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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Welcome to a tour of Stockport in the UK. There are 56 images here totalling over 7mb. For those without broadband I have included clickable thumbnails for each image. Just allow the thumbnails to load first and press stop on your browser so you don’t have to wait for the full page to load.

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INTRODUCTION:

Stockport is a large, thriving town in the North West of England. Indeed, with a population of 284,528 (2001) it is probably the largest town in the UK.
This is unofficial, as several other towns make that claim, but as Simon Inglis says in his book ‘Football Grounds of Britain’, “Stockport’s population of 300,000 makes it Europe’s largest urban district not to have city status”.
Historically in the county of Cheshire, and since 1974 in the county of Greater Manchester, Stockport is an old industrial and Market town that grew rapidly during the 18th and 19th centuries. Its growth was based on the cotton trade, and later the hat industry when it became the centre of the world’s hat making industry. The town grew further in the early twentieth century and eventually merged with the nearby city of Manchester (see map below).



Stockport has many fine visitor attractions, such as Bramall Hall and Lyme Park, and some extremely pleasant and leafy suburbs within its boundaries.
There is also some stunning countryside both within its borders and just beyond, as the Peak District comes right up to the edge of the town.
However, this tour concentrates on the Town Centre, and we start at the train station.


1: THE TRAIN STATION: A look back to the station before we turn and make our way into town.


2: VIEW OF STOCKPORT VIADUCT: Turning left, we get our first glimpse of the town’s most famous landmark – the viaduct.
At 111 feet tall, 1786 feet long, and with 27 arches, Stockport Viaduct is the largest brick structure in Western Europe. It was built between 1838 and 1840 using 11 million bricks.


3: WELLINGTON MILL: We move down into the bus station in front of the viaduct. This is Wellington Mill.
Built in 1830, it now houses the excellent Hat Works museum that celebrates the town’s industrial past. The chimney is 200ft tall.


4: THE SKYLINE: We head west and get our first view of the skyline, with the scale of the viaduct becoming more apparent.


5: THE PYRAMID: A quick turn to the right and we see the town’s second most famous landmark – the blue pyramid.
Built in 1992 and standing 120ft tall, the building is home to the Cooperative Bank.


6: SKYLINE VIEW FROM BOWERFOLD PARK: Climbing upwards, we get an even better view of the skyline. In the background is the Pennine Mountain range.


7: VIEW DOWN WELLINGTON ROAD SOUTH: Heading East, we cross the A6 - the main road through the town. The dramatic sweep of the road into the trough of the Mersey Valley is clearly seen.


8: SKYLINE FROM HEATON NORRIS PARK: Over the road and into Heaton Norris Park. We are at the top of the split-level park, looking at the view through the trees.


9: MEADOW MILL: To the East is Meadow Mill, the largest Mill left in Stockport. This huge, impressive building now stands guard over a recently opened Tesco Megastore.


10: Another view of Meadow Mill. In the middle of the shot are the twin residential buildings of Pendlebury and Hannover Towers, and on the left stand Heaton Tower and Norris Tower that overlook Heaton Norris Park. In front of them is Pendlebury Hall.


11: The view back towards the centre of Town.


12: PANORAMA OF STOCKPORT: We head back west to the bottom of Heaton Norris park, where this composite panorama was taken. Click the thumbnail to see the full size image.




13: Another fine viewpoint from the park, showing the buildings on different levels, with the town hall clearly visible in the middle.


14: We head back onto Wellington Road and make our way down to Mersey Square.


15: MERSEY SQUARE: This is one of the largest squares in the town. This view is looking towards the Plaza Theatre, a grade 2* listed “Super Cinema” from the 1930s. Behind it, the dome of St Peters Church, built in 1768, can be seen in St Peter’s Square.


16: In front of the Plaza are a couple of fine buildings; The Chestergate tavern on the left, and the long façade of the Chestergate department store.


17: This is the view back to Mersey Square and the entrance to the Mersey Way shopping centre.


18: A high level view of Mersey Square.


19: Turning left, we look down Princes Street, one of the main shopping streets in the town. The building at the end is Dale House.


20: MERSEY WAY: Running parallel to Princes Street is Mersey Way, part of the Mersey Way Shopping Centre. The River Mersey, which starts in Stockport Town Centre, runs 40ft below the surface of the precinct in a deep gorge. The river was built over in the 1930s to from a new road, but this was converted into the shopping centre in the late 1960s.


21: Stockport has a fine split-level “Old Town” district that has many beautiful and quaint old buildings. This view looks down Little Underbank. The Victorian Petersgate bridge stands above the street, forming a link to the Market Place. This area of Town is often referred to as “Little Chester”, due to the similarity of the bridge and some of the buildings to those found in the city of Chester.


22: Some nice architectural styles along Chestergate.


23: THE THREE SHIRES: Opposite is The Three Shires Inn, which is over 400 years old.


24: Heading down Chestergate we come to The White Lion Pub, rebuilt in 1904.


25: GREAT UNDERBANK: We carry on past the pub down Great Underbank. This view looks towards the Union Bank building at the junction with Bridge Street.


