Infobox UK place
official_name= Glossop
country= England
region= East Midlands

static_image_caption= Glossop from Higher Dinting
population= 32,428 (2001 Census)
os_grid_reference= SK0393
latitude= 53.4380
longitude= -1.9473
map_type= Derbyshire
post_town= GLOSSOP
postcode_area= SK
postcode_district= SK13
dial_code= 01457
constituency_westminster= High Peak
shire_district=High Peak

Glossop is a small market town within the High Peak borough of Derbyshire, England. It lies on the Glossop Brook, a tributary of the River Etherow, about convert|14|mi|km|0 east of the city of Manchester, convert|24|mi|km|0 west of the city of Sheffield and convert|30|mi|km|1 from Matlock, the county town. Glossop is situated near Derbyshire's county borders with Cheshire, Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire. It is between convert|150|and|300|m|ft|0 above mean sea level, and uses the tagline "the gateway to the Peak District National Park". Like Buxton, it differs from other areas of the borough in that it is an unparished area, and this distinction defines its boundaries. It has a total resident population of 32,428 according to the 2001 census. [ [ Office for National Statistics] ]

Historically the name Glossop refers to the small hamlet that gave its name to an ancient parish recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, and then the manor given by William I of England to William Peverel. It refers to the municipal borough created in 1866, and the unparished urban area within two local government wards. [ The Ancient Parish of Glossop] accessed 18/6/2008 ] The area now known as Glossop approximates to the villages that used to be called Glossopdale, on the lands of the Howard family, Dukes of Norfolk. Originally known as a centre of wool processing, Glossop rapidly expanded in the late-18th century when it specialised in the production and printing of calico, a coarse cotton. Under the benign patronage of the Howards and other mill owning families the villages became a mill town with many chapels and churches; its fortunes were tied to the cotton industry.

Architecturally the area is dominated by buildings constructed of the local sandstone. There remain two significant former cotton mills and the Dinting railway viaduct. Strong rivalry between various Christian denominations has left a legacy of chapels, churches and their associated schools in the town and associated villages of Glossopdale. Close to the county borders of Greater Manchester, Glossop has transport links to Manchester, making the area popular for commuters. Glossop and the western area of High Peak fall within Greater Manchester's sphere of influence by way of some transport being provided by the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive.


Toponymy and definition

The name Glossop is thought to be of Saxon origin, named during the Angles' settlement in the 7th century, and derived from "Glott's Hop" - where "hop" could mean a valley [ Glossop | Peak District Towns and Villages | Staffordshire | Derbyshire | England | UK ] ] , a small valley in a larger valley system [ Hanmer, J., Winterbottom, D. (1993), "The Book Of Glossop", 2nd edition, Baron Birch/Quotes. ISBN 0860234843] , or a piece of land enclosed by marshes [Wilkinson, P. (Nov 1998), 'Finding Beowulf in Kent's landscape', "British Archaeology", Council for British Archaeology, York, Issue 39 .] and "Glott" was probably a chieftain's name. Because of its size and location, Glossop had many definitions. The village of Glossop is now called Old Glossop. Howard Town and Milltown gained importance. They were named New Town and then Glossop. Local government reorganisations had caused the Glossopdale villages to be promoted to a municipal borough and then have that status removed. Land has been added to Glossop and other lands removed. From a small settlement it became an ancient parish, a manor, a borough, and a township. Currently two county divisions in High Peak Borough, Derbyshire, have Glossop as part of their names.

Roman and Saxon

There is evidence of a Bronze Age burial site on Shire Hill (near Old Glossop) and other possibly prehistoric remains at Torside (on the slopes of Bleaklow). The Romans arrived in 78 AD. At that time the area was within the territory of the Brigantes tribe, whose main base was in Yorkshire. The Romans built a road over the Pennines that descended into the Etherow valley along Doctor's Gate, and in the late first century a fort, Ardotalia, on high ground above the river in present day Gamesley. The site of this fort was rediscovered in 1771 by an amateur historian, the Rev. John Watson. It subsequently acquired the name "Melandra Castle". The extensive site has been excavated, revealing fort walls, a shrine and the fort headquarters. The area has been landscaped to provide parking and picnic areas.


