Flax Warehouse At Former Ditherington Flax Mill, Spring Gardens, Shrewsbury
- HER Number (PRN): 20171
- Site Name : Flax Warehouse At Former Ditherington Flax Mill, Spring Gardens, Shrewsbury
- Protected Status:
Grade: I Ref No.: 1428731 Title: Ditherington Flax Mill: Flax Warehouse Type: Listed Building
- Civil Parish:
- Grid Reference: SJ 4989 1387
- Related Monuments:
- Brief Description: Warehouse of c1810. Part of a former flax mill designed by Charles Bage, and owned and operated by Marshall, Benyon and Bage. Constructed in two major phases of 1796-7 and after a fire in 1809, with later additions and alterations. Converted to a maltings in 1897-8. The building is protected by Grade I Listing.
- Description: Former flax warehouse, now disused. Brick with Welsh slate roof, iron-framed. 4 storeys. Scattered openings, many now blocked <1>
Building assessment carried out on Ditherington Flax Mill, Shrewsbury by English Heritage and Shropshire Industrial Enterprises Ltd in 1988. The report details the condition of the existing buildings on site and lists those that have been demolished. The Warehouse is a structure of exceptional importance, the third oldest surviving iron-framed building, one which marks the significant advances in constructional techniques from those used in the main mill. It was completed by June 1805 when it was insured. In the summer of 1810 it was linked to the cross mill by a chain bridge, erected according to the patent of a Mr Palmer by a Mr William Hazledine. The bridge was to be used as an escape for people trapped by fires in the cross building and as a point from which hoses could be directed on to the flames. In 1886 the fireproof qualities were recognised in the sale. After the site was taken over and converted to a maltings, the malt kiln abutted the south side of the building. The flax warehouse shows signs of considerable instability and is supported by a number of rods and tie plates. The west wall includes some new, modern brickwork. An iron-framed window remains on the south wall of this building adjacent to where it adjoins the malt kiln. <2>
Built: 1805. Total Area: 1210m2. No. of storeys: 4 plus roof void. Average storey ht. 2.7m
The Flax Warehouse was built in 1805 for the storage of flax. The building is Grade I listed, and is the 3rd oldest iron framed building in the world. During its subsequent conversion for use as part of the Maltings operation, it is believed to have been used for the storage of dye stuffs and grain. Internally, the original cast iron structure has been supplemented by a range of later timber props, tie rods and plates, which have not been examined in detail. It is assumed, however, that similar structural repairs and loading restrictions of 2.5kN/m2 would govern re-uses within the building following repair. The building has strong physical lines with the Malt Kiln on ground to third floors. It also has an important relationship with the apprentice house which is located to the north. The building has few windows, which will be an important consideration in proposals for a change of use, and could have a significant impact on the existing appearance. The building has a hoist located on its north elevation.<4>
Considered in a desk-based assessment of the Flax Mill site, undertaken in 2009 to inform redevelopment proposals. The site lies outside of the proposal areas and is not affected by the development. <5>
An heritage impact assessment was undertaken in 2010 of Ditherington Flax Mill. This included a condition survey of the flax warehouse. <6>
The Flax Warehouse was first Listed in 1995. In 2003 the List Entries for the Cross Mill and the Flax Warehouse were merged with that for the Main or Spinning Mill.
On the 20/10/2105 the List Entries for all the buildings in the complex were updated, and the Cross Mill, Flax Warehouse and Malt Kiln were given separate List Entries and gradings. Extracts from the List Description issued 20/10/2015. ->
-> The FLAX WAREHOUSE was built in c1810 when machine heckling (the process of combing raw flax) was introduced to the site and the stockpiling of raw materials provided some guarantee against fluctuating supplies. It was built to a wide plan and was a relatively large warehouse for a textile mill. Variations in its iron frame reflect the progress that had been made in the production and use of structural iron since the construction of the earlier Spinning Mill. Notable differences in the overall design of its frame include the use of four-piece beams, jointed at the heads of the three rows of columns, and a fully-framed gabled roof structure. It appears to have been used for storing dyestuffs in the last years of the operation of the flax mill.
