The Great Whaley Water Uprising of 1887

Triggered by anniversary reports of the Kinder  Mass Trespass at Hayfield in the 1930s, contributors to the Forum of this website have been recalling the Whaley Bridge Water Uprising – another trespass – but much further back in time. 

While the Kinder Trespass ultimately changed the law on access to the mountains – and created the way for the Peak District National Park – Whaley’s trespass has slipped into history.

But there remains a memory of this vivid page in local history.  In 2006, at the Whaley Water Weekend, local children took part in a stage re-enactment of the Uprising.

Up to 40 pupils from local primary schools took part in the dramatisation. 

The local children involved in the renactment

Helen Chapman, who at the time ran Role Play Theatre Workshop in Whaley Briodge, scripted the story of the near-riot and the court case that followed, giving victory to the people.  They had defied the London and North Western Railway’s attempt to block access to their only water supply, a well. Local millowner Adam Morten took the railway company to court – and won. 

The musical play, with a David and Goliath theme, told the story throughflashbacks.  The children played the parts of rebellious Whaley Bridge folk or the police and bowler hatted railway representatives caught up inthe uprising.  The performances in the Mechanics’ Institute was well received.

evening all !


  Pictures with this report show local children in 2006 rehearsing for the ‘world premiere’.  Click on the Forum link  to read full accounts of the court case. or go to