Heaton Mersey Vale – Stockport

A mighty river valley was formed in the second Ice Age, as the glaciers receded and rushed seaward.

The mighty River Mersey was formed on the eastern edge of Stockport, at the confluence of the Tame and Goyt/Etherow rivers.

Thousands of years in the making, as the water-powered mills of the adjacent Pennine Hills migrate to the lower reaches of the towns, in search of water, workers and steam, the full force of the Industrial Revolution takes shape in the west.

The mixed farming of the alluvial valley, which opens up onto the Lancashire and Cheshire Plains, meets and greets the incursion of dye and brick works, mills and manufacturing.

31891

Fred Schofield’s farm 1930

1963

View towards Stockport from Heaton Mersey Park

Serviced by a complex and competing rail system based around Heaton Mersey Shed.

edgeley2016-11

Opened in 1889 and served until May 1968 operating steam locomotives to the end -Coded 9F.

Heaton_Mersey rail map

Here we were at the centre of a rail hub spreading out in all directions, to and from the ports, cities and resources of the country and beyond.

Great movements of steel, cotton, coal, people and manufactured goods.

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 19.27.37

38106

Fireman Eddy “Ned” Kelly

heaton(nigel_bruce7.1965)mersey_old7

Heaton Mersey railway station was opened on 1 January 1880 by the Midland Railway and lay on the newly opened line which ran from Heaton Mersey East Junction to Chorlton Junction and on to Manchester Central station.

The station was situated at the southern end of Station Road which still exists. The station was later operated by the London Midland and Scottish Railway and was closed by the London Midland Region of British Railways on 3 July 1961.

The area was criss-crossed by railways – its bridges traversing the roads, fields and river, dominating the landscape in a wild flurry of steam and smoke.

2633

32822

32625936_2079214925657568_2140863625928114176_o

HeatonMerseyHLBridge3

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 10.04.03

Further photographs from Grip 99

Crossing the Mersey – the link between Gorsey Bank and the Shed

10220

Surviving until 2007

screen-shot-2018-05-16-at-10-17-14.png

B&W photographs Stockport Image Archive

The end of steam – as drivers, fireman and staff were transferred to Newton Heath, was followed by the slow demise of the rail network, freight moved to road and passengers purchasing their first cars and a passport to illusory freedom.

The mighty Mersey is now flanked by newer neighbours, a shiny blue administrative pyramid, business park, car showrooms and nature reserve, the only certainty is change.

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 10.19.19

P1220916 copy

P1220917 copy

Great volumes of earth are moved to from a new topography a topography of leisure – the gentle stroll, jog and cycle replaces the clank of fire doors and shovel on coal.

NEW-GWEB

But take a look around you and you will see the remnants of the industrial age, shrouded in fresh hawthorn and enshrined in birch and beech.

P1250163

P1250164

P1250169

P1250178

P1250179

P1250180

P1250182

P1250185

P1250186

P1250187

To walk this landscape is to traverse geological, agrarian, industrial and post-industrial time – they all coexist and coalesce. Have an eye, ear and heart open to their resonance and presence, transcend time and space in the Mersey Valley today, you’re part of the leisured generation.

 

Motorway Footbridge – Stockport

A Moebius Band of motorway formerly known as the M63 wraps and warps itself around the city, ever so conveniently linking the traffic of Greater Manchester with itself.

2000px-UK-Motorway-M63.svg

Ever so conveniently it passes through Stockport – only moments from my home.

M63

Screen Shot 2018-05-04 at 17.03.27

Before the white man came.

11993

11996

The view from Princes Street along Hatton Street – towards Heaton Norris Rec. 

19617

1945

50450

1960

A boon to the modern day motorist, though happily the modern day pedestrian is also catered for in the form of the Hatton Street Footbridge – linking Great Egerton Street below, with Heaton Norris Recreation ground above.

t-s-parkinson-81.jpg

88

821-e1525450826497.jpg

Images TS Parkinson –  Stockport Image Archive

For the past two years the footbridge has been inconveniently closed, during the development of the Redrock Leisure Facility, built on the site of the former car park, in the foreground of the image above. Thus prohibiting the passage from the Post Modern world of the big brash entertainment box, to the leafy cobbled street beyond.

The Hatton Street footbridge has two spans of in-situ u-section deck, is at ground level on the north side, but is reached by steps or ramp from Great Egerton Street on the south.

William B Ball

I’m ever so pleased that access has been reinstated, from me it is both fully functional yet imbued with an elegant concrete sculptural grace, worthy of Niemeyer or Lasdun.

So take a walk on the slightly higher side, either way you win.

P1240904

P1240906

P1240908

P1240909

P1240910

P1240912

P1240913

P1240919

P1240920

P1240922

P1240924

P1240925

P1240926

P1240927

P1240928

P1240929

P1240930

P1240931

P1240932

P1240933

P1240934

P1240935

P1240936

P1240938

P1240939

P1240942

P1240943

P1240948

P1240952

 

 

Transporter Bridge – Warrington

I set out one morning with a clear intent, to travel.

To travel to see the Warrington Transporter Bridge – of which I had only just become aware. Ignorance in this instance is not bliss, expectation and fulfilment is.

Guided by the detailed instructions on the Transporter Bridge Website I made my way from Bank Quay Station, mildly imperilled yet not impeded by caged walkways, tunnels, bridges, muddy paths and Giant Hogweed!

p1130109

p1130111

p1130164

p1130122

p1130127

Finally catching a glimpse of:

Warrington Transporter Bridge, also known as Bank Quay Transporter Bridge or Crosfield’s Transporter Bridge, across the River Mersey is a structural steel transporter bridge with a span of 200 feet. It is 30 feet wide, and 76 feet above high water level, with an overall length of 339 feet. It was built in 1915 and, although it has been out of use since about 1964, it is still standing. It was designed by William Henry Hunter and built by William Arrol and Co.

bridge_in_use_1951

The bridge in use 1951.

It is till standing today, and was built to despatch finished product from the cement plant that had been built on the peninsula. It was originally used to carry rail vehicles up to 18 tons in weight, and was converted for road vehicles in 1940. In 1953 it was modified to carry loads of up to 30 tons.

The bridge is designated by English Heritage as a Grade II* listed building, and because of its poor condition it is on their Heritage at Risk Register. The bridge is protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

My thanks to the Friends of the Warrington Transporter Bridge for the historical information and archive image.

Here are my photographs expectations more than fully fulfilled an epic structure and a triumph of engineering, go take a look real soon.

p1130129

p1130133

p1130134

p1130135

p1130136

p1130144

p1130145

p1130148

p1130149

p1130158

p1130166