Friday, June 30, 2006

Future events

Events organised by the Trust are in red.

25th April Wednesday. Trip to Manchester Police Museum. Places limited.
contact Kevin on 01614274006

15th March, Thursday. Stockport Story.
Talk on Underground Stockport, by Kevin Drafield. Also a booksigning for Rivers Under Your Feet by Coral Dranfield.

24th March, Saturday. St Marys. Two speakers will talk on the subject of Stockport Sunday School, recently
brought to prominence due to the display case and impressive stain glass window, now part of the permanent Stockport Story exhibition. £1.50 (or £2 on the door).

1st April, Sunday. 9am-12 noon. Chadkirk Chapel. Bird Watching for Beginners. Free, but booking is essential.

Easter Saturday - Market Fun for all the family.

2nd May, Wednesday, 8pm. The Old Rectory. Stockport Heritage Trust's AGM.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Friends of Abney Hall Park AGM

The Friends held their first AGM and had a lot successes to report, including two task days, opposing the cycle path, the planting of 1500 bulbs, and the introduction of picnic benches, as well as bird and bat boxes.
They were able to assure us that the new avenue of oak whips was robust. Many of the plants may have been damaged by vandals, but this variant of oak was chosen as new branches will simply grow from the bottom.
The feature which led to the formation of the Friends in the first place is the fishing lake. The Lake was formed about 25 years ago when Bruntwood Estates took over the lease of the hall. It was a condition of the lease that the old lake, between the hall and the motorway, should not be used for fishing. The fish were transferred to the new lake.
The new lake was created by taking water from Chorlton Brook. When the Environmental Agency (EA) was formed, new rules required that a licence was obtained for permission to abstract water. This was never done, so when it recently came to the attention of the EA, they insisted this cease until a licence was at least applied for. As a result, the lake has been slowly disappearing. The EA did turn up on one occasion, to catch the fish and hold them in storage until the lake can be stabilised. But they were surprised to find nesting birds so that was cancelled. Instead, they have allowed abstraction of water from the brook to be resumed. Meanwhile SMBC will be applying for a licence.
The first task day will be 16 July from 10am-2pm(?). They will then be monthly. For details, see the noticeboard, next to the car park adjacent to the old Scout Hut.
There is also a web site, but the address for that is being kept secret until it looks a bit more professional.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Listed building to become flats - planning application

Former nurses home, Cheadle Royal Hospital, St. Anns Road North, Heald Green, Cheadle
Extension and conversion of former nurses home to form 20 apartments.(Listed Building Consent)
Case Officer / Telephone: Miss E Curle 0161 474 3538
Consultation Expiry Date: 06-07-2006
Document: click here.

Re-erection of Scroll Bridge - planning application

SMBC is seeking permission to restore Scroll Bridge, Brabyn Park, which was damaged about 10 years ago by contractors working for SMBC. This was reported in Stockport Heritage Magazine and you can find links to this article elsewhere in this blog.
The most interesting part of this application is the Reinstatement Report.
The complete set of reports can be found here.

12.5m phone mast - planning application

Proposed erection of 12.5 metre (including antenna) telecommunication 'monopole' mast, plus two ground based equipment cabinets
Etchells Road, Heald Green, Cheadle, Cheshire
Case Officer / Telephone: Mr J F Crowder 0161 474 3661
Consultation Expiry Date: 30-06-2006
Documents: click here.

The "Staircase Stitchers" - SMBC press release

A local embroidery group for Staircase House, have been granted a generous donation from the Stockport Heritage Trust.
The Staircase Stitchers were set up last year, following an appeal from Staircase House for a team of enthusiastic volunteers to meet and work on pieces of embroidery for display in the house.
Funded by the Heritage Trust they were able to produce cushions and other soft furnishings to suit the different periods of the house. Jane Dew, embroiderer for Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, leads the group and teaches the stitchers historic embroidery techniques, giving advice on embroidery and needlework designs characteristic of periods in the House.
Now, with a further £2,000 donation, the group can continue their work and produce the elaborate curtains that will complete their work on the grand 18th century four poster bed.
Councillor Pam King, Executive Member for Leisure, said: "We are very grateful to both the Stockport Heritage Trust and the Staircase Stitchers for supporting this unique project. The Heritage Trust has been fundamental in raising awareness of Staircase House and its importance to Stockport town centre and I hope that we continue to work together to make Stockport's heritage attractions some of the best in the North West."
Sarah Cotton, Curator of Staircase House added, "This is a fantastic project and we are very grateful that the Heritage Trust recognise the value it adds to the house. The work that is being produced is historically accurate and will introduce additional colour and character into rooms, as well as being a long lasting testimony to the hard work of all the local volunteers."
As part of Staircase House's first birthday celebrations, you can meet the Staircase Stitchers and view their amazing work by visiting the House on Saturday 12th August, 12pm to 5pm.

