The town consists of a number of streets irregularly laid out, rising in successive tiers of houses from the base to the summit of the hill, some of which are precipitous, especially those in the vicinity of the market-place, which occupies an extensive level on the summit of the hill. Many of the mills and factories in the town rise six or seven stories, and include Marsland's and Orrell's, one of the largest in the kingdom, being 300 feet in length by 200, and six stories high, containing 600 windows. There are about 100 firms in Stockport and Heaton Norris engaged in different branches of the cotton manufacture, and the capital sunk in a single mill often exceeds £100,000. There are also three cotton-printing establishments, two bleaching establishments, and several dye works. The principal public buildings are the court-house, used also as the town-hall; the market-house, a modern structure, situated in the market-place, containing a large hall, covered by a semicircular iron roof, with lights in the crown; the infirmary and dispensary, with a Doric front, was built by Lane in 1832 at a cost of £6,000; the barracks, a theatre, savings-bank, three commercial banks, mechanics' institution, reading rooms, police station, county lock-up, and union poor-house at Shaw-Heath. The streets are well paved and lighted. The greatest ornaments of the town, however, are its bridges over the Mersey and Thame, and the viaduct of the Loudon and North-Western railway, which carries the Manchester and Birmingham branch over the valley of the Mersey, at an elevation of 110 feet above the bed of the river, and literally over the town. This work consists of 27 arches, some of them 63 feet span, built at a cost of £75,000. Scarcely less imposing is the bridge of 11 arches, constructed in 1826 at a cost of £40,000, to carry the Wellington-road across, not only the river Mersey, but its valley, at an elevation of 40 feet above the water, so as to avoid the ascent and descent caused by the uneven site of the town. Nine of the arches are on the Cheshire, and two on the Lancashire side of the Mersey. There are four other bridges in or near the town over the Mersey, one over the Thame, and one recently constructed over the Goyt. Considerable improvements have recently bees effected in the formation of the Wellington-road, the widening of Cheapside-corner and Bridge-street, and the draining of Edgeley. The principal trade of the town, as noticed above, is connected with the cotton manufactures, including cotton spinning, calico and fustian weaving, besides which a considerable number of hands are employed in the manufacture of hats, thread, silk, woollens, dyeing, bleaching, calico printing, and in the making of brushes, spindles, shuttles, &c. There are extensive engine and machine factories, several iron and brass foundries, breweries, and flour mills in the town, and brick and tile works in the vicinity. The limits of the municipal and parliamentary boroughs, which are coextensive, include, besides the old borough or township of Stockport, the hamlets of Brinksway and Edgeley, with parts of the township of Brimmington, and the town of Heaton Norris, in Lancashire, on the opposite bank of the Mersey. The population of the borough in 1851 was 53,835, and in 1861, 54,681, inhabiting 11,255 houses. It returns two members to parliament by the Reform bill, and under the late Municipal Act it is divided into 7 wards, and governed by a mayor, who is also returning officer, 14 aldermen, and 42 councillors, with the style of "mayor, aldermen, and burgesses of the borough of Stockport." The municipal revenue is about £1,900. Stockport is a polling place for the county elections. The borough magistrates sit three days a week, viz:, Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, at the courthouse; and petty sessions for the division are held fortnightly on Thursday. A county court is also held monthly. The poor-law guardians meet weekly on Monday. The Poor-law Union comprises 17 townships, 15 being in Cheshire and 2 in Lancashire. It is also the seat of a superintendent registry district. One weekly newspaper, the Stockport Advertiser, is published in the town. The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Chester, value £2,500. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, which is the mother church, is a modern structure with a lofty square embattled tower surmounted by pinnacles, and containing a peal of eight bells. It was rebuilt in 1817, at a cost of £30,000, with the exception of the chancel, which is of the 14th century, and was restored by Ordish in 1848. The church contains an E. window with tracery, carved stone stalls, effigies of Richard de Vernon, who held the manor in the reign of Edward II., and tombs of the Leghs of Lyme, Davenport of Bramhall, and Ardernes of Harden Hall (now a bank). The living of St. Thomas's, now a perpetual curacy, will become a separate rectory on the next avoidance of the rectory of Stockport. The church, situated on the E. side of the Wellington-road, is of