Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Underground Stockport Exhibition - IS OPEN !

Friday 26th Jan. saw Coral Dranfield and Angie Kenrick putting the finishing touches to the Underground Stockport Exhibition, but by Monday evening it was all ready for the preview launch. Around 30 people attended to sample the hands on exhibits as well as the wine and nibbles laid on by the Stockport Story Museum and the response to what they saw was very positive.

The Exhibition is free to the public and can be seen 7 day a week from 10 am - 5 pm down in the bowels of the Stockport Story Museum (next to Staircase House in the Market Place.)

Steve Cliffe samples the exhibits, constructed by Kevin Dranfield .

Transport to street markets

[Excerpt from Hansard, 30/01/07]

Ann Coffey MP:
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of possible measures to improve transport to and from local street markets to encourage sustainability.

Gillian Merron MP:
Responsibility for local street markets is for local authorities to consider as part of their transport planning work. The Department has issued guidance to them to assist in preparing their second Local Transport Plans. This asks them to consider a range of measures that will reduce congestion, improve air quality, and increase the use of public transport and levels of walking and cycling.

Local authorities are required to include accessibility strategies within their Local Transport Plans, which should include measures for addressing accessibility problems found within their area, particularly with regards access to healthcare, education, employment and healthy affordable food.

Underground Stockport preview

I didn't make it to the preview last night, but heard good reports from my father who did. I will remind you to go to this exciting exhibition based on new research. Some of the material has was presented at the Trust's Underground Stockport lecture, but much of the material is new.

In presenting this to the public, I anticipate it generating further research, either broadening the scope of the studies or or taking a more detailed look at research. There may be more maps and primary sources, or access points to Underground Stockport than we currently know of.The Trust, in particular Coral and Kevin Dranfield remain interested in more data and are keen to add to the body of knowledge.

So get down to the Exhibition soon and expect to learn a lot.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

BBC History Magazine articles

Those interested in Cromwell or the Interregnum will appreciate the article Putting the Protector Back Into the Protectorate in the BBC History Magazine. It asserts that, contrary to current prevailing opinion, Cromwell the Protector took a leading role in decision making and was more than a Parliamentary figurehead. Latest research shows that while there may be little to indicate that Cromwell asserted his opinion on most decisions, the conclusion usually went his way in the end.

The article is an advert for the book, The Cromwellian Protectorate by Patrick Little, £45.

(I hope readers don't mind me posting something not directly related to Stockport, but Stockport's famous son, John Bradshaw, was one of the politicians that Cromwell variously competed an cooperated with.)

Perhaps more relevant to current Stockpor heritage issues, is the article The Workhouse: Pauper Paradise or Hell?. Many of the article's examples relate to rural workhouses, which are rather different to Stockport's St Thomas workhouse. For example, the article notes that by 1840s rural employment had risen, making the previous decade's investment in facilities for the (fit) unemployed largely obsolete. Meanwhile, slumps in the cotton industry, meant high levels of unemployment in 1840's Stockport, leading to riots outside the Stockport Workhouse and elsewhere.

Workhouses did off education, to allow the children to avoid the errors of their parents, but there was concern over teaching too much. In Norfolk, for example, guardians objected to maps in the classroom as they might encourage emmigration and reduce the labour available at harvest time. So workhouses could be used to ensure the availability of cheap labour, at the expense of better opportunities for the workers elsewhere.

One area of success for many workhouses, including Stockport's workhouse, was as hospitals. Even today, the majority of surviving workhouse sites are still used by hospitals. Initially, nursing was largely done by the workhouse matron assisted by pauper nurses who had little or no training and who were often illiterate. Overtime conditions improved so that by the end of the 19th century, people would voluntarily enter the workhouse infirmary, sometimes in preference to the local private infirmary. In some workhouse infirmaries "ordinary infirm" cases had been driven out to make room for paying patients.

Like me, the article recommends www.workhouses.org.uk for further reading. The following museums are open to the public: Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse, E Dereham; The Workhouse Museum, Ripon; The Workhouse, Southwell; & Workhouse Museum, Derry.

To see all the postings on Stockport's St Thomas Workhouse, click on the label 'Workhouse' below.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

History Man

The Stockport Express (24/01/07) has a glowing article on the Trust and the Blue Plaque scheme. It is a bit misleading, however, so here is a clarification.

Kevin Dranfield is the Trust's Conservation Officer and chaired the Blue Plaque scheme meetings between the Trust and the Council.

The Trust's Chair is Jim Clare, who can be seen down our Heritage Centre most market days, organising the Trust and the Centre and is a fount of knowledge on historical matters.

