Busi­ness as usual for silk mill mu­seum

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON

MU­SEUM bosses say they will con­tinue their work show­cas­ing Mac­cles­field’s silk her­itage at Par­adise Mill af­ter the coun­cil backed out of buy­ing it.

The Ex­press re­vealed last month that Cheshire East is will not buy Par­adise Mill, a former silk mill and mu­seum on Park Lane which is home to some of Mac­cles­field’s her­itage silk looms.

It came af­ter ex coun­cil leader Michael Jones said in a meet­ing a year ago that he had al­most closed a deal with the mu­seum own­ers for Cheshire East to buy it in ex­change for the coun­cil’s Lyme Green site and an un­spec­i­fied amount of money.

He said the plan was to im­prove the mill, which is owned by pri­vate in­vestors and run by Silk Her­itage Trust, as a vis­i­tor at­trac­tion for Mac­cles­field.

But rep­re­sen­ta­tives for Cheshire East re­vealed no for­mal pro­posal ever came be­fore the coun­cil and the coun­cil is not in­tend­ing to buy the mill.

Now bosses from the Silk Her­itage Trust which runs the mu­seum have con­firmed to the Ex­press the de­ci­sion will not af­fect their ef­forts to keep the mill open to vis­i­tors.

Sue Hughes, mu­seum di­rec­tor for Mac­cles­field Mu­se­ums, said they will con­tinue to raise money to run guided tours for vis­i­tors to share in Mac­cles­field’s silk her­itage.

She said: “The pro­posal to pur­chase and de­velop Par­adise Mill came from Cheshire East Coun­cil and the Trust was not party to th­ese ne­go­ti­a­tions. The sit­u­a­tion for the Trust there­fore re­mains the same.

“The trust makes the loom floor ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic by guided tours as part of the silk her­itage offer and it is our in­ten­tion to con­tinue to do so.”

Mrs Hughes said the trust, which also runs the Old Sun­day School, Her­itage Cen­tre and West Park Mu­seum, is a char­ity which re­ceives 80 per cent of its in­come for Par­adise Mill from ticket sales, ca­ter­ing, re­tail, hires and char­i­ta­ble grants and do­na­tions.

Mrs Hughes said: “My fo­cus is there­fore on con­tin­u­ing to man­age the ser­vice to raise funds to put back into the mu­se­ums to en­sure that all of its sites and col­lec­tions are pre­served and are avail­able to the com­mu­nity and vis­i­tors into the fu­ture.”

Mean­while, the trust is work­ing on plans to cre­ate a new ex­hi­bi­tion for Mac­cles­field’s Egyp­tian col­lec­tion which is based at West Park. The Old Sun­day School was pro­posed as a venue.

Mrs Hughes said there was no fur­ther up­date on the project at this stage.

Si­mon Critchley

●● Par­adise Mill

●● Mu­seum di­rec­tor Sue Hughes

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