William I of England awarded the manor of Glossop to William Peveril, but it was later confiscated. In 1157 Henry II of England gave the manor of Glossop to Basingwerk Abbey. They gained a market charter for Glossop in 1290, [ [ The Domesday Book Online - Derbyshire F-R ] ] and one for Charlesworth in 1328. In 1433, the monks leased all of Glossopdale to the Talbot family, later Earls of Shrewsbury. In 1494, an illegitimate son of the family, Dr John Talbot, was appointed vicar of Glossop. He founded a school, and paved the Roman road over the moors; this is known as Doctor's Gate.cite book|last=Davies|first=Peggy|title=Annals of Glossop|publisher=Glossop Heritage Centre|location=Glossop, Derbyshire|date=December 1999|pages=5,6]

At the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1537 the manor of Glossop was given to the Talbot family. In 1606 it came into the ownership of the Howard family, the Dukes of Norfolk, who held it for the next 300 years. Glossop was usually given to the second son of the family.The land was too wet and cold to be used for wheat, but was ideal for the hardy Pennine sheep, so agriculture was predominantly pastoral. Most of the land was owned by the Howards and was leasehold and it was only in Whitfield that there was any freehold land. The few houses were solid, built of the local stone, and allowed for the development of home industries such as wool spinning and weaving.

Industrial and civic history

The medieval economy was based on sheep pasture and the production of wool by farmers who were tenants of the Abbot of Basingwerk and later the Talbot family. During the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century Glossop became a centre for cotton spinning. A good transport network between Liverpool and Glossop brought in imported cotton which was spun by a labour force with wool spinning skills. The climate of Glossopdale provided abundant soft water that was used to power mills and finish the cloth, and also gave the humidity necessary to spin cotton under tension. Initial investment was provided by the Dukes of Norfolk. By 1740, cotton in an unspun form had been introduced to make fustians and lighter cloths.


The first mills in Glossop were woollen mills. In 1770, Richard Arkwright opened a mill at Cromford and licensed his system to other mills. In 1785, his patent expired and the number of mills expanded. In 1788, Britain had 120 cotton mills of which 17 were in Derbyshire, principally in Glossop. By 1831 there were at least 30 mills in Glossopdale, none of which had more than 1000 spindles. The mill owners were local men: the Wagstaffs and Hadfields were freeholders from Whitfield; the Shepleys, Shaws, Lees, Garlicks and Platts had farmed the dale. The Sidebottoms were from Hadfield, the Thornleys were carpenters, and John Bennet and John Robinson were clothiers.

John Wood of Marsden came from Manchester in 1819 and bought existing woollen mills which he expanded. These were the Howard Town mills. Francis Sumner was a Catholic whose family had connections with Matthew Ellison, Howard's agent. He built Wren's Nest Mill. The Sidebottoms built the Waterside mill at Hadfield. In 1825, John Wood installed the first steam engine and power looms. Sumner and Sidebottom followed suit and the three mills, Wren's Nest, Howardtown and Waterside, became very large vertical combines (a vertical combine was a mill that both spun the yarn and then used it to weave cloth). With the other major families, the Shepleys, Rhodes and Platts, they dominated the dale. In 1884, the six had 82% of the spinning capacity with 892,000 spindles and 13,571 looms. Glossop was a town of very large calico mills. The calico printing factory of Edmund Potter (located in Dinting Vale) in the 1850s printed 2,500,000 pieces of printed calico, of which 80% was for export. The paper industry was created by Edward Partington who, as Olive and Partington, bought the Turn Lee Mill in 1874 to produce high-quality paper from wood pulp by the sulphite method. He expanded rapidly with mills in Salford and Barrow in Furness. He merged with Kellner of Vienna and was created Lord Doverdale in 1917. He died in 1925; his factories in Charlestown created nearly 1000 jobs.

