Hereford & Worcester

Kidderminster Museum of Carpet 'preserves skills'

Museum of carpet
Image caption Around 20 campaigners have worked to fund and open the museum on the former Stour Vale Mill site

A museum dedicated to the history of Worcestershire's carpet industry has been opened.

The Carpet Museum Trust were given £1.7m of lottery funding to set up the Museum of Carpet on the old Stour Vale Mill, Kidderminster.

The mill, put up in 1855, was originally built as a carpet factory.

Former factory worker and carpet historian Melvyn Thompson said: "The museum is vital. We're preserving machinery and also preserving skills."

At its height, he said the industry boasted 25 factories and employed about 15,000 people.

Now there are five factories employing around 500 people.

Some of the 20 volunteers, many of whom were former factory workers in the area, have worked for up to 30 years to fund and equip the factory.

Mr Thompson said it featured mechanical looms and volunteers had been trained up to do demonstrations on two working hand looms in the museum.

Mark Garnier, MP for the Wyre Forest, said he was in the process of setting up an All Party Parliamentary Carpet group.

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