"Statue’s 120 year reign threatened" - Stockport Express

The statue was originally erected in 1886, 21 years after Richard Cobden's death.
A council spokesman said: "The statue will be relocated to a more central, prominent, focal part of the square, as part of the overall upgrading of the area.
"There are two main reasons why the statue is being relocated. Firstly the statue is poorly located with regard to the square generally, and lacks the prominence it deserves.
"Secondly, there are improvements planned to the highway network to improve pedestrian access into the square, which require the relocation of the statue."
He added: "It is too early to say at this stage when the statue will be relocated as this is subject to planning approval."
Cobden was a political figure of national importance, as well as serving as MP for Stockport from 1841 to 1847.
He was a prominent advocate of free trade and a leader of the Anti-Corn Law League, whose campaign received widespread support among local mill-owners.
[For the full story in the Stockport Express, click the image.]

"Campaign For Perry Statue" - Wimbledon website

A campaign is under way in Fred Perry's birthplace, Stockport, to commemorate the last Briton to win the Wimbledon men's singles championship with a statue in the town centre.
Perry, who completed his hat-trick of singles titles at the All England Club 70 years ago, already has a path bearing his name running through 14 miles of Stockport, and now a former mayor, councillor Eric Pyle, has pledged £9,000 from his charity fund towards a monument.
Perry, who died in 1995, aged 85, was born at 98 Carrington Road, Portwood, Stockport, on 18 May 1909. His father, Sam, a cotton spinner at a nearby mill, had political ambitions, and Fred was only a toddler when the family moved to Bolton, then to Wallasey and on to Ealing, where Sam became a Labour MP.
Although Perry spent only a brief time in Stockport, he was made a freeman of the town after winning at Wimbledon in 1934. He recounted in his autobiography: �Stockport has been good to me. When I won Wimbledon in 1934 the borough honoured me by holding a public collection. The people gave so generously that I was presented by the mayor with a silver tea service, a replica of the Louis XIV gold service in Windsor Castle. They would have liked to copy the set in gold, but they couldn�t get permission, so they did it in silver instead.

[Click the image for the full story. See also previous postings for more information and comments on this campaign.]

Sunday, June 25, 2006

New Blue Plaques

Earlier this year Stockport Council approached the Trust with the idea of giving the Borough some more Blue Plaques.

On June 21st members of the Trust met for the third time with Council Staff, as well as David Reid for the Heritage Library, to enable details to be agreed for a Lottery Grant to fund the scheme.

A short list of 25 possible sites will be put to the public vote, so that ten can be chosen and included, with the ones that already exist, in a new Town Blue Plaque Guide.

Voting will take place later this year and it is hoped that the Blue Plaques will be ready for fixing by April - May 2007.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Selling at Staircase House

Saturday saw three Trust members eager and ready to relieve the unsuspecting public of all their cash.

Doreen and Sharza Dethick with Coral Dranfield donned their period costumes to man a Heritage Trust stall at Saturday's Craft Fair, selling items produced by a variety of Trust members.

The Craft Fair was the first one tried at Staircase House and apart from a couple of visitors, who must have passed the stall ten times and may be for all I know still trying to find their way out of the building, all the smiling faces would seem to indicate that people had a good time, both viewing the crafts and the rooms that were open for inspection.

Although not a great amount was sold from the Trust stall, there was a lot of interest in who we are and what we are currently doing around the town and forty Heritage leaflets were taken away, which we hope may result in some new members.

All in all a very tiring but satisfactory day.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

National Mill Regeneration Conference

Stockport Heritage Trust was represented by Kevin Dranfield, at the prestigious Mill Regeneration Conference, hosted this year by Stockport Council.

The two day conference was attended by developers, councils and other sectors of the industry.

On the first day the delegates were shown mills in the Stockport MBC area undergoing or awaiting renovation. These included Houldsworth, Broadstone, Victoria and Meadow Mills.

