Whitchurch’s historic silk mill has received hundreds of thousands of pounds from the government to help it survive the Covid-19 pandemic.

The mill was built in 1813 by Henry and William Hayter, and over the years, has produced silk for a range of uses, including the fashion house Burberry and academic gown makers Ede & Ravenscroft. The mill reopened in 1990 as a museum, before a major renovation in 2018.

However, like many museums, the pandemic posed “challenges” to the silk mill and so an application to the government’s Culture Recovery Fund was made. This has now been approved, with the mill receiving £131,550 in the first round.

This money forms a part of over £275 million in grants from the fund, which has been invested in 1,385 venues in order to protect vulnerable heritage and cultural sites from the impact of the pandemic across the country. Overall, the fund is worth £1.57 billion.

In a statement, the Mill said: “Thanks to the Government's Culture Recovery Fund we can keep delighting every visitor and keep the art of silk weaving alive at Whitchurch Silk Mill.

£We are delighted to announce we have been awarded £131,550 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help us face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure we have a sustainable future.”

MP for North West Hampshire, Kit Malthouse, welcomed the news, and urged communities to support their cultural organisations at this time through donations or purchases to help negate the impact of the pandemic and preserve our treasured history.

He said: “The government is determined to protect our cultural heritage from the pandemic and I’m delighted by this grant to the Silk Mill. I’ve visited the Silk Mill on a number of occasions and I highly recommend their silk scarves to anybody looking to buy a gift this Christmas season – my mother is a very happy recipient of one.

“The Silk Mill is an iconic local landmark that recently won a Trip Advisor Travellers Choice Award because of the outstanding experience it brings to all who visit it, I couldn’t imagine our area without it and I encourage everyone to support the Silk Mill where possible.”

The UK’s Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said:

“As a nation it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past. This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounce back post Covid.”