Nestled at the far end of Hampshire is the little market town of Whitchurch, home to England’s oldest silk mill. A quiet corner tucked away from the weekend flurry of the tiny, bustling high street, it felt like a whole world away. We wandered through its beautiful gardens, falling in love with the peaceful surroundings and the pretty flowers sprouting along the borders.
Inside, the fully functioning mill powers looms adorned with silk fabrics, various works in progress paused for the weekend. One room featured a row of beautiful threads in every shade of the rainbow, neatly arranged in descending hues from blues and turquoises to delicate shades of seashell pinks.
Standing here amongst the textile machinery felt oddly calming and comforting, reminding me of my lovely grandma who was a seamstress with an eye for fabrics and a sewing machine as her trusty apparatus. Of all the places to feel close to her, I didn’t expect it to be in this tiny Hampshire town 800 miles from where I grew up. Yet here intertwined between the colourful silk fibres was a reminder so strong: a sentiment of closeness that’s hard to come by so far from home.
We finished our visit with a stop for cake and sandwiches at the Riverside Café, a blend of contemporary glass and wood in perfect harmony with the Mill’s redbrick facade. There was no time to feed the ducks (a sweet activity we missed out on) but with our Gift Aid annual pass, there’ll be a chance to return no doubt. With a last peek at the quaint cottages perched around the Mill, we waved goodbye to this wonderful piece of history.