Shrewsbury Flaxmill wins top award
Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings has been crowned the winner of an award which celebrates the development of historic buildings in the town.
The £28 million restoration project won a Gold Award and before being named as overall winner in the Built Heritage category at the Mayor of Shrewsbury Awards.
The project is led by Historic England, with partners Shropshire Council and the Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings.
The awards, which recognise individuals, groups, initiatives, organisations and businesses which contribute positively to Shrewsbury Town, took place at the University Centre Shrewsbury earlier this month.
Alastair Godfrey, the restoration project lead for site owners Historic England, attended the ceremony on behalf of the project and collected the awards from Shrewsbury’s Mayor, Couoncillor Peter Nutting.
Mr Godfrey said: “On behalf of Historic England and our project partners, the Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings and Shropshire Council, we are absolutely delighted to receive the Built Heritage Award. With the project still being in progress we did not expect to win; this has brought home to us all how important the work to bring Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings back to life is to the town."
Built in 1797, Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings is the first iron framed building in the world and the grandparent to modern day skyscrapers. Its revolutionary cast iron frame protected it from fires which blighted industry at the time, and is one of the reasons why is still survives today.
However, after two centuries of use as a flax mill, a maltings and also as a barracks during the Second World War, it closed its doors for the final time in 1987 and fell into disrepair.
The Main Mill and Kiln are now in the process of being restored, thanks to grants from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, and are due to re-open in 2021.
Alan Mosley, chair of the Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings, who have previously been Gold Award and category winners of the Mayor’s Community Group award for their work engaging local people, added: “It is fantastic to have the Flaxmill restoration project recognised through the Mayor’s Awards. The Friends and our project partners Historic England and Shropshire Council have been involved in this project for many years and it is uplifting to have all the positive work that has taken place so far acknowledged. We still have a long way to go, but we all look forward to the day when it opens its doors to the local community once again.”
When complete in 2021, the restored Main Mill and Kiln will provide a new learning and interpretation space and café for visitors to enjoy on the ground floor, as well as 28,000 square feet of commercial space on the upper floors.