Whitchurch Silk Mill Trust

Hanging by a thread

Whitchurch Silk Mill, like so many important cultural and historic gems across the country, has been hit hard by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has rocked the world since the start of the year.
raised of £200,000 target
by 138 supporters
RCN 900621

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Whitchurch Silk Mill, which has been weaving for more than 200 years, contributing to the work of major designers from Burberry to Ede & Ravenscroft and providing silks for interior design, film and theatre. Today, we continue to produce striking fabric but also contribute to the UKs artistic heritage by training weavers and educating people about the history of weaving, along with encouraging creativity in all ages through an active programme of arts and crafts workshops.

The Mill has historically played a central role in Whitchurch, and still does today. Its a vital resource, providing a hub for the local community; a place for forging friendships, providing employment for residents, and preserving the history of the town.

In 2017/18 the Mill was closed for a year for major refurbishment and improvement, helped by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and since reopening has seen an increase in visitor numbers and received great visitor ratings. But like so many important cultural and historic gems across the country it has been hit hard by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Two periods of national lockdown and government restrictions have meant a drastic reduction in visitor numbers with little hope of this improving until the pandemic is behind us.

We have found creative ways of keeping the Mill alive to local people and future visitors, offering online education, workshops and demonstrations, and making available digital resources for teachers and families.

We have been fortunate to benefit from some emergency funds and government schemes, and are delighted to have been awarded a Culture Recovery Fund Grant. However, the reality is that the closure of the Mill for more than a third of the year, combined with a severe reduction in income across the Mill, shop, and café, means that we are now at the brink of a major crisis literally hanging by a thread. Our current estimate is that there are only sufficient funds to meet the Mills running costs until the spring of 2021, and to do essential repairs to the waterwheel (damaged by spring floods).

We are therefore, reaching out to you now to ask if you would consider supporting Whitchurch Silk Mill with a donation and to help secure this irreplaceable and nationally significant creative resource for future generations.

About the charity

Whitchurch Silk Mill is a working museum, the last example in Britain of a silk mill that is still weaving silk using historic machinery, and in its original building, a Grade Two* listed Georgian watermill on the banks of the River Test in Hampshire.

Donation summary

Total raised
+ £717.50 Gift Aid
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