Macclesfield facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Macclesfield
Town
Macclesfield Town Hall 2014.jpg
Macclesfield Town Hall
Macclesfield shown within Cheshire
Population 52,044 (2011 census)
OS grid reference SJ9173
• London 148 mi (238 km) SE
Civil parish
  • Macclesfield
Unitary authority
  • Cheshire East
Ceremonial county
Region
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town MACCLESFIELD
Postcode district SK10 SK11
Dialling code 01625
Police Cheshire
Fire Cheshire
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament
  • Macclesfield
List of places
UK
England
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Macclesfield is a market town and civil parish in Cheshire, England. The population of Macclesfield at the 2011 census was 52,044. A person from Macclesfield is sometimes referred to as a "Maxonian". Macclesfield, like many other areas in Cheshire, is a relatively affluent town.

Toponymy

Situated in the ancient Hundred of Hamestan, the town is recorded in the Domesday Book as "Maclesfeld" and in 1183 it was referred to as "Makeslesfeld". The English Place-Name Society gives its name as being derived from the Old English name, Maccel, and field, yielding the meaning "Maccel's open country".

Although "Silk Town" seems to be its preferred nickname, the traditional nickname of Macclesfield is "Treacle Town". This refers to an historical incident when a horse-drawn wagon overturned and split its load of treacle onto the street, after which the poor scooped the treacle off the road.

History

Macclesfield was granted a borough charter by Earl Ranulf III of Chester, in the early 13th century, and a second charter was granted by the future King Edward I, in 1261. The parish church of All Saints was built in 1278, an extension of a chapel built in approximately 1220.

The borough had a weekly market and two annual fairs: the Barnaby fair, was on St Barnabas day (11 June), the other on the feast of All Saints (1 November).

Macclesfield was the administrative centre of the Hundred of Macclesfield, which occupied most of east Cheshire. The Earl of Chester's manor of Macclesfield was very large, and its boundary extended to Disley. The manor house was on the edge of the deer park, on the west of the town.

View of Macclesfield from Macclesfield train station 2014
Macclesfield as viewed from the railway station

The Earls of Chester established the Forest of Macclesfield, which was much larger than its present-day namesake. It was used for hunting deer and pasturing sheep and cattle. By the end of the 13th century, large areas of the forest had been ploughed because of the pressure of population growth. In 1356, two trees from the forest were given to archer William Jauderell to repair his home.

Macclesfield Castle was a fortified town house built by the dukes of Buckingham in the later Middle Ages.

Macclesfield was once surrounded by walls and ramparts with three principal gates, the Chester Gate, the Jordan Gate and the Church Wall Gate (some sources give the name Well Gate for this gate). These names are preserved in the names of three streets in the town, Chestergate, Jordangate and Back Wallgate. During the Civil War, in 1642 the town was occupied for the King by Sir Thomas Aston, a Royalist. The walls and castle were damaged when the town was subsequently bombarded and taken by a parliamentarian force under Sir William Brereton. After the war the walls were completely destroyed on the orders of Cromwell and the Council of the Commonwealth.

In the Jacobite Rising of 1745, Charles Stuart and his army marched through Macclesfield as they attempted to reach London. The mayor was forced to welcome the prince, and the event is commemorated in one of the town's silk tapestries.

Industry

Macclesfield Paradise Mill 1578
Paradise Mill

Macclesfield was once the world's biggest producer of finished silk. There were 71 silk mills operating in 1832. Paradise Mill is a working mill museum which demonstrates the art of silk throwing and Jacquard weaving to the public. The four Macclesfield Silk Museums display a range of information and products from that period.

Hovismill
Hovis Mill on the Macclesfield Canal in the town.

Macclesfield is the original home of Hovis breadmakers, produced in Publicity Works Mill (commonly referred to as "the Hovis Mill") on the canal close to Buxton Road. It was founded by a Macclesfield businessman and a baker from Stoke-on-Trent. Hovis is said to derive from the Latin "homo-vitalis" (strength for man) as a way of providing a cheap and nutritious food for poor mill workers and was a very dry and dense wholemeal loaf completely different from the modern version.

Between 1826 and 1831 the Macclesfield Canal was constructed, linking Macclesfield to Marple to the north and Kidsgrove to the south. The canal was surveyed for its Act of Parliament by the canal and roads engineer Thomas Telford, and built by William Crosley (junior), the Macclesfield Canal Company's engineer. It was the last narrow canal to be completed and had only limited success because within ten years much of the coal and other potential cargo was increasingly being transported by rail.

