The word ‘Marple’ can be interpreted as ‘boundary by the river’, making it the perfect name for a place with such strong links to water.
Boasting an impressive network of waterways and working locks, Marple’s canals began with the construction of the aqueduct in 1794. The aqueduct carried the Peak Forest Canal over the River Goyt and was once known as the ‘Grand Aqueduct’ because it stood around 100 feet above the river. Designed by Benjamin Outram, who would later invent the tram car, the aqueduct took seven years to build and seven men lost their lives during the construction process.
The aqueduct linked the town to the Peak Forest and Macclesfield canal networks, which was vital to Marple’s development as a cotton town in the 19th Century. The canals connected Marple to the national waterways system, making it possible to travel as far as London and Llangollen by boat.
The town began to attract other industries, which enabled it to grow despite the decline of the textile mills. At the end of the 19th century, Marple gained a colliery and gas works. Bottoms Hall colliery was opened in 1873, but by the end of the century, it has ceased operation. The gas works, which opened in 1845, were more successful. Originally owned by the Marple Gas Company, it remained in the town until 1976.
Marple is no longer an industrial town but remains a popular residential location. With an independent cinema and a small theatre company, Marple is renowned for its thriving arts scene. It is also famed for its community spirit and boasts a number of local groups such as a drama club, scouts, a rotary club, a local history society and a wine tasting club. The highlight of the community social calendar is almost certainly the Marple Carnival. The Carnival has been held annually since 1962 and boasts a colourful parade, alongside a lively programme of events.
A beautiful small town with great links to Stockport and Manchester, Marple offers a unique mix of suburban tranquillity and inner-city bustle.