Marple Local History Society

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

Industrial change in the Marple area

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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.

Author: Ann Hearle & Fred North


First published in 1995.
Revised in 2019.
Digital edition 2024.

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 Methodology
  • Chapter 2 Labour mobility
  • Chapter 3 Economic growth
  • Chapter 4 Analysis
  • Appendix