Spring 2014

The Mellor Society Annual General Meeting & The Great Mellor Quiz
This year the Society is promoting The Great Mellor Quiz to be held in conjunction with the AGM. The business of the Society comprising approval of previous minutes, reports, subscription rate, accounts and election of officers, together with the consideration of any business brought forward by the committee or membership will be dealt with followed by the quiz.

If any member wishes to bring forward any business please contact The Chair or Hon Secretary before the end of February.

Refreshments will be available during the evening.

The event will be held at Mellor Primary School commencing at 7:00 pm on Thursday 27th March 2014.

We hope that this programme will provide a more interesting and enjoyable evening to those attending as well as increasing knowledge of our village and local area. Some teams, based on church groups and some local pubs, have already signed up to the event. So please get together with your friends and neighbours and enter a team (of up to 6 people).

Each team is charged £5 to enter with all the proceeds going to the Mellor March supporting cancer charities.
Entry forms are available from Tim Lowe, 0161 499 5935.

Shed Security – What you can do?
From Safer Stockport Community Messaging.

Your home may be very secure, but what about your shed? Think about the expensive equipment you keep in your sheds and garages. Why make it easy for the thief? Burglary of garden sheds is on the increase, particularly in the Heaton’s. Any valuable electrical items should be kept in the home. However, there are some practical steps you can take to secure your shed and its contents.

Fences And Gates
Good rear garden fence or hedges coupled with a lockable side gate will help protect your shed. Prevent thieves hopping from garden to garden by planting prickly plants next to the fence.

Don’t forget the benefit of exterior lighting. This can be a simple switch system operated from your house to illuminate your garden area. Passive infra-red lighting is now a popular and inexpensive option to consider. These lights come on automatically when someone is detected by the sensor. Thieves don’t like to be seen!

Shed Security
A good quality hasp and staple with a padlock is essential. Remember to choose a hasp and staple that is bolted to the door and frame for extra strength. Use special screw heads that secure the hinges to your shed doors, or smear glue on the screw heads. This will prevent them being unscrewed.

Having secured your doors don’t forget the windows, perhaps the best way of securing the windows is to fit internal grilles or bars.

How To Mark Your Property
To make your property identifiable and less attractive to the thief use an ultra violet pen to mark items with your postcode followed by your house number. Ultra Violet pens can be bought from good DIY stores. Alternatively you can use paint to mark your lawn mower, garden tools etc. A thief will not be able to sell your property if it’s easily identifiable.

What’s The Benefit Of Property Marking?
If the Police recover your property we know who to return it to. It also helps to secure a conviction if we arrest someone in possession of marked items.

Always lock cycles to something fixed or bulky whilst in the shed or garage (ladders or workbench). Have them security marked and registered.

Garden Tools
Don’t leave any tools outside in the garden which may assist a burglar in breaking into your home. Ladders should always be secured.

There are now simple and inexpensive alarms available for use in sheds and garages. By using such an alarm you will be alerted if anyone enters your shed so will your neighbours.

“Your garden is for you to enjoy, not the thief. Let’s keep it that way”!

Two books with local interest:
‘Snapshots, Mellor through the Seasons’
A collection of photographs taken around Mellor capturing the beauty and spirit of a wonderful village.  Let the images take you on an emotional journey through the year.
Sold in aid of The Children’s Society, the charity being supported by Rebecca, the Mellor Rose Queen for 2013-14 her special year.

‘Thomas Walklate and Mellor School’
By David Ackroyd
This updated edition of a book first published in 1998 tells of a yeoman farmer who had the foresight to endow a village school. It follows the work of the Walklate Educational Foundation established in 1639 when the first Mellor School was built through to the present day. During this time the school has twice moved to a new location and been under the control of two educational authorities before becoming an academy in 2011. All profits support the Walklate Educational Foundation
Both available from the Parish Centre or via www.sycamoremp.co.uk

The Mellor March
This year sees the 20th anniversary of the Mellor March which has now donated over £150,000 to cancer charities. The aim this year is to try to raise £20,000 to celebrate the anniversary. The March takes place on Sunday 4th May and if you have never yet joined the March do make a special effort this year. It is a circular ten mile walk with stunning scenery with people able to turn for home at many points if the ten miles is too long. It raises money by sponsorship and donations as well as corporate backing.
Many other events are linked to the March – marathon runs and walks, birthday parties etc. This year the first Mellor March Lantern Walk was held just before Christmas. Torch carrying walkers were sent off from the Royal Oak by a brass band, enjoyed carols sung by Mellor School Choir in the churchyard and more carols sung by the Hare and Hounds choir. Slightly wet underfoot but a lovely occasion.
The Mellor March somehow captures the spirit of Mellor.  

