Whaley Bridge

Whaley Bridge

infobox UK place
official_name = Whaley Bridge
population = 6,226
os_grid_reference = SK0181
country = England
region = East Midlands
shire_county = Derbyshire
shire_district = High Peak
latitude = 53.3304
longitude = -1.9838
scale = 20000
constituency_westminster = High Peak
post_town = HIGH PEAK [Royal Mail, "Postcode Update 23", July 1996]
postcode_district = SK23
postcode_area = SK
dial_code = 01663


Whaley Bridge is a small town and civil parish in the High Peak district of Derbyshire, England, situated on the River Goyt. Whaley Bridge is approximately 30 km South of Manchester and 11 km North of Buxton (coord|53|20|N|1|59|W|region:GB), and had a population of 6,226 at the 2001 census. [ [http://www.highpeak.gov.uk/council/pop.asp "The High Peak Population Estimates", High Peak Borough Council, accessed April 1, 2008] ] This includes the village of Furness Vale, which falls within the boundaries of Whaley Bridge. Other districts of 'Whaley', as it is known locally, include Horwich End (gbmapping|SK006806), Bridgemont (gbmappingsmall|SK011825), Fernilee (gbmappingsmall|SK017784) and Stoneheads.


The name is thought to be of Anglo-SaxonFact|date=May 2007 origin meaning "clearing by the road", spellings in early documents include Weylegh and Weyley. In the fourteenth century, it housed the residence of William Jauderell and his descendents (the name also spelt Jodrell).

The River Goyt formed the historical boundary between Derbyshire and Cheshire. The present town of Whaley Bridge was divided into smaller towns in both counties. Historical records show that in 1316 on the Cheshire side there were "Taxal", "Yeardsley" and "Whaley" with the last two being combined into one district of 'Yeardsley-cum-Whaley'. The Derbyshire side consisted only of "Fernilee" which included the villages of "Shallcross" and "Horwich". This side was in the Parish of Hope and was part of the Forest of High Peak while the Cheshire side was part of the Forest of Macclesfield. From 1796 Taxal and Yeardsley were effectively joined in that the Jodrell family was the main landowner in both towns although the administration of these remained separate until 1936.F A Youngs Jr., "Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England", Vol II: Northern England, London, 1991]

The town expanded greatly in the Industrial Revolution. Although there had been coal mines from earlier times, by 1871 cotton mills had become the dominant industry.

Whaley Bridge continues to expand as new housing is built, but it retains the character of a small town. As the self-styled 'Gateway to the Goyt' it attracts tourists, mainly walkers, but it has not become dominated by the tourist industry, unlike some other local towns and villages. With a good commuter railway service to Manchester many people travel to work in Greater Manchester, or in Cheshire. With the introduction of ADSL broadband internet services increasingly people work from home.

The town has been twinned with Tymbark, Poland since June 1994.

Cromford and High Peak Railway

The Cromford and High Peak Railway was granted Parliamentary consent in 1825. It was fully opened for passenger and goods traffic on 6 July 1831. The railway linked the wharf at the head of the Whaley Bridge Branch of the Peak Forest Canal to the Cromford Canal at High Peak Wharf. It had seven inclined planes, the first being situated within the town of Whaley Bridge itself. Unlike the other six inclined planes which were operated by stationary steam engines, this one was operated by a horse-driven gin, which remained operational until 9 April 1952. This plane was much shorter than the others, being only 180 yards (165 m) long and rising at 1:13.5. Approach to the top of the plane was under a very low bridge and, because of this, waggons had to be hauled to and from the top of the plane by horses.Fact|date=June 2008 Horses also worked the bottom section of the line and the tracks ran onto a wharf and into two mills. Another notable feature on the bottom section is an iron bridge that carries the line across the River Goyt.

