Overton Silk Mill
Overton Silk Mill was built on the river Test in 1769 and was the first water- powered industrial silk mill to be built in the south of England, converting imported raw silk into thread for the silk weavers of Spitalfields in London. About 200 women and child apprentices were employed, the children starting work at about the age of six. In 1797 the hours were from 6 o’clock in the morning to 7 or 8 o’clock at night for six days of the week. The fortunes of the mill fluctuated with changes of fashion and variations in import and export tariffs during and after the wars with France. By 1848, it was no longer profitable and was completely demolished to pay creditors. By this time the workforce consisted predominantly of young women, many of whom found alternative work at the silk mill in Whitchurch.