Records of Blockley Silk Mill

Scope and Content

Accounts. One of the volumes of accounts contains a loose undated letter from a J. Smith to a Mr J. Westmacote. This letter has been annotated in different hands suggesting a date of 1830-40 and proposing the correspondents to be James Smith, silk throwster to John Westmacott, silk throwster, Blockley.

Bentley's Directory of Worcestershire for 1840 lists three silk throwsters by the name of Westmacott: Westmacott, John and Brothers Westmacott, Richard Westmacott. Robert Eyre's A Guide to Blockley in the county of Worcester includes a census of the parochial population at January 1827 which also includes details of occupations. This lists Martin Westmacott, a silk throwster, Mary his wife and sons, John, Thomas and Richard.

Administrative / Biographical History

The silk trade flourished in Blockley in the 18th century and was an important source of employment. According to A Guide to Blockley in the county of Worcester by Rev. W. T. Eyre (1827), the throwing of silk was the particular branch of the trade established in Blockley (an intermediate step between the raw silk state and the manufactured state). The first silk mill was erected there in about 1700 and in 1827, there were eight mills. When the prohibition on importation of silk was lifted in the later 1820s, the trade became much less prosperous and the trade in Blockley had disappeared by the 20th century. This collection relates to a Westmacott family silk mill - possibly the one listed in Bentley's directory under the name Westmacott, John and Brothers.

Reference: Deposit file.

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

This collection was purchased in 1970.

Other Finding Aids

See full catalogue for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Further deposits are not expected.

Corporate Names