1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Stockport

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STOCKPORT, a municipal, county and parliamentary borough of England, mainly in Cheshire, but partly in Lancashire, 6 m. S.E. of Manchester. Pop. (1901), 92,832. It occupies a hilly site at the junction of the rivers Tame and Mersey; the larger part of the town lying on the south (left) bank, while the suburb of Heaton Norris is on the Lancashire bank. Several bridges cross the stream, and a lofty railway viaduct bestrides the valley. Stockport is served by the London & North Western, Midland, Great Central, Cheshire lines, and Sheffield Sr Midland railways, and has tramway connexion with Manchester. It is a town of varied industries, but the most important are the cotton and hat manufactures. The church of St Mary was built mainly c. 1817, but the chancel belonged to a former church, and retains a Decorated east window and other good details. The town hall was designed by Sir Brumwell Thomas, and opened in 1908, and St George's church (1897). On the acquisition of the market rights by the town from Lord Vernon in 1847 the corporation secured the site of Vernon Park, in which stands a museum presented in 1858 by James Kershaw and John Benjamin Smith. The grammar school was founded in 1487 by Sir Edmund Shaa or Shaw, lord mayor of London. The Stockport Sunday school, founded in 1784, is one of the largest in England. Stockport was enfranchised in 1832, and returns two members. Its most distinguished representative was Richard Cobden (1841-1847), who is commemorated by a statue in St Peter's Square. The town was incorporated in 1835, and is under a mayor, 16 aldermen and 48 councillors. The county borough was created in 1888. Area, 5492 acres.

During the Roman occupation of Britain there was a small military station on the site of Stockport, acting as an outpost to the Roman camp at Manchester. The convergence of Roman roads at this point would make the place a particularly convenient centre. The etymology of the name may be Saxon, but there is no evidence of a Saxon settlement, and the place is not mentioned in Domesday. A castle was in existence in the 12th century, but is not mentioned after 1327. Stockport (Stokeporte, Stopport, Stopford) was made a free borough by a charter of Robert de Stokeport about the year 1220. It was then granted that the burgesses might elect from among themselves a chief officer, who was first called a mayor in 1296. The right of the burgesses to his election was, however, lost, and the mayor was always nominated by the lord of the manor. This arrangement lasted until 1565, when the burgesses put in a claim to their right of election, and it was decided that out of four burgesses nominated by the lord of the manor the jury of the court leet should select the mayor. Thus Stockport was not a true municipal borough until formally incorporated under the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835. The manufacture of hemp began in Stockport in the 16th century, and that of silk-covered buttons in the 17th. In 1732 a silk mill was erected, but the silk trade was superseded by the cotton trade early in the 19th century. The hat trade developed at least as early as the end of the 18th century.

See Henry Heginbotham, Stockport Ancient and Modern (1882); J. P. Earwaker, East Cheshire (1877); John Watson, Memoirs of the Earls of Warren and Surrey (1782).