A HISTORIC silk mill in Whitchurch is toasting its success as it announced receiving funding of more than £1.5 million.

Whitchurch Silk Mill has received a confirmed grant of £1.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Preserving the Fabric project.

The project aims to regenerate the Grade II* listed Georgian gem and is only one of four working silk mills in the country and the only one open to visitors.

Sue Tapliss, mill director said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support.

“The 200-year-old building will be conserved under the plans, with access improved for visitors.

“It’s great to know that we are a step closer to preserving the mill for another 200 years.”

The mill will see urgent repairs to its bell tower, roof and wheelhouse and essential conservation to the late 19th and early 20th century machinery carried out, so that the mill can continue to weave silk.

An educational programme and new exhibition and learning spaces have also been planned to help make the building more welcoming to the public.

The building will also be made accessible to all by installing a lift to the middle and top floors.

The shop building adjacent to the mill will also be extended to relocate the café at street level, while a new generation of weavers and tacklers will be trained to ensure the skills necessary to operate the mill survive.

Stuart McLeod, head of HLF South East said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, this fascinating story of silk weaving and water power on the banks of the River Test in Hampshire will be brought to life and preserved for all.

“The team at the mill will be able to achieve their vision to transform Whitchurch Silk Mill into a self-sustaining, living, industrial heritage site that weaves silk and enthrals everyone who visits.”