Marple Local History Society Meetings


The Society generally meets on the third Monday of the month from September to April, apart from December. the meeting is then  held on the second Monday of the month.

Doors open 7:15pm ready for the meeting at 7:45. Access is via the main entrance on Church Lane (opposite Mount Drive) and the meetings will be held in the church itself on the ground floor.

The church includes a hearing aid loop system which is most effective for people sitting near the side walls and in the rear pews of the church.

Venue and Location

The meetings take place in Marple Methodist Church on Church Lane in Marple.  Postcode: SK6 7AY

Visitors are welcome to attend at a cost of £3. But look below for details of our Membership bargains!


The annual subscription for the Society is £10 for 8 meetings,so there's a bargain you can take up !

This also allows participation in the Society's trips.

Membership is available at all meetings.

Use the menus on the right to browse our past and present meeting topics.

To park near to Marple Methodist Church

There are double yellow lines immediately outside the church, but there is limited on street parking further up Church Lane on the right hand side, down Empress Avenue and on Mount Drive.

There is a large car park, Chadwick Street Car Park, (SK6 6BY) between Trinity Street  and Chadwick Street, Marple. Access is from Stockport Road onto Trinity Street and from Church Lane onto Chadwick Street, exit is made via Trinity Street, in the direction of Church Lane. It is a pay and display car park, parking is free after 6pm, at the time of writing March 2021. For up to date informaion go to Chadwick Street Car Park.

The location of the Methodist Church  on Church Lane (red marker) is shown on the map below and you can enter your postcode to get directions there, or to the car park Chadwick Street) nearby (blue marker):


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At a glance: Speakers 2014 -15 Season

Date, Speaker and Subject

  • 15th September 2014: Ian Morgan - Footpads, Kings and Highwaymen
  • 20th October: Ian Doughty Congleton: A Textile Town
  • 17th November: Steve Williams - Oh! What a Lovely War?
  • 8th December: David Burridge - Where are we now?
  • 19th January 2015: Ann Hearle - Hollins Mill, who owned it?
  • 16th February: David Frith - A History of Longdendale Valley
  • 16th March: Judith Atkinson - The Big Ditch: The building of the Manchester Ship Canal
  • 20th April: Neil Mullineux - Marple Hall-The Inside Story

September 15th 2014: Footpads, Kings and Highwaymen

On September 15th the new season of talks and the new venue will see a curtain-raiser presentation from Ian Morgan. Ian will enlighten of the history of the A1 road. The A1 – renowned as being the route from London to Edinburgh has changed its path and even its name many times over the years, yet as the travellers pass on their way do they know just how fortunate they are? Ian writes “We shall see the scenes of horrific battles, the haunts of highwaymen, the sites of murder and much, much more… Get ready for a rollercoaster ride of horror and humour as the stories of this ancient highway unfold.” The A1 is the longest numbered road in the UK, at 410 miles (660 km). It was designated by the Ministry of Transport in 1921, and for much of its route it followed various branches of the Great North Road. The Great North Road was a coaching route used by mail coaches between London, York and Edinburgh.

October 20th 2014: Congleton, a textile town

In 2013 Judith arranged a visit to Congleton and Ian acted as our host and guide. As well as showing us around the little gem of a museum, of which he is the curator, he also led us on a fascinating walk around the town. This time Ian returned the compliment by visiting Marple but he still had to sing for his supper. Rather than covering the complete history of Congleton he elected to concentrate on the last 250 years and show how the textile industry has shaped the town.

Read more: October 20th 2014: Congleton, a textile town

November 17th 2014: Oh! What a Lovely War?

2014 has seen the commemoration of a century passing since the inception of the First World War. Our speaker in November our Steve Williams  delivered a talk on WW1, ‘Oh! What a Lovely War?’.

Oh what a lovely war?

The question mark was important, Steve Williams, our speaker for the evening, assured us. Steve is an expert on the First World War and leads tours there but his object this evening was to put the conflicts of the war into an overall context and to show some of the realities of the “War to end all wars.” - Quite a challenge to cover four years in just over an hour.

Read more: November 17th 2014: Oh! What a Lovely War?

December 8th 2014: Where are we now ?

Our December meeting broke new ground. We had three of our members giving short introductory talks on subjects that interested them.

 Anthony Burton began proceedings with a novel approach to a familiar subject – Samuel Oldknow as an architect. His thesis was that, although there was no architectural style associated with Oldknow there were certain design features that were commonly used across many of the buildings. The only building that we know had an architect was All Saints church where Robert Goldsmith was in charge but there is a continuity of design across all Oldknow’s buildings in Marple that would suggest a clerk of works or a master mason working closely with Samuel.

