Business as usual for silk mill museum
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.
●● Paradise Mill
●● Museum director Sue Hughes