A Vision for Marple

by Ian H Bruce (2010)

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They’re asleep in the valley, they’ll awake with the sun
To tend forest and farmland, where the Goyt river runs
Little thought for their future, just life’s daily grind
As history drifts by and the seasons unwind

’Til came Samuel Oldknow with a vision, a plan
And with Arkwright’s aid he built a mill great and grand
The Goyt was diverted, water wheels looms did drive
So that Mellor and Marple would prosper and thrive

Chorus :
So please don’t miss Marple, please stop and explore
We’ve heritage, we've views and a vision once more

The women, the work-force, cream muslin now weaved
Man’s labour discarded like red autumn leaves
Though money was short Oldknow didn’t shirk
The canal he proposed would provide men with work

Navigators built tunnels, stone bridges, the cut
And the Goyt was traversed on a tall aqueduct
From Ashton and Bugsworth the canal had advanced
But there were locks at Marple due to lack of finance

When Arkwright’s deep pockets rescued Oldknow’s scheme
Efficient transport of goods was no longer a dream
A church, turnpike roads, weaver’s houses to let
But as Marple bloomed, Sam fell deeper in debt 

So the people of Marple can look back and appraise
The zeal of Sam Oldknow and his ‘enlightened’ ways
Was his vision unclouded, was this mill employer
A benevolent despot, a poor entrepreneur?

Since financial downturn swept away Sam’s success
The Goyt has flowed onward and seen Marple progress
While history’s seen mills burn and chimneys crash down
They’re no longer asleep in this dormitory town
Marple Civic Society have been active in trying to ensure the development of Marple Wharf was 'appropriate' and did not destroy its heritage value. In conjunction with Stockport MBC and British Waterways their ambitions for Marple have grown into an important document entitled 'A Vision for Marple'. This struck me as a potential song title and so I set to work. I hope the 'potted history' of Marple isn't too inaccurate and apologies for the recording and tune which need 'pepping-up' a bit.