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Report - - Ditherington Flax Mill, Shrewsbury - November 2015 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk
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Report - Ditherington Flax Mill, Shrewsbury - November 2015

The_Raw

28DL Regular User
Regular User
#1
This one's a bit of a local treasure in my home town although it's been derelict for as long as I can remember, 1987 in fact. I've had a pop at it in the middle of the night before but it was sealed up tight. It seems like I was just in the nick of time on this occasion as a new visitor's centre opens in a couple of weeks time and I expect it will be far more difficult to access these buildings after that. When I arrived there were workers everywhere so I didn't have high hopes but I managed to sneak in without being seen and got round a few bits including the main mill. Unfortunately I forgot my torch so I wasn't able to photograph one of the buildings I accessed as it was in total darkness.

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History

Ditherington Flax Mill has crucially important historical significance in the world of construction as it is the oldest iron-framed building in the world. As such, it is seen as the world's first skyscraper described as "the grandfather of skyscrapers", despite being only as tall as a modern five-story building. The site comprises seven listed buildings, including the Main Mill, which was built in 1797. Its importance was officially recognised in the 1950s, resulting in it becoming a Grade I listed building. Along with the main Flax Mill, a number of other buildings in the group are listed for their architectural and historic value: the apprentice house (Grade II); the dye house (Grade II); the flax dressing building (Grade II); the flax warehouse (Grade II); the stables (Grade II); and the workshops and offices (Grade II). The mill and buildings are on the Heritage at Risk Register. The flax business thrived and the site developed rapidly for nearly 100 years, but in the 1870's business declined, and the mill closed in 1886. The complex stood empty for over a decade before in 1897-8 the site was converted into a maltings by William Jones (Maltsters) Ltd. It is locally known as the "Maltings" from this later use.

The site ceased trading in 1987 and became derelict. English Heritage (now Historic England) bought the site in 2005 and carried out emergency repairs to halt the site's further decline, ensuring all buildings are secure and weather-tight. In 2013 it received £12.8 million of Lottery funding which is being spent over several phases of renovation, the first phase of which has just been completed, the conversion of the office and stables into a 'Visitors Centre' which includes a reception, interpretation displays, film and audio materials, research and learning resources.

1. The current appearance of the exterior
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2.
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3. This was at the top of the pyramid roof on the above picture which is above the warehouse.
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4.
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5. Watching a worker
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6. inside the main mill
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7. Every floor on this side was quite clean with cast iron beams throughout
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8.
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9.
This section unfortunately was littered with scaffolding although it's probably the main reason it hasn't collapsed
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10. Top floor
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11. Heading up to the Loft
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12.
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13. Looking out over the roof of the main mill
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14. Inside the old wooden tower there was this awesome timber staircase, it was difficult to photograph due to sunlight creeping in everywhere unfortunately
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15.
There was some really cool stuff up here
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16.
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17.
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18.
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19.
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20.
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21.
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22.
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23. I was so visible up here I didn't stay for long
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24. Here you can see the protective roof over the main mill, I couldn't go close to that edge because there were too many workers that side that might spot me.
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25.
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26. Finally a shot of some of the characters painted along a large section of the hoarding. This was a project by local college art students to depict themselves as 18th century mill workers.
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Really happy to have ticked this one off. Shame I didn't have time to get round more of it but perhaps another opportunity will arise. :D

History and renovation info taken from here http://www.flaxmill-maltings.co.uk & here https://historicengland.org.uk/news-and-features/major-projects-shrewsbury-flax-mill/

Thanks for looking :thumb
 
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