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.
Our summer trip to Arley Hall and Gardens, the home of Viscount Ashbrook and his family, took place on mid summer’s day. We were fortunate that the weather was kind to us even though it was not quite so sunny and warm as the previous few days.
We were welcomed to Arley by Margaret Rowland-Jones, Group Bookings Organiser, who explained the plan for the day, which started with a short break for refreshments in the Tudor Barn restaurant before we split into two groups to begin our tour of the Hall with guides Geoffrey Lomas and Eric Foster.
The ‘Curious Cheshire Charabanc Caper’, was a journey that started not on this day, but many summers ago, when a fresh-faced and innocent Donald Reid took his bike, thermos flask and butties to Neston Old Quay. This early convert to history could not have dreamt that he would return a lifetime later, with a group enticed there by his book and by his illuminating talk, both sharing the title ‘Curious Cheshire’.
Anxious faces peered from behind drawn curtains that morning. Anxious minds took in the view. “Spot on”, a bright, dry spring day beckoned. A wait of months was over.
The Society trip to Robinson’s Brewery; a tale of three tokens, two baker’s dozen, and one tower of 54 steps.
Judith Wilshaw had kindly organized this tour, this ‘trip’ in which a coach was not to be seen, but cars parked, buses caught, or even a rather long walk taken to meet at the appointed hour in the Visitor Centre. The brewery is an impressive Victorian building, having a prominent position in the Stockport skyline. It rests on the foundations of the Unicorn public house, beginnings of the family business, and six generations of who have continued to operate the brewery over the last 175 years.
MediaCityUK, a development site, of mixed-use and some 200acres, on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal, is the home, amongst others of BBC North. And was the destination of the Society’s autumn trip. The land, part of the former Port of Manchester and Manchester Docks, a series of nine docks in Salford, Stretford and Manchester, completed in 1894,closed in 1982. The BBC signalled its intention to move jobs to Manchester in 2004, and the Salford Quays site was chosen in 2006. The Peel Group was granted planning permission to develop the site in 2007, and construction of the development, with its own energy generation plant and communications network, began the same year.
Rather unfairly, Rochdale is often regarded as being a bit of a backwater. We drive past it on the motorway but don’t think of visiting it. Perhaps that’s why Judith planned an outing there as she had never been to Rochdale either.
Everybody knows Gracie Fields came from Rochdale and, more recently, so did Cyril Smith. However, did you know that John Bright (Anti-Corn Law League) was also born there and, for the real nerds, Lord Byron (mad, bad and dangerous to know) had the full title of Baron Byron of Rochdale. Now that is someone the good burghers of Rochdale would rather not acknowledge. Not at all respectable.