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Saturday, 1 June 2013


We slept like logs and I for one didn't wake up once after our long day and excitement of having visitors yesterday. When we finally got off we went to the Macclesfield Silk Museum. Macclesfield had turned in to a centre for silk in the 18th Century. It started with farmers etc making silk covered buttons for a bit of extra cash. The silk and wooden parts were sold to them by 'Chapman's'. The silk came from Spittlefields in London. It then progressed to 'throwing' the silk. The silk arrived in Macclesfield in skeins. The skeins were different colours depending on their denier. Mills were built just for this process which  the twinning of the threads together to make threads that can be used in weaving etc. This progressed to actually weaving which was done in Garrets (the top floor of house) on rented looms. This progressed to factories where the latest Jacquard looms were rented to them in the top floor of the factory. This moved on to the whole process, even the invention of machinery for the factories and the development and making of dyes and mordants for the thread. There were many ups and downs over the two centuries or more of the industry but it finally al but closed down in the eighties. There are still a couple of companies doing silk screen printing in the town though.

Macclesfield Art School now housing the Macclesfield Silk Museum.

The museum showed the history of and how the silk was produced from start to finish and then the industry in the town. Nextdoor is  Paradise mill that was built in the 1850's and produced silk items until 1981. The top floor is preserved as it was and provides a fascinating insight in to how the process was carried out. It showed how the Jacquard loom worked and led to the more complicated patterns being able to be produced. It was a guided tour which was well explained making it a great hour spent.

On the left the Art School that was mainly a design school for the silk industry and they won many prizes for their work. They were fully integrated with the industry so that everything was relevant to it. On the right is the Paradise Mill.

There was another museum too. This was the Heritage Museum but was still based on the silk industry as it was the heritage of the town. It is housed in the Sunday school. This is not a Church affiliated school, as you will see from it's size it is massive. Women and children made up a very large part of the workforce in the early days. Some children were half timers as the only worked half a week. The majority worked a full week and only had Sunday's off. They were then able to go to school and hence the Sunday School.

Sunday School Heritage Centre.

It was also very clear that the manufacturers in the town were great benefactors for the town providing just about everything that was required for the workers, from parks to hospitals. I suppose we have the health service etc these days. There were some lovely streets and buildings in the town too.

Church Street from Backwall Gate that leads down to Waters Green.

An example of a weavers cottage. The top floor was accessed by a ladder from the lower floor and the whole family would be involved in weaving the silk into cloth. The top floor was used so that there was plenty of light and the windows were larger too.

As you will know it is June 1st today. I have said for a while now that I would follow the Yorkshire rule that you should 'never cast a clout til May is out'. I hope there are no children looking at the blog as I would hate to scare them with the naked flesh of my legs!

We have done museums but there is still a couple of mills that we have to add.

This one is the Hovis Mill. It was built in Macclesfield on the canal in 1820's and was where the Hovis flour was milled. All you Pub Quiz fans may know that HOVIS derives from the Latin 'hominisunvis' that means 'power to the man'. Note the arch that gave canal boats access directly into the mill. It is now apartments.

Clarence Mill from the Bollington Aqueduct where we are moored tonight. This was a textile mill and now has been converted to industrial units.


  1. Never mind children, you scared me! Can you put a warning before the photo next time? LOL


  2. Sorry about that Ann. I am so used to wearing them that I forget the effect that they have on others. I will be wearing them until October now so you will be getting used to them I'm sure. Cheers for now Tony.
    PS what is the news about the house?