The article implies that Kevin did a lot of sifting to derive the Blue Plaque nominations, when in fact he was meticulous in making sure all valid suggestions from the Trust, the Council and the public, went forward to the public vote. Kevin and the Council only eliminated impractical suggestions, such as where there is nowhere to position the plaque or where the site is inaccessible to public access.

The vote has been collected and will be announced once details, such as the cooperation of the owner, has been confirmed.

Friday, January 26, 2007

£13m plan for offices

[Excerpt from the Metro News, 26/01/07]
THE redevelopment of land next to Stockport's famous pyramid building is moving forward.
Outline plans for a £13.7m office development on the remaining land at Kings Reach Business Park have been submitted to Stockport Council, with a decision due next month.
[Click here to go to the full Metro News article.]

[I had heard that the council had previously delayed the Gorsey Bank development (on land owned by the Council) until private developments had finished on the north side of the Mersey, to avoid an over-provision of offices. I wonder if these new proposals will upset the balance?
Work has started on Gorsey Bank in as much that the footbridge has been replaced (I don't know if it has been opened to the public yet) and demolition has started on the old factory buildings (most recently operating as a window blind showroom and a garage) on the east side of the Gorsey Bank site.]

Care home go ahead

[Excerpt from the Metro News, 26/01/07]
Construction work is due to start at the end of the year on an 86-room facility for the elderly and people with Alzheimer's disease, on the site of the County Hotel, in Bramhall.
[Click here to go to the full Metro News article.]

Ramblers attacked over footpath victory

[Excerpt from the Metro News, 27/01/07]
RAMBLERS have come under fire from residents, councillors and the local MP after winning the right to keep a "crime-ridden" alleyway open following a bitterly-fought public inquiry.
[Click here for the full Metro News article.]

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Message from an ex-Covered Market trader

Just to let you know that I have finished on the market now because I could not afford to stand there any longer. I was taking money from my Edgeley shop to pay the rent on the market.

Another stall is closing next week. He is also getting a shop on Edgeley. Another trader is looking on Edgeley as well , that will make 5 of us who has moved to Edgeley from the market.

The traders have been told that [Market restoration] work might start in July.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

New Non-Emergency Anti-Social Behaviour 'Hotline'

The Safer Stockport Partnership is cracking down on anti-social behaviour by launching its first dedicated hotline for residents and businesses to report problems. The number to phone is 0845 833 4444. People can also email antisocial.behaviour@stockport.gov.uk

Anti-social behaviour can include vandalism, fly-posting, fly-tipping, graffiti. For more info, click here.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Town Crier for Stockport

Town CrierStockport now has a Town Crier and if you think you recognise that imposing figure it is our own Jim Clare from St. Mary's Church Heritage Centre.

He could be seen yesterday in the Market Place as well as the Merseyway Shopping Centre announcing to the populace of Stockport, that the Heritage Trust is putting on an exhibition in the Stockport Story Museum as from 30th January.

To advertise the Underground Stockport Exhibition, members of the Trust had a stall for the day in the Tourist Information Centre.

If you thought that the only thing that lies beneath the Town Centre is the Air Raid Shelter, then this exhibition will be an eyeopener to you.

Admission is FREE and there should be plenty to entertain the kids as well as adults.

(The superb Town Crier outfit was made by one of our committee members, Sue Foster.)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A New Blockbuster For St Peter’s Square

[Excerpt from SMBC press release, 18 Jan]
Salford based HBG Properties has been selected by the Council to create a flagship office and restaurant development that will complement the work already underway around St Peter’s Church. The £12m redevelopment of the site will see the creation of a contemporary design Grade A office building plus private parking and a ground floor unit suitable for a restaurant, coffee bar or showroom.

HBG’s architects, HKR of Manchester, are now working with the Council on the detail design of the complex.

[Click here, for the press release in full.]

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cobden's Secret

After 120 year the statue of Richard Cobden that stood proudly in St. Peters Square has revealed its secret.

A copy of the Stockport Advertiser and the Cheshire County News, a poster announcing the unveiling of the statue by Cobden's daughter and two half pennies, dated 1886, were uncovered on Monday as the statue was lifted from its plinth.

The statue was loaded onto a flat back lorry, watched by Councillors David Goddard and Martin Candler, as well as our secretary Coral Dranfield, invited to represent the Trust.

Cobden will not be going far and should be back in his new position by Friday, which will eventually overlook a new St. Peters Square and fountain.

It is the Council's intention to put a new time capsule under the bronze figure as he is secured back in place on his plinth, let's hope for another 120 years.

One of the items to put in the time capsule will be the latest copy of the Stockport Heritage Magazine.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Emily 'does a Fred' on 240ft chimney

[Excerpt from the M.E.N., 15 Jan 07]

Emily Myres really got into the spirit of the day when she helped her dad blow up a 100-year-old, 240ft high Goyt Works chimney at Strines. The demolition makes way for 76 houses and apartments, two workshops, a formal open space and riverside walkways.

