Archive Stories

Browse through this collection of stories drawn from many sources including the Society's archive, newspapers and online sources. The catalyst to begin research varies from an inquiry that comes to Society, a document that arrives at the archive, or another trigger that sets the delving off.

Hollins Mill 1911:Dressed up for George V's Coronation

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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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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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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