Stories of People

More Than a Dance

athenaeum grand soireeMore Than a Dance

When searching the Archives, I occasionally come across something unusual and seemingly unconnected to the Society, such as this invitation. Why is it there, and what is its connection to Marple? It is unlikely we will ever know for sure, but perhaps a clue is handwritten on the back: ‘Edmund Buckley Esq MP’. I shall come back to Mr Buckley but first, let’s consider this invitation from The Athenaeum Society of Manchester to attend a grand soireé in the Free Trade Hall under the chairmanship of Mr Benjamin Disraeli, MP.

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Forewoman Sarah E Maddocks


Forewoman Sarah E Maddocks 9904 QMAAC

During the 18th and 19th centuries, soldiers’ wives often accompanied their husbands to the battlefield. A handful of women even disguised themselves as men to join up.

At the outbreak of WWI, women were eager to prove that they too could support the war effort. Initially, the British government was reluctant to involve women; the prevailing attitude was that they were not skilled or resilient enough for traditional military work.

The turning point came in 1916, when the Department of National Service considered calling up men in their 50s to release more soldiers for the front line. They soon realised this would not raise the number of men needed and so, in 1917, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was set up, with Dr Mona Chalmers Watson as its first Chief Controller. A noted suffragette, she was the first woman to receive an MD from the University of Edinburgh and she had been instrumental in proposing this corps.

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Joe Braddock’s Scouting Diary 1915

birkenhead regiment of soldiers from a pint sized battalionWhen Britain entered the First World War in August 1914 the Chief Scout Sir Robert Baden Powell urged Scouts to get involved to support the war effort, not as combatants but rather filling useful roles at home thereby freeing men to enlist and go to the Front. His appeal was backed up by a poster campaign reinforcing the message of service, as can be seen in the example below. Thousands of boys and young men answered the call, with many joining the Scouts for the first time in the Autumn of 1914. One such local man who did so was Joe Braddock, who lived with his family in Stockport Road. Joe’s name will already be known to many local people through the researches of Peter Clarke and former colleagues, who have given details of all the Marple servicemen killed in the First War in their book Remembered, published in 1999. During his research, Peter was given a pocket Scouts’ Diary belonging to Joe Braddock which he has kindly donated to the Marple Local History Archive. The Diary forms the basis of the present article.

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Marple Brownies: A Personal Memory

brownie pack holiday group 640Our Local Heritage - Marple Brownies

Organisations which flourish in a town (writes Judith Wilshaw) are just as much part of the ambiance and heritage of the place as more ‘concrete’ evidence of its qualities, and Marple is a prime example of this because it boasts the greatest number of clubs and societies of any township in the Stockport area! Very popular with young people are the various sections of the Scouts and Guides which provide all sorts of interesting activities from five years old to those in their late teens. In Marple they work in parallel, but come together to produce the ever-popular Gang Show in March, and to run the wonderful town Bonfire in Brabyns Park at the beginning of November.

Many members will have had experience of Scouts and Guides, either themselves or through their children, and hopefully cherish happy memories. MLHS Member Doreen Scotte was very directly involved when she ran the 2nd Marple Brownie Pack from 1977-1989, and gives this lively account of what went on.

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A Happy Coincidence

commissioning goyt mill engineGoyt Mill Engine

Since launching the website, enquiries from members of the public have steadily increased. In most cases, we are able to help people, whether it is about their personal family history or people and places in general. One such enquiry about a house on Longhurst Lane, Mellor, involved ‘proving’ that a kitchen extension was not a new addition, built without planning permission. This was achieved by means of a very old postcard image from Ann Hearle’s collection, probably taken in the first decade of the 20th century.

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Albert Schools Postcript

thought to be albert schools part col 02 640bWhen we wrote an article about the Albert Schools a few months ago, one of the illustrations was of a group of a dozen people posing for a photograph. We knew nothing about the people or the date though we could make informed guesses about both. Judging from the clothes the group are wearing it was probably taken in the mid 1920s, assuming of course that Marple folk were keeping up with the fashions. As to who they were, we thought they could be either teachers or governors. The latter was much more likely as they were older, more self-satisfied and more predominantly male than a typical group of teachers. We were fairly sure it was a photo of the governors.

However, we did not know any names so we appealed to our readers and struck lucky. Richard Ebdon recognised the gentleman seated on the left as his 3x great uncle, Frederick Pennington, who was the headmaster of Albert Schools from 1901 to 1931. As the headmaster was sitting on one side of the group rather than in the centre of the row, it was obvious that this group held authority. They were not teachers; they were governors.

