Stories from the Archives
Browse through this collection of stories drawn from many sources including the Society's archive, newspapers and online sources. The catalyst to begin research varies from an inquiry that comes to Society, a document that arrives at the archive, or another trigger that sets the delving off.
Gordon Mills, yes a printer, but much, much more. Born in 1935, Gordon is remembered in Marple for his vast knowledge of the town’s history, for his books, his work both as a publisher and a photographer. His enthusiasm for the restoration of canals and waterways helped in their re-birth. Though, sadly, Gordon died in 2006, he has left publications that will continue to bring pleasure in the years to come.
In 1794 the Mellor Mill, Bottoms Mill was opened, six stories, 400feet long, and 33 feet wide the mill was powered by the Wellington Wheel. A breast water wheel 22 feet diameter, 18 feet wide. Power was transferred, from the edge of the wheel to the rest of the mill by vertical shafts. By 1804, 10,080 spindles were operating and up to 550 workers (mainly women and children) were employed. However less than fifteen years later the need arose for a second wheel, and the Waterloo Wheel, was constructed. And in 1860 investement was made in the new form of power, steam, the steam and boiler house.
Transcripts from the recorded Memories of Local People
These memories were recorded, organised and presided over by Mrs Gladys Swindells, then Chairman of Marple Antiquarian Society (now the Marple Local History Society). The original interviews took place after 1961, by which time the interviewees were over 80 years of age, their memories returning back to the late 19th. century.
Thanks must be given to Bill Beard, Ruth Hargreaves and Louise Thistleton for transcribing the memory recordings. Given the quality of these recordings, from the early 60's, with local accents and forgotten colloquialisms, an admirable achievement.
Further resource........the British Library page of Accents & Dialects
Transcript from cassette entitled: Mrs Courtney
Mrs. Courtney made her tape when she was living at Thornsett, but had spent all her life in Marple, and her working life at Hollins Mill.
Voice: Mrs Courtney tells the story of a half timer.
I was one of a large family, thirteen in number, and my earliest remembrance is the cottage meetings in the house, a preacher coming to talk to us and mother making the cake and a cup of tea for the people. The preacher talked to the people and then he read the bible and a prayer. My sister, twenty years older than me, worked at Hollins Mill. She was 8 years old and they had to stand her on a stool, she was so small. If the inspector came round they had to hide her. And what about the other now? My sister was full of humour. She got teased with the boy and she kicked the stool from under him. Then there was the man over there. He annoyed her one day and she let him go down the hoist half way and stopped him until someone else released him. I myself went half- time at work.
Mr. Pixton lived all his life at High Lane, and for the most part he was employed on the Lyme estate. He then kept the Grocer's shop in Windlehurst Road, High Lane. He was born in 1894 and died in 1973 aged 79.
Transcript from cassette entitled: Mr. (John) Pixton
Male voice: I suppose I should begin with early memories. My forebears on father’s side came from Runcorn, Cheshire. They had a fleet of canal barges, Bridgewater Canal, and settled on the Farm, Withington Hill. Mention of Buttercup and Owlclough Meadows is in the Deeds belonging to this property belonging to my great great grandfather.