Tourist aim as silk mill buy­out se­cures her­itage


AN old mill could be­come a ma­jor visi­tor at­trac­tion af­ter coun­cil bosses re­vealed they are set to buy it.

Coun­cil bosses an­nounced this week they are in the fi­nal stages of buy­ing Par­adise Mill on Park Lane from its cur­rent own­ers.

The mill was built in about 1860 and formed a ma­jor part of Mac­cles­field’s silk in­dus­try. It was op­er­ated for most of its life by Cartwright and Sheldon silk weavers who made mainly ties un­til pro­duc­tion stopped in the 1980s.

The looms used to weave silk thread into fab­ric have re­mained on the top floor of the mill and visi­tors are able to en­joy tours to view the his­toric ma­chin­ery.

Now coun­cil bosses hope buy­ing the mill will mean they can make it more of a visi­tor at­trac­tion to celebrate the town’s silk her­itage. They also hope the build­ing could be used by silk pro­duc­ers and other mak­ers who are still op­er­at­ing in the town.

Coun­cil leader Michael Jones said: “We are in the fi­nal stages of pur­chas­ing Par­adise Mill.

“This in­cludes the fan­tas­tic work­ing looms on the top floor.

“It al­lows us to re­tain those looms and is an op­por­tu­nity to pro­mote our silk her­itage, as well as pro­vid­ing a base for those work­ing in the silk in­dus­try now.

“This is good news for silk in Mac­cles­field.”

Par­adise Mill con­tains 26 Jac­quard looms, named af­ter the spe­cial way they weave the fab­ric.

On Fri­day, an ex­hi­bi­tion of fash­ion by An­drea Zapp inspired by Par­adise Mill us­ing im­ages of the ma­chin­ery was launched at the Silk Mu­seum.

The dresses, scarves and ties – printed at RA Smart in Bolling­ton – will go on sale at Sel­fridges depart­ment store.

Sue Hughes, di­rec­tor of the Silk Her­itage Trust which runs Par­adise Mill, as well as the Her­itage Cen­tre, Silk Mu­seum and West Park Mu­seum, said: “We’ve had a lot of in­ter­est in the mill re­cently, with the fash­ion col­lec­tion. And the BBC was here film­ing for a pro­gramme be­cause the Jac­quard looms were in­spi­ra­tion for early com­put­ers.

“The build­ing is listed be­cause of the loom floor and if the coun­cil buys it we hope this would se­cure its fu­ture, give an op­por­tu­nity for restora­tion and make it more ac­ces­si­ble to more peo­ple.

“The area around Par­adise Mill was al­ways des­ig­nated as a cul­tural quar­ter. This could be great news for Mac­cles­field and its her­itage.”

Si­mon Critch­ley

●● Par­adise Mill

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