There's excellent news today for one of Audlem's premier attractions with the future of the Mill on Audlem Wharf about to be settled. British Waterways has received a number of bids to take over the empty Kingbur Mill which was run as a popular Canal Shop for many years but closed in September when John Stothert retired. The excellent news is that the Canal Shop will re-open, hopefully at Easter, in the hands of new proprietors Peter and Christine Silvester.
The Silvesters currently run a needlecraft business which specialises in embroidered canal scenes, Abacus Designs in Matlock, Derbyshire, and were suppliers to John Stothert. They have kindly contacted Audlem Online to describe their plans. They intend to devote the ground floor of the Mill to a canal shop along similar lines to its predecessor, with no change to the fabric of the building but with new fittings. The first floor will display canal art and they aim also to provide display opportunities for non-canal art by local artists. There will also be an emphasis on needlework, rag rugging and crochet, reflecting their current business which they established in 1993. Peter and Christine plan to live in the second floor flat.
The plans are still subject to the signing of contracts with British Waterways but the Silvesters have been told they are the successful candidates. There will be extensive renovation work on the building over the winter months and Peter and Christine then plan to be open for business at Easter. They expect to extend the opening hours during the busy summer months. They are also planning to run courses on needlework and, hopefully, link up with other local courses on, for example, canal art.
British Waterways have, it appears, found excellent people. Readers of Audlem Online will know that two local families, the Marshalls and the Haugheys, also bid for the Mill. They will naturally be disappointed but BW do appear to have the appeal of Audlem Wharf – we are told they consider it one of their finest canalside locations – at heart. That has to be good news for Audlem, its tourist appeal and the local economy.
We are sure the news that a Canal Shop will live on will be well received and Peter and Christine Silvester will be warmly welcomed to the village and its business and artistic community. They have told Audlem Online how excited they are with the news that they will be taking over the Mill, and they are keen to get involved in Audlem life.
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