Many of you will recognise this imposing stone house, Beechwood, which is at the top of Lakes Road leading down to the Roman Lakes. However, why was such a fine house built so near to Oldknow’s workers cottages at Stone Row and who lived in it? Documents in the Archives and the census returns can answer some of these questions and provide a fascinating insight into the lives of those who lived there over one hundred years ago.
The house was built for Edward Rossard Ross by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MS&L), on land it owned above the Marple South Tunnel. The house commands an impressive view of the valley below and across to the hills of Mellor and Kinder. Edward was born in Marylebone, London in 1827 and at the age of 19 he joined the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway. Five years later, he was appointed secretary of the MS&L, and held that position for 42 years. According to George Dow who wrote a detailed history of the Great Central Railway he was “kindly, shrewd and diplomatic. Handsome in appearance and impeccable in his dress, nothing seemed to ruffle him. He assiduously followed the maxim that what is worth doing at all is worth doing well. He also enjoyed immense popularity amongst the officers and staff alike.”