Grecian architecture, with a tower surmounted by a cupola. It was built in 1825 at a cost of nearly £15,000. Besides these there are St. Peter's, erected in 1768 at the cost of the late W. Wright, Esq.; St. Paul's Postwood, a modern structure with a lofty spire; Christ Church, situated in Wellington-street North; Heaton Norris, a cruciform structure with a lofty spire, erected in 1846 at a cost of £6,000; also St. Mark's, St. Matthew's, and the several churches situated in the chapelries above named. The livings of these churches are perpetual curacies, varying in value from £220 to £80. There are three chapels for Independents, three for Wesleyans, two for New Connexion Methodists, and one each for Baptists, Association Methodists, Roman Catholics, Unitarians, and Society of Friends. The free grammar-school founded in 1487 by Sir Edmund Shaw has an income from endowment of £25, with two exhibitions of £50 each at Oxford or Cambridge, tenable for three years. The school-house, which was rebuilt in 1832, by T. Hardwick, is 60 feet by 30, and is the property of the Goldsmiths' Company of London, who have the appointment of the headmaster. It is free to 60 boys, sons of inhabitants of Stockport, and at present has about 150 scholars. The Stockport Sunday-school, situated in Duke-street, has a front 140 feet long and four stories high. It contains library, lecture hall, and 84 class rooms. It has an income of £600, and is attended by near 6,000 children on Sundays. There are also four sets of National schools in connection with St. Mary's, St. Thomas's, St. Peter's, and Christ Church district; also British and Foreign, Sunday, infant, Wesleyan, and Roman Catholic schools in various parts of the town. The parochial charities produce about £300 per annum, including the endowment of Warren's almshouses. Lord Poynton is lord of the manor. Friday is market day for agricultural produce, chiefly corn, oatmeal, and cheese, but much business is also done on Saturday. Fairs are held on 4th and 25th March, 1st May, 20th and 25th October, for cattle; on 1st January and 4th July for general stock; and in October for pleasure."
"BRAMHALL, (or Bramall), a township in the parish of Stockport, hundred of Macclesfield, in the county palatine of Chester, 3 miles to the S. of Stockport. It is a station on the Macclesfield branch of the London and North-Western railway. Bramhall Hall is an interesting specimen of the domestic architecture of the latter half of the 15th century. It is an irregular and picturesque pile, chiefly timbered, and pleasantly situated on high ground between two valleys, and is the seat of the Davenport family. The domestic chapel, in the S.E. angle of the building, contains some remarkably fine carving, and some good stained windows. Among the apartments of the house are the Paradise Room, the Plaster Room, and the Great Chamber, the last of which is approached by a spiral staircase formed of solid blocks of oak. The hall contains many old portraits.
"BREDBURY, a township in the parish and borough of Stockport, hundred of Macclesfield, in the county palatine of Chester, 2 miles to the E. of Stockport, its post town. The Peak Forest canal passes near it. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Chester, of the value of £160, in the alternate patronage of the crown and the Bishop of Chester. There are charitable endowments amounting to £16 per annum."
"BRINKSWAY, a hamlet in the parish and borough of Stockport, hundred of Macclesfield, in the county palatine of Chester, not far from Stockport."
"BRINNINGTON, a township in the parish and borough of Stockport, hundred of Macclesfield, in the county palatine of Chester, 2 miles to the N.E. of Stockport. It is situated on the confines of Lancashire, on the E. bank of the Mersey, near the Stockbridge and Staleybridge branch railway."
"BULLOCK-SMITHY, a village in the parish of Stockport, hundred of Macclesfield, in the county palatine of Chester, 3 miles to the S.E. of Stockport. The cotton trade is the chief occupation of the inhabitants."
"CASTLE-HALL, a village in the parish of Stockport, hundred of Macclesfield, in the county palatine of Chester, not far from Staleybridge, its post town. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Chester, value £150, in the patronage of trustees."
"CHADKIRK, (or Romiley), a township in the parish of Stockport, hundred of Macclesfield, in the county of Chester, 4 miles E. of Stockport. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Chester, value £120, in the patronage of the Rector of Stockport. The chapel is an ancient building. The Wesleyans have a place of worship. There are several large print-works as well as cotton-mills. Near Compstall Bridge the river Etherow has its confluence with the Goyt, and from that point is known as the Mersey.
"COMPSTALL, a village in the parish of Stockport, hundred of Macclesfield, in the county of Chester, 5 miles E. of Stockport. The houses are modern, and many of the inhabitants are engaged in the neighbouring cotton mills and in the collieries."
