Zoe Dyke

Zoe Dyke (6 February, 1896 – 12 February, 1975) was a British pioneer of British sericulture. The silk created in her businesses has been used by British Royalty including the wedding dresses of Queen Elizabeth II and Diana, Princess of Wales.

Zoe Dyke
with silk cocoons
BornMillicent Zoe Bond
6 February, 1896
Died12 February, 1975
Herne Bay
NationalityUnited Kingdom


Millicent Zoe Bond was born in Leyton but by the age of four she was living in Poole in Dorset where she developed an interest in silk worms. Her parents were Eliza Josephine and Dr. Barnabas Mayston Bond. She attended St Paul's Girls' School and in 1912 she went to a college in Paris.[1]

In 1922 she married Oliver who was the son of Sir William Hart Dyke. His father owned Lullingstone Castle and was active in politics and sport.[2] Oliver Dyke had become an engineer and in 1931 he inherited the family home and became the 8th Hart Dyke Baronet. Zoe used the attic to again breed silk worms and Victor built a machine to process the thread. By 1936 Zoe's silk worms were making her a leading expert and Queen Mary visited to see her work. She was given a medal by the Royal Society of Arts.[1]

Zoe and Oliver's marriage ended in 1944. Oliver remarried but Zoe did not. The production of silk had more or less ceased during the war but in 1946 it began again with a limited company. Oliver was briefly involved but it was Zoe's company as it became again a centre for silk enthusiasts. In the 1950s Oliver and his second wife returned to the Lullingstone estate where the emphasis was creating a new tourist business unrelated to silk. Zoe moved away with the business to Ayot House in Ayot St Lawrence.[1]

Zoe's company created silk for the coronation robe of King George VI. The farm has moved away from Lullingstone but still creates silk for important Royal events including the wedding dress of Princess Elizabeth and the wedding dress of Lady Diana Spencer.[3] The silk from Lullington Castle was used for the coronation robes of Elizabeth II.[4]

Dyke died in a nursing home in Herne Bay in 1975.


  1. John Martin, ‘Dyke , (Millicent) Zoë, Lady Dyke (1896–1975)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2007 accessed 12 July 2017
  2. E. I. Carlyle, ‘Dyke, Sir William Hart, seventh baronet (1837–1931)’, rev. H. C. G. Matthew, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 12 July 2017
  3. Times, Terry Trucco, Special To The New York (1986-05-30). "HOME-GROWN SILK FOR A ROYAL WEDDING". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-07-12.
  4. "Lullingstone Silk Farm - Graces Guide". www.gracesguide.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-07-12.
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