Facts about Stockport
Stockport has a population of approx. 284,000. Stockport is the third biggest district of Greater Manchester.
Where is Stockport located?
Stockport is in the North west of England, approximately 7 miles to the south of the City of Manchester.
Which County is Stockport in?
This is a good question, Stockport was originally in Cheshire, but in 1974 10 Boroughs from around Manchester (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan) got together and formed Greater Manchester Metropolitan County, but in 1986 the Greater Manchester Metropolitan County, along with all other Metropolitan Counties, was formally abolished. That said, Greater Manchester still exists in an administrative sense, with for example Greater Manchester Police. So where did that put Stockport? Back in Cheshire? Geographically no, as the Cheshire County line runs to the south near Poynton. This is a long standing debate with most locals believing Stockport is still in Cheshire – I’ll leave that up to you to decide!
Stockport – History
Stockport is first recorded as “Stokeport” in 1170. The currently accepted etymology is Old English stoc, a market place, with port, a hamlet (but more accurately a minor settlement within an estate); hence, a market place at a hamlet. Older derivations include stock, a stockaded place or castle, with port, a wood, hence a castle in a wood. The castle part of the name probably refers to Stockport Castle, a 12th century motte-and-bailey first mentioned in 1173. Other derivations have been formed, based on early variants of the name such as Stopford and Stockford. There is evidence that a ford across the Mersey existed at the foot of the town centre street now known as Bridge Street Brow. Stopford retains a use in the adjectival form, Stopfordian, used for Stockport-related items, and pupils at Stockport Grammar School style themselves as Stopfordians. By contrast, former pupils of nearby Stockport School are referred to as Old Stoconians, derived from the Old English name for the town. Stockport has never been a sea or river port. The Mersey is not navigable to anything much above canoe size, and in the centre of Stockport has been culverted and the main shopping street, Merseyway, is built above it.
There is sufficient evidence that a fortified stronghold existed in the vicinity in the time of the Ancient Britons, and that Agricola in AD 79 recognised its strategical avantages and fortified Stockport to guard the passage of the Mersey. After the Norman Conquest, it was ruled by a hereditary Baron of Stockport. The town was connected to the national canal network by the 5 miles of the Stockport branch of the Ashton Canal opened in 1797 which continued in use until the 1930s. Much of it is now filled in, but there is an active campaign to re-open it.
The first borough charter was granted in about 1220 and was the only basis for local government for six hundred years. From the 17th century Stockport became a centre for the hatting industry and later the silk industry. Stockport rapidly expanded during the Industrial Revolution, helped particularly by the growth of the cotton manufacturing industries. However, economic growth took its toll, and 19th century philosopher Friedrich Engels wrote in 1844 that Stockport was “renowned as one of the duskiest, smokiest holes in the whole of the industrial area”
Since the start of the 20th century Stockport has moved away from being a town dependant on cotton and its allied industries to one with a varied base.
In 1967 the Stockport air disaster occurred, when a British Midland Airways Argonaut crashed in the Hopes Carr area of the town, resulting in the deaths of 72 passengers. In recent years, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council has embarked on an ambitious regeneration scheme, known as Future Stockport. The plan is to bring over 3,000 residents into the centre of the town, and revitalise its residential property and retail markets, in a similar fashion to the nearby city of Manchester. Many ex-industrial areas around the town’s core will be brought back into productive use as mixed-use residential and commercial developments.
As you approach Stockport the most dominating feature is Stockport viaduct, Europe’s largest brick structure, the railway viaduct spanning the town centre with its 27 arches, is a feat of Victorian engineering, it opened in 1842, in the 1880’s building work started again and the viaduct was widened to cope with increased rail traffic. Its part of the west coast main line. L.S Lowry featured the viaduct in many of his works, e.g.. Industrial Landscape
Merseyway Shopping Centre is built on stilts above the river Mersey and spans over 400 metre length of the river. Even today, as one of the oldest (built in the 1960’s), it is still one of the most successful shopping centre’s in the UK. This photograph was taken from the multi story car park by the clock tower, you can see how the railway viaduct spans the town centre in the background.
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