Read more: December 8th 2014: Where are we now ? 

January 19th. 2015 Hollins Mill, who owned it ?

Work in progress, in Hollins Mill.

Hollins Mill, four storeys high, 30m long and 15m wide, stood on the site that is now occupied by Hollins Parade and the Co-Op store, soon to be Asda.

For our first meeting in 2015, Ann Hearle, author of our latest publication, ‘Hollins Mill, The heart of Marple for over one hundred years’, will took us on journey through the history of this lost landmark. During our travel through that evening, Ann enlightened us on the workings of the mill, its impact on the history of Marple, how workers and the mill were managed, the owners of the mill, and the fate of these owners and the mill.

Read more: January 19th. 2015 Hollins Mill, who owned it ? 

February 16th 2015: Longdendale Valley in Retrospect

Commercial INNWhat a choice! What was it to be? United versus Preston North End in the Fifth Round of the Cup or David Frith talking about his native Longdendale? For 101 members and visitors to Marple History there was no contest. David Frith, of course. And David did us proud. It was not so much a lecture as a love poem, conducting us from Woodhead to Mottram with many side excursions on the way.

This many-faceted transport corridor has seen huge changes over time but particularly in the last two hundred years. Historically the valley formed the panhandle of Cheshire - the thin piece of land that projects towards Yorkshire.To prove the point, the upper reaches of the Etherow is known as Salter’s Brook.

Read more: February 16th 2015: Longdendale Valley in Retrospect

16th March 2015: The Big Ditch: The Building of Manchester Ship Canal

gmiii mcag 1991 59 largeJudith Atkinson began the talk with a health warning - disciples of Health and Safety might find some of the scenes disturbing. In the event no one chose to leave the auditorium and it was just as well because they would have missed a fascinating description of an engineering marvel. When it was opened on 1st January 1894 it was the largest river navigation in the world and even today it is still the eighth longest ship canal in the world.There are plenty of superlatives to attach to the project including the cost overrun from £6.5 million to £14.5 million but Judith concentrated on describing the actual building of the canal with the benefit of an engineer’s eye.

Read more: 16th March 2015: The Big Ditch: The Building of Manchester Ship Canal

April 20th 2015: AGM & Marple Hall - The Inside Story

Marple Hall Fireside Scene

As the curtain came down on the History season at the April meeting, following a brief AGM section, we went behind the curtains – the curtains of Marple Hall. Although the Hall is long gone, Neil Mullineux took us on a visit to the hall. He guided us through the main rooms, revealing the richness of the lost interior. A local version of the Antiques Roadshow. Not only that but sale prices as well! How much was paid for a suit of armour or the bed that John Bradshaw actually slept in? And is it all truly lost? Where are these items now? What happened to the stained glass? And the unique French tapestries? If that is not enough to whet your appetite there may be one or two tales about the people who lived there. What happened to the girls who were rude to their new stepmother? Who was the man who married for money and got his comeuppance?

Read more: April 20th 2015: AGM & Marple Hall - The Inside Story

At a glance: Speakers 2015 - 16 Season

Date, Speaker and Subject

  • 21st September 2015: Bernard Dennis – History of the English Longbow
  • 19th October: Donald Reid – Along the Packhorse Trails
  • 16th November: Ian Morison – The Story of Jodrell Bank
  • 14th December: Norman Redhead – Marple Lime Kilns
  • 18th January 2016: Judith Wilshaw – Compstall Retrospective
  • 15th February: Mike Nevell – Housing in 19C Manchester
  • 21st March: Ruth Colton – Whitworth Park: Pleasure, Play & Politics
  • 18th April: AGM & Michael Lambert - Brentwood Recuperative Centre, 1937-70

September 21st 2015: The History of the English Longbow

TheLongbow 640x302The new season of talks will begin with a presentation, on the history of the English Longbow, by Bernard Dennis.The first meeting of the year is always busy with new members signing up, current members (I nearly said “old members” but that wouldn’t be right) renewing their subs and a crowd around the bookstall looking at the latest publication. However, what were we to make of a stranger bringing a couple of fearsome-looking bows and a quiver full of vicious sharp pointed instruments? We were about to call the police but he then introduced himself as the speaker for the evening - Bernard Dennis.

The vicious weapons were used to illustrate his talk and Bernard brought them out one by one, sometimes passing them round the audience. He took us through ten thousand years of history with ease, from pictures on cave walls and a demonstration of a .........

Read more: September 21st 2015: The History of the English Longbow