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.”
●● Paradise Mill