Waters Green was once home to a nationally known horse market which features in the legend of the Wizard of Alderley Edge. Waters Green and an area opposite Arighi Bianchi, now hidden under the Silk Road, also held a sheep and cattle market until the 1980s.

Macclesfield is said to be the only mill town left unbombed in World War II.

Geography

Macclesfield Forest+Trentabank
Macclesfield Forest and the Trentabank Reservoir

Macclesfield is in the east of Cheshire, on the River Bollin, a tributary of the River Mersey. It is close to the county borders of Greater Manchester to the north, Derbyshire to the east and Staffordshire to the south. It is near the towns of Stockport to the north, Buxton to the east, and Congleton to the south. It is 38 miles (60 km) to the east of Chester, the county town of Cheshire. To the west of the town lies the Cheshire Plain and to the east lie the hills of the Peak District.

Landmarks

Street name, Macclesfield - geograph.org.uk - 1151117
108 steps

The town is famous for its once thriving silk industry, commemorated in the Silk Museum.

Barracks Square was the home of the Cheshire Militia from 1859. It is now a Grade 2 listed residential area.

Macclesfield is also home to an Augustus Pugin church, St Alban's on Chester Road.

Transport

Rail services

A railway station was opened at Beech Lane by the LNWR on 19 June 1849 and replaced a month later by Hibel Road Station. The current station dates from the modernisation of the West Coast Main Line in the 1960s, when the old station buildings were demolished to make way for new buildings.

On 26 July 1971, an electric multiple unit departed from Macclesfield station against signals and was derailed by trap points. List of accidents on British Rail

Macclesfield is on the Stafford to Manchester section of the West Coast Main Line. Macclesfield railway station has frequent services to Manchester Piccadilly (25 minutes away), Stoke and London Euston (1 hour 47 minutes) by Virgin Trains, and to Birmingham New Street and beyond provided by CrossCountry. Northern's stopping service between Manchester and Stoke calls at Macclesfield.

Roads

Macclesfield is served by good road links from the north, south and west, but has fewer roads going east due to the proximity of the Peak District. From the south, access from Congleton and the Potteries is from the A536, and via the A523 from Leek. From the north, the main access to the town is the A523 from Manchester, Hazel Grove and Poynton. The main west–east road is the A537 Knutsford to Buxton Road. At various points around the town centre, some of these roads combine, such as the A537 / A523 on the Silk Road section, giving rise to traffic congestion, especially at peak times. The A538 provides access to Prestbury, Wilmslow and Manchester Airport, with the B5470 being the only other eastbound route from the town, heading to Whaley Bridge and Chapel-en-le-Frith.

Culture

MADS theatre
The Macclesfield Amateur Dramatic Society have performed at the Little Theatre on Lord Street since 1954.

Macclesfield has been accused of having few cultural amenities; in 2004, research was published in The Times naming Macclesfield and its borough the most uncultured town in Britain, based on its lack of theatres, cinemas and other cultural facilities.

The town is the birthplace of wildlife painter Charles F. Tunnicliffe RA OBE (1901–1979).

The Silk Opera Company was created to perform 'The Monkey Run' at Barnaby.

Macclesfield is also home to a Silk Museum and a number of art galleries.

Local newspapers include the Macclesfield Express and the Community News. Macclesfield residents have access to Macclesfield Forum, an online message board, for informal discussion of local news and issues. The town is also served by two locally based radio stations: Canalside Community Radio based at the Clarence Mill in Bollington, just north of Macclesfield, and Silk FM, a commercial independent radio station with studios in the town. Local information websites include Visit Macclesfield and the local what's on guide, Canalside's The Thread.

The last remaining commercial cinema in Macclesfield closed in 1997. Discussions have taken place regarding the possibility of building a multiplex cinema, but attempts to build a cinema have thus far been unsuccessful. In 2005 a small-scale cinema was set up in the Heritage Centre, and Cinemac has since become well established; also based in the Heritage Centre is the Silk Screen arts cinema, which gives fortnightly screenings of art-house films.

