Glossop is a market town within the Borough of High Peak in Derbyshire, England. It lies on the Glossop Brook, a tributary of the River Etherow, about east of the city of Manchester, west of the city of Sheffield and north of the county town of Matlock. Glossop is situated near Derbyshire's county borders with Cheshire, Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire. It is between above mean sea level, and uses the tagline "the gateway to the Peak District National Park". Like nearby Buxton, it differs from other areas of the borough in that it is an unparished area, and this distinction defines its boundaries. It has a total resident population of 32,428 according to the 2001 census.
Historically the name Glossop refers to the small hamlet that gave its name to an ancient parish recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, and then the manor given by William I of England to William Peverel. It refers to the municipal borough created in 1866, and the unparished urban area within two local government wards. The area now known as Glossop approximates to the villages that used to be called Glossopdale, on the lands of the Howard family, Dukes of Norfolk. Originally known as a centre of wool processing, Glossop rapidly expanded in the late 18th century when it specialised in the production and printing of calico, a coarse cotton. Under the benign patronage of the Howards and other mill-owning families the villages became a mill town with many chapels and churches, its fortunes tied to the cotton industry.
Architecturally the area is dominated by buildings constructed of the local sandstone. There remain two significant former cotton mills and the Dinting railway viaduct. Strong rivalry between various Christian denominations has left a legacy of chapels, churches and their associated schools in the town and associated villages of Glossopdale. Close to the county borders of Greater Manchester, Glossop has transport links to Manchester, making the area popular for commuters. Glossop and the western area of High Peak fall within Greater Manchester's sphere of influence by way of some transport being provided by Transport for Greater Manchester.
Toponymy and definition
The name Glossop is thought to be of Saxon origin, named during the Angles' settlement in the 7th century, and derived from Glott's Hop – where hop could mean a valley, a small valley in a larger valley system, or a piece of land enclosed by marshes and Glott was probably a chieftain's name. Because of its size and location, Glossop had many definitions. The village of Glossop is now called Old Glossop. Howard Town and Milltown gained importance. They were named New Town and then Glossop. Local government reorganisations had caused the Glossopdale villages to be promoted to a municipal borough and then have that status removed. Land has been added to Glossop and other lands removed. From a small settlement it became an ancient parish, a manor, a borough, and a township. Currently two county divisions in High Peak Borough, Derbyshire, have Glossop as part of their names.
Roman and Saxon
There is evidence of a Bronze Age burial site on Shire Hill (near Old Glossop) and other possibly prehistoric remains at Torside (on the slopes of Bleaklow). The Romans arrived in 78 AD. At that time, the area was within the territory of the Brigantes tribe, whose main base was in Yorkshire. The Romans built a road over the Pennines that descended into the Etherow valley along Doctor's Gate, and in the late 1st century a fort, Ardotalia, on high ground above the river in present day Gamesley. The site of this fort was rediscovered in 1771 by an amateur historian, John Watson. It subsequently acquired the name "Melandra Castle". The extensive site has been excavated, revealing fort walls, a shrine and the fort headquarters. The area has been landscaped to provide parking and picnic areas. The prehistoric earthworks of Torside Castle are visible on Harrop Moss just north west of Bleaklow Head above the Longdendale Valley.
William I of England awarded the manor of Glossop to William Peveril, who began construction of Glossop Castle, but the entire estate was later confiscated. In 1157 Henry II of England gave the manor of Glossop to Basingwerk Abbey. They gained a market charter for Glossop in 1290, and one for Charlesworth in 1328. In 1433, the monks leased all of Glossopdale to the Talbot family, later Earls of Shrewsbury. In 1494, an illegitimate son of the family, Dr John Talbot, was appointed vicar of Glossop. He founded a school, and paved the Roman road over the moors; this is known as Doctor's Gate.
