Marple Local History Society Trips
Each year members of the Society have a choice of trips to various historical locations to choose from, the cost of which varies dependent on the destination.
Some times we leave Marple early in the morning to visit factories and mills many miles away before returning in the evening. We've been to Blackpool to climb the tower, eating fish and chips to fortify us for a trip on a tram to see the lights. We've also had an afternoon trip along the Peak Forest Canal before a buffet at the Ring o' Bells.
The first visit of the season to Eyam in Derbyshire took place on a misty, wet day in October. However, our members are a hardy bunch and we all gathered in the courtyard at Eyam Hall at 10.00.a.m. as Hilary climbed some stone steps, all the better to be seen and briefly explained the order of the day.
First, we enjoyed a welcoming hot drink and biscuits in the café before splitting into two groups to begin a day of two halves: one group to join the morning tour of the Hall and the other the guided walk, which was repeated in reverse in the afternoon.
“No Torrs on this tour " was the promise of this evening. Apparently there was a rival attraction in Russia, of all places but we were historians, not football fans. We swept through a near-deserted New Mills, covering 25,000 years of history in two hours of enlightenment. And Neil kept to his promise about the Torrs though we still had some steep hills to climb.
His preamble covered the theme of the evening – a town that emerged from obscurity to become an important cotton town despite a number of handicaps. This involved a move away from a textile-based description of the town's history to one encompassing many aspects, - communications, housing, religion and drinking.
We were promised that we would see the parts of Lyme that other tours didn’t reach, and so we did. But first we were given a brief history of the place. It started as a simple hunting lodge but the Elizabethans gave it a makeover and parts of the “L-shaped” building are still in evidence today. The big changes came in the early eighteenth century when an Italian architect was brought in. It was he who built the remaining two sides to make a hollow square, he who created the cloister effect in the courtyard and he who designed the classic Palladian South Front. The end result, however, was not an English country house but an Italian palazzo on the edge of the Peak District.
A hundred years later an English architect, Lewis Wyatt, made extensive but subtle alterations, particularly to the service rooms and servant quarters, and this made the house much more practicable and convenient. Our tour looked at how the house was organised and run in the “Golden Period” – that time before the First World War when this style of living was at its apogee.
A watery end to the summer strolls. Bugsworth Basin was the destination for 30 or so adventurers on a warm and sunny evening in July, the final summer stroll of this season’s three. Judith Wilshaw introduced us to our guide for the evening, Ian Edgar MBE, the Chairman of Bugsworth Basin Heritage Trust, (formerly the Inland Waterways Protection Society), and honorary Site Manager of Bugsworth Basin. Ian was the man who initiated the restoration of the Basin, and under his leadership, the IWPS has changed a derelict, weed-ridden hollow into a popular venue for the boating fraternity.
In the mid-Eighteenth Century Richard Arkwright, a wig maker from Preston, perfected a whacky new machine to spin strong cotton yarn suitable for use as both the warp and weft when weaving fabric on a loom. Not only could one of these ‘spinning frames’ spin lots of threads at once, but many of them could be linked up to a power source, so producing really large quantities of yarn. In order to develop his ideas, Arkwright came to Cromford near Matlock, an isolated area in the Derbyshire hills with an unlimited supply of fast flowing water from a hill stream and the drainage sough of a lead mine.....