Refurbishment of Marple's Stocks
For many years the stocks were situated on Church Lane and were removed to the park for safe keeping in 1959.
In his book 'Memories of Marple", published in 1899, Marple resident and author Joel Wainwright wrote: "The stocks, the pillars of which are yet standing near the Ring o' Bells' in Church Lane, were in constant requisition, and some of us have seen them occupied by the village sot, quietly, if not comfortably, getting sober. The Churchwardens and the village Constable had equal powers, and frequently subjected the fuddlers to the correction of the stocks."
In Joel's drawing of the stocks outside the Ring o' Bells c1899 there are no timbers, so it is probably safe to assume that the originals disappeared a very long time ago.
Although not dated, the black and white photo below from the Virtual History of Marple must be around the time the stocks were moved to the park.
It appears that some replica timbers had just been fitted and it looks like these were still in place in 1993, according to the colour photo from Marple Civic Society.
So the 1950s versions probably gave up the ghost some time in the mid to late 1990s.
In 2004, during the very earliest days of Friends of Marple Memorial Park, local man Tony Heginbotham created some new replica timbers for us made from reclaimed softwood. Tony did a brilliant job and despite being softwood they have lasted nearly 20 years before beginning to disintegrate over the last couple of years.
We decided in 2023 that the time had come to make some new replacements and Terry Wood, one of our original volunteers when we were first formed in 2003, agreed to take on the task. As we have a little more money than in those early days, we chose to make the new ones in hardwood. So these latest versions will probably outlast most of our current volunteers!
We've chosen to base the new replicas on those in the 1950s photo, rather than make an exact copy of what Tony did in 2003. We decided not to distress the timber, as they wouldn't have done that originally - the timbers would have been left to age naturally, as we've done. We've added some vintage style padlocks but they are marine quality stainless steel, so they stand a better chance of working next time the timbers need removing (if someone can still find the key). The rest of the ironwork is from the 1950s, or maybe earlier of course.
There was a plaque fitted to the timbers in 2004 acknowledging the work that Tony did to restore them. In August 2023 we fitted a new stainless steel plaque that acknowledges for posterity both Tony's and Terry's contributions to keeping the stocks in "working" condition. The 2023 restoration and plaque was funded by our 50-50 Club.