The second day focused on the 'mechanics' of regeneration, planning, finance, recording etc. Followed by workshops intended to develop various aspects and ideas raised by the conference.

All in all a very interesting insight into our councils positive view on regeneration and the apparent enthusiasm of developers to get involved in this sphere of conservation.

Friday, June 16, 2006

St. Thomas' Workhouse Viewing

On Monday June 14th, Jason Challenger very kindly took time out of his busy schedule, as Stockport College's Property Manager, to take three Trust members around the St. Thomas' Workhouse site.

The Building facing the car park, where families were split when they entered the workhouse, has many original features including a grand staircase.

The clock mechanism, although a little dirty is complete and could be made to work again. Although hand winding may not be practical for the College.

Angela Kenrick and Jason Challenger discuss the ins and out of putting a heritage display in the clock room, for they students to learn about the site's history.

The roof has now been made water tight, and the College are preparing to put their plans for the site before English Heritage at the beginning of July. Two of our members have been invited along to this meeting to support the college in its plans to save the two oldest buildings on the site and connect them with the area of new development.

For more about the site's history see St Thomas Workhouse history
For proposals of the site, see Strategy Proposal.

"new Staircase House model" - SMBC press release

If you've ever wanted to build a house then Staircase House is offering you the chance with its new 3D model.

Visitors can now take apart the medieval town house and piece it back together to see how the house grew over time. The model was commissioned by Stockport Council and made by a specialist craftsmen recommended by the Royal National Institute of the Blind.
Sarah Cotton, Curator of Staircase House, commented, "We already have a computer generated image of the house to show visitors how the house was added onto, but it is not accessible to visitors with visual impairments. The 3D model allows people to get their hands on the house and understand how it was built up from the one storey thatched roof building of the 15th century to the grand house it is today."
[Click picture for the full story]

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Neighbourhood News - excerpt from the Stockport Times

A new action group is aiming to change Cheadle Heath for the better and is recruiting new members to help achieve its goal. The Cheadle Heath Community Association has just formed and meets monthly at the Bow Garrett pub. Secretary of the group Martin Ellis said: "We want to improve our area and deal with any issues that people may have.
"We are also looking at putting on events for children and generally bring back some sommunity spirit."
Anyone interested in joining can call Martin on 07950 700948.

Cobden on the move

STOCKPORT'S historic statue of famous son Richard Cobden could be on the move.

The council wants to move the Grade II listed statue, which currently stands on a traffic island on St Petersgate, to a new open space in St Peter's Square.

[Click on image for the full story.]

Police rev up to beat motorbike menace

GREATER Manchester Police and Stockport Council have joined forces to step up the fight against off-road bikers in the borough's parks.
[Click on image for full story.]

SEMMMS relief road in doubt

THERE are growing concerns that the controversial SEMMMS/A555 Relief Road through Stockport may never be built

A full transcript of a debate in Parliament last week has been seen by the Stockport Express, and appears to show Roads Minister Gillian Merron pouring cold water on the plans for the vital airport link road.
[Click image for story}

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Staircase Stitchers funded by the Trust

The Staircase Stitchers got four visitors when they met on Tuesday evening for their usually monthly class. Iain McLean, Honorary President of the Trust, Angela Kenrick, Sharza Dethick and Steve Cliffe, officially presented the Council with a cheque for £2,000. This will fund the first year of the Stitching project which has already proved so popular. The money was raised by the Trust in the late 1980's to purchase Staircase House when no one else was interested in saving it. Eventually, after two fires, the Council bought the property, so the money has been held in trust until such time as it could be invested in the future of the House. The Stitchers project will not only create traditionally made ornamentation for the House, it involves a large number of people in the House, and creates an appreciation for traditional crafts by both the Stitchers and the visitors.

The aim is to provide the rooms, in particular the 17th century Tester Bed which the Trust also purchased, with copies of original bed hangings.

The money will pay for materials and for tuition by Jane Dew, Embroiderer for Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, who proudly showed the visitors what the group were working on.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Cyprus tree phone mast - planning application

image of the Cyprus mast from the applicationDC023158
17m tall 'Cyprus tree' phone mast
[I assume this is a phone mast disguised as a Cyprus tree.]
Land off Quarry Rd, Romiley, SK6 4BA
Information office: Bredbury Library, George La, Bredbury
For documents: click here.

