Marple Locks Heritage Society
(Disbanded in 2016)

History of Marple Locks Heritage Society

The Society was formed in 2003 by a small group of local enthusiasts with the sole purpose of organising a celebration of the building of the Marple Flight of locks in 2004. The Bicentennary Locks festival in July 2004 was a great success with Samuel Oldknow visiting to travel down to the Memorial Park on the horse drawn boat, Maria, which fittingly was built at Jinks Boatyard at Top Lock, Marple. The purpose of the festival, as well as commemorating the building of the locks, was to showcase what Marple had to offer and what a great place it was to live in. Around 40 societies set up their gazebos in the park, guided walks took people down the flight for a history trip, there were boat trips and canoeing taster sessions at the top lock, hundreds of people attended and the whole day was regarded as a great success – so much so by public demand, another 6 festivals were held, the last one in 2015.

Marple Locks Festival 2004
Samuel Oldknow and his workers at the first Marple Locks Festival in 2004

As well as organising the festivals, a small band of members worked on maintaining the locks, working closely with British Waterways who provided all the necessary materials. The Society was one of the first volunteer groups to attain self-supervision status and eventually ‘adopted’ the lock flight. Twice a year open meetings were held with speakers on relevant topics such as canal restoration in other areas.

The society also created a Locks Trail guide and local primary schools benefited from one of the member’s experience who produced an education pack on the local canals. These are available today through this web page and will continue to be available in the future through The Marple Website's canals and waterways pages.

Sue Day and Horseboat Maria arrive for the last Festival in 2015
Sue Day and horse boat Maria arrive for the last Festival in 2015

Sadly, it became more and more difficult to organise the festivals and to find people to run the Society so Marple Locks Heritage Society was disbanded in 2016, leaving a core of people working on Task Days with Canal & River Trust, (ex British Waterways) maintaining the lock flight.

Photo credits:
Oldknow and workers - Mark Whittaker.
Sue Day and Maria - Arthur M Procter.

Locks Festival photos on The Marple Website's Virtual History Tour

2004 Locks Festival

2005 Locks Festival

2007 Locks Festival

2009 Locks Festival

2011 Locks Festival

2013 Locks Festival

2015 Locks Festival

Marple Locks Heritage Trail

Click to download a printable Locks Heritage Trail leaflet

marple locks trail

Marple Locks Education Pack

This Education Pack was created by Marple Locks Heritage Society, a community group that operated from 2004 to 2016 but is now disbanded. It is aimed at pupils in Key Stage Two and activities are designed to meet aspects of the National Curriculum for this age group. The society's objective was:

"To make special efforts to encourage children from the local primary schools and other youth groups to take an interest in the locks; to help them understand its value in the environment and to the community in the belief that they may continue the work of ‘The Society’ in future."

Each activity/lesson plan has with it the relevant references to link it to programmes of study in the National Curriculum. Click here to download the pack as a pdf.

This is a temporary page. In the future this information, the heritage trail leaflet and the education pack will be incorporated into an updated version of The Marple Website's Virtual Tour of Marple Locks.