What do a 200-year-old mill and the British Museum have in common?
Whitchurch Silk Mill has joined the world-famous London destination as an accredited venue after impressing with its plans and archiving activities.
The accreditation for the watermill, which sits on the River Test, is handed out by Arts Council England, which sets agreed standards for museums nationwide.
“It’s been a long-held ambition to get Arts Council accreditation and it’s a remarkable achievement for a small mill to join the likes of the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) and the British Museum in the scheme,” said Christine Beresford, chairman of the mill’s trustees.
The news comes on the back of the mill receiving a multi-million pound injection of Heritage Lottery funding for an extensive regeneration and development of the Georgian buildings and Victorian machinery.
It will also enable more improvements to facilities and make the mill an even more popular and accessible attraction for all.
The mill’s archives and photographs have all been painstakingly sorted to create an accurate and detailed historical record. The next step is creating digital copies of the photos along with silk sample records allowing easier access to some of the mill’s most popular designs.
Ms Beresford said: “We couldn’t have done it without the help of our many volunteers, so we owe them a big debt of gratitude.
“The Silk Mill has played a large part in the history of Whitchurch for 200 years and many local families have historical connections.
“It’s always our aim to involve the local community in the mill’s activities.
“Our plans for regeneration and redevelopment will help the prosperity of the town and see it firmly placed on the map,” she added.