In the Silk Museum and Paradise Mill, see Macclesfield’s silk story brought to life through textiles, costumes, photographs and more. Discover why silk first came to Macclesfield and how it ultimately shaped the town we know today. Find out about the lives of the children, women and men who worked in the silk mills and discover how central a role the mills played in their lives in both work and leisure. Learn about Jacquard weaving and screen printing through the work of textile designers who trained at Macclesfield School of Art, the building which houses the Silk Museum today.
With over four hundred years of Macclesfield’s silk history to explore, there is something for everyone. We run lively workshops and family activities throughout the year, and with a changing programme of exhibitions taking place in the Silk Museum there is always something new to enjoy. We offer Silk Museum tours at 12pm, 1.15pm and 2.15pm on Wednesdays Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays which are pre-bookable at www.thesilkmuseum.co.uk or can be bought on arrival. The Silk Museum is free to enter and we welcome donations.
Marianne Brocklehurst’s Egyptian collection - come and find out about the lives of these fascinating people through the artefacts and inscriptions they left behind as you explore the oldest objects in our museums. Learn about the connection between silk and Egypt through the lives of Marianne Brocklehurst and Mary Booth, the two Victorian explorers who gave their collection of Ancient Egyptian artefacts to Macclesfield. With more objects on display than ever before – including Tutankhamun’s ring, our well preserved Shebmut Mummy case, a collection of over forty Shabti and other fascinating artefacts.
Macclesfield At War - find out about the crucial role that Macclesfield’s silk industry played in the Second World War, maintaining the vital supply of parachute silk. See our collection of silk ‘escape and evade’ maps used by the RAF. Maps were printed on silk during the war because of the durability and ease of concealing in soldiers’ clothing. At the end of the war when fabric was still rationed, soldiers returned home with maps and they were used to make clothing. Silk map dresses used 12 maps and are considered very rare. Macclesfield Museum is proud to display our silk dress along with maps, war memorials, parachutes and other artefacts.
Textile Machinery - we hold a variety of machines. At Paradise Mill, 26 iconic Jacquard Hand Weaving Looms are uniquely housed in their original positions, while the Silk Museum houses the more modern mechanised Smith Loom, Rapier Loom and Ribbon Loom, which made tags for Dr Martens boots. The collection also includes various other machines connected with weaving such as a card duplicator, used to make copies of Jacquard cards, and a silk throwing machine. You can see some of the machines demonstrated during tours of Paradise Mill or on Thursdays when our Machine Volunteers are conducting conservation work at the Silk Museum.
- Accessible equipment available for use or hire
- Changing places toilet
- Fully accessible disabled toilet
- Audible alarm system
- Clear signage throughout venue
- Visual alarm system
- Eco cleaning
- Net Zero pledge
- Recycling on-site
- Accessible by public transport
- On-site light refreshments
- Children welcome
- Facilities for educational visits
- Guided tours for groups
- Gift shop
- Guided tours for individuals
- Onsite Catering
- Accepts groups
- Coach parties accepted
- Contactless Payment Accepted
- Sole use of venue
- Senior citizens reduced rates
- Coach parties welcomed
- On street/public parking
- Visa/Mastercard/Switch accepted
- Public toilets
- Passenger lift
- School Trips
- Facilities for groups
- Free WIFI
- Building of historical interest
- Mini Coach Parties Accepted
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