"A Tudor Gem" Top 5 Page for this destination Stockport by Evenith666

Stockport Travel Guide: 117 reviews and 390 photos

Stockport is a town in Greater Manchester on the River Mersey, at the confluence of the Rivers Goyt and Tame. It is the center, and largest settlement, of the Metropolitan borough of Stockport, with a population of 136,082, with the overall borough having a population of 281,000. Located 6.1 miles south-east of Manchester, Stockport is a popular destination for those wising to escape the busy city life. It is filled with places of historic note, such as the Staircase House and a unique system of underground Air Raid tunnels.


There is no part of Stockport mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086, however it does mention Bramall, Cheadle, Bredbury, Romiley which are all just outside the towns boundaries. Stockport's first claim to fame came in 1732, as the first water-powered textile mill in North-West England, making Silk, used as a warp in woven fabrics, was built on a bend in the river Mersey. Further Mills were opened nearby and by 1769, over two thousand people were employed in the industry. However, by 1772, boom turned to bust due to more inexpencive foreign imports. Trade was back by the end of the decade, but the boom and bust cycle would continue throughout the Industrial Era. A combination of a good water power site, the finest of any lowland area in the Manchester region, and a strong workforce in the surrounding area, meant that Stockport was in a prime position to take full advantage of the extreme expension in cotton processing in the late eighteenth century.

Stockport's other major Industry, for which it is perhaps more famous, is that of Hat Making. It had been established in Chesire and South-East Lancashire since the 16th Century, but at the begining of the 1800's the number of Hatters in the area started to increase, and by the latter part of the century, Hatting had changed from a manual industry to a mechanized industry. Support Industries, such as trimming, blockmaking and leatherware became established. The First World War cut off over-seas trade, yet by 1832, Hatting was the third biggest industry, after textiles and engineering, with a 3000 strong work force. However, the depression of the 1930's and the changing fashions reduced the demand for Hats, and the demand that was left shifted to cheaper, wool-based products made elsewhere. In the 1960's, the remaining comanies merged to form the Associated British Hat Manufacturers, leaving only two Factories, both in Denton, however by the 1990's these had both closed, making an end of the 400 year industry in the area.

The town had been connected to the national canal network by a branch of the Ashton canal, opened in 1797. However, in the 1930's the canal was closed and much of it has been filled in. There is now a petition to re-open the canal for leisure use, as has hapened in other areas.

Modern Stockport

Since the start of the 20th Century, Stockport has moved away from its cotton industry dependence to a much more varied base. It has several heritage attractions, including the National Museum of Hatting, a unique network of underground air-raid tunnels and a late medieval merchants house.

The Stockport Air Disaster occured in 1967. A British Midlands Airways C4 Argonaut crashed in the Hopes Carr area of the town, resulting in 72 deaths among the passengers and crew.

In recent years, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council has embarked on an ambitious regeneration project called 'Future Stockport', to bring 2000 residents into the city center, revitalise its residential property and retail markets in a smiliar fashion to nearby Manchester. Many of the former Industrial areas around the towns core will be brought back into use as mixed-use residential and commercial developments.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Lots of history close to the centre
  • In a nutshell:More than just hats!
  • Last visit to Stockport: Apr 2010
  • Intro Updated Apr 6, 2010
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