A Short History of Stockport

Stockport  is now a large town in Manchester but in the 16th century  it was a tiny community located on the south bank of the Mersey, known for the cultivation of hemp and the manufacture of rope. Stockport was likewise at the centre of the nation’s hatting sector, which by 1884 was exporting more than 6 million hats a year; the last hat works in Stockport closed in 1997.

Dominating the western access  to the town  is the Stockport Viaduct. Built in 1840, the viaduct’s 27  arches bring the mainline railways from Manchester and Birmingham and  London over the River Mersey. This famous structure is included historically  in several paintings  by the very famous local artist  L. S. Lowry.

Stockport was recorded as “Stokeport” in documents in 1170. The presently accepted meaning of Stockport  is Old English  for port, a market area, with stocks or, a market place..  Older derivations include stock, a stockaded place or castle, with port, or  a wood. The castle most likely describes Stockport Castle, a 12th-century building which  mentioned in  documents from 1173.

Various other derivations of the word are based on early variations such as Stopford and also Stockford. There is evidence  that a ford across the River Mersey existed at the foot of Bridge Road Brow. Stopford is an old English word that is still used,  as in , Stopfordian, for Stockport-related things, and students of Stockport High School are known as  Stopfordians. By comparison,  former  pupils of Stockport School  are known as Old Stoconians.  Stopfordian is used  as the basic term, or word to describe  individuals originating  from Stockport, much as someone from London would certainly be a Londoner.

Stockport has never been a  river port as the Mersey is not accessible in the Stockport area. Over the years Stockport town centre been transformed and  the major shopping road is Merseyway, constructed above the town.  Up until the beginning of the  20th century Stockport was a community based on cotton and allied with those businesses associated with textile production such as bleachworks and dyeworks but today Stockport has a much more diverse economic community .. It makes the most of its diverse heritage tourist attractions, including a nationwide museum of hatting, an unique system of underground World War Two Battle air raid shelters in the town centre, and a preserved Medieval home  on the 700-year-old Market Square. In 1967, the Stockport air disaster took place, when a British Midland Airways C-4 Argonaut plane crashed  in the Hopes Carr location of the community, leading to 72 deaths amongst the passengers and staff.

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