Directions for those who know Stockport centre well:
Central Hypnotherapy is located in this lovely Georgian town house which once housed the old Market Offices until the building was refurbished in 2001. Merchants House, 24-25 Market Place, Stockport SK1 1EU is the postal address, but for locals it will be easier to place if we mention that we are next door to The Bakers Vaults, the well-known pub behind T.K. Maxx. (The local historians amongst you may know that there used to be a fort on that site in ancient times, which is why that spot is still named Castle Yard.) Next door to us on the other side is the Produce Hall, which locals often still refer to as either the hen market, the egg market or the cheese market. (I don’t know if it ever sold hens, but they’ve got some lovely stuff in there – pop in and have a look if it’s open.) *Update: I have now been reliably informed that live chickens were indeed sold there, within living memory!
The market area is often accessed on foot from the back end of the main shopping precinct, at the junction of Bridge Street and Great Underbank, where the Laura Ashley and Bank clothing stores are, up the steep hill with the Direct Fish store on the right. At the top, turn to the right and you will see the distinctive front doors of Merchants House.
Directions from Out of Town:
Motorway (M60) There are two exits for Stockport, Junction 1 and Junction 27. Surprisingly, these are very close to one another. Junction 1 is signposted ‘Town Centre’ and is near to the famous glass Pyramid which houses the Co-operative Bank. DO NOT EXIT AT JUNCTION 1. Directions from that end are too complicated.
Junction 27, adjacent to the alarmingly-huge Tesco store, is at the other end of Stockport centre, and as you leave the motorway here follow the signs that point towards the Town Centre. Driving up Great Portwood Street you will see the Peel shopping centre to your left. Straight across the mini-roundabout, and at the traffic lights turn left into Corporation Street. This soon brings you to another mini-roundabout at the junction of Corporation Street and New Bridge Lane. Go straight across, and notice the New Bridge Lane car park on your left, which is the best place to park. Slow down so as not to miss the entrance, hidden just around the left bend in the road.
Park up, don’t forget to Pay and Display! Then walk back to the mini-roundabout, noticing St. Mary’s church on the hill to your left. Walk up the road called Millgate, leading from the mini-roundabout to the front of that church. Opposite the church entrance is the old Victorian Market Hall, which is a bit ugly really but don’t tell anyone I said so because we’re supposed to be proud of it for some reason I can’t fathom. They’re doing it up at the moment, but they really should be knocking it down. They seem to be preserving it just because it’s Victorian, which isn’t really enough of a reason all by itself. Anyway, if you walk down the right-hand side of that garish monstrosity, you will notice how it is shamed by the beautifully-restored Staircase House Museum on the other side of the road.
*Update: They’ve finished doing up the Market Hall now and I have to say I take it all back! It looks really nice now, so I’m sorry I was rude about it. But it’s still a funny shape.
You are now approaching the square in which Merchants House can be found – just to the left of the Bakers Vaults pub you can already see up ahead.
Not by motorway:
Driving in I will return to in a moment, but if you head for Stockport centre by bus or rail the first thing you need to locate is the main shopping precinct known as Merseyway. The bus station is nearly opposite the front entrance to Merseyway, across Mersey Square, which unremarkable except for the fact that the River Mersey runs underneath it. Merseyway is in fact built over the top of the river, hence the name. The River Mersey actually begins in the centre of Stockport, at the confluence of the Tame and the Goyt, then goes all the way to Liverpool and out to sea. This is a very educational website, isn’t it? And you thought you were just getting directions.
If you come in by train, walk down the station approach to the T-junction with the A6 (Wellington Rd South) where there is unfortunately a MacDonalds. Ignoring MacDonalds as best you can, turn left onto the A6 and walk all the way down the hill. As the buildings on the right side of the A6 come to an end, you will see Merseyway shopping centre across the open space of Mersey Square – which really needs a statue, or… something. You’ll see what I mean when you get there.
If you walk into main entrance of Merseyway, you can wander right through the shopping centre, following a straight course to the other end, passing Boots and WH Smith on the right, Marks and Spencer and Woolworths on the left. *Update: Not Woolworths any more. Never mind – who ever shopped there anyway? * Now notice the “Master Chocolatier” eatery straight ahead… DON’T GO IN! Avert your eyes! Keep repeating to yourself: “I have a hypnotherapy appointment. I have a hypnotherapy appointment.”
Once safely past the chocolatier’s, you will come to a crossroads, where you will see Barclays Bank to your left and Laura Ashley to the right. Turn right there and walk past Laura Ashley on your left and then the Bank clothing store, which sits at the bottom of a steep rise. Walk up that hill, turn to the right and you are immediately beside the distinctive green-and-white front doors of Merchants House.
Driving in, but
scared of motorways not by motorway:
Whatever direction you are coming from, the key to locating Merchants House is to note that it is not at the A6 end of the shopping precinct, but the other end where ASDA and Sainsbury’s are. Market Place is really behind ASDA, and some of my clients just use ASDA’s car park, but it is just as easy to use the New Bridge Lane car park which is also out behind ASDA, and in front of the Matalan store’s own car park.
If you only know the A6 end of Stockport and don’t want to drive into unknown territory, there is a multi-storey car park opposite Debenhams (on the other side of the A6), then just walk in through Merseyway using the directions above.
Wherever you are parking, please bear in mind when you buy the ticket that you are likely to be with me for two hours – make sure you pay the right fee!