"DISLEY, (or Distley Stanley) a chapelry in the parish of Stockport, hundred of Macclesfield, in the county of Chester, 6½ miles S.E. of Stockport. It is a station on the Buxton line. The village is situated near the Peak Forest canal. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Chester, value £117, in the patronage of H. Leigh, Esq. The church, dedicated to All Saints, was rebuilt in 1558. It contains several stained-glass windows. The charities amount to £7 per annum. Lord Somers is lord of the manor.
"DUKINFIELD, a township and chapelry in the parish of Stockport, hundred of Macclesfield, in the county palatine of Chester, 6 miles E. of Manchester, and 6½ N.E. of Stockport. The greater part of the township now forms part of the corporate borough of Staleybridge. The parish church of St. John and the district church of Castle Hall are both within the borough. It is situated on the river Tame, near the Peak Forest canal, and is a station on the Manchester and Staleybridge line. Within the last half century the place has greatly risen in importance, owing to the introduction of the cotton manufacture. From a quiet country village it has been transformed into an active business town, of above 30,000 inhabitants. The numerous mills and cotton factories, together with extensive iron foundries, collieries, print works, and the manufacture of fire-brick, afford employment to a large proportion of the inhabitants. The coal obtained is superior in quality. The town is lighted with gas, and well supplied with water by two companies. It contains a mechanics' institute, with a good library, news and reading rooms, a temperance hall, a local Board of Health office, and a police station. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Chester, value £300, in the patronage of the Rector of Stockport. There are also 2 district churches-St. Mark's, a perpetual curacy,* of the value of £160, in the patronage of the crown and bishop alternately; and Castle Hall, a perpetual curacy, value £180, in the patronage of trustees. The parish church, dedicated to St. John, was erected in 1841. It is a handsome edifice in the early English style of architecture, with tower and pinnacles. The Independents, Baptists, Moravians, Presbyterians, Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists, Methodist New Connexion, and Catholics have each places of worship. There are several National, British, and infant schools, also Sunday-schools connected with all the various places of worship. The charitable endowments are small. Francis Dukinfield Palmer Astley, Esq., is lord of the manor and owner of nearly the whole of the soil. Dukinfield Hall and Dukinfield Lodge are the principal residences; the latter, which occupies the site of the ancient seat of the Duckinfields, who held the manor before the Conquest, contains some paintings by the old masters."
"ETCHELLS, (or Stockport Etchells), a township in the parish of Stockport and Northenden, hundred of Macclesfield, county palatine of Chester, 4 miles S.W. of Stockport. The tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge. There is a small free school.
"GEE CROSS, a hamlet in the township of Werneth, parish of Stockport, county palatine Chester, 4 miles N.E. of Stockport. It is situated near the river Etherow."
"HARDEN HALL, in the parish of Stockport, hundred of Macclesfield county Chester, 2 miles N.E. of Stockport. It is a fine old mansion, built in 1578, the original seat of the Ardens, but now converted into a farmhouse."
"HYDE, a parochial chapelry, and market town, in the parish of Stockport, hundred of Macclesfield, county Chester, 7½ miles E. of Manchester, its post town, 6 N.E. of Stockport, and a quarter of a mile E. of the Hyde and Newton station on the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire line of railway, of which theWhaleybridge branch intersects this township. It is situated on the river Tame and Peak Forest canal. The division of Hyde comprises the following townships-viz: Hyde, Newton, Wernith, Godley, Mottram-en-Longden Dale, Matley, Hollingworth, Hattersley, and Tintwhistle. The township of Hyde was until recently a merely agricultural district sparsely inhabited, but has greatly improved of late, and chiefly owes its prosperity to the cotton trade, for which there are extensive manufactories, employing a great number of hands; engineering is also carried on to a great extent. Here are the Lancashire collieries, which extend a considerable way under the town. The town is well paved, lighted with gas, and has an excellent supply of water. It contains the county court, vestry-room, concert-room, temperance hall, gasworks, water-works, literary and scientific and mechanics' institutes. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Chester, value £156, in the patronage of the Rector of Stockport. There is also the district church of St. Thomas, the living of which is a perpetual curacy, value £130, in the patronage of the crown and bishop alternately. The church, dedicated to St. George, is a commodious stone structure with a tower containing eight bells. The parochial charities produce about £8 per annum. The Independents, Primitive Methodists, Wesleyans, and New Connexion Methodists have places of worship. There is also a chapel for Unitarians at Gee Cross, one of the largest in the kingdom, with a tower crowned by a spire 145 feet in height. In the interior are two windows, one representing our Saviour with the Apostles, and the other Faith, Hope, and Charity. Here are two National schools for both sexes, and the Boston Mills school. The Wesleyans and Unitarians have each a school. The Hyde and Glossop News and North Cheshire Herald newspapers are published every Saturday. Market day is Saturday. Fairs are held on the 16th May and 15th November."
