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, however, at the time of writing, October 2014, parking is free after 6pm.

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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January 20th 2014: St Kilda-Islands at the End of The World

St. Kilda, an enigmatic name. An archipelago of five islands, lying 40 miles west of Benbecuala, outer Hebrides, whose remaining population were evacuated, on an August day in 1930. Even in late 19th century the islanders could communicate with the rest of the world only by lighting a bonfire on the summit of Conachair, ('the beacon')  the highest point, and hoping a passing ship might see it, or by using the "St Kilda mailboat". A daily ‘Parliament’ meeting, was held every day after prayers, attended by all the adult men. The population survived by catching seabirds for food, feathers and oil, farming crops and raising livestock.St Kilda became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. Donald Reid, President of the Society, will give us an insight into the history of this iconic island.


Read more: January 20th 2014: St Kilda-Islands at the End of The World

February 17th 2014: Mill Brow - A Hamlet in Ludworth

In February we shall escape the wilds the Atlantic Ocean and St. Kilda, and travel to the green fields and streams, of Mill Brow, where, by the nineteenth century, four cotton mills graced the valley The area which had been part of the royal hunting grounds of the Peak Forest in medieval times, developed with agricultural activity, served by Ludworth Corn Mill, in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The local farms, Hollywood End and Pear Tree Farm date at least from the seventeenth century. In February Ann Hearle & Anne O’Mara will give us an insight into the history of the valley, a valley filled with Primrose, Clough, Hollywood Head and Holly Vale Mills located on Mill Brook.

March 17th 2014: Peak Forest Canal

March will see the Society take to water, as we learn of the history and development of Peak Forest Canal from Grahame Boyes. For much of its length, the canal runs alongside the River Goyt. Both the canal and the river are havens for plants and wildlife The Peak Forest Canal boasts two Scheduled Ancient Monuments in its 15-mile length – the grand, three-arch Marple Aqueduct and the historic Bugsworth Basin. Bugsworth Basin is the end of the canal, where it once connected with a horse-drawn tramway that carried gritstone, limestone and burnt lime to be loaded at Bugsworth for onward carriage to Manchester, the North West and Midlands.

April 14th 2014 : AGM & Farming in Hazel Grove

Bill Mellor is the latest member of a long established local farming family to run Higher Farm on Threaphurst Lane in Hazel Grove. After reading animal husbandry at university he began working with his father and subsequently took over the farm which he now runs single handed. He has a herd of pedigree Simmental beef cattle and a flock of pedigree sheep. Bill sells all his meat direct from the farm to local clients, or to selected local butchers. He is a prominent member of the National Farmers Union and promotes their 'Back British Farming Campaign'.

Bill will review the way in which British farming has changed during the time his family has run the farm, and about how things are done today on a local farm.

The Society Meetings 2007 - 2008

September 2007 Girl Power – Manchester Style

Jean Bailo


October 2007 Ellen Turner – Local Girl in National Scandal

Kate Atkinson


November 2007 Life in Longdendale

David Frith


December 2007 Christmas Party The lighter side of Local History

Jack Turnbull


January 2008 Underground Stockport

Kevin Dranfield


February 2008 The John Rylands Library and its collections

Dawn Yates


March 2008 10,000 years in Mellor

Ann Hearle


April 2008 AGM – followed by: Fire in the Summit Tunnel

Donald Reid


July 2008 Cheese & Wine Evening

at the Old Vicarage, Mellor

The Society Meetings 2008 - 2009

September 2008 Modern Day Adventures of Joseph Watson

In the footsteps of Lyme Park’s gamekeeper - Emily Orford


October 2008 Millennium Walkway in the Torrs

Derek Brumhead


November 2008 Marple 300 Million Years Ago

Dr Fred Broadhurst


December 2008 Christmas Party – Members only

“What and Where in Marple” - Photo Quiz - David Burridge


January 2009 Styal Country Park

John Hill-Watson


February 2009 Who’s Been Living in my house?

