Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Grave concern

[Exerpt from Stockport Express article, 21/2/07.]

The family graves of former mill owners and mayors, dating back to the 18th Century, are found within Sarum Cemetery, near Hillgate, but this historic footprint of Stockport’s bygone days now resembles a forgotten wasteland hidden from public view.

Local historian Jim Birch is calling on the local authority to restore this unique part of Stockport's heritage.

He said: "Stockport was a cotton town and the graves of mill owners such as Ralph Orrell - who is buried there with his family - should not be disregarded.

"Stockport used to revolve around Hillgate and we lost too much of its heritage in the 1960s and ‘70s and, although its chapel maybe already be gone, we can save the graveyard."

Ralph Orrell was buried in the cemetery in 1823. At the time of his death his estate included Travis Brook Mill, which stood near Brinksway, and Abney Hall in Cheadle. His son Alfred, who inherited the estate, was elected mayor of the borough in 1842.

A council spokesman, said: "The council is in the process of acquiring land around the Hillgate area known as the ‘Peaches’, which includes the cemetery, through a Compulsory Purchase Order.

"The council is working in partnership with a local housing association to bring a comprehensive residential development and refurbishment scheme to the area.

"The project, which is at an advanced stage, is part of the Hillgate Town Heritage Initiative. Part of this regeneration project will involve the sensitive and appropriate utilisation of the historical graveyard."

[Click here, for the full Stockport Express article.]