Beckford Silk

100 Reviews

Star Travel Rating

4/5

Review type

Things to do

Location

Date of travel

February, 2017

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Product country

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Reasons for trip

We picked up a leaflet about Beckford Silk from Wyck Hill House where we were staying for a couple of days and thought it was worth a visit.

When we arrived we found there was adequate car parking space and room for coaches.

The coffee shop caught our eye first, but it was rather busy so we headed straight for the Mill.

The business was started in 1975 by James and Marthe Gardner at their home in the centre of the village. Originally, it was their plan to make things by hand, in the countryside. The early years were spent in research and development and seeking potential markets. In 1978 James received his first large order from the National Trust. This helped Beckford Silk on the course of designing, hand printing and making exclusive textile accessories for the heritage market.

The business outgrew it’s village location and the site where it is today, was purchased and the main part of the building was built in 1989/90.

Beckford Silk moved into fashion printing in the mid 90’s. This involved new learning skills and techniques as well as needing new equipment. Customers included UK and Irish based fashion designers.

In 1998 – 2002, the difficult economic climate along with growing competition from low wage countries, forcing the company to temporarily withdraw from the market. However, it is once again back in fashion printing, working with new, young designers. Now, with age of digital printing, the business has been passed on to the second generation of the Gardner family. Daughter, Anne Hopkins began her career in The British Library design department and is now director of sales and design, and forms the link between the customer and the production team. Robbie Gardner took over his father’s role as production manager.

It was fascinating to see such a huge variety of silks and to sit and watch a video of how the prints are done. Especially interesting, was to see how to hand roll a scarf and stitch it – must try it!

We found two three boxes of ‘off cut’ silks which could be purchased for making scarfs, and small patchwork bags etc.

Open to visitors:
Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm.

So pleased we decided to visit, it was certainly something different and educating as well as interesting.

Caroline Hutchings

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