Originally Posted by Manton
Macclesfield is a parish in the north of England where French Hugenot weavers settled after Louis XIV revoked the Edit of Nantes and kicked them out of France. *It has been a center of woven silk manufacture for many years.
When refering to ties, "Macclesfield" refers first to a tie made from silk woven in that parish. *It has also come to mean any similiarly woven silk, no matter where it is made. *Traditioanally, Macclesfield silk is made in tight woven patterns, with relatively small designs. *The most common Macclesfields are indeed black and white or black and silver, but that's not a requirement. *They are perhaps the most common because in England and a lot of Europe these are (or used to be) considered the "correct" wedding tie for wear with a morning suit (turn down collar shirt only) or dark lounge suit. *This practice of having all groomsmen dress identically is a fairly recent American invention. *So a well-dressed Englishman or European used to have a few such ties for weddings, christenings, and other "happy" formal occasions.
There is another parish called Spitalsfield, which is in East London, where they make (or used to make) a similar kind of woven silk. *Traditionally, a Spitalsfield design has a larger scale than a Macclesfield.
Spitalsfields is (or at least it used to be) the site of London's largest green market. We took a walk through thirty years ago and the area was quite destitute - very Dickensesque. I beleive it was a ghetto in the 18th century for Huguenot weavers...