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Page 2

Newsletter 126 Autumn 2019  © Hampshire Mills Group

 

Meeting Report, 14 June 2018

 

 

Alison Stott

 

Andy Fish

Eighteen members of HMG arrived at Whitchurch Silk Mill on a beautiful evening with the sun shining, for once, and after assembling on the first floor we were welcomed by Sue Tapliss, and introduced to our guide for the evening, Deborah.

We all stood on the lawn in front of the building while Deborah gave us a very good history of the mill. 

The twelve month closure has enabled many improvements to be made with better facilities for visitors, including a new café and shop.  They now host specialist exhibitions and also local groups, including a ‘young millers’ group and even ‘mini-millers’!  Deborah pointed out the clock which was installed to celebrate the victory of Wellington over Napoleon and which has been striking the hours ever since! 

 

On entering the mill a large glass panel enables the waterwheel to be seen.  After climbing up to the top floor Deborah explained the many processes involved in preparing the silk ‘skeins’ (which come from China), cleaning, winding  on to bobbins, and finally meeting the customers and deciding on the colours and type of silk that is wanted.  After all this the silk is dyed – usually in China but if not, in Suffolk! We progressed to the floor where the actual weaving takes place – the looms are all driven by electricity instead of the original water power, as the variable speed obtained by water power makes the finished product uneven.

Finally we watched a video of the looms working (very noisy!), and after thanking Deborah for such an interesting tour of the mill, we went up to the first floor meeting room where volunteers offered us very welcome refreshments.

-

Mariana Perry-Zoupanou

 

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