Marple Local History Society Meetings


The Society generally meets on the third Monday of the month from September to April, apart from December. the meeting is then  held on the second Monday of the month.

Doors open 7:15pm ready for the meeting at 7:45. Access is via the main entrance on Church Lane (opposite Mount Drive) and the meetings will be held in the church itself on the ground floor.

The church includes a hearing aid loop system which is most effective for people sitting near the side walls and in the rear pews of the church.

Venue and Location

The meetings take place in Marple Methodist Church on Church Lane in Marple.  Postcode: SK6 7AY

Visitors are welcome to attend at a cost of £3. But look below for details of our Membership bargains!


The annual subscription for the Society is £10 for 8 meetings,so there's a bargain you can take up !

This also allows participation in the Society's trips.

Membership is available at all meetings.

Use the menus on the right to browse our past and present meeting topics.

To park near to Marple Methodist Church

There are double yellow lines immediately outside the church, but there is limited on street parking further up Church Lane on the right hand side, down Empress Avenue and on Mount Drive.

There is a large car park, Chadwick Street Car Park, (SK6 6BY) between Trinity Street  and Chadwick Street, Marple. Access is from Stockport Road onto Trinity Street and from Church Lane onto Chadwick Street, exit is made via Trinity Street, in the direction of Church Lane. It is a pay and display car park, however, at the time of writing, October 2014, parking is free after 6pm.

The location of the Methodist Church  on Church Lane (red marker) is shown on the map below and you can enter your postcode to get directions there, or to the car park Chadwick Street) nearby (blue marker):


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20th March 2017: 'Manchester: Shock City' - Erin Beeston

Liverpool Road Station
Manchester can claim many firsts and one of its more unusual names was “Shock City”, a name coined by Asa Briggs in his classic study “Victorian Cities.” Manchester, during the early 19th century industrialised at such a rapid pace that it was literally shocking for the rest of Britain and the world at large. Its shocking, brutal, nature is what inspired Marx and Engels towards their critique of capitalism at large. Briggs, however, was referring to its leading role in the industrial revolution which in turn made it a pioneer in the rapid emergence of new technologies, new social structures and new political configurations. Above all it was a test bed for the interactions between these technical and social forces, the conflicts and the opening of new possibilities.

Read more: 20th March 2017:  'Manchester: Shock City' - Erin Beeston

10th April 2017: 'The Goyt Valley Miner' - Kevin Dranfield

For the grand finale to our season of talks, we welcomed Kevin Dranfield to talk about coal mining in the Goyt valley. This was not a general, analytical talk but a very personal one. The mine had been worked by four generations of the Hewitt family and Kevin’s mother, Phyllis, was the eldest daughter of the last of these miners - Jack Hewitt.

Read more: 10th April 2017: 'The Goyt Valley Miner' - Kevin Dranfield 

Summer Walks 2017

MelandraAfter last year’s successful launch...back by popular request

Three Summer Monday Evening Strolls

15 May 2017 All Saints Churchyard with Hilary Atkinson
19 June 2017 Melandra and Glossop with Neil Mullineux
17 July 2017 Bugsworth Basin with Ian Edgar and Judith Wilshaw

£3 per head per walk payable on the evening

Read more: Summer Walks 2017

Next Meeting

Sue Bailey - ‘A History of Woodsmoor’  - Monday 19th March

Sue bailey 2

Woodsmoor is a little known area situated just one mile south east of Stockport. As Sue Bailey’s talk will show, its appearance today - one of roads lined with houses -belies its long and interesting history. Originally a part of the Bramhall Manorial estate, records show that Woodsmoor was first settled in the 16th and 17th century by tenant farmers. While Stockport grew as an industrial town in the 18th and 19th centuries, Woodsmoor remained exactly as it had been in the late 17th century. It wasn’t until 1895 that the houses started to arrive - the most notable of which was the ‘Black and White Bungalow’ shown here. Sue’s interviews with older local residents revealed their memories of interesting events that took place in Woodsmoor in the last century. All of this, put together in her book ‘A History of Woodsmoor’, shows that even the most ordinary of places has a story to tell.

