Manchester's Ten  Metropolitan Boroughs




Metropolitan Borough of Stockport

Market Place

1775, the Lord of the Manor, George Warren, levelled the site and planned
to build a muslin factory although the plan failed, and the site was
used for many years to store market goods and ales for the local inns.
The market place site has also served as a place for public executions,
the pillory and stocks, and was a place of public proclamation. It was
here that local history maintains that the last wife to be sold in England
was purchased.

Merseyway Shopping PrecinctStockport ViaductStoickport indoor market hall
Merseyway Shopping Precinct, Stockport’s celebrated railway viaduct and the Market Hall with St Mary’s Church in the background.

The Stockport Museum contains many local artefacts and objects of local
significance, including the unique “Scold’s Bridle” – a crude metal
cage with mouthpiece which enclosed the head , fitted on gossiping and
nagging wives!! Offenders were chained up on public display in the Market
Place. Also on display local geology and archaeology exhibits, and its
award winning “On One Round Hill” Exhibition depicting the town from
Stone Age to the Present.
The Castle Yard witnessed Stockport’s first balloon ascent in 1827, and
by 1841 the building was taken down and served as a cattle market for
many years. Overlooking the Market Place stands St. Mary’s Parish Church.
Its chancel dates from the 14th century, but earlier churches stood
on this site, the earliest known being in 1150 AD. The nave and tower
had to be rebuilt in 1813, reputedly after prolonged and overzealous
bell-ringing to celebrate Lord Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar had weakened
the structure! Stockport became a Borough in 1835.

Market Hall

the middle of the 19th century, the present iron and steel market hall
was erected, and has been a place of trade ever since, people travelling
in from many miles around. The Building has been recently renovated
and restored at a cost of �500,000. Stockport has a long history of
industry – from the 16th century cultivation of hemp and rope manufacture.
By the 18th century it boasted one of the country’s first mechanised
silk mills. But perhaps Stockport’s best known industry was in the manufacture
of hats, a trade which still survives today. Stockport has an excellent
shopping centre.

Shopping Precinct

Merseyway Shopping Precinct is a large area which was built on massive
supporting stilts directly over the River Mersey, which still runs below
ground down to Liverpool some 40 miles away. The precinct has all the
major department stores and banking facilities, with ample side street
and rooftop parking. Alternatively, one may stroll along the old streets
of the original town, such as Underbank (pictured bottom right), with
its steep warren-like cobblestoned alleys up to the market place above,
and Great Underbank, with its old buildings like Underbank Hall. Now
serving as a branch of NatWest Bank, it was originally built in the
late 15th century and is an excellent example of a half-timbered building
(see picture on previous page).


is one of the most distinctive boroughs in Greater Manchester. It has
many well known landmarks like the huge brick railway viaduct, built
in 1840, which dominates the western approaches to the town, and featured
as a background to many of the paintings of L.S.Lowry. Beneath it runs
the town bypass, and the M60 Orbital Motorway on its way to Tameside,
Sheffield and east Manchester. Built in the 19th century to carry the
main line from Manchester to Birmingham and London, it consists of 27
arches, contains over 11 million bricks and spans one-third of a mile.
It is illuminated at night and makes an impressive approach to the town
centre. Stockport is nowadays a pleasant de-industrialised borough,
(unlike the description by Frederick Engels in 1844 when he called the
town “one of the dustiest, smokiest holes” ), and areas like Cheadle,
Hazel Grove, Heaton Moor, Marple and Bramhall are popular and much sought
after residential areas. The red sandstone cliffs dominate the landscape
to the town’s northern edge. These 250 million year old edifices provided
the town with air raid shelters during World War II, and tours of the
shelters are operated to this day, showing the preserved 1938 shelters
with beds and warden’s quarters.

Tunnel Shelter Tours

are available by advance booking (Telephone: 0161-474 4460). These cliffs,
and the sluices which were cut into them, provided water for the introduction
of steam power in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Town Hall

Town Hall was the pride of local burghers when it was opened by the
Prince of Wales in 1908. Built in white limestone with its distinctive
tiered clock tower, it was (and still is) fondly known as “the wedding
cake”. It was designed by Brummel Thomas, who had earlier designed a
town hall for the city of Belfast. The interior is richly decorated
with marble and has grand wrought iron balustraded double staircases.
Besides council chambers, offices and a mayoral suite, there is a great
hall, known as The Ballroom, which hosts public functions and is also
available for hire for private parties and functions, as well as being
used for its regular midweek Tea Dances.

Square, Stockport

Square, the visitor’s first view of the town centre, also covers the
Mersey (hence its name), and dates back to medieval times, when bear-baiting
was held in the “Bear Pit” – the site still remains in a vestigial state,
but is now a small public garden. The square also housed the Old Fire
Station, demolished in the 1960s, a fate shared by many old buildings
during that pre-conservation era, to make way for the Merseyway shopping




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This page last updated 28 Apr 09.