Celebrating the Coronet - Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings
Ornate ironwork including three gilt flowers surrounded by scaffolding boards.
The Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings coronet is back in place © Historic England

Celebrating the Coronet

17 May 2022

The iconic coronet, which is the highest point of Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings, was added in 1897 to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. With it’s sunflower and crown details, the coronet and the Jubilee Tower that it sits on top of are well-loved features of the Shrewsbury skyline. When the decorative cast iron coronet was in need of repair and had to be taken down, the community played a key role in getting it put back where it belongs.

A five storey brick mill building with a wooden tower on top. There is a flag flying from the wooden tower.
Main Mill and restored Jubilee Tower. © Historic England

The Jubilee Tower sits on top of the northern end of the five-story Main Mill and adds another three storeys to the building. This makes it one of the tallest buildings in the town and also one which gives some of the best views. The Jubilee Tower and the coronet were both added to the site in 1897 when the flax mill was converted to a maltings.

The coronet and its design aren’t unique to Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings though. It was discovered that the coronet was picked out of a catalogue and ordered from Glasgow-based company, Walter Macfarlane & Co., who sold the same design of coronet to other locations in the UK at the time. The coronet, including the simple crown at the very top, dismantle into several pieces making it easy to store and transport. Put simply, it was the nineteenth century equivalent to a piece of flat-packed furniture!

A wooden tower with peeling paint and broken windows and a rusted cast iron coronet
The Jubilee Tower and coronet in 2019 before they were restored. © Historic England

After over a hundred years in place the coronet was looking very worn and needed some urgent repairs and in May 2019, it was taken down.

A crowdfunding campaign to raise the funds needed to restore it was launched by Historic England. The campaign was successful in raising almost £11,000. Historic England secured the remaining costs of the conservation work to the coronet from patrons and individuals. Many of those that contributed were members of the local community who wanted to see the crowning glory of the Flaxmill Maltings put back in place.

Ornate rusting ironwork against a blue sky.
The coronet before its restoration with the Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings pigeons © Historic England

With the funds in place, the coronet was repaired at Shrewsbury-based specialist metal conservation workshop, Heritage Project Contracts. There it underwent months of painstaking work. Here fractured ironwork was re-stitched and missing and decayed decorative elements were recreated.

A photograph of hands working on part of a piece of ornate ironwork
Coronet restoration being carried out by Will Jones from Heritage Project Contracts Ltd. © Historic England
Part of the ornate ironwork of the jubilee crown laid out on a work bench.
Coronet ironwork during the restoration process © Historic England

Once the ironwork was fixed the coronet was painted and the sunflowers at each corner and the simple crown that sits at the very top were gilded. This not only made the coronet look beautiful once again, but also gave it another layer of protection against the elements.

The coronet was now ready to be return to the Flaxmill Maltings and was put back in place at the top of the Jubilee Tower in early 2020.

Ornate ironwork including three gilt flowers surrounded by scaffolding boards.
The restored Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings coronet in 2020 © Historic England

We’d like to say a special thank you to The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the individuals and patrons who donated and made the restoration of the coronet possible. It has been saved it for future generations to enjoy.

A photograph of a three-storey wooden tower with a cast-iron coronet and flag flying on top.
The restored 1897 Jubilee Tower and its iconic coronet © Historic England
Gilt coronet on top of the Jubilee Crown ironwork
Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings is re-crowned © Historic England

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