Stockport in the 16th century was known for the cultivation of hemp and rope manufacture. In the 18th century the town had one of the first mechanised silk factories in the UK. Stockport's predominant industries of the 19th century were the cotton and allied industries. Stockport was also the centre of the country's hatting industry which by 1884 was exporting more than six million hats a year 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 WWII air raid tunnel shelters in the town centre, and a late medieval merchants' house on the 700 year old Market Place Local historian Roy Westall has used 180 black and white photographs and maps to produce an intriguing and attractive history of Stockport.