The work will restore the Grade I listed Main Mill at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings – the first cast-iron framed building in the world and forerunner to the modern skyscraper, and the Grade II listed Kiln along with landscaping and a new car park. When complete there will be visitor interpretation explaining the history and use of the mills, activity space and a café on the ground floor which will be managed by the Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings. The upper four floors of the Mill will provide commercial office space.
Work will start on Monday 19 June, and will be carried out by Croft Building and Conservation Ltd who will be responsible for the structural repairs to the Main Mill and reintroducing windows that were closed during the Maltings phase that will flood the building with natural light.
This is stage two in the regeneration of the site following the launch of a a £2.3m visitor centre in November 2015 made possible by Historic England and the European Regional Development Fund.
“Like everyone involved in the project to bring Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings back into productive, public use, I am delighted to confirm that our contractors – Croft – are on site and the work which will repair the Main Mill and Kiln is underway,” said Chris Smith, Project Director, Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings, Historic England. “All those people who care about the future of the world’s first cast-iron framed building know just how long a journey it has been to get to this stage so, before we push on ahead once more, it is good to pause and note what a great success this is.”
The Flax Mill was built in 1797 and was the largest employer in Shrewsbury. The flax business declined in the 1870s and the mill closed in 1886. The site was converted into a maltings in 1897-8, when the Kiln was added. After being used as a temporary barracks during World War Two, the site resumed as a maltings until its closure in 1987. The current works will transform and open the site back up for local people, visitors and local businesses.
“I am confident that the partnership between Historic England, Shropshire Council and the Friends and the support of the every one of the National Lottery ticket buyers will assure this great site’s long and beneficial future,” said Smith.
Historic England will also undertake a review of the current Master Plan for the wider Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings site. This includes brownfield land for residential dwellings, the potential conversion of other historic buildings and future commercial opportunities.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2018 when work will start to repair the Kiln, fit out the buildings and complete all associated landscaping work and car park.
A programme of activities will be available during construction with training opportunities and chances for the local community to get involved.
The visitor centre at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings, completed in 2015 as part of Stage One of the regeneration