Saturday, October 29, 2005

Silk Unravelled

The visit to Macclesfield was an eye opener. I find that to understand a building you need to understand the processes which are behind the building's original intent. Our original aim was to establish if some of the buildings in the Middleton Conservation Area were used for silk weaving. Here are a few interesting facts about the silk industry.

Silk weaving originated in China over 4000 years ago and was a closely guarded secret until the middle ages.

Canterbury was one of the earliest centres of silk weaving in England. Huguenot weavers settled there in the 1570's.

All silk processes were originally carried out by hand. The powered throwing of silk was introduced to England in 1718 at Derby.

Hand silk looms were common in England until the 1930's.


The buildings in the image on the right were originally silk weavers

cottages, with the top floor used to weave silk. Good light was needed thus the large windows. These buildings are at Paradise Street in Macclesfield. Some buildings were known as Garrets where the third floor rooms were accessed by a trapdoor or external staircase.

Please feel free to post a comment if you can add any more to the characteristics of silk weaving cottages.

No comments:


Custom Search