Religion and benevolence

Lord Bernard Edward Howard, 12th Duke of Norfolkrebuilt the old parish church in 1831, built All Saints Roman Catholic chapel in 1836, improved the Hurst Reservoir in 1837, and built the town hall, whose foundation stone was laid on Coronation Day 1838.The Sheffield, Ashton-Under-Lyne and Manchester Railway came to Dinting in 1842, but it was the 13th Duke of Norfolk who built the spur line to Howard Town, so that coal could be brought from the colleries at Dukinfield. Glossop railway station bears the lion, the symbol of the Norfolks. Many of the street- and placenames in Glossop derive from the names and titles of the Dukes of Norfolk, such as Norfolk Square, and a cluster of residential streets off Norfolk Street that were named after Lord Henry Charles Fitzalan Howard, the 13th Duke of Norfolk, the first Catholic MP since the reformation.

A two-storey Township Workhouse was built between 1832 and 1834 on Bute Street (gbmapping|SK043952). Its administration was taken over by Glossop Poor Law Union in December 1837. The workhouse buildings included a 40-bed infirmary, piggeries, and casual wards for vagrants. The workhouse later became Glossop Public Assistance Institution and from 1948 the N.H.S. Shire Hill Hospital [Higginbotham, P. (2007), Workhouses of the Midlands, Tempus, Stroud. pp. 31-32. ISBN 978-0-7524-4488-8] .

The mill owners, Catholics, Anglican, Methodist and Unitarian, built reading rooms and chapels. They worked together and worshipped together with their workers. The Woods, Sidebottoms and Shepleys were Anglicans and hence Tory and dominated every vestry the only form of government before 1866. They built four churches St James's, Whitfield in 1846, St Andrew's Hadfield in 1874, Holy Trinity Dinting in 1875 and St Luke's Glossop. Francis Sumner and the Ellisons and Norfolks were Catholic and built St Charles's Hadfield and St Mary's Glossop. The smaller mill owners were Dissenters and congregated at Littlemoor Independent Chapel built in Hadfield in 1811, but they later built a further eleven chapels.

For decades there was rivalry between Edward Partington, his friend Herbert Rhodes, and the Woods and Sidebottoms. The Woods built the public baths and laid out the park. Partington built the library. Partington built the cricket pavilion, so Samuel Hill-Woods sponsored the football club that for one season, 1899-1890, played in League Division One. He went on to be chairman of a London club, Arsenal. He was MP for High Peak from 1910–1929. Edward's son, Oswald, was MP for High Peak from 1900–1910. Ann Kershaw Woods devoted herself to Anglican education and had schools built.

Cotton famine and industrial relations

In 1851, 38% of the men and 27% of the women were employed in cotton; the only alternative employment was agriculture, building or labouring on the railway. Consequently the town was vulnerable to interruptions in supply of cotton or exports. The American Civil War caused the cotton famine of 1861–4. The mill owners met together and put in place a relief programme through which they supplied food, clogs and coal to their employees. Howard increased the workforce on his estate, and public works (such as improving the domestic water supply) were undertaken. They provided unsecured loans to the workers until the cotton returned. The relationship between the owners and men was one of paternal benevolence. They lived in the same community and worshipped in the same churches. The owners were the local aldermen, the church elders, and led the sports teams. In the Luddite and Chartist times and the period following Peterloo, Glossop was virtually unaffected, which is surprising due to its proximity to Hyde, a radical hotbed. In the 4s 2d or swing strike it was incomers from Ashton that stopped the Glossop mills. The rivalry in Glossop was not based on class but on religious groups.