Anniversary of the start of the First World War
As we move towards a time of commemoration of the Great War Mellor Primary school is keen to develop a special project to remember the men who fell in WW1.
Mr. Nicholson has already met with members of the Friends of the Memorial Garden and some ideas were presented and discussed. Since that meeting further ideas have developed.

1.     The children will develop a book to publish about the men who fought and died from the Mellor area.

2.       A named plaque for each man lost in the Great War to be designed and place at their relevant Mellor home (with permission of the present owners of course). We will need a ceramics expert to undertake the work.

3.    The children will research the men on the memorial using census material and information provided by Anne Hearle and develop a walk trail/map of where the men came from.

4.     A special poppy design in the garden is to be developed alongside the Friends of the Memorial Garden.

5.     A special piece of art/sculpture to be designed and presented to the memorial garden by the children of Mellor Primary school.

6.     In 1920 a special service was held to open the memorial garden – we could repeat the service with songs, prayers and tributes.

Mr. Nicholson is presently gathering information to put together a funding bid to English Heritage to enable the work above to be undertaken. Any suggestions and offers of help in aspects of the ideas would be welcomed.

Jim Nicholson, Headteacher

Mill Brow
A determined attempt to solve the problem of the road flooding by the Hare and Hounds was made in the month before Christmas. The road was closed while new drains were installed that will hopefully take the water away from the road and eventually into Mill Brook.

Revealing Oldknow’s Legacy -
Mellor Mill and the Peak Forest Canal in Marple
The Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £1.5M has been awarded to joint grantees, Mellor Archaeological Trust and the Canal and Rivers Trust (formerly British Waterways) to carry out the Industrial Heritage project Revealing Oldknow’s Legacy, Mellor Mill and the Peak Forest Canal in Marple.  There are now a number of issues to resolve before funds can be drawn down for the project.  Mellor Archaeological Trust has to establish a 25 year lease from Roman Lakes Leisure Parks Ltd for the Mellor Mill site, the ancillary building by the River Goyt and the site of Mellor Lodge (Samuel Oldknow’s 7 bedroomed mansion).  We also have to put in post a full time Project Officer, a part time Archaeological Officer, an Education Officer and a Mill Site Director.  Finally there are contractors who we  will have to go out to tender for.  All this should be in place over the next few weeks so that by Easter the 3 year project will be in full swing.

In the meantime volunteers are down at the Mellor Mill Site each weekend both excavating and acting as guides for visitors.  If you would like to arrange a guided tour for a group you represent or wish to volunteer to help then please contact Bob Humphrey-Taylor either mobile 07710 964046 or email


Friends of Mellor Parish Centre -  Forthcoming Events

Thursday March 6th 
Wine Tasting Evening with Paul and Matthew Dutson 7.30pm Parish Centre
This event will be limited to 30 people. Booking open for Friends January 27th, public booking from February 3rd. Tickets £12.50 from Angela Stead  0161 427 3571.

Saturday April 5th
Textile Journeys 4 This all-day event is given by 3 eminent textilers, and features a talk by Elizabeth Wall entitled ‘Ecclesiastical Expectations,’ and workshops given by Elizabeth on ‘Jewelled Fish’ (suitable for beginners), Hannah Leighton Boyce on ‘Mark Making, Writing and Text’, and Alice Hutchinson on ‘Fold, Gather and Stitch’. Tickets are £35, which includes the keynote talk, choice of one workshop and a delicious, homemade buffet lunch. Early booking is essential.
Further information and booking forms from Kitty Watt 0161 427 4370 or Rosemary Hawkesley 0161 427 8808.

