Students Get Hands-On at Iconic Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings
On Thursday 8 March, 12 Level 1 and 2 Brickwork students spent the morning at the Flaxmill Maltings site learning to make the ‘great’ bricks that were used in the construction of the iconic Grade I listed Main Mill - the world’s first iron-framed building and forerunner of modern day skyscrapers, which was built in 1797.
Northcot Brick, specialist traditional brick manufacturers, have been making by hand 30,000 of the special sized bricks needed to restore the Main Mill. Today they passed on their expert knowledge, demonstrating traditional hand-throwing methods. The students were then able to get hands-on and make their own bricks. Some of the bricks the students produced will be included in a time capsule, to be placed within the Main Mill later this year.
Alan Mosley, Chairman of the Friends of Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings explained the history of the bricks: “Approximately one third larger than standard sized bricks, [they] tell part of the history as they were used for construction during a period when the number of bricks used in new buildings were taxed to raise funds for wars in the American Colonies, and using larger bricks was a method used to reduce the amount of bricks required, and consequently the amount of tax which would be charged.”
The session is part of Historic England’s Heritage Skills programme, supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation which offers a number of training opportunities, work-based placements and continuing professional development opportunities for construction trainees, students, contractors, craftspeople and professionals. The programme is being made possible under the wider £20.7 million National Lottery refurbishment of Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings.
The Heritage Skills programme also includes hard-hat tours for heritage, construction, colleges and universities and local interest groups. The tours give behind-the-scenes access to the works in progress and learning from the expert craftspeople working on the project.
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Also of interest...
Current visitor information and future plans for Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings. This forerunner of the modern sky scraper is open and free to visit.