole building if at all possible. This is complicated by the need to avoid inclusion of children or children's toys or car registration plates, to protect the owners security. The film is returned, undeveloped, to English Heritage, so there is no opportunity for tampering with the photo.

    The project started in 1999, but with:
    7,484 parish churches;
    424 castles;
    3245 country houses;
    55 garden sheds;
    35 fishponds;
    1 racing pigeon loft;
    2,778 milestones;
    7 army camps;
    11 skating rinks;
    2,284 telephone boxes;
    516 pigsties;
    291 lavatories;
    198 post boxes; and
    1,098 lamp posts
    listed in England, there are lot still to do. To get involved, contact: Images of England, English Heritage, NMRC, Kemble Drive, Swindon SN2 2GZ. Tel: 01793 414779. Email:

    As well as admiring Adrian's photos, Paula Rand brought along a collection of Stockport photos taken by a Stockport policeman (sorry I have got his name I will add this when I know) between 1996 to 1998.

    The Rev Ken Kenrick told us that now that scaffolding is up around St Thomas, Potts the famous clock repair company, point out this is the perfect time to attend to St Thomas's clock. The plan is logical, but the problem is where to find the money? St Thomas has already received £102,000 for the current work and put thousands of pounds of its own limited funds into the repair of the tower and that is only enough to attend to the most pressing repairs. [For photo's click here for the previous post and click here for a photo of the clock mechanism.]

    No news yet of the findings of the inspection of St Mary's tower. [For previous postings click here and here.]

    Monday, April 03, 2006

    Life On Mars

    Last night I caught the first episode of Life on Mars. As well featuring Stopford House as the the police headquarters, this particular episode gave us a view over Stockport. It was supposed to be 1973 Manchester, but the viaduct and "Hat Museum" painted on the old mill chimney were clearly visible. The site below has various info on the TV series. This particular page compares 1973 with current day. Posted by Picasa