I had wondered if Romiley Against Masts (RAM) had known of this. Well RAM made contact. See the comments below. The best way to support RAM is to contact Stockport with your objections direct. But first take a look at RAMs site at for some thoughts on grounds for objection.

Miniature Railway - planning application

Proposed miniature railway
Roman Lakes Leisure Park, Floodgates, Roman Bridge Lakes, Marple, SK6 7HB
Information office: Marple Library, Memorial Park, Marple
For documents: click here.

Installation of Green Nature roof - planning application

Installation of a "Green Nature" roof on existing one-storey building.
[I assume this means using grass or other plants to provide insulation and soak up water, rather than conventional roofing. It is good to hear about this environmental initiative.]
Etchells Primary School, East Av., Heald Green, Cheadle, SK8 3DL.
Information office: Heald Green Library, Finney Lane, Heald Green.
For documents: click here.

Phone mast at Shady Oak, Bramhall - planning application

14.7m tall phone mast
Next to the Shady Oak, Redford Drive, Bramhall, SK7 3PG
Information office: Bramhall Library, 70 Bramhall La Sth
For documents: click here.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Stockport Times excerpts 8/6/06

Gaol house restoration wins award
The successful regeneration of Mealhouse Brow, which also includes the restoration of a grade II listed building, has been recognised by the Manchester Society of Architects. The project has transformed buildings, which were once use[d] as a storehouse by 18C tea and coffee merchants, into town centre business and shops.
The development has now been shortlisted for the governments National Housing Award and has been included in the Award's "Exhibition of Excellence".

What happened to the masterplan?
"Derelict land and empty buildings give the impression that no-one feels an area is worth investing in. This is why I am keen to see regeneration in Stockport move along considerably faster than it is at this moment.
"Do you remember the Town Centre Masterplan? What has happened since hardly indicates a frenzy of reconstruction activity does it? Although a partner for the demolition and redevelopment of the Princess St area has been chosen, no work will begin until 2009.
"The council owned land at Gorsey Bank has stood idle for 10 years and has only recently been marketed. A Planning Brief has been prepared but aspirations on paper are easy. What is proving so much harder for this council is to turn those aspirations into activity. Council owned land at Lancashire Hill has never been marketed for residential use for 25 years. And there's more - whether its a boarded up property on Marriot St or the former Edgeley Centre.
"Another flagship regeneration scheme at Hopes Carr has yet to see a planning application. I recently returned to this site and was appalled to see the extent of tyre fly-tipping."
- Cllr. Philip Harding

Town Hall talking...
"One of Stockport's unique selling points is our historic market, which this year will be 746 years old. The right to hold a weekly Market was granted to the third Robert do Stokeport on September 6 1260 by Prince Edward, Earl of Chester (who later became King Edward I). The royal charter not only allowed the Lord of the Manor (Robert de Stokeport) to hold a weekly Market, but it also enabled him to hold one fair each year, within the defensive walls of the Norman Castle on the present site of the Castle Yard. This annual fair would take place on St Wilfred's Day and for seven days following." - Cllr Brian Millard
[Read about the rest of the Markets varied history and the up-coming Wine festival ( June 31 - July 1) in the Stockport Time.]

Closing up
Sixty years on a market stall is a long time and one of Stockport's best known traders has finally decided to call it a day. Susan Shaw was drawn into market life as a young girl when she began helping at her dad's drapery stall just after the Second World War. She later went on to manager her own stall - selling baby and children's wear.

Plans to regenerate a large area of vacant land in [the] town centre have been revealed. Satnam Planning Services has submitted a planning application to SMBC for a 30,000 sq ft warehouse on a site at the junction of Marsland St and Water St. [It] can be viewed at Hygarth House, Wellington Rd Sth.

Stockport Hatworks is launching an exclusive Heritage Club aimed at children aged 6-13. A membership fee of £10 - plus a small additional charge for events - will see children enjoy trips to venues including Staircase House, Stockport Air Raid Shelters and Bramall Hall.

Squadron marks its 30 years
RAF veterans from WWII and members of the Stockport branch of the RAF Association joined more than 30 guests, staff and cedets to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 1940 (Levenshulme) Squadron of the Air Training Corp.