[Click here for the full article or here for photos of the demolition.]

Friday, January 12, 2007

Brewery flats plan go-ahead

Royal Oak now CottonClub (1990)
Originally uploaded by A G 1.
[Excerpt from the Metro News, 12/1/07]
Local Housing Association Equity Housing Group will convert and extend the former Royal Oak Brewery, on Cooper Street, off Higher Hillgate, near the town centre.

Two new wings will be added to the existing brewery building, providing 51 flats around a courtyard. The ramshackle chimney, engine house and the former Mineral Water Company building on the site will be demolished.

Councillors on the planning committee approved the bid, despite concerns from the conservation officer about the demolitions and the need to respect the character and appearance of the remaining buildings. They are recognised as buildings of local historical and architectural value.

[Click here to see the full Metro News article.]

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

It’s a miracle!

[Excerpt and photo from a Stockport Express article, 10/1/07]
Reverend Roger Scoones, St Marys, StockportIN just under a month the Stockport community has raised £42,000 to save St Mary’s in the Marketplace.

And Reverend Roger Scoones would like to say a big thank you to everyone who helped raise the cash.

The total amount that had to be raised by December 31 was £42,000 to secure an English Heritage grant to start major restoration work on this historic building and its tower. This work is now set to start later in the year.

[Click here to see the full article.]

[On the downside, someone tried to break into the Heritage Centre. Fortunately, having climbed on to the roof getting very dirty with anti-vandal paint in the process, they realised it was not practical. The Trust property is untouched, but the church is going to have make repairs to the building.]

Manchester link may de-rail controversial station closure

[Excerpt from Stockport Express article, 10/1/06]
REDDISH MP Andrew Gwynne has welcomed support from Stockport Council for a Stockport to Manchester Victoria train service which will use the threatened Reddish South Station.

[Click here for the full article.]

Friday, January 05, 2007

Recycling Christmas trees

In Stockport, Christmas trees can be taken to Bramhall Park, Bruntwood Park, Vernon Park or Etherow Park until January 22 or chopped up and put in personal green garden waste containers.

Station closure bid hits barrier

See the following Metro News article, for yet another report on the proposed closure of South Reddish Station: Station closure bid hits barrier.

{With all these reports (not necessarily saying anything new) I think the station deserves it's own label, so readers can pull together all the reports.)

Stockport is green leader

STOCKPORT tops the recycling pile in Greater Manchester, official figures reveal.

The council's household recycling and composting rate for 2005/6 was 31.6 per cent, compared with Cheshire at 29.5 per cent, Trafford at 24.1 per cent and Manchester at just 19 per cent.

Nationally audited figures, show Stockport exceeded its government- set target of 30 per cent.

[For the full Metro News Report, see: Stockport is green leader.]

Town's free shuttle bus move

STOCKPORT is planning a free shuttle bus around town to try to ease congestion and encourage more people to use public transport

The borough council has made the shuttle bus a key transport priority for 2007, as the main shopping area in the town is set to grow by up to a third over the next decade. It plans to run the service from the summer.

[By which I think it means that under the new UDP, Tescos and the ex-IKEA proposal site are to be reclassified as being part of the town centre.

For the full Metro News report, see: Town's free shuttle bus move.]

Council soon to choose developer for former cinema site

"Council bosses are expected to approve the sale of the former Cannon cinema site, next to Cobdens pub on the A6, to property developers next Monday." See the Metro News report, Cinema site plan boost, for the full story.

As I understand it, the Council consider this development essential to:
  • fund the development of St Peters Square; and
  • provide a noise barrier between the square and the A6.

While I understand these points, a large part of Stockport's problem is that the town centre is invisible from the A6. A large number of commuters and travellers pass through Stockport thinking there is not much there except a Town Hall and a MacDonalds. I would have thought that some sort of visual link between the A6 and the town centre is essential to boost the commercial and tourist development of the town.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Phone mast for Woodbank Car Park, planning application

Installation of a 15 Metre telegraph pole supporting 3 antennae and a equipment cabinet.
Woodbank car park, Turncroft Lane, Little Moor, SK1 4BL.
Case Officer / Telephone: Mr R Dickins 0161 474 3550
Consultation Expiry Date: 24-01-2007
Documents (None on line at time of posting)

This seems to be a reapplication of DC023768 which was refused in October. (I placed an objection to this original application to the effect that if one accepted that a mast had to be built in the car park, which I didn't, they had chosen one of the worst locations within the car park. The original application was reported on this blog at 3G mobile mast, Woodbank Car Park.