Monday 19th February 2018
Veronica and I attended a meeting at the Flaxmills arranged by Alastair Godfrey of Historic England (HE) with Sir Laurie Magnus, Chairman of HE, and Lady Magnus and ex High Sheriff Robert Bland DL and his wife Tricia. We were given a tour of the Flaxmills so that we could view the progress being made in undertaking the restoration of the main Flaxmill, built in 1797. We were all impressed with the way that the building is coming back to life with the re-opening of the original windows, which were bricked up in 1897 when the Flaxmills were convereted into maltings, and the strengthening of the building. The views from the upper floors of Shrewsbury and of the countryside around are quite spectacular. It is expected that the first stage of the restoration will be completed in the next 6 months and that the building as a whole will be ready for occupation in early 2021. It is proposed to establish a museum and cafe on the ground floor and to let the four floors above as offices. This is the oldest “fire-proof” building in the world, and the forerunner of the sky-scraper. We are very fortunate that HE took the decision to save it from dereliction, as when completed it will be an important part of the town’s industrial history.