THE INDUSTRIAL FORERUNNER OF MODERN SKYSCRAPERS, REVIVED FOR THE INDUSTRY OF THE PRESENT
The £28 million repair and adaptive re-use of one of the most important buildings of the industrial revolution has delivered a low-carbon, mixed-use development and a catalyst for the economic regeneration of this area of Shrewsbury.
The former flaxmill, constructed in 1787, was the first building to be constructed with an iron frame. This new technology was developed to give better fire protection than previous wood-framed buildings, and paved the way for modern-day steel-framed tall buildings.
On the ground floor, an exhibition tells the story of the building and its evolving industry, along with a public café. Above are four floors of newly refurbished workspaces with circulation and meeting space in the impressive former kiln building.
This is the most important building of the modern age and it deserves to be better known.
Sir Peter Luff, Chair of the National Heritage Memorial and Lottery Fund
A STRONGER STRUCTURE FOR A LIGHTER IMPACT
The buildings have evolved with their changing uses, and so, this next phase of their life brings more change. Natural light and natural ventilation have been re-introduced to the Main Mill building through the re-opening of 110 former windows, whilst structural works reinforce the masonry around the cast iron frame, retaining the unique character of the pioneering historic structure.
A ground source heat pump reduces the in-use carbon from heating the building and the reuse of the building retains the carbon embodied in the 200-year-old structure.
LONG LIFE LOOSE FIT FROM THE START
When it was built in 1797, the flaxmill 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 and training centre during the Second World War, the site resumed as a Maltings until its closure in 1987.
Now, in its latest incarnation, it houses work and leisure space for local people, visitors and local businesses.
INCLUSIVE WAYS TO WORK ON AN EXCEPTIONAL BUILDING
A light touch conservation approach preserves and enhances the character of the Flaxmill which required traditional craft, materials and skills.
A heritage skills programme was delivered during the construction works, using the site itself as a tool for learning. Between 2017 and 2020 a programme of heritage skills activities supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation was delivered with work placements, site tours and training events were targeted at all levels from students to industry professionals.