At the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1537 the manor of Glossop was given to the Talbot family. In 1606 it came into the ownership of the Howard family, the Dukes of Norfolk, who held it for the next 300 years. Glossop was usually given to the second son of the family. The land was too wet and cold to be used for wheat, but was ideal for the hardy Pennine sheep, so agriculture was predominantly pastoral. Most of the land was owned by the Howards and was leasehold and it was only in Whitfield that there was any freehold land. The few houses were solid, built of the local stone, and allowed for the development of home industries such as wool spinning and weaving.
Industrial and civic history
The medieval economy was based on sheep pasture and the production of wool by farmers who were tenants of the Abbot of Basingwerk and later the Talbot family. During the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century Glossop became a centre for cotton spinning. A good transport network between Liverpool and Glossop brought in imported cotton which was spun by a labour force with wool spinning skills. The climate of Glossopdale provided abundant soft water that was used to power mills and finish the cloth, and also gave the humidity necessary to spin cotton under tension. Initial investment was provided by the Dukes of Norfolk. By 1740, cotton in an unspun form had been introduced to make fustians and lighter cloths.
The first mills in Glossop were woollen mills. In 1774, Richard Arkwright opened a mill at Cromford. He developed the factory system and patented machines for spinning cotton and carding. In 1785, his patents expired and many people copied Arkwright's system and his patents, exemplified by the Derwent Valley Mills. By 1788 there were over 200 Arkwright-type mills in Britain. At the same time there were 17 cotton mills in Derbyshire, principally in Glossop. By 1831 there were at least 30 mills in Glossopdale, none of which had more than 1000 spindles. The mill owners were local men: the Wagstaffs and Hadfields were freeholders from Whitfield; the Shepleys, Shaws, Lees, Garlicks and Platts had farmed the dale. The Sidebottoms were from Hadfield, the Thornleys were carpenters, and John Bennet and John Robinson were clothiers.
John Wood of Marsden came from Manchester in 1819 and bought existing woollen mills which he expanded. These were the Howard Town mills. Francis Sumner was a Catholic whose family had connections with Matthew Ellison, Howard's agent. He built Wren Nest Mill. The Sidebottoms built the Waterside mill at Hadfield. In 1825, John Wood installed the first steam engine and power looms. Sumner and Sidebottom followed suit and the three mills, Wren Nest, Howardtown and Waterside, became very large vertical combines (a vertical combine was a mill that both spun the yarn and then used it to weave cloth). With the other major families, the Shepleys, Rhodes and Platts, they dominated the dale. In 1884, the six had 82% of the spinning capacity with 892,000 spindles and 13,571 looms. Glossop was a town of very large calico mills. The calico printing factory of Edmund Potter (located in Dinting Vale) in the 1850s printed 2,500,000 pieces of printed calico, of which 80% was for export. The paper industry was created by Edward Partington who, as Olive and Partington, bought the Turn Lee Mill in 1874 to produce high-quality paper from wood pulp by the sulphite method. He expanded rapidly with mills in Salford and Barrow in Furness. He merged with Kellner of Vienna and was created Lord Doverdale in 1917. He died in 1925; his factories in Charlestown created nearly 1000 jobs.
Religion and benevolence
Lord Bernard Edward Howard, 12th Duke of Norfolk rebuilt the old parish church in 1831, built All Saints Roman Catholic chapel in 1836, improved the Hurst Reservoir in 1837, and built the town hall, whose foundation stone was laid on Coronation Day 1838. The Sheffield, Ashton-Under-Lyne and Manchester Railway came to Dinting in 1842, but it was the 13th Duke of Norfolk who built the spur line to Howard Town, so that coal could be brought from the colleries at Dukinfield. Glossop railway station bears the lion, the symbol of the Norfolks. Many of the street- and placenames in Glossop derive from the names and titles of the Dukes of Norfolk, such as Norfolk Square, and a cluster of residential streets off Norfolk Street that were named after Lord Henry Charles Fitzalan Howard, the 13th Duke of Norfolk, the first Catholic MP since the reformation.
