Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings reopens after eight-year renovation
Four listed buildings on site are now fully restored: the Smithy, Stables, Main Mill and Kiln. Their redevelopment has been led by Historic England and The Friends of Shrewsbury Flaxmill.
The Main Mill and Kiln have now opened for the first time as a visitor attraction, café and workspace.
Turning flax into linen thread
The new attraction, ‘The Mill’, will tell the story of a pioneering flax mill, purpose-built in an area of England with a long history of textile production.
Its crucial role in the industrial revolution will be shared in an interactive experience spread across three spaces on the ground floor.
Championing environmental sustainability
The restoration project is a flagship for sustainability, demonstrating how historic buildings can be reused and how technology can help heritage sites tackle the climate crisis.
The renovation has made use of:
- a ground-source heat pump
- natural lighting and ventilation
- old materials – tiles from the site’s earliest days as a flax mill have been incorporated into window ledges
'Grandparent' of skyscrapers
“We are thrilled to have supported the redevelopment of Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings with a grant of £20.7m, made possible thanks to National Lottery players."
Robyn Llewellyn, Director, England, Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Built in 1797, the Grade I listed Main Mill is the world’s first multi-storey, cast iron-framed building. This innovation by architect Charles Bage is now described as the forerunner or 'grandparent' to the modern skyscraper, paving the way for buildings such as Manhattan’s Empire State Building.
Following the site’s beginnings as a flax mill and major local employer from 1797 to 1886, it was repurposed into a modern maltings. From 1897 to 1987 it converted grain into malt for brewing, whisky making and vinegar production. The site was also used as a temporary army barracks during the Second World War.
Thanks to National Lottery players
Robyn Llewellyn, Director of England, Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “We are thrilled to have supported the redevelopment of Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings with a grant of £20.7m, made possible thanks to National Lottery players.
“I would also like to thank Historic England and The Friends of Flaxmill Maltings for their tireless efforts in bringing this important heritage site back to life, ensuring its trailblazing history is preserved for all to celebrate.”
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