Macclesfield’s thriving silk industry earned it the moniker the Silk Town. In its early days the town was a button manufacturing hotspot, where a cottage industry saw local holly trees from Hollins wood combined with imported silk by women and children working from home. Later, Macclesfield would move into the preparation of the silk itself, key local figures taking advantage of the area’s good clean water supply to power industrialised mills that would remain key to the local economy for centuries.
Housed in a 19th-century art school, The Silk Museum takes visitors through this history, highlighting the technology and the economic innovations that enabled Macclesfield to thrive, but also looking at the social impact, and the lives of those living in the town; from the mill owners to the working class women, men and children who kept the mills running. A changing programme of events and exhibitions caters to all age groups, with a range of activities also on offer for visiting school children.
A changing programme of events and exhibitions caters to all age groups, with a range of activities also on offer for visiting school children.
A world away from Cheshire silk, the museum also houses a collection of artifacts from Ancient Egypt. Gifted by Victorian explorers Marianne Brocklehurst and Mary Booth, the collection includes a range of artifacts — including Tutankhamun’s ring, a well-preserved Shebmut Mummy case, and of over forty Shabti objects. In addition to the collections, visitors can also find souvenir from The Silk Shop, which features a curated range of quality gifts for you to take home.
The Silk Museum is owned by Cheshire East, the local council, and managed by the Macclesfield Silk Heritage Trust on their behalf. Along with Paradise Mill, it highlights the town’s links to the silk industry, illuminating and remembering local histories for visitors and residents alike. New tours of the Silk Museum are available on Wednesdays to Saturdays at 12pm, 1pm and 2pm, and the Museum is also open on the last Sunday of each month to coincide with the Treacle Market. Book here