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This is a video from Marple Local History Society's archives of Fred Winterbottom talking about his early memories of Marple. It was recorded in 1996 by Gordon Mills and was converted from VHS tape to digital format by The Marple Website in November 2011. In January 2020 it has been uploaded to Youtube and migrated to the new website.
Marple, or Merpel as it was written when the name first appeared on the pages of history, was omitted from the Domesday Survey made by William I in 1086 probably being a waste land inside the boundary of Macclesfield Forest. The name of Marple is believed to be derived from either maere hop hyll meaning "The hill at the boundary valley" or maere pill "The stream at the boundary".
An imaginary journey through the Marple of yesteryear with Gordon Mills using old photographs (some over 100 years old), together with some more recent photographs (April 2003) for comparison.
Gordon was a prolific writer, photographer and local historian who produced several fascinating video interviews with local people, guided local history walks and this, the definitive photo history presentation of "Marple's Changing Face".
Alan Proctor is a well-known local character - once met never forgotten. He wrote the first draft of his recollections of Hawk Green in 2005 and I wanted to publish them at the time but they were (rightly) featured on the HGRA web site, so I linked to them instead. After the HGRA site went off-line, Alan asked for them to be reproduced on The Marple Website so that they can be shared with the wider community, as they should be.
The Marple Website would love to encourage a growth in tourism to Marple; it's been one of the site's long-term objectives to raise Marple's profile and promote a positive image of the area. Only in our wildest dreams though, could we imagine rivalling the popularity of Marple in days gone by. It's hard to believe, but there were times when hundreds, even thousands, of visitors were received here each weekend, with extraordinary crowds on Bank Holidays.
My full name was Selma Mary Burdass, born at "Barnetby" now number 73, Bowden Lane, 88 years ago last January (2018). I went to Marple High School on Arkwright Road, now Brabyns Preparatory School, until I was 9 years old. Then on to Harrytown High School, which was a Convent but also took Protestants in those days. I lived at Bowden Lane until I married Frank Fielding from Hawk Green in August 1951 and we lived at 317, Windlehurst Road for nearly 40 years.
Marple Hall is probably Marple's greatest historical loss. If it had survived a few more years it may have become a tourist attraction like Bramhall Hall but sadly that was not to be and all we can do today is speculate what might have been. However, at least you can at least take a Guided Tour of the hall through these pages and learn something about the incredible history that helped shape the community we live in today and discover a few relics that people managed to save.
Samuel Oldknow came to this district in 1787 and remained for over 40 years, until his death at the age of 72. During this time he changed the face of Marple beyond all recognition, being the chief architect and driving force in the development and industrialisation of the area. Along with his mill at Mellor he was responsible for the building of roads, bridges, coal mines and housing for his workers. He was also instrumental in the construction of the Peak Forest Canal. A monument to him, placed in the Church he built to replace the old Chapel that had become too small for the expanding community, gives a clear indication of his standing and influence.