Wednesday, 28 October 2015


Written by the Chair of Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings, Alan Mosley

During my first election campaign for Castlefields and Ditherington in 2005 many residents commented that something should be done about the Maltings!    Indeed, most believed that it should be knocked down to remove the blight on the area and blot on their landscape. They knew little about the Flaxmill that preceded the Maltings and gave rise to the first iron-framed building in the world.

The world's first iron framed building - a forerunner to the modern day skyscraper
Now I am inundated with questions about the state of progress towards the site’s conservation and the vast majority are proud of the heritage which lies at the heart of our community.  They realise the massive potential that conservation will bring for the regeneration of their area.

My election led to my involvement with the Working Party seeking to get work on the site underway after the failure of 2 projects by the private sector.  So the roller coaster of hopes and disappointment started!  However, there was always hope as clever, experienced and enthusiastic people were involved.

A step-change happened in 2010 when the Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings was formed and we were quickly able to engage with the local and wider community, so that they too could learn about, experience and enjoy all aspects of the site and the stories which lie within.  Since then the Friends have been true partners in the project working alongside Historic England and Shropshire Council.  Thousands have visited the site, we have gained much media attention and aroused enormous amounts of interest and engagement.

Thankfully the Heritage Lottery Fund and other funding agencies have recognised our work, the very significant public interest and the clear plans we have for future efforts.
Once completed the Friends will manage all aspects of the public access to the site including interpretation, learning, research, tours, special events and community facilities.

For now though we are nearing the completion of Stage 1 of the project, work which we expect will kick start the larger elements of the overall project.   This first stage has seen the conversion of the office and stables which will be managed by the Friends as a visitor centre, including reception, interpretation displays, film and audio material, research and learning resources. The demolition of the 1950’s silo has also provided pleasant open space for cultural, interpretation and public use, while much of the surrounding area has been improved.
The new visitor centre is nearing completion

The opening of the Visitor Centre at the end of November will be a fabulous event for us and for all who care and have great hopes for the third century of successful life for the site. Our aim is to bring the site back to life at the heart of the community and hence we are delighted to have played such a prominent role in achieving this first stage towards that ambition. This success is testament to the hard work of many volunteers and the enthusiasm of the local and wider community for this exciting project.

Come and visit us – it’s free! Opening times are as follows:
·         25 November to 1 December, 10 am to 3 pm daily.
·         Opening times are then as follows:
o   2 December 2015 - 26 March 2016, Saturdays only, 10 am to 4 pm
o   31 March 2016 – 29 October 2016, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 10 am to 4 pm
o   Closed 25 - 26 December and 1 - 3 January

Guided tours are available by appointment.  For details visit our website

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