The wool trade is a well-known factor of English life and English history and most people will have visited a woollen mill at some point to find out how the wool goes from the sheep to a jumper on our backs.
A lesser known old cottage industry was silk. The Chinese managed to keep the mystery of silk to themselves for many centuries; the secret eventually got out and silk mills popped up all over the Cotswolds. The one in Broadway has disappeared but just down the road is Beckford Silk.
Beckford Silk has an impressive gallery and shop. There is a display of printing blocks together with samples of the different types of silk with an invitation to touch them – they are wonderfully tactile and I didn’t realise how many materials came from silk. You can learn about the history of silk both worldwide and locally in the Cotswolds.
There are also guided tours so you can see how the printing and dyeing of the silk is done. The scarves are still finished by hand by local craftspeople before returning to the shop to add to their colourful display of scarves, ties and clothing. For those brave enough to be able to handle silk, the haberdashery has a wonderful selection of fabrics to choose from.
And after browsing the shop, how about a welcome cup of tea at their Coffee Shop!
Beckford Silk is about 8 miles from Broadway. Apple Tree House B&B makes an excellent base to visit Beckford Silk and the many other attractions of the Cotswolds. Give us a call on 01386 853681 or see www.appletreebroadway.co.uk for more information and availability.