A UNIQUE work of art has been donated to Whitchurch Silk Mill that reminds visitors about the weavers who helped to wind the silk for Lady Diana Spencer’s bridal gown in 1981.

The hand-drawn illustration of Diana Spencer in her wedding gown was done by Elizabeth Emanuel, one-half of the husband-and-wife team who designed Diana’s dress.

When Diana Spencer walked down the aisle in her bridal gown in 1981, few knew that Whitchurch Silk Mill's skilled weavers had helped to wind the silk for her dress.

In 1980 the Royal Family announced that Lady Diana's wedding dress would be made entirely from English Silk grown at Lullingstone Silk Farm.

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They produced the silk for Queen Elizabeth II for her coronation robes and her wedding gown in 1947.

When Lady Zoe Hart Dyke established the UK's first silk farm in Lullingstone in the 1930s, it had 30 rooms of moths with about 20 acres of mulberry bushes to feed them. It later moved to Sherborne in Dorset.

But her silkworms didn't produce enough for Diana's huge silk taffeta wedding dress, so some imported silk was used.

The English silk was taken to all the remaining silk mills in the UK to be wound, including the Whitchurch Silk Mill.

Stephen Walters & Sons in Sudbury, Suffolk, wove the raw silk into two 41metre rolls of fabric.

Whitchurch Silk Mill still has an exciting yarn to spin as it continues to wind, warp and weave silk taffeta on machinery dating from the Victorian period.

In the 1980s, the mill proudly celebrated its role in the national event by displaying a certificate and sample of silk in the mill's shop.

Unfortunately, these items were lost years ago.

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But a visitor to the mill, who has close connections to Elizabeth Emanuel, has helped bring back a part of history to Whitchurch.

Having moved by the story of the lost certificate and sample of silk, the visitor contacted Elizabeth.

Shortly after, Elizabeth gave the hand-drawn illustration to the mill.

This unique work of art is now on display in the riverside café in the Welcome Building.

Andover Advertiser: The illustration of Diana in her bridal gown done by Elizabeth EmanuelThe illustration of Diana in her bridal gown done by Elizabeth Emanuel (Image: Newsquest)