Latest News from Mellor Archaeological Trust

An introduction to the latest news section can be put here. Articles in this section will appear most recent first.

The Cotton Famine Road on Rooley Moor

384981The Cotton Famine Road on Rooley Moor

You may have watched a programme on 29th June on BBC4, called ‘Black and British: a Forgotten History’, presented by the historian David Olusoga, which focussed on the supportive relationship between the mill workers of Rochdale and enslaved Africans in the American South, and featured ‘Cotton Famine Road’. This was a rocotton amine road plaque 2ad improvement project, running for a mile and a half across Rooley Moor, on the outskirts of Rochdale, from Catley Lane Head Village to Ding Quarry, devised by the Poor Law Guardians to provide paid work for unemployed and impoverished cotton workers during the ‘Cotton Famine’ of 1861-65.

Until we watched the programme we had never heard of the ‘Cotton Famine Road’, so the other day we went to view it. We found a wide and well-constructed road, surfaced for the most part with robust gritstone setts, though interspersed with shorter sections of crushed stone.

For anyone interested in the history of the Industrial Revolution it is well-worth a visit. To appreciate the road fully you need to walk up at least the first section which goes gently uphill. The moors above Rochdale are somewhat ‘bleak’ most of the time, so warm, weatherproof clothing and substantial footwear are recommended, and choose a warm sunny day if possible.

The road starts at the top of Catley Lane Head Village where there is ample parking near a cattle grid. To one side of the cattle grid we found a white plastic box containing a series of (free) Heritage Trail leaflets, produced by Rooley Moor Neighbourhood Forum and they added much to our visit.

Unless you know Rochdale very well, Catley Lane Head Village is not the easiest place to find. Sat nav could be your best friend! The post code of the village is OL12 6BH.

Judith Wilshaw, July 2020

(Judith's photos, plaque and below)

Further reading:

A couple of links in connection with the Road and Cotton Famine.
This contains, with permission, excerpts from the programme mentioned above

Also Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time 'The Lancashire Cotton Famine'

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Old Vicarage Iron Age Site: A vacancy

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Considerable time has been spent cleaning and weeding the Old Vicarage Iron Age site. Its looks have been improved over the last few weeks no end, and the newly cleaned up site is well worth a visit.

Bob Humphrey-Taylor, Chair of Mellor Archaeological Trust, is looking for someone to lead a small team to keep it in its good condition. If anyone is interested or know someone who may be able to help, please let Bob know. It should only take a couple of hours a month during the season, to keep on top of it.


Bob may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Read the report on the Handover Event for the Ditch in September 2012 here

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The Wharf Marple - May 2020 Update

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The Wharf Marple - May 2020 Update

Thank you all for your continued support on this exciting Community Project

Dear Investors and Friends of The Wharf Marple,

We hope that you are all safe and well and managing to cope in these strange times.

At The Wharf we are continuing to work towards achieving our funding target and we are pleased to say that despite the difficulties that we are all facing the community is still stepping up to support this wonderful project.   A big thank you to all our Investors and supporters!

Despite having to postpone all our fundraising events due to Coronavirus, investment continues to roll in and we are now just £25,000 off having the enough to buy the building. Which is great news!   We are planning some virtual events such as Quiz Night and another Coffee and cake morning following Anne’s highly successful event raising £375. More details to follow when we’ve worked out the tech!

Read more:  The Wharf Marple - May 2020 Update

Paper published in top Archaeological Journal

Hill Pan webPlease read this paper, we have recently had published, on the website. This is the most prestigious archaeological journal in the world. The highly qualified editorial team rigorously peer review all submissions for publication. So a real feather in our cap to have ours accepted and published.

Bob Humphrey -Taylor, June 2nd 2020

1. Introduction


It is widely accepted that climate change, augmented by the rapid in- crease of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions since pre-industrial levels, will have considerable impacts on our environment, society and heritage (Pachauri, Reisinger 2007). The impact of climate change on our cultural heritage is receiving much attention, understandably concentrating on coastal areas that will be threatened by sea level change both eustatic (Daly 2010; Croft 2013) and, more recently, isostatic (Pet- tersson, Jonsson 2017).


This paper outlines the approach of one project to these threats and problems - STORM: Safeguarding cultural Heritage through Technical and Organisational Resources Management, a project co-funded by the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Union, specifically concen- trating on the UK pilot site at Mellor, Stockport. The STORM project aims to develop a novel set of tools, models, techniques, and services to aid owners of cultural heritage assets in protecting their sites from the impacts of both climate change and natural disasters amongst other threats.


Read the full article

Installation of the Samuel Oldknow Date stone at Mellor Mill

Installation of the Samuel Oldknow Date stone at Mellor Mill

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Background: A piece of oval stonework was built into the triangular pediment that topped Mellor Mill. This stone was carved with Oldknow's initials, a weaver’s shuttle and the year 1790, reflecting the year that construction of the mill commenced.


Bob Humphrey –Taylor writes: A replica of this mill date stone was installed at Mellor Mill last Tuesday, 12th February 2019. This installation was supervised by Judith and Eddy Wilshaw on my behalf as I was on a flight to Portugal for the STORM project.

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