Putting together what we knew, with the family history supplied by Mr Ebdon, has enabled us to build a fascinating life story of a middle class Victorian, showing life’s vicissitudes in the days before the Welfare State. Both his parents were from Stockport and his father Samuel was a glass and china dealer but the family moved to Whitehaven in Cumberland to set up in business there shortly before Frederick was born in...........

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Making One’s Mark

 apr2015 h08 chauvetcaveA human handprint made about 30,000 years ago, on the wall of the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave in southern France. Somebody tried to say, “I was here!” but of course, with no written language, this person just made his Mark which the cave painters did more artistically.

The picture and text are taken from the book “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari. We do not know the sex of this Homo Sapiens person but I am guessing that a man would be more probably engaged in wanting to make his Mark.

At this time our ancestors had developed language and I wonder whether they had their own names. I would like to give our hand printer a name and I have decided on Denis. The Neanderthals and Denisovans were two other human species who have left their DNA mark in Homo Sapiens today. The Denisovans (from the east) are not likely to be represented in our handprint man but I took my choice of a name from them. Just by chance I found that Denis was the first bishop of Paris and is the Patron Saint of France! Then, by another chance, I found that the name Denis is a derivation of Dionysos, the Greek god of wine and revelry - a good name then for a bishop!

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A Glimpse of 19th Century Crime and Punishment in Marple

Marple Parish Magazine 1892/3 gave extracts from reports of Court proceedings at Chester Assizes in 1824 detailing two crimes committed in Marple. The first was published in “The Morning Herald,” London, 16th April 1824 . A brief description can be seen on our website but below is a summarised account;

Before the Chief Justice Warren and Mr Justice Jervis

William Jones was indicted for sacrilegiously breaking into the Chapel of All Saints at Marple and stealing a quantity of bibles and prayer books. A chapel window had been broken. Mr Eccles and Mr Isherwood gave evidence of having lost such books.

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A Moment in Time

Close Hartle familyThis wonderful photograph, taken around 1902, records four generations of Margaret Davenport’s family. Margaret was born in Marple and recently celebrated her 90th birthday.
Her grandparents George and Ruth Close are standing at the back of the photograph (Ruth wearing a dark top). Sitting in front of them are Ruth’s parents, John and Julia Hartle. The two young ladies are Ruth’s sisters, Sarah Anne and Martha. Sitting on great great grandmother Hartle’s knee is Frederick, born in 1901, the eldest child of George and Ruth. Frederick (Margaret’s uncle) was the eldest of eleven children, nine of whom survived to adulthood. I suspect that this photograph was taken at his christening.

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Nothing New Under The Sun

court scene2018 marks the centenary of some (but not all) women getting the vote but the battle for equal treatment with men had started well over a hundred years before that. Earlier this year I spoke with Val Dingle who has spent over 20 years researching her Chatterton ancestors who were land and property owners living in Mellor and Marple in the 18th and 19th centuries. Legal documents including wills have revealed some interesting stories. In particular, Val is intrigued by Peggy (née Chatterton) (1754-1815), a cousin and second wife of William Chatterton (c1738 – 1817), who claimed her rights more than a century before 1918.

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1911 Coronation Celebrations

Coronation 1911Three days of celebration marked the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary. On Saturday, 22nd June 1911, the King and his consort were crowned at Westminster Abbey. Some 45,000 soldiers and sailors from across the Empire either participated in the procession or lined the route.

The next day, the return procession was reconstituted for a further extended parade though the streets of London. It travelled along the Strand into the City of London, passing St Paul’s Cathedral, across the Thames by London Bridge, back over Westminster Bridge. Finally returning along The Mall to Buckingham Palace.

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William Henry Chadwick: Chartist & Mesmerist

rose brow compstall 2William Henry Chadwick – a 19th century local lad who made a name for himself

This story is a result of researching the history of the above in response to a request from Christopher White, from Romiley, who now lives in France. William Henry was his gt gt gt grandfather.

William (not Henry then) was born in 1829, son of Jeremiah Chadwick (from Marple) and his wife, Rachel (nee Prosser). The family lived in Compstall Bridge but the children were baptized in Marple Bridge.

During his childhood William would become increasingly aware of Chartism, the working class movement for political reform which presented  petitions  to the House of Commons, signed by thousands of people. In the North West of England industrialisation had led to terrible conditions and poor pay in mills and factories –even children could be working a 12 hour day.

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A Family Face

Ernest Bennett V2Most Marple people will have seen the time line in the Memorial Park with details and photos of the many local young men who lost their lives in World War I – a very poignant reminder of the heartbreak endured by their families from 1914-1918.

One brave young man, whose name went up this year, caught my attention. This was Ernest Bennett D.C.M., parents Sam and Mary from High Lane. Although my maiden name was Bennett the name Ernest, with parents Sam and Mary, meant nothing to me. As far as I knew there was no Ernest in my Bennett family records.

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