The Silk Museum

The Silk Museum is housed in the former Art School, which trained up artists and designers for the silk industry. It is now home to a fabulous introduction to Macclesfield’s silk story. Discover the mechanical processes of the Jacquard loom. Be inspired by the creative approach of the textile designers – including students’ work, block printing and our design archive. See the finished textiles in our costume collection, and our unique silk printed maps and parachutes from World War II.

Rediscover our Egyptian story as Marianne Brocklehurst’s Egyptian collection is currently on display at the Silk Museum, whilst essential work is carried out at West Park Museum.

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Park Lane, Macclesfield SK11 6TJ

Contact

01625 612045
[email protected]

Visiting times

Monday-Saturday, 10am-4pm
Open on Bank Holidays (except Xmas week), 12noon-4pm

Prices

Silk Museum entry is by donation, a ‘Give What You Can’ optional scheme.


Marianne Brocklehurst’s Egyptian collection

Marianne Brocklehurst’s Egyptian collection

Rediscover our unique Marianne Brocklehurst Egyptian collection in our new exhibition. With more objects on display than ever before –  including Tutankhamun’s ring, our well preserved Shebmut Mummy case, a collection of over forty Shabti and other fascinating artifacts.

Our museum tells the unique story of Marianne Brocklehurst, the daughter of a wealthy silk merchant. She was an intrepid Victorian female explorer from Macclesfield, who along with Mary Booth travelled and collected artifacts of predominantly female Pharoahs and Gods. She gifted her finds along with West Park Museum to Macclesfield.

The exhibition is a must for visitors both young and old – exploring the  everyday life, customs and beliefs of an ancient Egyptian civilisation.

 

 

Macclesfield at War

Macclesfield at War

Find out about the crucial role that Macclesfield’s silk industry played in the Second World War, maintaining the vital supply of parachute silk.  

See our collection of silk ‘escape and evade’ maps used by the RAF. Maps were printed on silk during the war because of the durability and ease of concealing in soldiers’ clothing. At the end of the war when fabric was still rationed, soldiers returned home with maps and they were used to make clothing. Silk map dresses used 12 maps and are considered very rare. Macclesfield Museum is proud to display our silk dress along with maps, war memorials, parachutes and other artefacts.

The Silk Museum also has a permanent display of War Memorials (formerly housed in Christ Church) commemorating the lives of 865 silk workers who lost their lives during the two World Wars.

Textile Machinery

Textile Machinery

Macclesfield Museums hold a variety of machines.

At Paradise Mill, 26 iconic Jacquard Hand Weaving Looms are uniquely housed in their original positions, while the Silk Museum houses the more modern mechanised Smith Loom, Rapier Loom and Ribbon Loom, which made tags for Dr Martens boots.

The collection also includes various other machines connected with weaving such as a card duplicator, used to make copies of Jacquard cards, and a silk throwing machine.

You can see some of the machines demonstrated during tours of Paradise Mill or on Tuesdays when our Machine Volunteers are conducting conservation work at the Silk Museum.

Charles Tunnicliffe: A Cheshire Countryman

Charles Tunnicliffe: A Cheshire Countryman

The Between Floors Collection features Charles Tunnicliffe: A Cheshire Countryman, works by the acclaimed artist.

Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe (1901-1979) was Britain’s foremost 20th century wildlife artist, renowned for his decorative watercolours of birds.  He is less well-known as a printmaker, but it is often in these pictures that the influence of his early life in Cheshire is revealed.

Born in Langley, Macclesfield, he lived and worked on the family farm at Sutton Lane Ends until he was 19 years old.  He studied at the Macclesfield School of Art (the building which now houses The Silk Museum) before receiving a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London.

The exhibition explores both his well-observed images of rural Macclesfield in the early 20th century and his later commercial successes.  He readily found work illustrating books and in advertising, most famously for Henry Williamson’s 1932 edition of Tarka the Otter.

This exhibition highlights a number of unseen and early works, including watercolours of Macclesfield and a self-portrait print.  His wife Winifred, whom he met whilst studying at the Royal College of Art, was also an artist and amongst the exhibits there is an example of one of her carved bookcases and a ceramic polar bear.

Pattern Books

Pattern Books

The Silk Museum is home to over 1,000 pattern books dating from the 1840s right up to the 1990s; from beautiful historic paisleys, to 1930s-50s kitsch designs and modern abstracts.

A selection of these can be viewed with a curator as part of our Group Tours offer.

Please contact the museum directly for more information by emailing [email protected]

 

 

 

Directions & Parking

Directions & Parking

The Silk Museum is located on Park Lane, Macclesfield SK11 6TJ. Call us on 01625 612045.

TRANSPORT

By Car
Less than 2 minutes walk is council run The Old Library car park, with 28 spaces, with 1 disabled space. Located on the corner of Park Green SK11 7NA.

Around the corner, less than 2 minutes walk, is Duke Street car park with 261 spaces, with 5 disabled spaces and coach bays.

There is free 1 hour on-street parking available directly outside the museum. Also suitable for coach drop off and collection.

By Bus
There is a stop 3 minutes walk away on Lord Street. Macclesfield’s Bus Station on Queen Victoria Street SK11 6LP is a 5 minute walk.

By Train
Macclesfield station, Waters Green SK11 6JP is an 8 minute walk away.

Access at The Silk Museum

Access at The Silk Museum

The Silk Museum is suitable for baby buggy/ pram, wheelchair, mobility scooter, crutches and zimmer frame users.

The main entrance to the museum has steps, but if you either call beforehand (01625 612045) or ring the bell to the side of the front door a member of our staff will open our disabled access entrance.

The ground floor is step-free throughout and there is a lift to the first floor. Please note, some of the Tunnicliffe exhibition on the stairwell cannot be viewed by visitors with limited mobility.

There is bench seating throughout the ground floor of the museum. We also have a wheelchair available if required. There are slopes throughout and a disabled access lift up to the first floor of the Silk Museum.

Admission for Carers

Free admission for carers – please ask at reception on arrival.

Accessible Toilet Facilities

We have two accessible toilets, including baby changing facilities, in the Silk Museum at ground level.

Assistance Dogs

We welcome assistance dogs wearing the relevant harness. Water bowls are available.

Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence

Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence

We’re very proud to have been awarded Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years – adding us to the elite Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence Hall Of Fame.

This is only awarded to museums and attractions that provide consistently outstanding experiences and whose team offer first-class customer service to their visitors.

Click here to see our Trip Advisor Reviews