Well, well, well ?
A few hours up the canal from the silk town of Macclesfield is the remarkable community of Bollington. Despite its proximity to the larger town its mills produced cotton, not silk which surprised me. There are still two mill buildings and both are in use - not cotton production however.
Adelphi Mill is mixed commercial development.
The more impressive Clarence Mill has apartments on the top two floors and commercial units below. These include a cafe, offices, a community radio station and a study centre. This is run purely by volunteers and is open Wednesday afternoons and at weekends. They have a computer archive of 5000 photographs all indexed and is popular with local families who can trace photographs of relatives in old school photos etc. They also produce leaflets and maps of six Nostalgia Walks. Compared with Saltaire where there is not even a tourist information office this is a phenomenal and laudable achievement. (see blogs around June when we were in W. Yorks)
The town which is bisected by the Macclesfield Canal embankment courtesy of Thomas Telford and William Crosley is no less remarkable. Behind the MOT garage is an Aladdin's cave called the Bridgend Centre. It comprises a charity shop with shelves of reasonably priced books in alphabetical order, toys, haberdashery, and the usual clothes and bric-a-brac; an internet cafe and a general meeting place; all housed in rambling rooms leading you from one delight to another. When we visited there were children playing on the floor with toys, parents chatting and others browsing.
There is much more to this town than I have room to describe but the feeling of a community which is proud of its past and confident in its future is evident.
On Sunday, we caught the end of the well-dressing exhibition which is also remarkable as there are no wells.