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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Summer Stroll 'C' 2020 - July

original mineral mill from canal 640Tramway Wharf and its related industries

This walk is focused around the Marple tramway Upper Wharf, its role in the completion of the Peak Forest Canal and the associated cargoes it would have carried.

(1) The route starts with parking on Strines Road, alongside Marple recreation ground.

(2) After crossing the road, walk through the site of Oldknow’s limekilns. The interpretation board here has a good artist’s impression of how the kilns used to look as well as an interesting period plan showing the lime kilns and associated buildings in relation to Samuel Oldknow’s private basin and wharves on the upper level of the canal.
Limestone and lime was the primary reason for the construction of the Peak Forest canal. With the industrial revolution in full swing its uses in agriculture (for soil stabilisation and fertilisation) and construction (for mortars, paints and cements) were in high demand as well as its use as a high quality building stone. This canal was designed to bring primarily lime, as well as coal and gritstone, from the quarries of Derbyshire through the Bugsworth canal basin complex and onwards to Manchester. When the railways developed, transport by train became practical via an interchange at Guide Bridge near Ashton-under-Lyne.

Read more: Summer Stroll 'C' 2020 - July 

20th January 2020 Judith Wilshaw – From Ancient Tracks to Modern Highways

Bridleway near Burbage edge

For her latest talk Judith Wilshaw took on the broad sweep of history, showing how, since ancient times, our infrastructure has changed to suit our requirements and the type of transport available. It was most certainly a broad sweep but she made it more relevant by showing many examples from our locality and from the Peak District.

'Roman Bridge’ so named for 19th century commercial purposes, was built in the 16th century, rejoicing for many years in the name Windy Bottom Bridge.

Read more: 20th January 2020 Judith Wilshaw – From Ancient Tracks to Modern Highways

9th December: Nici Matlow – 90 Years of Swizzels-Matlow


We knew something was going on when people started arriving for the meeting at seven o’clock. By the time the meeting started at 7.45 there were over 120 people in the hall, waiting in eager anticipation. So what was the attraction? Swizzels of course! Fortunately our speaker, Nici Matlow, had had the good sense to arrive early bearing gifts. Drumstick Lollies, Parma Violets, Fruity Pops, Banana Skids, Love Hearts, etc.etc. The audience sucked contentedly on their Fun Gums and waited for her to begin.

Read more: 9th December: Nici Matlow – 90 Years of Swizzels-Matlow

18th November: Joanna Williams – Manchester's Radical Mayor: Abel Heywood, the Man who Built the Town Hall. Manchester Town Hall

Dl746ORU4AEga0 Abel Heywood - Radical Mayor

They don’t make mayors like they used to! Joanna Williams took us through the life of one of the most important figures involved in the growth and development of Manchester. Abel Heywood was Manchester through and through; his life paralelled the history of the city, but it was hardly an auspicious beginning. Born to a poor family in Prestwich, his father died when he was very young and his mother moved to Angel Meadow. We know all about Angel Meadow, thanks to Mike Nevell’s talk on the subject in 2016 and it was certainly not a good start in life for anybody.

Read more: 18th November: Joanna Williams – Manchester's Radical Mayor: Abel Heywood, the Man who Built the...

21 October 2019 // Roy Murphy – James Brindley – the first canal engineer

Bridgewater Canal

Roy Murphy gave us a wide-ranging talk about James Brindley and the canals which he pioneered. It’s nice to think of him as a local boy made good but that is not quite correct. He was born in Tunstead, which is halfway between Whaley Bridge and Chapel, and only about ten miles from Marple, but there is no record of him having anything to do with Marple or Mellor though he must have been to both places. Instead he was more focused on places to the west and the south. He was apprenticed to a millwright near Macclesfield and showed exceptional skill and ability. As the name suggests, the original function of a millwright was to construct and operate mills powered by wind or water, and this developed in scope as the industrial revolution gathered pace.

above: Bridgewater Canal

Read more: 21 October 2019 // Roy Murphy – James Brindley – the first canal engineer

16th September 2019: Paul Hindle – Ordnance Survey Maps

Monday night was for the map aficionados. But not just for those map nerds, among us, because Paul Hindle’s Ordnance Survey talk brought a light touch introduction to an array of topics. However, deep down, it allowed us all to wallow in maps, maps of all sorts and all varieties.

First Paul explained the origins of the Ordnance Survey. The name gives us a clue. “Ordnance - guns, ammunition, a branch of the military dealing with weapons.” It was established to protect these islands from invasion. The Jacobites posed a very real threat, even after the Battle of Culloden in 1746, so the army was assigned the task of producing a map of Scotland under the chief surveyor, William Roy......

Read more: 16th September 2019: Paul Hindle – Ordnance Survey Maps

At a glance: Meetings 2020 - 2021 Season

Norbury  CollieryAs the spread of Covid-19 is not yet under control the committee have decided to cancel all meetings for the rest of this year, September - December 2020, as a precaution. A review of the programme for 2021 will be made nearer the time.


Fortunately, three of four speakers from the cancelled September to December 2020 meetings have been booked for the season running from September 2021 to April 2022. The fourth speaker wishes, quite understandably, to consider the situation early next year.


Norbury Colliery

Season 2020 - 2021

  • 21st September:  Andy Smith - Living & Working in Antarctica CANCELLED
  • 19th October: Gervase Phillips -  The American Civil War, Lancashire and the Cotton Famine CANCELLED
  • 16th November: Andrew Simcock - The story of the Pankhurst Statue CANCELLED
  • 14th December (2nd Mon.): Craig Wright - A History of Rose Hill Station CANCELLED
  • 18th January:  Judith Wilshaw  -  Brabyns Park CANCELLED
  • 15th February: David Kitching - Norbury Colliery CANCELLED
  • 15th March:  Stephen Caunce - Men Difficult to Lead and Impossible to Drive
  • 19thApril:  AGM &  Ted Hancock - Queen Victoria’s visit to Sheffield in 1897


You may be aware that both the March and April meetings this year were cancelled. Both speakers have been booked for the Season 2021-2022.

  • March: Nigel Linge – The Red Box 
  • April: AGM & Frank Pleszak - WW2 bombing of New Mills and Hayfield