In the early 2000s, SMBC made efforts to promote out-of-town centre ‘District Shopping Centres’. Initiatives included smartening up the centres in a variety of ways, for example, the remodelling of Market Street, Marple, improved street lighting and the provision of an emblem to celebrate the unique character of each place. These were made of punched metal and designed to fit on the new lamp posts at the entrance to each District Centre, making a sort of ‘gateway’. There are eight district centres: Bramhall, Cheadle, Cheadle Hulme, Edgeley, Hazel Grove, Marple, Reddish and Romiley.
Added to these a little later were 5 smaller shopping areas dubbed ‘Local Centres’. They were given similar emblems, but of a different shape to distinguish them from the District Centres. The Local Centres are: Great Moor, Heaton Mersey, High Lane, Offerton and Woodley.
The symbol for each centre was the idea of a small group in SMBC Planning Department. They were not designed to have any particular historical significance, rather intended to denote a shopping area, not the boundary of a township. The project has now ended and there is no intention to create any more District and Local Centres. The images make a discrete set, separate from other signs and street furniture. The images are quite beautiful. It is worthwhile to travel round the area ‘spotting the signs’.
The very beautiful timber-framed Bramall Hall. This started as the manor of the de Bromhale family who came to this country with William the Conqueror in the mid-12th century. Later the property passed by marriage to the large and important de Davenport family, and remained in their ownership until the 19th century when it was given to Charles Nevill as a wedding present by his father Mr T.H. Nevill, who was a director of Strines Print Works. Later it came into the ownership of Hazel Grove and Bramhall Urban District Council, and from them to Stockport MBC due to local government reorganization in 1974.
The Saxon Cross in St Mary's, parish church of Cheadle. This was the hub of the ancient and very important parish of Cheadle.
Seven Arches Railway Viaduct adjacent to Ladybridge Road and the Cheadle Hulme Shopping Centre sign. Cheadle Hulme was originally part of the manor of Cheadle. It was split into two in the 14th century to provide marriage portions for the two daughters of the then Lord of the Manor, Roger de Cheddle. One daughter was given the part with the church and the other Cheadle Moseley, which became known as Hulme meaning a raised place in a bog.
Edgeley Castle Street is the Edgeley shopping centre. There is a local legend that the earliest Stockport castle stood in Edgeley.
Until the early 19th century, Hazel Grove was a rough area known as Bullock Smithy, from the smithy of Mr Richard Bullock. In 1836 it was renamed Hazel Grove in the hope that the more genteel name would raise the tone of the neighbourhood. The crest was designed by local people. The sheaf of corn is for the county of Cheshire, the lion is from the arms of the de Bromales of Bramhall. There are two hazel twigs, one with three nuts to represent the manors of Norbury, Torkington and Bosden, and the other with two nuts for parts of Bramhall and Offerton.
This sign shows Marple Aqueduct which carries the Peak Forest Canal across the valley of the River Goyt 100 feet above the river, with a canal boat plying the canal.
The Houldsworth Clock in Houldsworth Square commemorates the industrialist and mill owner, William Houldsworth, a great benefactor to Reddish. There is also heron from Reddish Vale, the valley of the River Tame.
The parish church of Romiley, St Chad's, a bridge over the Peak Forest Canal, and the parapet of the railway bridge which crosses the main road in the middle of the village.
The design depicts the Crown Hotel on the A6, and galloping horses to represent the horse racing that took place on Great Moor until the 18th Century.
St John the Baptist Church and the war memorial. ‘Heaton’ means a farm in a high place. Originally Heaton was part of the manor of Manchester, but in early times was granted by the Lord of the Manor of Manchester to the le Norreys family. They lived in Heaton Norris, went to church in Heaton Chapel, dug peat for fuel on Heaton Moor where they held turbary rights, and their land holding abutted the River Mersey in Heaton Mersey. The Heatons only became part of Stockport when the Municipal Borough was created in 1836.
St Thomas' Church (consecrated 1859), the war memorial and a bridge over the Macclesfield Canal, form the design.
The sign here, is based on the Methodist Church and crest of the Dodge family who were lords of the manor of Offerton.
The Woodley sign pictures St Mark's Church and Butterhouse Green Tunnel on Peak Forest Canal.