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Stockport is situated in Greater Manchester 11 km southeast of the Manchester city centre, where the Rivers Goyt and Tame meet to comprise the River Mersey.

The original settlement was located on the southern slope of a gorge where the two rivers meet to form the Mersey and the original charter was granted in 1220. This charter gave the small village of 1,260 people rights, including the right to hold weekly markets and an annual fair. Medieval Stockport ‘s most important industry was weaving cloth. From the 16th century, the local product was hemp, which was used for the making of rope.

In 1718, one of the first mechanized silk factories in the British Isles was located in Stockport. From the 17th century, hat-making was the leading export, and by 1885, more than six million hats were exported annually from the local hat makers. The Industrial Revolution spurred wild growth during the early 1800s. Stockport experienced some economic setbacks in 1844 after the philosopher and revolutionary socialist Friedrich Engels publicly called Stockport “one of the duskiest, smokiest holes" in the whole of the industrial area”.

The last of Stockport’s hat works closed in 1997. The importance of the industry, however, now lives in the Hat Works, a museum in Stockport documents that importance.

Today, the main products from Stockport include plastics, food processing, and electronics.



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