Tramway 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.
A generation ago, two enterprising teachers developed an Interest Trail for second year pupils at Marple Ridge High School. Mrs J Harker and Miss R L Niven (unfortunately we have no record of their first names) were trying to encourage an interest in the natural world and local history by creating a marked trail around Brabyns Park. 21 stopping places were identified and features of interest described, though it would appear that two of these stops were afterthoughts as the numbers go from 1 to 19 with extra points inserted as 14a and 17a. They obviously intended this to have a permanent appeal because 21 marker stones, each engraved with the appropriate number, were installed around the trail. These were quite substantial and attractive stones, rough cut in a rectangular shape, approximately 11 to 14 inches wide, six or seven inches deep and usually buried so that they had an apparent height of 15 to 18 inches.
As those of you who scan the news occasionally will have learnt there is an ongoing problem in meeting folk, namely the two-metre rule of social distancing, all in name of a troublesome virus.
This could spoil our enjoyment as, since 2016, we have met over the three summer months to enjoy a Summer Stroll in the great outdoors. All is not lost, however.
Here you will be able to find suggestions for three walks, complete, with explanatory documentation/guide, month by month, until July. These will descibe routes that you can follow on your own or with members of your household, at a time convenient to you, and hopefully with both the sun on your back and a bounce in your stride
To start the ball rolling, we present 'The Rubbing Tiles' for May.
You do, of course, realise, at the time of writing, this walk will comprise of your daily allowance a la 'Hancock Exercise'!
Lyme Park, former seat of the Legh family
You would think we all should know the story of our local aristocracy but, just in case we didn’t, Neil Mullineux was invited to summarise 600 years of the Legh family. When he explained that the eldest son was invariably called Peter and the most recent Peter was Peter XIII it looked as though we were in for a long evening. Fortunately he was limited to an hour so we only got the highlights (and several low lights.)
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.
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.
18th November: Joanna Williams – Manchester's Radical Mayor: Abel Heywood, the Man who Built the Town Hall. Manchester Town Hall
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.
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......
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
- 16th September 2019: Paul Hindle – Ordnance Survey History
- 21st October: Roy Murphy – James Brindley – the first canal engineer
- 18th November: Joanna Williams – Manchester's Radical Mayor: Abel Heywood, the Man who Built the Town Hall.
- 9th December: Nici Matlow – 90 Years of Swizzels-Matlow
- 20th January 2020: Judith Wilshaw – From Ancient Tracks to Modern Highways
- 17th February: Neil Mullineux – The Leghs of Lyme: How to join the aristocracy
- 16th March: Nigel Linge – The Red Box
(Postponed - re-scheduled to October 18th 2021)
- 20th April: AGM & Frank Pleszak - WW2 bombing of New Mills and Hayfield
(Postponed - Talk re-scheduled to Autumn 2021)