Saturday April 26th
Rubber Bridge Drive 1.30 pm Parish Centre  Tickets at £5 per person or £18 per table from Val Wallace 0161 427 4900. Booking opens on March 17th.

For Marple Civic Society Speaker Meeting Programme 2014 please follow this link

Typical activities of the society

Planning Applications

The Society keeps an eye on current planning applications to ensure that they meet both the legal requirements and aesthetic considerations, remembering that much of Mellor lies within the Green Belt. However, when the Parish Field was sold for building purposes, the plot lay outside the Green Belt, and no objection could be raised on that score. The Society felt that five houses – which the original scheme proposed – were too many, and the number was reduced to four.

A recent major concern has been the application to build 21 apartments in three blocks on the site of the disused Cataract Bridge Mill. Accessibility for traffic, potential numbers of cars, height of the buildings and the possibility of overlooking nearby properties are matters which have exercised local residents. The Local Area Committee of SMBC considered the application on 27 October 2004, when both the applicant and one resident were allowed to present their respective cases. We now know that the application has been approved, but the roofline of the apartment blocks has been lowered, and more parking spaces have been provided. However, no development is evident at present.

Another matter for concern has been the proposed erection of mobile phone masts in various locations around the village. One application for a mast on Cobden Edge was withdrawn by the landowner, but permission has now been granted for a mast on Low Lea Road. The Society notified residents likely to be affected by the mast, and they were able to attend the planning meeting. Despite their objections, the application was granted. The Society continues to monitor the planning register, and will notify residents of any further such proposals.

The War Memorial and Park

The setting of the Memorial had become rather shabby, and the Park behind the cross was very neglected. In 2002, the Society suggested alterations in the general layout, and held site meetings with SMBC officials. Work has now started on these improvements to the Park. In addition to the efforts of the local authority, the Society has organised several working parties of Mellor residents to assist in the re-planting of the flower beds. The Society funded the purchase of plants and seeds for this task, and now the park has taken on an entirely new look. It is well worth a visit! Now the Society has been awarded a grant to fund the purchase of two benches (which have been installed), and there are hopes that a further grant for the purchase of more plants may be in the offing.

These activities have led to the formation of a sub-group of the Mellor Society: Friends of Mellor Parks, which will keep a watch on the management of both the Memorial Park and the Recreation Ground. A questionnaire is to be circulated asking residents what play equipment they would like to see on the Rec, especially for older children.


There are many problems associated with the roads in Mellor – potholes, parking, speeding, flooding, lighting . . . the list goes on and on! The Society is active in drawing the attention of Stockport MBC to these matters, and has had some recent successes. A current concern is the speed of a few drivers on Longhurst Lane, and a temporary speed warning camera was set up and the data recorded.

Public Toilets

Some years ago, an economy drive forced the closure of several public toilets in our area, including the ones adjoining the Recreation Ground. Bearing in mind the great number of walkers who frequent the local footpaths, and the need for such a facility near to a children’s play area, the closure caused the Society great concern. Continual pressure was placed on the Council to reinstate the toilets, and the toilets were officially opened on Thursday 5 December 2002. Two planters have now been purchased by the Society, and these have been installed near the toilets.

Other Matters

To celebrate the Millennium, three oak saplings and thousands of daffodils were planted on the Recreation Ground. Two of the oaks did not survive, but have now been replaced, and the daffodils appear in greater numbers every spring.

The public notice board on the Recreation Ground was badly sited, and the Society has been successful in having it moved to a position where it can be read more easily.

Autumn 2013

Mellor Calendar 2014
Place your orders with Mike Benford-Miller for the Mellor Calendar 2014 in support of St Thomas’ Church and Rose Queen Rebecca’s charity “The Children’s Society”. There are order forms in the Parish Centre or telephone Mike on 0161 427 4311. The calendar will be available for sale in a few days and has 12 of the paintings of Mellor that Mike exhibited earlier this year.
All Steamed Up at Mellor Mill…
We are in that pregnant pause between the submission of our bid to The Heritage Lottery Fund and the panel’s decision.
The project has been running, on limited resources, for two years and we have built up a ‘head of steam’ that we don’t want to lose. Our volunteers have been stoical in their toils to identify all the buildings and features at the Mellor Mill site in order for a definitive survey to be carried out as part of the HLF Stage 2 submission. The survey completed and our bid safely deposited with HLF we were determined that we would carry on with the excavations as if the HLF award had been made.


