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Stockport was first recorded as "Stokeport" in 1170. The currently accepted etymology is Old English stoc, a market place, with port, a hamlet (but more accurately a minor settlement within an estate); hence, a market place at a hamlet. Older derivations include stock or stoke, a stockaded place or castle, with port, a wood, hence a castle in a wood. The castle part of the name probably refers to Stockport Castle, a 12th century motte-and-bailey first mentioned in 1173. Other derivations have been formed, based on early variants of the name such as Stopford and Stockford. There is evidence that a ford across the Mersey existed at the foot of the town centre street now known as Bridge Street Brow. Stopford retains a use in the adjectival form, Stopfordian, used for Stockport-related items, and pupils at Stockport Grammar School style themselves as Stopfordians. By contrast, former pupils of nearby Stockport School are known as Old Stoconians, perhaps from the Old English name for the town. The River Tame (left) and the River Goyt (right) meeting to form the Mersey The River Tame (left) and the River Goyt (right) meeting to form the Mersey Stockport has never been a sea or river port. The Mersey is not navigable to anything much above canoe size, and in the centre of Stockport has been culverted and the main shopping street, Merseyway, is built above it.  Early history There is sufficient evidence that a fortified stronghold existed in the vicinity in the time of the Ancient Britons, and that Agricola in AD 79 recognised its strategical advantages and fortified Stockport to guard the passage of the Mersey. After the Norman Conquest, it was ruled by a hereditary Baron of Stockport. The town was connected to the national canal network by the 5 miles of the Stockport branch of the Ashton Canal opened in 1797 which continued in use until the 1930s. Much of it is now filled in, but there is an active campaign to re-open it for leisure uses. The Stockport railway viaduct over the Mersey The Stockport railway viaduct over the Mersey The first borough charter was granted in about 1220 and was the only basis for local government for six hundred years. From the 17th century Stockport became a centre for the hatting industry and later the silk industry. Stockport expanded rapidly during the Industrial Revolution, helped particularly by the growth of the cotton manufacturing industries. However, economic growth took its toll, and 19th century philosopher Friedrich Engels wrote in 1844 that Stockport was "renowned as one of the duskiest, smokiest holes in the whole of the industrial area".  Recent history Since the start of the 20th century Stockport has moved away from being a town dependent on cotton and its allied industries to one with a varied base. It makes the most of its varied heritage attractions, including a national museum of hatting, a unique system of underground Second World War air raid tunnel shelters in the town centre, and a late medieval merchants' house on the 700-year-old Market Place.Plasterwork is one of the most ancient of building techniques. Evidence shows that the dwellings of primitive man were erected in a simple fashion with sticks and plastered with mud. The pyramids in Egypt contain plasterwork executed at least four thousand years ago, probably much earlier, and yet hard and durable, at the present time. From recent discoveries it has been ascertained that the tools of the plasterer of that time were practically identical in design, shape and purpose with those used today. For their finest work, the Egyptians used a plaster made from calcined gypsum just like plaster of Paris of the present time, and their methods of plastering on reeds resemble in every way our lath, plaster, float and set work. Hair was introduced to strengthen the material, and the whole finished somewhat under an inch thick.