26: UNDERBANK HALL: On the left stands Underbank Hall, a 500 year old Tudor Manor House that has been used as a Natwest Bank for over 180 years. It is surely one of the most ornate banks around, both inside and outside. Note the steel girders on the right keeping the walls up.


27: THE COURTS: Down Bridge Street and looking East is the newly opened Courts Shopping Centre with glass lift, built behind the façade of the old Magistrates Court Building. The building dated from 1824.


28: BRIDGE STREET: Turning back right and we see the view up Bridge Street. The Town’s famous Market lies up the hill.


29: GREAT UNDERBANK: As we head to the market, time for a quick glimpse back down Great Underbank. Underbank Hall is on the right behind the tree.


30: THE MARKET PLACE: Stockport Market was first held in 1260 and is still going strong. The building with the colonnaded pillars is the Produce Hall, built in 1851.


31: The view towards St Marys Church. Largely rebuilt in the early 19th century, the 14th century chancel to the rear was retained. On the right is the splendid glass Market Hall, built in 1860. When opened it was described as “an umbrella on stilts”. On the middle left is Staircase House, one of the oldest buildings in the town centre with sections dating from the 14th century. It is named after its ornate, carved wooden staircase and is now a heritage centre and visitor attraction. Below is the same view in 1890.



32: The market area has recently undergone a large regeneration project. Here construction carries on in converting some of the buildings for residential use.


33: The view from in front of the church. Staircase House is on the middle right, with Heaton Tower and Norris Tower rising in the background.


34: We head back down into Little Underbank. This narrow street used to be the main road through the town.


35: Looking back the other way, we see the famous chiming clocks of Winters. Now a pub, it was once a jewellers.


36: Carrying on down Little Underbank, we come to the Unicorn Brewery, home of Robinsons Brewers. You can’t go anywhere in Stockport without coming across a Robinsons Pub – and there are hundreds of them. It has been claimed that there are more pubs per square mile in Stockport than in any other town. Brewers of real Ales, Robinsons’ beers are regularly voted some of the best in the country.


37: More fine and interesting buildings, as we head upwards.


38: This is Crowther Street, made famous by the Salford/Manchester artist LS Lowry who made it the focus of his painting “A street in Stockport”. New houses have recently been built here in a style to reflect the area’s heritage.


39: We reach the top of the hill and turn for a view back towards the market.


40: We follow the road around and come across Stopford House, a 1970s monolith.


41: The view from Stopford House. Click the thumbnail for the larger image.




42: The view towards the flats in Edgeley, a residential area close to the town centre. On the right is the spire of St Matthews Church, and on the left the floodlights of Edgeley Park stadium, home of Stockport County FC.


43: ST PETER’S SQUARE: We leave Stopford House and head down to St Peter’s Square. There are some nice buildings here, along with the church of St Peter. The red building is Regal House.


44: Turning right, we enter a pleasant garden area of the square, looking towards the Hat Museum in Wellington Mill.


45: We go through the garden and turn left back up Wellington Road towards the town hall. The building on the left is the central library.


46: STOCKPORT CENTRAL LIBRARY


47: STOCKPORT TOWN HALL: This fabulous building was opened in 1908 and is nicknamed “The Wedding Cake” due to the tired limestone façade. The tower reaches 130ft.


48: THE ART GALLERY: Across from the town hall is Stockport Art Gallery, with the rather depressing looking Stockport College buildings behind it. Surprisingly for its size, Stockport doesn’t have a University, but with 18500 students it is likely that this college will one day become one.


49: As we head away from the town centre we get a view of the tallest church in the town – St George’s. The spire rises to 72m, or 236 feet.


50: ST GEORGE’S CHURCH: A closer view of the church.


51: ST THOMAS’ CHURCH: Heading left we travel back around before coming across a real hidden gem – St Thomas’ Church, opened in 1825.


52: MOTTRAM STREET FLATS: We pass through the beautiful Mottram Street Flats on our way back towards Wellington Road.


53: THE INFIRMARY: Standing opposite the town hall is the old infirmary. It was opened in 1833 and finally closed in 1996. It has since been redeveloped into offices and renamed Millennium House. When the town hall was built in 1908 the designers deliberately excluded a chiming clock so as not to disturb the patients across the road!


54: The view back down towards Mersey Square with the spire of Christ Church looming over the office blocks.


55: GRAND CENTRAL SQUARE: Turning left and nearing the end of the tour, we enter the Grand Central Leisure complex, consisting of a multi-screen cinema (at left), an Olympic-size swimming pool complex (at right) and bowling alley, bars and restaurants.


56: We carry on through Grand Central and reach our starting point of the Train Station, where the tour now ends.



STOCKPORT FROM WERNETH LOW:
To the east on the very edge of the town there lies Werneth Low, a large hill that is half in Stockport and half in the neighbouring borough of Tameside. This is the view of the Town Centre from the top, about six miles away. Click the thumbnail for a larger image. Some landmarks are clearly visible, including the viaduct and the pyramid. The large brick building in the centre of the shot is Pear Mill. The white dome on the tower is actually a large pear (not a real one!), from which the mill takes its name (although it was also built on the site of Pear Farm). The strange bunker like structure in the left foreground is a covered reservoir.



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