*** DEBUG END ***

Time out: Brows on a cloudy day

15 February 2011

by Margaret Duggan


Stockport is within Greater Man­chester, but borders Cheshire and Derbyshire. The A6 runs right through the town, which is easily accessible by bus and train.


Nostalgia — and industrial heritage. Explore the steep cobbled streets and brows (pronounced “brews”) of central Stockport. The brows would be an apt setting for a Hovis adver­tisement, and are often used as film locations. To get the full flavour, go on a damp day when the 19th-century mills and factory chimneys can be seen against a background of low cloud and distant hills.

What to see

The magnificent Victorian ironwork of the 27-arch railway viaduct looks just as good, of course, when the sun comes out. When it was built in 1839, it was one of the largest free-standing brick structures in the world.

On a Tuesday, Friday, or Saturday, Stockport market draws shoppers and browsers from a wide area. It was granted its charter in 1260, and, reputedly, the last wife-sale in Eng­land took place there. Many of its stalls are still housed in the Grade II listed iron-and-glass Market Hall, built in 1861. At the popular cheese stall you can sample the sharp Lan­cashire cheese before you buy.

One of the market’s most famous tenants was Ephraim Marks, whose brother Michael, founder of Marks & Spencer, ran a penny bazaar in the town in the 1890s. Once a month there are stalls selling vintage clothes.

Near the market is the Staircase House, so-called because it has a rare Jacobean staircase — one of only three surviving in England. Just as rare is the Hat Works. The town once had a thriving hat industry, and this museum is home to a recreated work­shop with 20 restored Victorian machines and a collection of 400 hats. There you can learn why people were said to be “as mad as a hatter”.

In the centre of the town stands a statue of Richard Cobden, a founder member of the Anti-Corn Law League and MP for Stockport from 1841 to 1847.

The banks of the River Mersey are perfect for a stroll on a fine day. The Art Deco Plaza Cinema, much loved by locals, has been re­stored, and now includes a theatre.

Worth a look

St Mary’s is a Grade I listed church with a chancel dating from 1334. The nave and 125-feet-high tower were rebuilt in 1814 after the tower cracked as a result of prolonged bell-ringing to celebrate Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Where to eat

The Arden Arms. Its unpreposses­sing position in Millgate notwith­standing, this 19th-century gastro-pub has real fires, real ales (from local breweries), real food, and a reputa­tion to travel for. Tiamo’s, at 1 Great Underbank, is a popular continental-style café. The Staircase House has an associated café, Blackshaw’s, and also houses the Tourist Information Centre.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)