"MARPLE, a township and chapelry in the parish of Stockport, hundred of Macclesfield, county Chester, 3 miles S.E. of Stockport, its post town, and 12 S. of Macclesfield. Its ancient name was Murpull, in allusion to an expansion of the waters of the river in the vale below. It is situated on the Peak Forest canal and the river Gort, which here separates the counties of Chester and Derby. The Manchester and Marple section of the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire railway has its terminus here. The village stands on the road from London to Manchester through Buxton. A portion of the inhabitants are employed in the extensive cotton mills, and in the manufacture of hats. Building stone is extensively quarried. The banks of the river are precipitous and well wooded, and from the churchyard a view is obtained, over the Peak on one side and the Welsh hills on the other. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Chester, value £150, in the patronage of the Rector of Stockport. The church, dedicated to All Saints, was rebuilt in 1812. It has the tomb of Samuel Oldnow, who designed the Peak Forest canal. The parochial charities produce about £15 per annum, with almshouses for five aged females endowed by Mrs. Bridge. There is a National school for both sexes, and a Sunday-school held in the schoolroom. The Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists have each a chapel. Marple Hall is the seat of Thomas Isherwood, Esq., a descendant of Henry Bradshaw, a brother to John Bradshaw the regicide, who was born here, and bequeathed £700 for a free school at Marple, but the Restoration prevented his bequest becoming available. This chapelry belongs to the manor of Macclesfield."
"NORBURY, a township and chapelry in the parish of Stockport, hundred of Macclesfield, county Chester, 3½ miles S.E. of Stockport, its post town, and 9 E. of Macclesfield. The village, which is modern, is situated on a branch of the river Mersey, and on the Stockport, Disley, and Whaleybridge railway. A portion of the inhabitants are engaged in the silk and cotton weaving, and a considerable number in the collieries. The soil is of a loamy nature, on a subsoil of gravel and clay. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Chester, value £80. The church, dedicated to St. Thomas, is a new stone structure, erected in 1835, with a low tower containing six bells. It has a painted E. window. There is a National school for children of both sexes, in which a Sunday-school is also held. T. Lee, Esq., is lord of the manor and principal landowner."
"NORTHERN ETCHELLS, a township in the parish of Stockport and Northenden, hundred of Macclesfield, county palatine of Chester, 1½ mile to the N.W of Stockport Etchells. Here are some small charities for the poor. Thomas William Tatton, Esq., is lord of the manor. Field Hall is the principal residence.
"OFFERTON, a township in the parish of Stockport, hundred of Macclesfield, county Chester, 2 miles S.E. of Stockport. The village, which is of small extent, is wholly agricultural. Offerton partly belongs to Isherwood of Marple. The soil consists principally of clay. There is a place of worship for the Wesleyans."
"STOCKPORT ETCHELLS, a township in the parish of Stockport, hundred of Macclesfield, county Chester, 4½ miles S.W. of Stockport. The village is small. The Manchester Royal Lunatic Hospital, in this township, which adjoins the road from Wilmslow to Manchester, and occupies an area of 52 acres, was erected in 1848 at an outlay of £25,000. It is self-supporting, no free patients being admitted."
"STRINES, a hamlet in the chapelry of Marple, parish of Stockport, county Chester, 13½ miles from Manchester by the Manchester, Stockport, and New Mills railway. It is situated near Disley and Lyme Park, and contains extensive print works."
"TURKINGTON, a hamlet in the parish of Stockport, hundred of Macclesfield, county Chester, 3½ miles S.E. of Stockport."
"WERNETH, a township in the parish of Stockport, hundred of Macclesfield, county Chester, 4 miles N.E. of Stockport. It is situated on the right bank of the river Etherow, adjoining the Derbyshire border. It includes Gee Cross and Campstall, and has water communication by means of the Peak Forest canal and river Mersey. The inhabitants are chiefly engaged in the collieries, cotton-mills, print works, and other manufactures of Stockport."
"WOODLEY, a hamlet in the parish of Stockport, county Chester, 2 miles from Hyde, 5 N.E. of Stockport, and 8 from Manchester. It is a junction station of the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire railway, where the Marple and New Mills branch turns off. It is situated on the river Tame, near the Peak Forest canal."