Paradise Mill

Come and join us for a self-guided tour on Sunday June 26. We’re opening to coincide with the fantastic, monthly Treacle Market which lines the streets of Macclesfield town centre.

No need to book,  join us for a look  around Paradise Mill. You will see what it was like working in a Silk Mill in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.. Home to the largest collection of silk Jacquard handlooms in Europe in their original setting, Paradise Mill remains unchanged since the last day it operated in the 1980s.

Paradise Mill : Open for Lookaround Tours – admission at 1.00pm, 1.30pm, 2.00pm, 2.30pm prompt on Sunday June 26th.

The lookaround tours take around 45 minutes

Adult £5.00. Child under 16 years free


Book a guided tour for an in depth exploration of the silk mill

Our expert guides take you around Europe’s largest known collection of Jacquard silk handlooms in their original setting. See all stages of the Jacquard silk weaving process from cocoon to the finished fabric, including a demonstration on one of our restored looms. This is a technology that laid the foundations for our digital age.

Tours start at the adjacent Silk Museum reception.

Book Tickets]


Step back in time and come on a video tour taster of this special place  

Paradise Mill Admission:

£11.00 Adult

£9.50 Concession

Under 16s are free

Wed, Thurs, Fri Tour Times:
11.30-12.30, 1-2pm

Saturday Tour Times:
11.30-12.30, 1-2pm, 2.15-3.15

Access to the mill is currently only by climbing stairs. We apologise for this. Please also note that in school holidays the tour programme changes as some slots are reserved for family activities. Please do book online if possible to avoid any disappointment.

“Unique, fascinating and utterly absorbing. Brilliantly presented too. A visit to Paradise Mill is not to be missed.”
“A brilliant place to visit. The guide brought it to life. Excellent tour and wonderful old mill with original looms. We discovered a real treasure.”


Paradise Mill – A Brief History

The present Upper Mill was built for silk manufacture around 1824. In 1862 during a slump in trade, the owner John Bagshaw, a cotton manufacturer, pulled down the neighbouring 18th century mill and built Lower Mill, which we know as Paradise Mill today.

During the second half of the 19th century, the mills were used by several silk and cotton manufacturers. In 1870, David Hooton and John Hockenhull, who already occupied the second floor for cotton weaving, bought the mills, and it was at this time that the term Paradise Mills was first used. By now the cotton industry in Macclesfield was declining, and from 1891 the mills were used exclusively for silk. One of the more notable tenants was James Kershaw, whose firm was well known for the richness of design and variety of fabrics; “He produced nothing but new style, and in less than six months had at least 100 looms in full work”, using new modern machinery. By 1891 the mills were exclusively used for silk manufacturing.

In 1912, Arthur Cartwright and Percy Sheldon, both designers and from families traditionally connected with silk, formed a partnership and rented rooms at Paradise Mills. By 1920 they bought both mills for £6,000. As well as having old looms repaired and new ones made, they bought six second-hand looms and Jacquard machines from J & F Jackson of Sutton Mills in Macclesfield. By the 1930s some 70 looms were in use on the top floor of Lower Paradise Mill, where there is sufficient headroom in the roof space. Cartwright and Sheldon remained owners and principal occupants until 1981 when the firm went into liquidation. In 1983 work began to restore the machinery to working order, with the idea of opening a working museum where silk could again be woven on the old handlooms.


Group Tours

We have a range of options for group visits to The Silk Museum and Paradise Mill, which we can tailor to fit your needs.

Visit our Groups page for more information. or call our Booking Department on 01625 612045 Wed – Fri 10-4pm and speak to a member of our friendly team.

Access at Paradise Mill

Paradise Mill is a listed industrial building accessed only via three flights of stairs, totalling 49 steps with no wheelchair access available.

There’s no rush, take your time to climb the staircase and we have seating dotted around the mill and there’s also a toilet there if needed.

The floor boards of Paradise Mill are also uneven, so care is required while walking around the mill.