Community groups in Edgeley are being asked to take part in a research programme and be in the chance of winning £40. Stockport Council for Voluntary Services wants to hear from groups to find out what they do and how they can be helped.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Iron Bridge and Rail Trail in Marple

Another lovely evening, another enjoyable walk.

A group of eager walkers gathered in Brabyn's Park Marple Bridge at 7pm on Wednesday evening for a guided tour around the railway hot-spots of Marple.
Led by Kevin Dranfield, with his knowledge of all thing 'Railway' the walk followed the river, through the picturesque woodland to the Old Iron Bridge that spans the Goyt.

Here Peter Clark, of the Marple Local History Society met the group and gave us a brief history of this fine early example of a cast iron structure, and an update on the fight to save the bridge from decay.

After visiting the Aqueduct, we followed the old Marple Tramway as it made its way alongside the locks, and were returned to Brabyn's after a very enjoyable evening.

Thank you Kevin for this fine effort.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Abney Hall Park

Abney Hall with crisp packets decorating the lawnSMBC and Friends of Abney Park continue to do a marvellous job of keeping the park looking good. Picnickers show their appreciation by scattering empty crisp packets to add a bit of colour.

Mersey River bankMeanwhile, the Council have cut down some mature trees alongside the Mersey. It can't just be to give the offices a view of the river. I wonder if they are going to build some steps down to another fishing pier?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

20th Stockport Beer and Cider Festival

St Thomas from the Edgeley Park StandsThis year the festival featured two ought two Stockport beers breweries: Robinsons (Hillgate) and Three Rivers (Reddish) as well as more distant breweries such as Marble Arch. One of the big attractions to a non-football non-rugby supporter such as myself, is the chance to see the marvelous view of the Pennines from the Edgeley Park stand.
Don't tell Ken, but I never used to recognise St Thomas Tower. Now it is covered in scaffolding I can instantlyidentify it and am becoming more aware where this 'Waterloo Church' is situated.
St George with the Pennines behind

Chadkirk Chapel charade

The fourth and final photoshoot for 2006 took place at Chadkirk Chapel on Saturday morning. The theme was Georgian England, for while Chadkirk is many centuries older than that, it was extensively rebuilt in the Georgian period.

A set of four photo cards will soon be available from the Heritage Centre, St Mary's Church, Market Place (open Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays).

Kevin (left) is talking to the resident of the attached Georgian farm house, who is doing a stalwart job varnishing the benches, while her husband (off camera) tends to the beautiful garden. Meanwhile the models relax between shots, but Geoff (to the right) photos them in an off-guard moment.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Florist Corner

Mark Disley's statue in Florist CornerThis afternoon a new recreation area was officially opened on the corner of Florist St and Avon St. The space was created by a couple of houses which were demolished.

Florist Corner signThe area is enlivened by this statue of two children holding flowers, by Mark Disley, and by concrete panales made by children from the local school, which have been integrated into the paving design.

Florist St panorama

Restoring Victorian canopies

[From Stockport Times - 1/6/06]
Members of the Heatons Neighbourhood Partnership want to find a way to attract money to restore the attractive but damaged Victorian canopies in the Heaton Moor shopping centre.
It is estimated that the full cost of restoring the canopies would be more than £120,000 and the council would not be able to finance this because they are privately owned and they are unlikely to qualify for heritage/conservation grants because they are not listed. The partnership asked for a report outlining other possible sources of funding to be made to its next meeting next month.

[I would like to see all the Victorian canopies being listed whether they be in: Heaton Moor, Edgeley, the A6 or anywhere else. - Bill]

Town Square Planning Application

Steve Burns, Regeneration and Heritage, SMBC is applying for permission for change of use of Town Square, Mersey Way, Mersey Square and Warren Street for the periodic display of stalls, stands and promotional vehicles, for the publicity, promotion and sale of goods, services and events.

Steve has said that there has been difficulty advertising the Market to the large numbers of shoppers on Merseyway because of planning restrictions on Merseyway. For example, he wants market stalls on Town Square, Mersey Way and Warren Street to encourage shoppers to go up to the market, but that requires changes in regulations. Hence this application.

It is to be hoped that this will lead to a major boost for the market. There are a lot of shoppers on Mersey Way and there is now a convenient link via TKMaxx, but many shoppers seem to be unaware of the market.

There must be some shoppers out there who don't read this blog!

More phone antennae for Vernon Mill

To see planning application documents, click here.
Information office: Hygarth House