Ambitious plans to reveal some historic landmarks in Marple, Cheshire have received a boost with the announcement of a £1.5 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The bid will help to protect and celebrate three important heritage sites and attract more visitors to Marple and Mellor.
The three year project centres around the legacy of Samuel Oldknow (1756-1828), one of the most important figures of the early cotton industry and a man who left a lasting mark on Marple. The lottery funding will help to protect and improve access to three of Oldknow’s most important legacies: Marple Aqueduct, which carries the Peak Forest Canal 100 feet over the River Goyt, a series of elaborate canal side Lime Kilns and the impressive water powered Mellor Mill and complex that sits within the valley.
The project will include a series of environmental improvements to the sites as well as heritage training skills, development of walking routes and interpretation to help visitors understand how the sites would have looked at the height of the Industrial Revolution.
Walter Menzies, chairman of the Canal & River Trust’s Manchester & Pennines Partnership said: “This is fantastic news. The Peak Forest Canal is one of the most scenic waterways in Britain and boasts some fascinating and important historic sites. We are delighted that this grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will help to improve access to the magnificent Marple Aqueduct, preserving it for future generations and ensuring that local people can explore the wonderful heritage and wildlife that the Peak Forest Canal has to offer”.
John Hearle, Chairman of Mellor Archaeological Trust (MAT), adds: “When it was built in Palladian style in 1790-92, Mellor Mill was the largest and most impressive cotton mill in the world. It was burnt out in 1892 and the land reverted to woodland. A grant from the Association for Industrial Archaeology enabled MAT to open up the wheelpit under the mill. This has attracted many visitors. The HLF grant will enable MAT to uncover remains of the whole complex, the mill itself, industrial buildings nearer the river and Oldknow’s mansion, and open them to public view in a small country park.”
We led the bid The bid in partnership with Mellor Archaeological Trust and Stockport Council. Thanks to the funding the partners will employee a temporary project manager and an education and interpretation officer to manage a range of volunteering and educational opportunities.