Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings
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"Our aim is to bring the site back to life at the heart of the community" © Historic England
"Our aim is to bring the site back to life at the heart of the community" © Historic England

HemingwayDesign commissioned to reimagine Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings

Multi-disciplinary designers HemingwayDesign have been commissioned to develop a new brand for the historic Shropshire site, known as the “Grandparent of the skyscraper”

Multi-disciplinary designers HemingwayDesign have been commissioned to create the brand for Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings in Shropshire, one of the most important buildings in England’s industrial past and forerunner to the modern skyscraper.

The Flaxmill site is gradually being brought back to life through a careful restoration and refurbishment process and the new branding will reflect this, whilst helping to put the Flaxmill at the heart of the local community once more.

Front of the Main Mill at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings, showing the new roof, windows and painted sign.  Scaffolding can be seen being erected on the north and south Engine Houses as part of the second of three construction phases.
Front of the Main Mill at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings, showing the new roof, windows and painted sign

Hemingway Design has a track record of innovative and engaging place branding.

The team, led by Wayne Hemingway and Jack Hemingway, have experience working with heritage destinations having led the successful relaunch of 19th century amusement park Dreamland in Margate, and more recently being commissioned by City of York Council to create a tourism brand for the City of York.

When we heard that we had won this project the whole team did a joyful dance around the office. The ingredients are all there for a nationally significant project. Flaxmill Maltings is a truly stunning series of historical industrial buildings with such an evocative history and important back story. Wayne Hemingway of HemingwayDesign

The Flaxmill stands for constant reinvention

HemingwayDesign has been commissioned to create a visionary brand that reflects the revolutionary spirit of the site and its history of ground-breaking innovation.

The Flaxmill embodies over two centuries of setting new standards in engineering, construction and industry. It is a site that has constantly reinvented itself and embraced change.

Its future use as a new learning and enterprise quarter for Shrewsbury, with high quality offices for the region’s growing creative industries, will help drive the town’s renaissance as a regional economic hub, as it was when Shropshire led the way in the Industrial Revolution.

 

The great thing about this project for us is that Historic England, whilst being incredibly diligent about the regeneration, are ready to be bold and future-facing in their thinking about the next phases of use for the site. Its location in Shrewsbury, a beautiful and vibrant place that’s bucking the trend of town centre decline through its determined independent spirit, completes the recipe. Wayne Hemingway of HemingwayDesign

People standing next to the flaxmill
In 1897 the site was bought by William Jones of Shrewsbury and adapted for use as a maltings.

First in the world

The Main Mill is one of the most extraordinary buildings in the world as it was the first anywhere to have an iron frame. It was this British technology that led to the construction of ever taller buildings and gave birth to the modern skyscraper.

For this, the Flaxmill is known as the Grandparent of the skyscraper.

Home to eight listed buildings including three at Grade I, the site was first constructed in 1797 and was added to and altered over the years as its use changed.

During the Industrial Revolution, the new spinning mill quickly became Shrewsbury’s largest employer with more than 800 men, women and children working there making linen thread from flax.

After it closed in 1886 it reopened a decade later to produce malt for the brewing industry. Part of the building served as a barracks for soldiers during the Second World War and finally closed as a maltings in 1987.

The Jubilee Crown at Shrewsbury Flaxmill
The cast-iron Jubilee Crown has been a feature of the Shrewsbury skyline for 122 years © Historic England DP235747

After falling into disrepair, Historic England (then English Heritage) stepped in to stabilise the site and carry out urgent repairs.

Now the restoration of the Grade I listed Main Mill and the Grade II Kiln are now underway thanks to a £20.7m grant from National Lottery players through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, combined with additional funding from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership via its Growth Deal with Government, and project partners Historic England, Shropshire Council and support from the Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings.

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