At the end of July we found ourselves starting to excavate at the northern extremity of the main Mill complex. This is the boiler house and the steam engine house. A building, constructed in 1860, which is detached from the main Mill, housed the Lancashire Boiler and two horizontal steam engines, manufactured by Goodfellows of Hyde. We started to investigate the depression where the building once stood but now was only showing the top few inches of the long engine holding down bolts above the debris and dense undergrowth.
Early on we uncovered what, at first, was thought to be the boiler flue but this seemed to be in the wrong location. The latest interpretation is that it is an economiser providing pre-heated water to the boilers to save on fuel.

In 1877 we find the original steam engines put up for sale and the following is the sale notice from the Manchester Guardian.

Manchester Guardian1877 Dec 18 p7


The Sale Notice says:
One Pair of Compound Horizontal Steam Engines by Goodfellow, of Hyde; high-pressure cylinder 14in. diameter, 4ft stroke. 2½in piston rod, cast iron slides, 9ft. connecting rod and strong cast-iron bed complete; low pressure cylinder 27in. diameter, 2ft.6in. stroke, 3½in. piston rod and connecting rod; horizontal air pump in front of low-pressure cylinder and on same piston rod, cylinder and air pump on cast-iron bed, complete; crank shaft, 6in. necks and 7ft centres of engines; spur wheel, 60 cogs, 3in. pitch, 8¼in. wide; flywheel, 12ft.3in. diameter; rim, 8in. wide by 9in. deep.
Can be seen at Bottoms Mill, Mellor, Marple.

From measurements taken from the holding down bolts, protruding through the ashlar engine mounting blocks, it has been calculated that the original pair of engines were replaced with a much more powerful pair in 1877. Possibly capable of producing 120 hp which is equivalent in power to the three mill water wheels. Was this a last ditch attempt to keep up with the steam powered mills in Stockport, Manchester and beyond? The new engines were powered by not one but two Lancashire Boilers with the second one housed in an extension to the north of the boiler house with extensive alterations to the coal cellars taking place at the same time.
During the excavations there have been a number of significant finds.
We have recovered several pieces of ‘fire bar’ from the boiler house and from the engine fly wheel pit a tapered key which was possibly to join a connecting rod to a piston.
A group of Scouts from Warrington, working towards their Heritage Badge, and later ‘A’ level Archaeology students from Aquinas College, in Stockport, have uncovered a substantial section of the flue which ran up the hillside from the boiler house.


Section of the brick arched flue.


A view across the engine house to the right and the boiler house to the left. The vertical section of brick wall separates one from the other. The flywheel pit can be clearly seen
in the engine house with the holding down bolts for the engines to either side.

We are sure that there has to be a drainage system from the boiler house to allow for the boilers being drained down for maintenance. To date we have failed to find its exact location and so during inclement weather we suffer from a build up of water at the bottom of the dig.
The building has been difficult, at times, to interpret due to the major alterations and extensions which took place when the engines and boilers were upgraded and we will need to give careful consideration to which features to present for public viewing. Of major concern is the conservation of the exposed masonry and its protection from the elements in the future. The English Heritage, Heritage at Risk team, will be advising us on the best way forward to ensure this important piece of our Industrial Heritage is presented and protected for all to enjoy into the future.
Weather permitting, work will carry on through the winter. Visitors and Volunteers are always welcome. We have tour guides available both for the casual visitor and, by arrangement, for organized groups.

