Stories of People
Marple Memories, 1940-47
(Keith Denerley lived in Marple during the Second World War and his memories of that time cast a fascinating light on everyday life during a very difficult period. He went on to become a vicar and never returned to live in Marple.)
Reminiscing about Marple in the 1940’s with a friend recently, she thought I ought to set such things down, so here goes.
My parents, sister and I moved from Didsbury Road, Stockport, early in the war, as the house (Richmond Lodge) where we lived was next to some railway marshalling yards, a favorite target of enemy bombers. My father had a chemist’s shop on Brinksway, Stockport, and also one on Stockport Road, Marple, that I believe is still there. We lived above the shop. There was a post office next door (where the son rejoiced in an O gauge electric railway), and a garage opposite.
A 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!
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.
This 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.
2018 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.
Three 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.
William 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.
Most 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.
What’s in a name? Well, quite a lot if your name is Miss Jane Marple, Agatha Christie’s eponymous heroine. The star of 12 crime novels and 20 short stories, local folklore believed that Agatha Christie’s amateur sleuth was named after Marple station because the author passed through it on one occasion. This is not true but the station does figure prominently in the actual story. In July 2015 the station celebrated its 150th anniversary (coincidentally, the 125th anniversary of Agatha’s birth) and her grandson Mathew Prichard was invited to Marple. He brought with him a letter written by his grandmother to a Miss Marple fan, explaining how she came by the name.
This wonderful image is of William Hyde who was born in Denton in 1801. He was sexton of All Saints Church, Marple for 42 years until his death in 1865. During that time, a sexton was a ‘man of all trades’ as the role included grave digging, clerk and maintenance of the church.
Samuel Oldknow’s Georgian Church replaced an older and much smaller wooden church. It was perched on Marple Ridge at the heart of a small isolated group of buildings set amongst pastures and lying beside the long-established route between Marple and Disley. Nowadays, we do not associate the area around the church as being ‘The Ridge’ but that is how the land between the Church and Hill Top Farm is designated on old maps. ...........................
The inscription on this gravestone has always intrigued me. Who was Annie Fletcher and how had she become nurse to the royal family? Why was she buried in All Saints churchyard?
Annie, (or Ann as she was christened) was born in 1861 in Crow Nest Lane, Beeston, which is about three miles south of Leeds. Her parents William and Sarah were from Aspul near Wigan and her father was a fireman in a coalmine. A fireman was an official in charge of a district of the mine who would go down into the pit before a shift began to check that the working places were free from firedamp, and other impurities. If dangerous gases were found, it was the fireman’s responsibility to clear the air so that it was safe for the miners to work.
Some times something really interesting turns up when you least expect it. I came across this photograph recently at Archives, and was intrigued to find out more. Stamped on the reverse are the words “Air Ministry”. Why is “Marple” painted on the engine cowling? Could it be linked to one of the Marple men who fought in the First World War?
Members of the crew of the minesweeping trawler HMT HORNBEAM, former solicitors' clerks, commercial travellers, lorry drivers etc., have formed a dance band "The Sweepers Swingsters".
75 years after the citizens of Marple raised £75,000 to adopt HMS Maple, the plaque commemorating this feat has been placed in Marple Memorial Park, near to the War Memorial. The plaque was acquired by Bernard Mifflin, local resident and art teacher at The Willows School and spent over 30 years in his garden. It has been donated to MLHS by his niece, Julie Clay.