Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Whitchurch Silk Mill

Earlier in June I caught the train and went down to spend a few days with my other most cherished ones. On the Thursday the 'girls' decided to have a day out, and we went out to Whitchurch to visit the silk mill. We had the most picturesque drive along the Test Valley. The water powered mill is still busy weaving silks and special fabrics, and there is much to see over the three floors.

After the little one finished her morning nap in the car, we made our way from the car park, and spent the first five minutes or so watching the ducks and the huge trout. Izabelle was delighted by these. The chalk stream was so clear that even the smallest of fish were clear to see.

On the top floor there are lots of bobbins, winders, and swifts holding the fine silk yarn. I've taken many more pictures and can just marvel at the engineering and skill of all those involved in weaving to this standard.

On the second floor there was an exhibition of silk embroidery, and kimonos, but I think it was the view to the gardens below which held the most interest for the youngest girl.

Along the edge of the tea room, was a display of photographs, showing recent commissions for specialist silks. It pleased me that this was not just a museum open to the public, but a mill where craftsmen/women were weaving fabrics which are just breathtaking. The framed samples, and pictures showed costumes worn by Lady Sarah Hill in Garrow's Law, costumes worn in the series North and South, Miss Potter, Sense and Sendibility and The Aristocrats. I loved the Royal Blue Silk Moire Taffeta and other fabrics which were commissioned for the restoration of The Day Saloon of Queen Victoria's Railway Carriages.

After the visit we found a local tea shop where we had lunch. I had an excellent of bowl of fresh pea and watercress soup, which I have since 'replicated' and this is now in my soup repertoire as a firm favourite. Afterwards we explored the small town, and went a short walk passing another mill which is now a private house.

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