Marple Local History Society

Marple, Marple Bridge, Mellor, Compstall, Strines, Hawk Green, Rose Hill, High Lane.

Marple Local History Society eBooks

The following publications are available as eBooks

Hardcopy versions of our publications are available to purchase here.

Samuel Oldknow, a new perspective

The industrial revolution largely began in north west England and, driven initially by the cotton industry, within a century it had transformed both the economy and the social structure, not just of England but of many other countries. Both the growth and the speed of change were phenomenal and many towns and cities trebled in size during the nineteenth century. But that was not the case in Marple or Mellor.

The census figures from 1841 to 1891 show that the total population of the district hardly changed. Indeed Mellor and Ludworth actually fell. It’s true that Marple increased in size by over 50% but in the same period England and Wales increased by over 200% and Lancashire by almost 300%. Why?

This study tries to answer that question. Why should an area that was an active participant in the early stages of the industrial revolution have fallen behind as the revolution progressed and matured.


A survey of the historical industry of Marple and Mellor that was produced over a period of several years in the 1970s by an enthusiastic group of amateur historians, led by a professional industrial archaeologist.

Although the work of the Marple Local History Society has gone from strength to strength in the intervening years this particular study has never been bettered.

The book is now published in whole and with unaltered text as a tribute to the work carried out by these historical pioneers. It is now divided into two parts – textile industries and other industries. Because of the convenience of digital publishing, we have been able to include various illustrations and maps which we hope will add to the understanding of the industrial history of Marple and Mellor. The conversion of the text is by Val Pringle – a heroic task.

There appear to be three omissions – Strines Printworks, Compstall Mills and Chadkirk Printworks. All of these were substantial businesses. However, although we regard them as part of Marple we presume the group decided it was outside their area. Nevertheless, this is a remarkable study of how industry developed in the foothills of the Pennines, growing from small single person operations to large industrial enterprises.

The group was led by Owen Ashmore, an industrial archaeologist in the University of Manchester Extra Mural Department and comprised: Ann Ashworth, Audrey Lee, Tom Oldham, Jacqueline Roberts, Kenneth Roberts, Joan Rose, Nigel Rose and Horace Williams. We owe them thanks for creating such a strong foundation upon which we can all build.