Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings

The Historic England Foundation is raising funds for Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings, the grandparent of the modern skyscraper.

Two people reading an informative display inside Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltin
Two visitors to Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings reading an informative display. © Historic England

The story so far

This important site is home to eight special buildings, each with a unique story to tell. The centrepiece is the 1797 Main Mill, the very first multi-storey building in the world to use a cast iron frame, an important innovation which led to the tall, multi-storey buildings we see today.

From 1797 until 1886 the building acted as a purpose-built flax mill. It was then a maltings from 1897 to 1987 and a temporary army barracks during the Second World War. After it closed in 1987 as a maltings it remained derelict for many years, deteriorating and at risk of becoming irreparably damaged.

A local charity, Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings, was set up in 2010 and worked in collaboration with partners, Historic England and Shropshire Council, in planning the project to restore and bring back to life this internationally important site. In 2014 Historic England took ownership of the site and began restoring the building to save it for the nation.

Watch to discover more about the restoration project to save Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings.

Our fundraising campaign

After the project received generous support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, The Historic England Foundation led a successful £1 million capital fundraising campaign to secure the remaining funds needed to convert the Main Mill and Kiln into a brand new exhibition space, visitor experience centre, café, shop and state-of-the-art offices, alongside opportunities for jobs, education, and training.

Thanks to generous funding from our donors and Founding Patrons, repairs to the Main Mill and Kiln have removed them from Historic England's 'Heritage at Risk' register and the site reopened to the public in September 2022.

It is now a place to celebrate and explore the past and serve Shrewsbury communities for another century.

Two construction workers in high-vis jackets working on roof
The re-roofing of the Cross Mill in 2021 © Historic England

Looking ahead

The site is now open to the public, and includes a café, shop, office spaces, and a visitor experience, with family friendly activities and events taking place throughout the year.

However there is more work to do, with other buildings on the site needing repair works and a future purpose.

We are continuing to raise funds to support the ongoing activities and public outreach programmes designed to inspire future generations with the building’s history.

Become a part of the story and name a brick at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings

By donating £250 you can have your name, or the name of a loved one, engraved on a brick set within the terrace of this remarkable site. Our blue paving bricks are a unique gift that will last for many years to come. 

Donations support the home of one of the world’s most important buildings and help us inspire future generations with its magnificent story.

A paving brick engraved with the name Charles Bage, resting on a table outside Shrewsbury Flaxmill M
Charles Bage was the innovative designer for Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings, the first building to use an internal frame of cast iron, which paved the way for modern-day skyscrapers. © Historic England