Amateur dramatics is well represented in the town: the Macclesfield Amateur Dramatic Society has existed since 1947 and performs in its own theatre on Lord Street. The Macclesfield Majestic Theatre Group has been producing musicals since its inception in 1971, initially at the Majestic Theatre (hence the title), but latterly at various other locations after the theatre was converted into a public house by the new tenants. Most recently, shows have been produced at the Heritage Centre, the Evans Theatre in Wilmslow and MADS Theatre on Lord Street. Several members of this society have progressed to the professional stage, most notably Marshall Lancaster and Jonathan Morris.

Gawsworth Hall hosts an annual Shakespeare festival as well as many arts and music events throughout the year.

Macclesfield has appeared in film: it was used as the location for Sir John Mills's film So Well Remembered in 1947. Some of the locations are still recognisable, such as Hibel Road. A fictionalised version of Macclesfield's railway station appeared in the 2005 football hooliganism film Green Street. It was also the location of Control (2007), a film about Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division.

Macclesfield was the home town of Ian Curtis and Stephen Morris of Joy Division, and Gillian Gilbert, who along with Stephen Morris was a member of New Order. A memorial to Curtis is located in Macclesfield Crematorium. Other Macclesfield acts to have gained recognition include The Macc Lads and Marion. Silk Brass Band, the Macclesfield-based brass band, won the National Champions of Great Britain title in 2003. The blues singer John Mayall was born here in 1933. More recently, local band the Virginmarys has achieved national and international success. Chart-topping UK band The 1975 come from Macclesfield.

In literature, Macclesfield is the second principal location of the fantasy novels The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath by Alan Garner.

In 2008, the borough was named as the fifth happiest of 273 districts in Britain by researchers from the universities of Sheffield and Manchester, who used information on self-reported personal well-being from the British Household Panel Survey.

Religion

Macc StMichaels
St. Michael's Church, Macclesfield

The hilltop church of St Michael and All Angels has views of nearby Kerridge Hill.

The church is approached from Water's Green by a flight of 108 steps, which themselves are a local landmark.

Macclesfield Heritage Centre, former Sunday School
The Big Sunday School

Macclesfield Sunday School started in 1796 as a non-denominational Sunday School in Pickford Street, which catered for 40 children. It was founded by John Whitaker whose objective was "to lessen the sum of human wretchedness by diffusing religious knowledge and useful learning among the lower classes of society". Though chapels set up their denominational schools, the Sunday School committee in 1812 elected to erect a purpose-built school on Roe Street. The Big Sunday School had 1,127 boys and 1,324 girls on its books when it opened.

St Alban's Church in Chester Road is an active Roman Catholic parish church. The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building. It was designed by A. W. N. Pugin.

Christ Church' is a brick-built redundant Anglican church in Great King Street. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building, and is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. The church was in use until 1981. It remains consecrated and is used occasionally for services.

Other churches or architectural merit include:

  • King Edward Street Chapel, Macclesfield
  • St George's Church, Macclesfield
  • St Paul's Church, Macclesfield
  • St Peter's Church, Macclesfield
  • Holy Trinity Church, Hurdsfield
  • Macclesfield United Reformed Church

Sport and Leisure

Macclesfield's professional football club, Macclesfield Town, first gained league status in 1997 as Football Conference Champions; they had won that title two years earlier but were denied promotion as their Moss Rose stadium in the south of the town failed to meet Football League stadium capacity requirements. As of the 2016–2017 season, the Silkmen play in the Football Conference after relegation in April 2012.

Youth football teams include Macclesfield Juniors FC, Macclesfield Saints JFC and Tytherington Juniors.

Macclesfield RUFC, the town's rugby union club, plays in National League One, following promotion from National League 2 North in the 2013–14 season.

Macclesfield Chess Club is one of the oldest chess clubs in the country having been founded in 1886.

Macclesfield's cycling club Macclesfield Wheelers is a local club for all cycling activities, from pleasure riding to racing. World-famous cyclist Reg Harris produced "Reg Harris" bikes in Macclesfield for three years during the 1960s. The local cycling campaign group is known as MaccBUG (Macclesfield Borough Bicycle Users Group). Formed in 1999, it campaigns for better cycling provision for leisure and utility cyclists.

Macclesfield Harriers & Athletic Club is an active club with over 500 members. The club caters for all abilities and ages. There are sections for Road Running, Track & Field, Fell Running and Cross Country.

In December 2006, Sport England published a survey which revealed that residents of Macclesfield were the 3rd most active in England in sports and other fitness activities. 29.3% of the population participate at least three times a week for 30 minutes.

Twin Towns

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