Peak Forest Canal

The Peak Forest Canal and basin were built in the 1790s and opened on 1 may, 1800. An important building at the head of the Peak Forest Canal was the Transhipment Warehouse, built in 1832. In this building goods and minerals were transferred to and from the many working canal boats servicing local industry. The building straddles the head of the Canal which is fed by Coombs and Toddbrook Reservoirs to the south.Fact|date=June 2008

A new joint project between British Waterways and several Whaley Bridge community groups, to bring this important building back to life and serve as a centre of the Whaley Bridge community, was envisaged in 2007 and is the subject of a grant application to The East Midlands Development Agency under their Waterways Regeneration Funding offer in 2008.Fact|date=June 2008


Local government

Whaley Bridge is a civil parish with the status of a town. At the lowest level of local government is Whaley Bridge Town Council, consisting of 12 councillors. Three councillors are elected for each of the four wards of Fernilee, Furness Vale, Taxal and Yeardsley. [ [http://www.whaleybridge.com/pages/council.html "Town Council", whaleybridge.com, accessed April 1, 2008] ]

The next tier of local government is High Peak Borough Council. Whaley Bridge constitutes one of the borough's 28 wards. It returns three out of the forty-three borough councillors. At the last council elections in May 2007, two Liberal Democrat and one independent councillor were elected. [ [http://www.highpeak.gov.uk/contact/councillor_ward.asp "High Peak Borough – Wards and their Councillors", High Peak Borough Council, accessed April 1, 2008] ]

The top tier of local administration is the 64-member Derbyshire County Council. The town is included in the electoral division of Whaley Bridge and Blackbrook, electing one county councillor. [ [http://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/council/councillors/high_peak/default.asp "Derbyshire County Council - High Peak", accessed April 1, 2008] ]

Civic history

The township of Yeardsley-cum-Whaley, Cheshire was part of the ancient parish of Taxal. The township adopted the Local Government Act 1858 and formed a local board to govern the town. Under the Local Government Act 1894 this became Yeardsley-cum-Whaley Urban District. On the Derbyshire side of the Goyt, the parish of Fernilee was included in Chapel en le Frith Rural District. In 1936 a county review order merged the urban district with the built-up part of Fernilee to form Whaley Bridge Urban District, with the new district placed in Derbyshire.

In 1974 the Local Government Act 1972 came into force, abolishing all urban and rural districts in England and Wales, and replacing them with non-metropolitan districts. Whaley Bridge became part of the district of High Peak, with a successor parish formed for the area of the urban district. The parish council resolved that Whaley Bridge should have the status of a town.


The town has two primary schools, [http://www.wbps.org.uk "Whaley Bridge Primary School"] and [http://www.taxalprimary.ik.org/ "Taxal and Fernilee Church of England Primary School"] , although for secondary education children travel further afield, typically to Chapel-en-le-Frith, New Mills, Hope Valley, Buxton, Macclesfield or Stockport.

Religious sites

The Church of England parish of Whaley Bridge has two churches. [cite web |url= http://www.whaleybridgeparish.org.uk/?page_id=2 |title=Welcome |accessdate=2008-06-24 |author= |date=2007 |work= |publisher=Anglican Parish of Whaley Bridge] St James, Taxal stands on a site a mile from the town centre and was established in the twelfth century. Parts of the tower may date back to that time, although much of the church was rebuilt in the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. [cite web |url=http://www.openchurchestrust.org.uk/Churches/Taxal.htm |title= Taxal St James |accessdate=2008-06-24 |author=|date= |work= |publisher=Open Churches Trust] Holy Trinity, Fernilee was established near the town centre in 1905. [cite web |url=http://www.achurchnearyou.com/venue.php?V=7435 |title=Fernilee: Holy Trinity, Whaley Bridge |accessdate=2008-06-24 |author= |date= |work=A Church Near You |publisher=Church of England] Parts of the town are included in the Cheshire parish of St John Disley, and are served by the Church of St John the Divine, Furness Vale. [cite web |url=http://www.achurchnearyou.com/venue.php?V=12880 |title=St John, Furness Vale |accessdate=2008-06-24 |author= |date= |work=A Church Near You |publisher=Church of England]

The Roman Catholic Church of The Sacred Heart, Whaley Lane, serves the parish of Whaley Bridge and Disley. [cite web |url=http://www.sacredheartwhaleybridge.co.uk/index.htm |title=Sacred Heart Church |accessdate=2008-06-24 |author= |date= |work= |publisher=Sacred Heart Whaley Bridge and Disley]

