Glossop - Gateway to the Peak
...at the foot of the Snake Pass
Let's Stay Peak District brings you our guide to Glossop, Derbyshire, one-time industrial centre on the edge of the Peak.
Dubbed as ‘the gateway to the Peak’, Glossop is an ancient settlement at the western end of the Doctor’s Gate Roman road, a route which was followed by the 1821 turnpike road known as the Snake Pass, now the A57.
This is one of the highest and most desolate roads in Derbyshire, passing between Kinder Scout and Bleaklow, and frequently receives mentions in winter weather reports when it is closed because of snow-drifts.
Old Glossop, on the eastern side of the modern town, still retains the air of the original old market town, and consists of some fine 17th century gritstone cottages grouped around the parish churchof All Saints (see below).
The modern town of Glossop owes almost everything to the enterprise of the Howard family, the major landowners during the first quarter of the 19th century.There is still some light industry in Glossop, but the former cotton mills set up by the Dukes of Norfolk have gone, and the town has reverted to the pleasant market town it was before the cotton trade and the Howard family made it a centre of the Industrial Revolution.
WHERE IS IT?
At the foot of the A57 Snake Pass, nine miles (14km) north of Chapel-en-le-Frith.
The original settlement at Glossop grew up around the Roman fort of Melandra, which is situated about a mile north-west of the present town centre on the edge of the vast Manchester overspill council housing estate at Gamesley. Dating from about 75AD, the fort was probably constructed to guard the trans-Pennine route between Navio at Brough in the Hope Valley and Manchester. Nothing now remains except the foundations, but the site commands a fine view east towards the trans-Pennine pass of Longdendale.
It was Bernard Edward Howard, the 12th Duke of Norfolk, who together with a number of other local entrepreneurs established the first cotton mills in Glossopdale. By 1831, there were no less than 46 mills in the town, and the industrial area to the west of Old Glossop became known as Howard Town, in recognition of the family’s influence. Road names such as Norfolk Square, Howard Park and Norfolk Street, still reflect this past ownership.
This was a time of enormous expansion and prosperity for the town, and the dignified Town Hall (built in 1838) in The Square in the centre of the town dates from this period. Two years earlier, the Duke had built the Roman Catholic church of All Saints in Church Terrace, in a severely neo-Greek style, with Tuscan pilasters and pediment.
The granting of the borough charter in 1866 marked the highpoint of Glossop’s prosperity, which lasted until the collapse of the cotton trade in the 1920s.
PLACES TO GO
The Parish Church
Only one arch in the north aisle of the Parish Church of All Saints is what remains of the original medieval church, which was extensively rebuilt in 1853 by the Duke of Norfolk, whose arms feature in the spandrels of the tower.
A short walk from the town centre is Manor Park, set in 60 acres of gardens, woodland and lakes, and offering crazy golf, putting, bowling and tennis, as well as a miniature railway and childrens’ playground.
Howard Park off Park Crescentis named after the Dukes of Norfolk and features the family emblem of symbolic stone lions and a statue to the memory of the Wood family, who donated the park to the town in 1888. Although smaller than Manor Park, it is equally pleasant, and features among other attractions an ornamental lake, an arid garden and a wildflower meadow. Howard Park is also the home of the beautifully-restored Victorian Swimming Pool.
The bustling town centre hosts an indoor market in the collonaded Market Hall every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
THINGS TO DO
A strenuous, but rewarding, outing from Old Glossop is the 8½-mile route ascending Bleaklow, at 2,076ft/633m, the second highest summit in the Peak, via Yellowslacks Brook and returning via Higher Shelf Stones and the ancient Doctor’s Gate Roman Road. This route should only be attempted by experienced and well-equipped walkers, competent with map and compass.
FOOD AND DRINK
Dowds Restaurant in High Street West (01457 855444) serves a evening menu which changes monthly and includes regular special offers, in an intimate atmosphere, while the Restaurant at 54 (01457 861054) further down High Street West specialises in modern European cuisine. If authentic Italian food is more to your taste, Va Bene in Norfolk Street (01457 863333) is worth a try, while the Kinnaree Thai Restaurant, also in High Street West (01457 865168) serves modern Thai cuisine in a first-floor restaurant. A good country-style café in the centre of Glossop is The Chocolate & Coffee Shop in Henry Street (01457 864604), offering home-cooked food, light meals and a huge array of homemade cakes and puddings.
The Bulls Head in Church Street, Old Glossop (01457 853291) is said to be the oldest pub in Glossop, and over the back door is a stone lintel which bears the date 1607. It is especially well-known for its “Rusholme curries”, prepared by chefs trained on the famous ‘Curry Mile’ in Manchester. Look out for Coronation Street stars and other celebrities tucking into dishes from its extensive menu.
Tourist Information Centres
Glossop Tourist Information Centre, The Heritage Centre, Bank House, Henry Street, Glossop, SK13 8BW; Tel: 01457 855920; open daily
Buxton Tourist Information Centre, The Crescent, Buxton SK17 6BQ; 01298 25106; www.highpeak.gov.uk; open daily
Public toilets and car park
In the town centre.
Doctors: Howard Medical Practice, Howard St, Glossop,(01457 854321); Manor House Surgery, Manor St, Glossop (01457 860860); Simmondley Medical Practice, 15a, Pennine Rd, Glossop, (01457 862305).
Hospitals: Shire Hill Hospital, Bute Road, Glossop, (01457 866021); Stepping Hill Hospital, Poplar Grove, Stockport, (0161 483 1010).
© Let's Stay Peak District
Last Updated: 15 Jun 2015