© FCB Studios
© FCB Studios
© FCB Studios
© FCB Studios

Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings

Advising on remediation measures for the world’s oldest cast-iron frame building near Shrewsbury, on a site hosting a number of other Grade I-, II- and II*-listed structures, offered us an opportunity to put our expertise to use in a unique context.

Built in 1797, the cast-iron system of the Main Mill solved the issue of combustibility that was common in wooden industrial buildings of the time. At a time when wool was declining, a group of entrepreneurs set out to expand into linen production using raw flax, enlisting architect Charles Bage to design their mill. His network of columns and beams set a precedent for the steel frames later used in the first skyscrapers. Having been converted into a maltings and subsequently abandoned, Historic England acquired the site for refurbishment in 2005.

Key to the redevelopment was choosing a new function that will ensure good use and maintenance of the site; the proposal is therefore to combine 120 new homes with offices. We undertook a site inspection to find out more about the capacity of the existing structures, and were fortunate to also be able to review Bage’s original works. The aim was to minimise intrusive work to the delicate fabric of the buildings, and use traditional materials and techniques wherever possible.

Extensive option studies were undertaken considering a range of potential end use scenarios. These options ranged from the insertion of a new vibration-damped long-span steel structure at all floors through to a minimum intervention scheme using discrete enhancements to provide additional robustness to the existing fabric. This latter scheme has been adopted and is currently well advanced on site. Despite the largely hidden interventions, the new building will still achieve its full potential, with a visitor centre and extensive commercial office space throughout.

Complex restoration of Grade I-, II- and II*-listed buildings to provide mixed-use facilities

Shrewsbury, UK
Historic England
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
£ 25 million
4,136 m²
on site