The United Reform Church and Methodists formed a local ecumenical partnership, the "Whaley Bridge Uniting Partnership" in 1983. The Partnership has three places of worship: Whaley Bridge Uniting Church, Fernilee Methodist Church and Kettleshulme Chapel. [cite web |url=http://www.whaleybridgeunitingpartnership.org.uk/index.html |title=Whaley Bridge Uniting Partnership |accessdate=2008-06-24 |author= |date= |work= |publisher=]

The Good News Church is an evangelical church based in the Gospel Hall, Old Road. [cite web |url=http://www.goodnewschurch.co.uk/ |title=Good News Church, Whaley Bridge |accessdate=2008-06-24 |author= |date=2008 |work= |publisher=Good News Church] [cite web |url=http://www.whaleybridge.com/pages/churches.html |title=Places of Worship |accessdate=2008-06-24 |author= |date=2003 |work= |publisher=Whaley Bridge Town Council]

Whaley Hall is a large detached Victorian house near Todd Brook reservoir. Since 1979 it has been a retreat house and conference centre run by the "Community of the King of Love": an ecumenical community of men and women. [cite web |url=http://www.whaleyhallckl.org.uk/page5.html |title=Whaley Hall |accessdate=2008-06-24 |author= |date= |work= |publisher=The Community of the King of Love]

Festivals and traditions

Whaley Bridge has an annual carnival week during which the "Whaley Water Weekend", started at the Millennium, is followed by the traditional Well Dressing and terminates with the popular "Rose Queen procession" in June each year. The Water Weekend (W3) is a community event based directly on the Canal Basin and includes short canal boat rides and a Heritage Trip with commentary to Bugsworth Basin. W3 is followed by The Well Dressing in which local wells are decorated at the end of a week of hard work by local people with large collages of fresh flowers. The events are terminated with The Rose Queen procession where groups of local young people, from the town, parade around the area in their finery and on decorated floats.The annual event of switching on the Christmas tree lights by the Chair of the Town Council is accompanied by seasonal music from members of Whaley Bridge Brass Band early in December. Father Christmas traditionally arrives by canal boat and processes to The Mechanics' Institute (pictured above) accompanied by his helpers. Businesses put up their contribution to Christmas decorations by way of small fir trees and small bright lights over their shop fronts.

Notable residents

*Betty Driver, actress and author, most famous for her role as Betty Williams on the British soap "Coronation Street", was once the landlady of Whaley Bridge's Cock Inn [http://www.corrie.net/profiles/actors/driver_betty.html Corrie.Net - Betty Driver] ] .

*William (Bill) Jones, Liverpool and England footballer and Military Medal winner, was born in Whaley Bridge in 1921 [http://www.youandyesterday.co.uk/articles/Jones,_William_-_Football_star_born_in_Whaley_Bridge_won_Military_Medal You & Yesterday] ] [ [http://www.thefa.com/England/SeniorTeam/Archive/?pf=p&i=1597&
] [ [http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/team/past_players/players/jones3/ Liverpool FC Player Archives] ] .

*Jack Bond, Lancashire and Nottinghamshire cricketer, was landlord of the Jodrell Arms.

Literary references

Whaley Bridge features in the novel "The Manchester Man" (1876) by Isabella Banks.

ee also

*Peak District National Park
*Whaley Bridge railway stationIn the travel section of The Sunday Telegraph, a headline article 'My Top Ten Train Trips' by Tony Robinson, writes of the Manchester to Derby journey - "It is not a trip to do all in one go, stop off at the dramatic little town of Whaley Bridge and have a stroll around the historic Peak Forest Canal Basin".


External links

* [http://www.whaleybridge.com/ Whaley Bridge Website]
* [http://www.highpeak.gov.uk/ High Peak Borough Council]
* [http://www.penninewaterways.co.uk/peak/ Peak Forest Canal]
* [http://www.whaleytrust.org.uk/ Footsteps]
* [http://www.wbup.org Whaley Bridge Uniting Partnership]
* [http://www.goytvalleystriders.org.uk Goyt Valley Striders]
* [http://www.toddbrooksailingclub.org.uk Toddbrook Sailing Club]
* [http://www.trafalgarmarineservices.co.uk/article/1/w3/2/whaley-water-weekend-2007 Whaley Water Weekend]

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