A Mayor in Chains

Con shipThe website promised us a gripping tale and that is exactly what we got - a steady rise to a position of some eminence in local society - a dramatic fall from grace - a slow climb back then, once again, disgrace and punishment. A very Victorian moral tale worthy of Charles Dickens. And it all happened to a local man. Neil first discovered this fascinating episode when reading Tony Jones’ book on Bridges, Highways and Turnpikes and then found out much more as he researched the Isherwood family at Marple Hall.

(right: Conditions on a convict ship to Australia)

Read more: A Mayor in Chains 

Jan' 2018: Ian Miller - Arkwright’s Shudehill Mill

Arkwright Mill Blitz 1940

Situated on the northern edge of the city centre, the area known as Shudehill was at the epicentre of Manchester’s phenomenal rise to prominence as a manufacturing centre. Much of it was flattened by bombing in WW2 but it is only in more recent times that proposed development by the CWS has allowed any serious archaeological investigation. In 2005, the site featured on the TV programme Time Team and their 3 day excavation confirmed it was the site of Arkwright's mill. Ten years later, when the area was earmarked for redevelopment, Salford Archaeology led an extensive dig/survey of the site, revealing much more information about housing conditions as well as the evolution of alternative methods of powering early cotton mills.


Read more: Jan' 2018: Ian Miller - Arkwright’s Shudehill Mill 

Dec. '17 : Anne Beswick - 'Manchester Drunk & Sober'


Anne began with an aside - explaining something that has puzzled us for a long time. Green Badge Guides specialise in a particular area whereas Blue Badge Guides cover the north west.
However, Blue or Green, they were all agreed that Manchester was a good place to party. It was ever thus. Edmund Harold, Manchester’s Samuel Pepys, described in detail going out on New Year’s Eve in 1712 and then went into rather more detail about how he felt the next day. ‘Never again’; but the next year he described exactly the same sequence. Will we never learn?

Manchester has a lot of pubs; a lot of very good pubs; and at various points throughout her talk Anne sprinkled it with a series of names (or were they recommendations?)

Read more: Dec. '17 : Anne Beswick - 'Manchester Drunk & Sober' 

Nov. '17 : Judith Wilshaw – ‘Marple & Mellor - A Textile Tale’

Holly Vale MillsJudith has always given us interesting talks but this time she tried something different. Rather than give a detailed analysis of a single topic, she elected to give a broad overview of the rise, the dominance and then the slow decline of the textile industry in north west England. In the process she demonstrated how Marple and Mellor fitted into that history. An ambitious tour de force!

Read more: Nov. '17 : Judith Wilshaw – ‘Marple & Mellor - A Textile Tale’ 

Oct. '17 : Wendy and Barrie Armstrong - 'Arts & Crafts in the Marple Area'

Fencegate & Redcroft (1895)

Wendy and Barrie Armstrong were introduced as giving us “two for the price of one” and they certainly did, as they seamlessly swapped roles during their presentation. They both retired early in order to indulge in their passion - a love of the Arts and Crafts movement and that love was clearly communicated throughout their joint talk.

(Editor’s note: left, Redcroft & Fencegate 1895, Middleton. Redcroft was Edgar Wood's own home. Wood was regarded as a proponent of the Arts and Crafts movement. So busy was he in his attic studio, where he worked on his buildings, created paintings and designed furniture, that he installed a speaking tube to communicate with downstairs.)

Read more: Oct. '17 : Wendy and Barrie Armstrong -  'Arts & Crafts in the Marple Area'

Sept. '17 : Peter Wadsworth – ‘Strawberry Studios’

Strawberry Studios

Queues formed, money paid, forms filled, music heard, history told, tea taken doors locked, good night.

The evening in a sentence, but what lies behind those words? Yes, it was that September time again, not back to school for those that trooped into the foyer of the church, that was long ago, but a time to pay for membership or a visit, renew or join, cheque or cash.

Over ninety people sat down and faced the front. Are you sitting comfortably? Then the evening can begin. Chairman Ann Hearle welcomed members both old and new and introduced our speaker, Peter Wadsworth.

Read more: Sept. '17 : Peter Wadsworth – ‘Strawberry Studios’