Further information is available from Mellor Archaeological Trust both on the website MATrust.org.uk or by email to bob@MATrust.org.uk
Bob Humphrey-Taylor
Mellor Mill
Site Director

Mellor Mill Heritage Day – 8th September
The long wait was over for those working behind the scenes to create the Mellor Mill Heritage Day, at the Roman Lakes. Weather forecasts had been watched as the day drew near, early in the week  Sunday was predicted to be wet and windy, clouds of despair began to grow, but lifted as the day approached, and fine weather was forecast. Volunteers scanned their print-offs, when would they be needed and where? Various jobs had to be done, pop-up museum, face painting, finds washing, beer tent, bricks and nails stall and more. Gazebos erected, fingers fiddled with fittings, tables filled, chairs found and sat upon. At last the sun shone through the clouds and the show was off to a fine start. Down either of the two hills, which descend from Marple and Marple Bridge, the visitors came, to encounter, first, the Booking Office. Under the green awning tickets, for entry to the site by programme, were available for the extensive tours of the Mill site. Nine tours in all, in three sets of three, these starting at 11.30am, 1.30pm, and 3.30pm. Then from the mill site, a walk, to the hub of operations for the day, Roman Lakes or Mill Pond 1(pre 1892), which became a hive of activity during the day. Though business started at a trickle, by noon the stream of visitors was in full flow. By which time Samuel Oldknow himself was guiding one of the tours round the site of his former mill. Fortunately the ground was not too wet; the penalty of muddy shoes was not too severe. Many questions, during the tours, interest in the project grew as the parties were led round. This serves as an indication of the invaluable work that has been carried out by the team in opening up the area to reveal some of our local history. Mellor Mill Heritage Day, a splendid, memorable occasion when the memory of Samuel Oldknow, his groundbreaking mill, and the mill hands was celebrated.

Networks – A Garden for Cancer Research UK at Tatton Flower Show
The final accounting for Mary Hoult’s Gold Medal winning garden is nearly complete and a cheque for £8000 plus will soon be presented to Cancer Research UK. The money was raised through a daily raffle, collections and plant sales. The garden was well received by all the Tatton visitors with many people saying how much they liked the calm and reflective nature of the Networks Garden.
The Charity was delighted to have a presence at Tatton and used the garden for award ceremonies. Also local groups of fundraisers were invited into the garden for special guided tours by Mary as a thank you for all their efforts.
Thank you to all volunteers – the planters, raffle tickets sellers and those that stood in the blazing sun for many hours explaining the garden design and planting scheme. Thank you also to all who took part in the plant sale outside the Devonshire Arms and to Darren and Louise for the use of the pub garden.
Alison Davies

The Festive Season in the Village
This a list of some of the events and entertainments happening in Mellor during Christmas and New Year. In case of late changes it would be worth checking the web sites of the various organisations.

Mellor Church
Sunday 1st December Advent Carol Service 6.30pm
Saturday 21st December Friends of Mellor Concert featuring Tom and Jennifer Lowe 7.30pm
Sunday 22nd December Service of Nine Lessons and Nine Carols 6.30pm
Tuesday 24th December Crib Services 4.00pm and 5.30pm

Mellor School
Friday 29th November Christmas Fayre at 5.00pm
Thursday 19th December School Carol Service at Mellor Church 7.00pm

Devonshire Arms
Christmas menu available throughout December
Saturday 21st December Marple Brass Band Christmas Carols 8.00pm
Tuesday 24th Special Christmas Eve menu
Thursday 26th Boxing Day Stomp and Chomp 12.00 start Treasure Hunt with free Hotpot
Tuesday 31st James Bond theme evening – come as your favourite Bond character – buffet available

Oddfellows Arms
Tuesday 31st December New Year seven course meal followed by fireworks at midnight.

Moorfield Arms
Special Christmas menu 3rd December to 24th December

Hare and Hounds
Festive menu throughout December
Prestige Festive Tester also available through December
Sunday 22nd December Carols in the Hare at 8.30pm
Tuesday 24th Reading of ‘twas The Night Before Christmas’ by actor Guy Nicholls at 9.00pm

Royal Oak
Friday 20th December Christmas Party at 4.00pm with the arrival of Father Christmas at 5.00pm

Mellor March Lantern Walk
Tuesday 17th December The Mellor March Lantern Walk in aid of cancer charities.
Leaving from the Royal Oak at 6.30pm. Circular route via the school, the church and the Hare and Hounds with carols sung at various points. Dress waterproofs with good footwear and lanterns (torches) to be carried. All welcome

Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year from The Mellor Society Committee.