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Points of Interest: Stockport
Stockport is a large town situated approximately six miles away from Manchester city centre in Greater Manchester. The town has a population of around 136,000 while the borough of the same name is home to over 284,000 people.
Unlike most towns and cities in the UK, it isn’t thought to be home to any Roman military stations – although some roads may have passed through the area. Instead, Stockport’s main industries were in the manufacturing of hemp and rope.
By the 19th Century it was also heavily involved in cotton and allied industries, as well as being at the centre of the UK’s hat industry. It became famous for its Association of Hat Manufacturers and by the late 1800s was exporting around six million hats a year – much of this history can be explored at the Hat Works Museum in Wellington Mill.
Stockport is no longer reliant on its cotton and allied industries, as it draws upon its varied heritage. Attractions in the town include the underground Second World War air raid tunnel shelters which remain a lasting testament to the city’s history.
Its town centre is being revitalised as part of a project called Future Stockport. The council hopes to regenerate both residential and commercial areas in a similar way to that of neighbouring Manchester.
Stockport has a number of recognisable landmarks, including the Town Hall, which was designed by Sir Alfred Brumwell Thomas, the 34 metre-high Stockport Viaduct (which stretches over the River Mersey) and the Stockport Pyramid (which can be seen from the M60 motorway).
Vernon Park, the town’s oldest municipal park, received a £1.6 million Heritage Lottery Fund (rising to £2.1 million with match funding) to restore it to its former glory. The money was spent on replacing features with replicas of original and fixing any damage.
It has recently won the Green Flag Award and has Grade 2 status in the Historical Parks and Gardens.