Casual day on the Quantocks, 1880s version.
Traveling can be a lot of fun but there’s a lot of planning involved and calculation that goes into it and our most recent trip is no exception. So what motivated our trip to the UK? Well, besides a basic desire to get out and see the world again now that the threat of COVID was diminishing, we’ve always had a soft spot for the UK, its rich history, and a wide variety of historical sites. But even more importantly, we’d been invited by some good friends to participate in their ten-year wedding anniversary celebration with a late 19th Century theme. We simply couldn’t say no and thus began the months-long planning process for us. 😄
Up until our departure date, there were a lot of tasks that needed to be accomplished and while the process could be exhausting, the end result was well worth it.
After a very smooth flight on a half-empty Virgin Atlantic airliner, we arrived at Heathrow rested and raring to go. We felt confident enough driving on English roads (which can be very challenging for foreigners such as us) and this would afford us the opportunity to take in a lot of remote sites off the normal tourist paths.
And we were greeted by these wonderful views of London…this was the closest we got to London on this trip (visiting London itself will have to wait until another trip).
After enduring the various immigration formalities and collecting our baggage, it was off to the West Country…
Fortunately, our trip started down the M-4 Motorway so our re-acquaintance with English roads was a gradual one…
Stay tuned for more…
In contrast to the blogging of our prior trips, we’re going to blog our recent trip to England one somewhat out of order but it should still make sense (hopefully). So sit back and relax… 😄
While we were in England, we had a chance to visit the Whitchurch Silk Mill. Located in the town of Whitchurch in Hampshire, the mill was constructed from 1813 through 1815 by Henry Hayter on a plot of land called Frog Island. Taking advantage of the nearby River Test, the mill’s looms were powered by a waterwheel (today, the looms are run off of electric motors).
Since its initial construction in the early 1800s, the mill has had a number of owners and today it’s a public site managed by the Whitchurch Silk Mill Trust. Interestingly enough, silk is still produced here by commission, mostly for film and television productions. Below are some pictures of the machinery:
We couldn’t get any good pictures of the looms themselves so we found some images online:
One of the most interesting aspects of the mill were the looms and they even had two small ones that were set up for visitors such as ourselves to try out 😄:
The most compelling thing about the mill was that we were able to see how a typical silk mill might have looked (the looms you see date from the 1890s and later). Moreover, looking at the looms, one can instantly understand why the selvage widths of period fabrics were narrow- older looms simply were not as big as the massive ones now commonly used.1Admittedly an “Oh wow!” moment for us. We’re still processing the whole experience but the one major takeaway is that we have a deeper appreciation of how silk fabric was manufactured.
We’re back from England and recovering from the jet lag. 😄 While it was a fun near-two weeks, we’re glad to be home- it’s probably the longest time we’ve been away from the atelier in a long time. We apologize for the long silence here on the blog but the WordPress App on the mobile phone is difficult to use and error-prone so things have had to wait. 😄
Overall, it was an amazing trip and we visited all manner of interesting places and learned some new things- it’s been some 20 months since we were last in the UK and it was a relief to be able to return there and visit with our friends. We’ll be posting updates as we sort through all the pictures we took as well as others that our friends sent us- please bear with us as we slowly get caught up. 😄