Attractions, News, Places, Uncategorised

Stockport, home of silk, hats and heritage!

Stockport Town Hall
Stockport Town Hall

Stockport, Stockport, UK

Stockport has been a centre for the hatting industry from the 17th century, and it later became a centre for silk production.

Stockport was a prototype textile town. Stockport’s first mill opened in 1732 – the first water-powered textile mill in England’s North West. Working conditions were often difficult, because of the boom and bust nature of industrial capitalism. Engels wrote that Stockport was ‘one of the duskiest, smokiest holes’ in Cottonopolis.

Stockport’s hatting industry developed a reputation for quality in the early nineteenth century. Hatting grew into one of Stockport’s main employers, as hatting became a mechanised process. World War One impacted Stockport’s place in the industry. It cut off overseas markets and – although the industry still employed over 3000 in 1932 – the Great Depression, cheaper alternatives and new fashions drastically altered hat demand. The final hatting factory closed in 1997, marking the end of over four centuries of local production. However, Stockport is home to Hat Works – the only hatting museum in the UK.

Things to see

The Stockport Air Raid Shelters is a 1-mile system of underground shelters, built during the Second World War. The smallest could hold 2000 people and the largest 3850. They opened in 1939 – Stockport wasn’t bombed until 1940, and the largest have been open to the public since 1996.

Staircase House takes visitors through its history from 1460 to World War Two. People are invited to smell, touch and listen and to relive its history by pulling back the bedclothes on the four-poster bed, peeling rush lights, and try their hand at 17th century quill pen writing.

Staircase House has an intriguing array of rooms linked by narrow passages and the restored Jacobean cage newel staircase. Group bookings are welcome both inside and outside normal opening hours by special arrangement. What a treat!

 

 

Stockport, home of silk, hats and heritage!

Stockport, Stockport, UK

Stockport has been a centre for the hatting industry from the 17th century, and it later became a centre for silk production. Stockport was a prototype textile town. Stockport’s first mill opened in 1732 – the first water-powered textile mill in England’s North West. Working conditions were often difficult, because of the boom and bust […]

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