Stockport is a large town in Greater Manchester, England. It lies on elevated ground on the River Mersey at the confluence of the rivers Goyt and Tame, 6.1 miles (9.8 km) southeast from the centre of Manchester. Stockport is the largest settlement of the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport, and has a population of 136,082, the wider borough having 281,000.
Historically a part of Cheshire, Stockport in the 16th century was a small town entirely on the southbank of the Mersey, and known for the cultivation of hemp and rope manufacture and in the 18th century the town had one of the first mechanised silk factories in the British Isles. However, Stockport's predominant industries of the 19th century were the cotton and allied industries. Stockport was also at the centre of the country's hatting industry which by 1884 was exporting more than six million hats a year. In December 1997 the last Stockport hat works closed. The town's hatting heritage is preserved at 'Hat Works – the Museum of Hatting'.
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. In 1967, the Stockport Air Disaster occurred, when a British Midland Airways C-4 Argonaut aeroplane crashed in the Hopes Carr area of the town, resulting in 72 deaths among the passengers and crew.
In recent years, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council has embarked on an ambitious regeneration scheme, known as Future Stockport. The plan is to bring over 3,000 residents into the centre of the town, and revitalise its residential property and retail markets, in a similar fashion to the nearby city of Manchester. Many ex-industrial areas around the town's core will be brought back into productive use as mixed-use residential and commercial developments.