The Samuel Oldknow Archive
Samuel Oldknow was a key figure in the early industrialisation of North West England. His determination to establish successful cotton spinning with related activities and necessary infrastructure in the Marple area from the 1790s until his death in 1828 transformed the physical and economic environment of the neighbourhood. The construction of a large cotton mill at Mellor, kilns for burning lime at Marple, new housing for his workers and several new roads and bridges changed the nature of the locality for ever. He was also a prime mover in the construction of the Peak Forest canal, including a spectacular aqueduct to carry the canal over the valley of the River Goyt. Yet Oldknow and the legacy of his works remain largely unknown outside the Marple area.
A project entitled “Revealing Oldknow’s Legacy” began in 2014 seeking to uncover the physical impact on the local environment made by Oldknow’s work. Particular objects for attention were the remains of Mellor Mill, the Aqueduct , still the highest such structure in England, and the ruins of his Lime Kilns. A major strand of the Project was the construction of an archive seeking to make information regarding Oldknow’s work and related themes easily available to all, whatever their level of interest or previous knowledge. The Project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Archive aims to bring together a wide range of material, including images of many types, artefacts, documents and explanatory commentaries, drawn together by the research group from a variety of local sources to create a “one stop” resource for interested readers and researchers. In order to reach the widest possible audience the Archive is digital and can be accessed online. There are links to related material, both national and local.