For the last couple of days we have been camped in Steven Cousin Gleny’s driveway in Bury (just North of Manchester) catching up with relatives who we cannot visit very often.
Today we went on a family outing to Historic Macclesfield about 1 hour drive SE of Bury. Macclesfield was the centre of the silk weaving industry in Britain for many years. The towns first water powered mill was built in 1774. The silk town story is presented across three of Macclesfield’s historic buildings. Two of which we visited on this trip, The Silk Museum and Gallery and the Paradise Mill.
We learned the story of silk at the silk museum and enjoyed a pleasant lunch. A short walk took us to the Paradise Mill where a tour of the mill was waiting for us to arrive. This Tour turned out to be a real treat and well worth the visit. The Paradise Mill was built in 1860 and was weaving silk on hand operated looms right up until 1981. The commercial process of silk making is highly complex and labor intensive The practical demonstrations of some of the weaving looms and bobbin winding machines were fascinating.
The mill has been restored to look as it would in the 1930s. The knowledgeable guide demonstrated the intricate processes of weaving and operated the machinery including the Jacquard handlooms. Steven has wanted to see how these machines operated for years and was not disappointed and asked a lot of questions to better appreciate the brilliant inventions and mechanical ingenuity of the punch card pattern system while retaining a hand operated loom to produce the finest specialty ties to be sent to America.
Dinner this evening was from the nearby ‘Chippy’ for English fish and chips. The fish was great although the batter is a lot oilier than Steven remembers, or perhaps is it just that his tummy is just getting older?
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2500 silkworms are required to produce a pound of raw silk.
We nw have a silk worm (Silky) residing on the dash of the MH.