A two-storey Township Workhouse was built between 1832 and 1834 on Bute Street. Its administration was taken over by Glossop Poor Law Union in December 1837. The workhouse buildings included a 40-bed infirmary, piggeries, and casual wards for vagrants. The workhouse later became Glossop Public Assistance Institution and from 1948 the N.H.S. Shire Hill Hospital.
The mill owners, Catholics, Anglican, Methodist and Unitarian, built reading rooms and chapels. They worked together and worshipped together with their workers. The Woods, Sidebottoms and Shepleys were Anglicans and hence Tory, and they dominated every vestry, which was the only form of local government before 1866. They built four churches St James's, Whitfield in 1846, St Andrew's Hadfield in 1874, Holy Trinity Dinting in 1875 and St Luke's Glossop. Francis Sumner and the Ellisons and Norfolks were Catholic and built St Charles's Hadfield and St Mary's Glossop. The smaller mill owners were Dissenters and congregated at Littlemoor Independent Chapel built in Hadfield in 1811, but they later built a further eleven chapels.
For decades there was rivalry between Edward Partington, his friend Herbert Rhodes, and the Woods and Sidebottoms. The Woods built the public baths and laid out the park. Partington built the library. Partington built the cricket pavilion, so Samuel Hill-Wood sponsored the football club that for one season, 1899-1890, played in League Division One. He and his descendants went on to be chairmen of the London club, Arsenal. He was MP for High Peak from 1910–1929. Edward's son, Oswald, was MP for High Peak from 1900–1910. Ann Kershaw Woods devoted herself to Anglican education and had schools built.
Cotton famine and industrial relations
In 1851, 38% of the men and 27% of the women were employed in cotton; the only alternative employment was agriculture, building, or labouring on the railway. Consequently the town was vulnerable to interruptions in the supply of cotton or the export trade. The American Civil War caused the cotton famine of 1861–4. The mill owners met together and put in place a relief programme through which they supplied food, clogs and coal to their employees. Howard increased the workforce on his estate, and public works (such as improving the domestic water supply) were undertaken. They provided unsecured loans to the workers until the cotton returned. The relationship between the owners and men was one of paternal benevolence. They lived in the same community and worshipped in the same churches. The mill owners were the local aldermen, the church elders, and led the sports teams. In the Luddite and Chartist times and the period following Peterloo, Glossop was virtually unaffected, despite its proximity to Hyde, a radical hotbed. In the '4s 2d or swing strike' it was incomers from Ashton who stopped the Glossop mills. The rivalry in Glossop was not based on class, but on religious groups.
Modern (20th century)
The decline of cotton spinning has resulted in the closure of many of the town's mills. The Howard family sold the Glossop Estate in 1925 and donated large areas to the people of Glossop. Manor Park was the location of the family's Manor House and gardens. The recession of 1929 hit Glossop very hard: in 1929 the unemployment rate was 14%, and in 1931 it was 55%. In Hadfield it reached 67%. National initiatives to improve housing and employment conditions largely failed, and mills fell empty and decayed. Unemployment remained at 36% in 1938. The Second World War changed this: military stores, metals, machine tools, munitions, rubber and essential industries moved into the empty factories and left Glossop with a more diverse range of industries.
In spite of the post-war Barlow Report and government intervention, no significant employer moved into Glossop.
Gamesley underwent considerable change in the 1960s, when a large council estate was built, mainly to house people from Manchester. These housing areas, called 'Overspill estates', were also built in other towns surrounding Manchester.
Glossop has been included as pilot in the Liveability scheme, and has drawn up the Glossop Vision masterplan for the improvement and gentrification of the town. This is being partially funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It aims to open up access to the Glossop Brook, to coordinate developments in Glossop town centre, to enhance the built environment and to link the town to its wider setting. As such, the mills have become a retail development with housing, trees are to be planted along the A57 and the market square has been pedestrianised.