Modern (20th century)

The decline of cotton spinning has resulted in the closure of many of the town's mills. The Howard family sold the Glossop Estate in 1925 and donated large areas to the people of Glossop. Manor Park was the location of the family's Manor House and gardens. The recession of the 1929 hit Glossop very hard. In 1929 the unemployment rate was 14%, and in 1931 it was 55%. In Hadfield it reached 67%. National initiatives to improve housing and employment conditions largely failed, and mills fell empty and decayed. Unemployment remained at 36% in 1938. The Second World War changed this: military stores, metals, machine tools, munitions, rubber and essential industries moved into the empty factories and left Glossop with a more diverse range of industries.

In spite of the post-war Barlow Report Royal Commission on the Distribution of the Industrial Population (the Barlow Commission),1943] and government intervention, no significant employer moved into Glossop.cite book|last=Birch|first=A.H.|title=Small Town Politics, A Study of Political Life in Glossop|publisher=Oxford University Press|date=1959|pages=8-38|chapter=2|accessdate=June 2008]

Gamesley underwent considerable change in the 1960s, when a large council estate was built, mainly to house people from Manchester. These housing areas, called 'Overspill estates', were also built in other towns surrounding Manchester.


Glossop has been included as pilot in the Liveability scheme [ [ High Peak Borough Council: round five update ] ] , and has drawn up the Glossop Vision masterplan for the improvement and gentrification of the town. This is being partially funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It aims to open up access to the Glossop Brook, coordinate developments in Glossop town centre, enhance the built environment and link the town to its wider setting. As such, the mills have become a retail development with housing, trees are to be planted along the A57 and the market square pedestrianised.cite web|url=|title=Glossop Vision Links|publisher=High Peak Borough Council|accessdate=2008-06-27]


In the local government reorganisation of 1974 the Borough of Glossop was abolished, and since then the two levels of local government are Derbyshire County Council, based in Matlock, and High Peak Borough Council based in Chapel-en-le-Frith. Glossop was included in the "South East Lancashire Special Review Area" under the Local Government Act 1958, and the Redcliffe-Maud Report of 1969 recommended its inclusion in a South East Lancashire–North East Cheshire metropolitan area. Glossop was not ultimately included in the Greater Manchester area established by the Local Government Act 1972. Local people voted to stay within the County of Derbyshire in 1973 (Sharpe 2005). The county council, originally based in Derby, moved to Matlock in the late 1950s to facilitate easier travelling to the county hall from the northern extremities such as Glossop and the High Peak.

For the county council Glossop is split between the divisions of Glossop South, Glossop North and Rural, and Etherow. Glossop North and Rural also contain the old Charlesworth and Chisworth wards that were collectively known as St John's. Etherow division contains Hadfield North, Hadfield South, Gamesley and the large and sparsely populated Tintwistle ward, which was formerly in Cheshire. These boundaries were set in 2005. [ [| High Peak councillors.] ]

Glossop itself does not have a parish council, but Tintwistle and St Johns are parished. The Member of Parliament for the High Peak constituency since 1997 has been Tom Levitt MP, representing Labour. His majority in the 2005 General Election was 735 over the Conservative candidate Andrew Bingham.The Shelf Brook leads from Shelf Moor on Bleaklow down Doctor's Gate through Old Glossop to the Glossop Brook. The valley was used by the Romans for a road, and currently contains a bridleway. The north slope of Holden Clough and the Hurst Brook is used by the A57 road known as the Snake Pass. The Snake Pass crosses the Pennine Way near Doctor's Gate Culvert (512 m above sea level) before descending to the east to Ladybower Reservoir along the northern side of the River Ashop valley. Here a road leads east over Hallam Moor into Sheffield, and south along the River Derwent into Baslow and Matlock. To the north of Glossop is Tintwistle; the River Etherow is the boundary. Today, the Longdendale valley forms a chain of reservoirs that provide drinking water for Manchester. At the head of the valley is Woodhead, where the road from Huddersfield joins the road to Sheffield, and a three-mile railway tunnel brought the railway from Penistone.


