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.
October 1859 – letter from William Foster, ship’s carpenter to his wife:
“My dear wife, I am sorry to inform you that the ship is a complete wreck. She has gone to pieces this morning, about 5 o’clock. There are only 25 – 30 of us saved out of about 400 souls.
Dear wife, give my love to the children and tell them I will be home as soon as the letter.”
Amongst the passengers who did not survive was Sarah Ann Foster (neé Woodruff). Sarah was born in Hatherlow in the township of Bredbury on the 28th April 1821 and christened at Hatherlow Independent church. Her mother was Mary Woodruff and it is likely that Sarah was illegitimate, as her father’s name is not recorded.
We next hear of Mary Woodruff from an entry in Pigot’s Trade Directory for 1834 “Taverns & Public Houses - Hare & Hounds - Mary Woodruff, Chadkirk”.
Woodruff was a common name in the local area (Woodruff is the name of a creeping plant with a small white starry flower, which grows in woods and shaded hedgerows). The burial records for All Saints Church, Marple list many Woodruffs, in particular, there is a grave inscription for a family from Bredbury that includes a Mary Woodruff whose dates tie in with those of Sarah’s mother.
Sarah married John Foster, a widower, on the 10th December 1844 at Stockport Parish Church in the Market Place. John was the publican at The Black Boy, Great Underbank in Stockport. Interestingly, although Sarah’s father isn’t named on the baptism record, nor is he married to her mother, he is named on Sarah’s marriage certificate - John Priestnall, Dealer in corn and flour.
A Mellor Photograph
In the Local History Society’s photograph archives we have a folder labelled “People named” and another one labelled “People unnamed”. Unnamed ones are occasionally identified. Named ones are quite often known because of their local history connections. However there is this one very poor photograph of a couple in a cottage garden, named on the back “Amanda and Henry Prevost” No one at the Archives recognised these names but, armed with this information, it has been possible to at least trace part of the life story of Henry.
According to census details from 1841 to 1911 the Ratcliffe family lived in Priestfield House (off Strines Road). However, on three of the censuses (1841, 1861 and 1871) the name of the house was given as Captain Nuttalls. This information has come to light due to researching a request from Steve Till who lives in Somerset. Details of this research are now in our archives.
This article contains a newspaper report on an industrial accident at Botham’s Mill, Mellor in 1878, which resulted in the death of an 11 year old girl, the subsequent inquest and recommendations.
The industrial revolution brought with it a large demand for female and child labour. Prior to this, children had always done work, in their homes or fields nearby, much of it depending on the season. With the transfer of the work to textile factories they now often worked more than 12 hours a day.
The late Peter Bardsley (1929-2010) scoured the 19th and early 20th centuries Stockport Advertisers, and other local papers, in the Stockport Heritage Library for these stories of the Marple past. Peter was a stalwart of several organizations in Marple, including the Local History Society and the Holy Spirit Church. He authored or co-authored several local history books, including Hollins Mill and Brabyns Hall and Park, both with Ann Hearle. In May 2011 a new display board, in the Marple Memorial Park, about the Carvers and Barlows, was dedicated to Peter.
Thank you, Peter
(left) at the first Gourmet Market in Stockport in 2006, tasting donkey sausages!