Marple Local History Society Trips
Each year members of the Society have a choice of trips to various historical locations to choose from, the cost of which varies dependent on the destination.
Some times we leave Marple early in the morning to visit factories and mills many miles away before returning in the evening. We've been to Blackpool to climb the tower, eating fish and chips to fortify us for a trip on a tram to see the lights. We've also had an afternoon trip along the Peak Forest Canal before a buffet at the Ring o' Bells.
There was no problem with finding Wentworth Woodhouse. With 365 rooms, it is the biggest house in Europe. Quite a contrast to the miners’ cottages that we passed on the way there. However it might not have 365 rooms as our friendly guides wouldn’t confirm that. How do you classify a corridor with eight fireplaces or a cupboard bigger than a bathroom? We hoped to understand this problem once we got inside the house but where was the front door? It began as a Jacobean house with a gateway by Inigo Jones and that is still the core of the house as nothing is ever knocked down. The first Marquess wanted something rather grander so he grafted a very large baroque house onto it - the west front.
A lonely figure stood at the junction of Upper Brook Street and Hathersage Road. It was twenty five past ten and no one had turned up for the planned day visiting the Victoria Park area. Judith was very nervous. Where was everybody? Was it the wrong day? Suddenly, to her relief, people appeared in droves. What Judith had not appreciated was that no member of Marple History would dream of catching a train before 9.30 a.m. That was when the free pass entitlement kicked in. The 09.38 should get everyone there in plenty of time so that was the vehicle of choice for many people. Unfortunately the 09.38 was late, very late. Nevertheless, by 10.35 Judith had a full complement, and we were off to explore Victoria Park with our old friend and blue badge guide, Jonathan Schofield.
One Saturday afternoon in October, the members of the society joined a three stage ‘Tour de Chadkirk’ encompassing 1500 years of history. To paraphrase Dickens, ‘It was the oldest of times, and the newest of times’ that afternoon. Judith had organised a walking tour of the Chadkirk area, taking in the old and new; Chadkirk Chapel, Stockport Hydro and, for those with limitless energy, an opportunity to visit the new Sustrans footbridge over the Goyt. Not just for human feet but for cycles and horses as well. Judith had organised a walking tour of the Chadkirk area, taking in the old and new, Chadkirk Chapel, Stockport Hydro and for those with limitless energy an opportunity visit to the new Sustran cycle, horse and foot bridge over the Goyt.
Our summer trip to Arley Hall and Gardens, the home of Viscount Ashbrook and his family, took place on mid summer’s day. We were fortunate that the weather was kind to us even though it was not quite so sunny and warm as the previous few days.
We were welcomed to Arley by Margaret Rowland-Jones, Group Bookings Organiser, who explained the plan for the day, which started with a short break for refreshments in the Tudor Barn restaurant before we split into two groups to begin our tour of the Hall with guides Geoffrey Lomas and Eric Foster.
The ‘Curious Cheshire Charabanc Caper’, was a journey that started not on this day, but many summers ago, when a fresh-faced and innocent Donald Reid took his bike, thermos flask and butties to Neston Old Quay. This early convert to history could not have dreamt that he would return a lifetime later, with a group enticed there by his book and by his illuminating talk, both sharing the title ‘Curious Cheshire’.
Anxious faces peered from behind drawn curtains that morning. Anxious minds took in the view. “Spot on”, a bright, dry spring day beckoned. A wait of months was over.