Directly beneath Glossop lie areas of Carboniferous Millstone Grit, shales and sandstone. Glossop is on the edge of the Peak District Dome, at the southern edge of the Pennine anticline. The Variscan uplift has caused much faulting and Glossopdale was the product of glacial action in the last glaciation period that exploited the weakened rocks. The steep-sided valleys of the cloughs cause significant erosion and deposition. The layers of sandstone, mudstones and shale in the bedrock act as a aquifer to feed the springs. The valley bottoms have a thin deposit of Boulder Clay. The brooks are fed by the peaty soils of the moors thus are acid (pH5.5–7.0); this means the instream wildlife is dependent on food sources from outside the channel.cite journal|last=Radcliffe|first=Gemma|date=2004|title=Management Plan for Glossop Brook|journal=University of Manchester, Masters Thesis|pages=54, 55|url=|accessdate=10/7/2008]


Glossop experiences a temperate maritime climate, like much of the British Isles, with relatively cool summers and mild winters. There is regular but generally light precipitation throughout the year. Glossop has a history of flash flooding, the [ most recent] being in 2002 when High Street West was flooded to a depth of convert|1|m|ft|1, but climate change means floods may become more severe and frequent.


Glossop has been subject to frequent boundary changes, so different analyses can be made of the same raw datasets depending on how the 'equivalent' area is interpreted, which may or may not bear the same name.

Community events

The Glossop Victorian Weekend, Glossop Carnival and Bank Holiday Markets are held annually in the town. The Victorian Weekend is the biggest weekend event in Glossop and was featured on the BBC's "Songs of Praise". The weekend includes many activities, including a Grand Victorian Costume Competition and a Shop Window Competition. [ [ Glossop's Victorian weekend] ]

Running parallel with the Victorian Weekend is Glossop Beer Festival, run by The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and featuring over 30 beers and a barbecue in Glossop's Labour Club. [ [ Glossop's beer festival] ]

In recent years, Glossop has become quite well known musically for staging jazz and world music festivals.

In 2005 The Moon and Sixpence introduced the 5 daze in May festival to Glossop. Landlord Paul Keegan and Landlady Julie Gordon have now made this an annual event.

Glossop has a range of other cultural activities including [ Peak Film Society] , an innovative new film club.

Glossop North End, the town's then professional football club, was the first football side in the world to play in, and register its strip as, all-white in colour, well before Real Madrid. The club were members of the Football league between 1898 and 1915. Glossop is one of the smallest towns in England to have had a Football League club.

Emergency service provision

Calls for service in the rural areas usually increase during the summer as the population is boosted by approximately twenty million visitors each year to the Peak District and its surrounds. Winter weather on the high ground around Glossop and Kinder Scout can also cause problems for traffic and residents.

State healthcare is provided for in Glossop and District by Tameside and Glossop NHS Trust. This NHS trust operates Tameside General Hospital, a foundation hospital, in Ashton-under-Lyne. The trust serves two separate communities because there are no district general hospitals (hospitals with Accident and Emergency Department) within the borough of High Peak, and patients would have to travel over 20 miles to another hospital within the county.The North West Ambulance Service provides emergency medical services for the town from its Chapel Street Ambulance Station.

When Glossop was granted Municipal Borough Status in 1867, the Watch committee elected to implement its own police force. Glossop Police remained independent until 1947 when they amalgamated with the Derbyshire Constabulary. The police station on Ellison Street is staffed by statutory Police Officers from B Division of Derbyshire Constabulary. It has a custody suite, five cells and an incident room. There are also a team of volunteer Special Constables and six Police Community Support Officers.

General fire and rescue cover is provided by the Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service. Specialised search and rescue services are provided by the volunteer Glossop Mountain Rescue Team, part of the Peak District Mountain Rescue Organisation. Their remit is to 'save lives in the mountains and moorlands' [ [ Glossop Mountain Rescue Team - whatwedo ] ] .

Twin town

*flagicon|GermanyBad Vilbel (Hesse, Germany)
Bad Vilbel is a spa town in the Wetteraukreis district of Hesse, Germany, 8 km northeast of Frankfurt.