Ruth Hargreaves


March 2009 History of Railways in Marple

Warwick Burton


April 2009 AGM – followed by: A Present from Marple

Ann Hearle


July 2009 Cheese & Wine Evening

at the Old Vicarage, Mellor

The Society Meetings 2009 - 2010

September 2009 Joseph Paxton – the busiest man in England

Danny Wells


October 2009 Victorian Railway Architecture

Robin Bluhm


November 2009 The Carver Theatre

Trevor Jones


December 2009 Christmas Party – (Members only)

Marple Photo Quiz, Part II - David Burridge


January 2010 Political Violence in New Mills in the 1830s

Ron Weston


February 2010 Canals of Marple

Ian Moss


March Memories of Marple Bridge

Peter Corcoran


April 2010 AGM – followed by:Excavations in Mellor

Peter Noble


July 2010 Cheese & Wine Evening

at the Old Vicarage, Mellor

September 17th 2012: Peterloo Massacre

Jonathan Schofield came to Marple and the Local History Society, to describe the Peterloo Massacre on the night that the barricades are manned. Or rather, the first evening of the season when new and returning members pass over the threshold of the Evangelical Church and are welcomed by the open arms and smiling faces of the committee lined up behind tables to hand out forms, answer questions and collect subscriptions. Johnathan Schofield produced a lively and, at times, moving account of the history of the Peterloo Massacre.

Read more: September 17th 2012: Peterloo Massacre

October 15th 2012: Guernsey Evacuees in the North-West

Guerensey refugees in CheshireIn October 2012, Gillian Mawson visited the Society to present a talk on Guernsey Refugees of the Second World War in the North West.

Gillian began her research into this subject in 2008, at the University of Manchester, concentrating on the thousands of evacuees, both children and their teachers, that arrived in unfamiliar  industrial towns in Lancashire, Cheshire and Yorkshire, as refugees in 1940. Gillian's research has included interviewing  some of those who took part in this flight to the mainland.

Read more: October 15th  2012: Guernsey Evacuees in the North-West

November 19th 2012: Dunham Massey

Once upon a time, on a dark November evening, the folk of Marple, scanned their calendars, and diaries. And perhaps, they thought, ‘Dunham Massey?’ at the History Society tonight.  Been there, been round, been for a scone and a pot of tea, and left with the T-shirt. What more can I learn? If the decision was made to put their feet up for that evening, and give Peter's memorable talk a miss, what a treat they missed ! Peter Braun visited the Society that night, to deliver an entertaining and memorable talk on the National Trust property of Dunham Massey Hall and Gardens. Peter gave us a virtual tour of the house, both interior and exterior with his illustrated talk. Using this aid, Peter wove a fascinating story of the house and those families associated with the same.

Read more: November 19th 2012:  Dunham Massey

December 10th 2012: Wellington Wheel Pit, Mellor Mill

Wellington Wheel Pit

From somewhere in the hall came the cry “Who’s been messing with my mill”, eyes darted round the room seeking the source. Then the kitchen door opened, light flooded into the gloom and through it came……

The members had come for the Christmas Party that evening.  Eight tables were filled with them. All sat patiently, or did they, as others took their turns at the festive feast spread out, brought by all, and shared by all. Decks cleared, they settled back to hear the story of Mellor Mill and the Wellington wheel pit from Bob Humphrey-Taylor. But then whispers began, “Where is Bob”, “He was here five minutes ago”, but now, nowhere to be seen. And who is that coming through that kitchen door? (L. Wellington Wheel Pit)

Read more: December 10th 2012: Wellington Wheel Pit, Mellor Mill

January 21st 2013: The Kinder Trespass

This will now take place on 21st. October 2013

Keith Warrender in October 2013 will bring us us the story of the occasion when Bowden Bridge Quarry, Hayfield, saw the start of a mass trespass, that marked the start of the campaign for freer access to the countryside which culminated in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. 400 people participated in the trespass onto Kinder Scout, a bleak moorland plateau, the highest terrain in the Peak District. As the trespassers scrambled towards the Kinder Plateau they came face to face with the Duke of Devonshire's gamekeepers. Scuffles ensued, as the result of which five men from Manchester were jailed including the leader Benny Rothman.

February 18th 2013: The Together Trust

In February 2013 the Society will welcome Liz Sykes , archivist at the Together Trust, who will guide us through the history of the trust.The Together Trust was founded as the Manchester and Salford Boys and Girls Refuges and Homes in 1870 by Leonard Kilbee Shaw and Richard Bramwell Taylor, who were Sunday school teachers at St Ann's Church, Manchester. They were determined to take some action to help the many children and young people whom they observed living rough on the city's streets.

The photograph left shows applicants for the Summer Camp at Birkdale queuing at the Children's Shelter on Chatham Street for a place.

Read more: February 18th 2013: The Together Trust