In 1897 the site was purchased by William Jones of Shrewsbury and adapted for use as a maltings and became known as the Shropshire Maltings. From this date the FLAX WAREHOUSE was used for dressing, cleaning and storing grain. The Maltings closed in 1987. ->
Warehouse of c1810. Part of a former flax mill designed by Charles Bage, and owned and operated by Marshall, Benyon and Bage. Constructed in two major phases of 1796-7 and after a fire in 1809, with later additions and alterations. Converted and extended to a maltings in 1897-8; closed in 1987.
MATERIALS: iron-framed construction with walls of common or standard red bricks under a roof clad with Welsh slates and corrugated sheeting.
PLAN: rectangular on plan and aligned west to east. It forms part of a group of attached buildings which developed sequentially, comprising the Spinning Mill, Crossing Building and FLAX WAREHOUSE, and all subsequently linked by the addition of the late-C19 maltings Kiln.
EXTERIOR: it has four storeys plus an attic, and is built to a wide plan of nine bays. It has a chamfered offset at second-floor level. As to be expected with a warehouse it does not have many windows and these are irregularly arranged. The east gable wall has numerous cast-iron tie plates and an opening with segmental head at attic level. The south elevation has two segmental-arched doorways to the ground floor, a small window to the second and third floors. The top storey was linked to the upper floor of the Cross Building by a chain suspension bridge (removed) and the doorway which gave access to it, though blocked, is visible. There is evidence of new brickwork in the west gable wall which has a ground-floor and first-floor window to the left-hand end and an inserted doorway to the left of centre. There is a further doorway at attic level from where a former bridge connected to the adjacent mid-C20 silo (demolished in early C21). The only windows in the north elevation are within the western third of the building, and there is a modern hoist tower which is clad in corrugated sheeting towards the east end.
INTERIOR: the floors are carried by four-piece beams which are jointed at the heads of the three rows of supporting cast-iron columns, and longitudinal wrought-iron tie rods connect the beam webs to either side of the columns. The floor beams show key improvements to those used in the Spinning Mill, being lighter and having an inverted-T cross section, a form that came to be widely used until the mid-C19. The cruciform-section columns have slender scantling and delicately moulded bases and capitals. The ceilings have shallow, brick jack arches which spring between the beams. On several of the floors there are openings in the south wall, some are former windows which have been infilled and others are late-C19 insertions relating to the operation of the maltings and connect through to the adjacent kiln. In addition some machinery in the form of drive shafts set within a wooden frame also remain. The full-span, cast-iron roof which is integral with the rest of the iron frame, comprises two pairs of castings forming queen-strut trusses, cast-iron purlins and wooden rafters. <7>
Cast iron assessment undertaken in 2009. <8>
- Record Type: Building
(01) List of Buildings: Department of National Heritage (DNH). 1995-Nov-17. 47th List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Vol 653-1. List volume. p416. (02) Field survey report: Macleod M, Trinder B & Worthington M. 1988. Ditherington Flax Mill, Shrewsbury: a survey and historical evaluation. Ironbridge Inst Res Pap. 30. (03) List of Buildings: Department of National Heritage (DNH). 1995-Nov-17. 47th List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Vol 653-1. List volume. (04) Field survey report: Feilden Cleg Bradley. 2004. Ditherington Flax Mill: masterplan study. Feilden Cleg Bradley Rep. (05) Deskbased survey report: Blythe K. 2009. Ditherington Flax Mill, Shrewsbury, Shropshire: archaeological deskbased assessment. Oxford Archaeol North Rep. 2009-10/998. p21-22; Site 07. (06) Field survey report: Griffiths E. 2010. Ditherington Flax Mill: heritage impact assessment. Feilden Cleg Bradley Rep. (07) List of Buildings: Department of National Heritage (DNH). 1995-Nov-17. 47th List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Vol 653-1. List volume. p 412 21st Amendment. Reinstated as separate List Entry, 20/10/2015. (08) Non-archaeological specialist report: AKT Engineers. 2009. Ditherington Flax Mill - Main Mill Buildings: cast iron frame structural capacity assessment. AKT Engineers Rep.
- Related Places:
- For more information contact: Shropshire Council HER
- Date Last Edited: 03/05/2019 14:01:05