In 1985 "The Glossop-Bad Vilbel Twinning Association" was established. Its aims are:

To promote and foster friendship and understanding between the people of Glossop and district and those of Bad Vilbel and district in Germany.

To encourage visits by individuals and groups to and from the linked towns, particularly by children and young people, and the development of personal contacts, and by doing so to broaden the mutual understanding of the cultural, recreational, educational and commercial activities of the linked towns. Source: The Glossop-Bad Vilbel Twinning Association

In 1987 formal twinning ceremonies were held in both towns, with a tree being planted in Norfolk Square. The Twinning Association arranges for visitors to stay with families. [ Glosssop / Bad Vilbel Twinning Association ] ] The two signatories of the charter were Cllr Catherine Holtom, the Mayor of High Peak and Herr Gunther Biwer , Bürgermeister of Bad Vilbel.

Literature and the media

Hilaire Belloc wrote about Glossop in a letter to a Miss Hamilton in 1909: "Do you know the filthy village of Glossop? It is inhabited entirely by savages. I tried every inn in the place and found each inn worse than the last. It stinks for miles. Rather than sleep in such a den I started walking back to Manchester with a huge bag...." [Speaight, R. 1957. Life of Hilaire Belloc. Farrar, Straus and Company, New York. cited in Smith, J.H. 2008. The WEA in Glossop 1907-2007. A Branch History. Workers' Educational Association, Glossop Branch. Glossop. ]

Glossop is mentioned in the satirical book, "England, Their England" by A. G. Macdonell. The town and its fictional newspaper, the "Glossop Evening Mail" are described as the lowest rung in the journalistic profession. In "The Meaning of Liff", by Douglas Adams & John Lloyd a "Glossop" is defined as a globule of hot food which lands on your friend's newly polished solid wood dining table, and in the radio show "Knowing Me, Knowing You... with Alan Partridge" the character "Lord Morgan" came from Glossop.

The cult television comedy "The League of Gentlemen" is filmed in neighbouring Hadfield. Students from Glossopdale Community College have appeared as extras in two shows. In one they were the audience to the Legz Akimbo theatre group in a play about homosexuality, and then they appears as German students on an exchange program with their teacher, Herr Lipp.

Notable persons

*John Aston (b. 1947) — former Manchester United footballer who currently lives in the town and works in the market. He won the European Cup under the management of Sir Matt Busby.
*Mark Berry ('Bez') (b. 1964) — a British dancer and percussionist; member and the mascot of Manchester band Happy Mondays.
*Eileen Cooper (b. 1953) — an English contemporary painter and printmaker best known for her stylised paintings of women or couples, often featuring animals (particularly tigers)
*Blessed Nicholas Garlick (c. 1555 – 24 July 1588) was an English priest, martyred in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
*John Goodall (1863–1942) — described as soccer's first star player
*Stuart Hall (b. 1929) — BBC Radio & Television Presenter
*Hilary Mantel CBE (born 1952) is a novelist [ [ Hilary Mantel Biography at British Council site] ]
*Paul Raymond (b. 1925-2008) — a billionaire English pornographer, property developer and owner of the Raymond Revuebar strip club and several major English erotic magazines such as "Razzle" and "Mayfair".
*Ludwig Wittgenstein (April 26, 1889 – April 29, 1951) — Lived in Glossop while studying and working at Manchester University.
*Dame Vivienne Westwood (b. 8 April 1941) — fashion designer famous for bringing punk and new wave fashions into the mainstream. She was born and lived in Tintwistle and attended Glossop Grammar School.



Sharpe, N. 2005. Glossop Remembered. Landmark Publishing: London.

External links

* [ High Peak Borough Council]
* [ Derbyshire Police]
* [ Glossop Advertiser (Local Newspaper)]
* [ Glossop Chronicle (Local Newspaper)]
* [ (Community Site)]
* [ (Community Site)]

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