Prominent Macclesfield historian Dorothy Bentley Smith has recently visited Japan to promote Macclesfield’s silk links and she met with local MP, David Rutley, to discuss her successful visit which forms part of the research into her forthcoming book.
Dorothy informed David that during her research, she discovered that Thomas Unett Brocklehurst, whose family ran a Macclesfield silk concern in the nineteenth century, visited Japan and the silk districts in Honshu during a world tour. This prompted Dorothy to follow in the footsteps of Mr Brocklehurst, whilst also catching up with long-term friends in Japan.
David was pleased to hear that Dorothy’s latest two-week trip was a success and that she had the opportunity to interview four professors at several significant silk sites. This included the Tomioka Silk Museum, which has now been given World Heritage status.
The visit allowed Dorothy to once again promote Macclesfield and its rich silk heritage, which David has continuously encouraged, writing letters of introduction for her previous trips including China. Each professor was gifted a copy of Dorothy’s Macclesfield tour guide, a leaflet and bookmark from the Macclesfield silk museum and a copy of her research so far on Japanese silk.
Dorothy’s journey also included visiting several temples, silk producing businesses and the harbour of Yokohama, where a flower festival was taking place. Dorothy is hoping that all the information she has collected will be included in another book in connection with the Silk Road, entitled ‘In Search of Silk’ focusing on her travels in China, Uzbekistan, India, Turkey and Japan. Dorothy is determined that not only England, but Macclesfield in particular will be given its rightful place on the world map for silk.
Speaking after the meeting, David said “I am very pleased to hear that Dorothy’s latest trip to Japan was a great success. Dorothy is a huge advocate for Macclesfield and its silk heritage and the work she has done to promote Macclesfield abroad is inspiring. I wish her continued success with her latest book, which I am sure will be another important addition to the history of silk.”