A woman standing in between two men outside a cafe
Alastair Godfrey from Historic England (right) with Jody-Lea Grant-DixWilliams and Jason Grant outside The Green Wood Cafe. Copyright Historic England

Café partner announced for Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings

21 July 2022

Successful local independent café owners J Grant Catering have been appointed to run the new café at the historic Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings, when the site opens later this year.

Site owners Historic England signed a contract with Jason Grant and Jody-Lea Grant-DixWilliams of J Grant Catering, confirming that the Shrewsbury venue will become the second café that they operate, alongside the popular Green Wood Café in Coalbrookdale.

In keeping with the ethos of the Green Wood Café and the restored Shrewsbury Flaxmill maltings site, the new café will have a strong focus on sustainability and the environment in how food, drink and supplies are sourced and delivered to customers. 

The new Turned Wood Café will be on the ground floor of the historic Main Mill at the Flaxmill Maltings and will welcome customers later this year when the site opens to the public. They will be able to enjoy a tasty range of vegetarian and plant-based dishes, with the J Grant Catering team developing an exciting new menu specifically for the new cafe which will build on the successful Green Wood Café menu.  There will also be a range of delicious cakes and alternative cold and hot drinks available, including coffee made using their own brand, Coffee with Soul, which is specially roasted for the site.

The space where the new café is located is marked on an 1855 plan of the site as a ‘Turners Shop’ and this inspired the name of the new cafe. It is believed that wood turning – or cutting and shaping wood – would have taken place in part of this space.

Unlike at other heritage destinations, the café will be run independently from the wider visitor attraction, allowing longer opening hours to service the local community and businesses.

1855 plan to show location of chimney stack.
1855 plan to show location of Turners Shop © Shropshire Archives 6000/19533

We are delighted to be collaborating with J Grant Catering, a local independent family-run business, for the site’s new cafe. We wanted a cafe partner to reflect Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings’ values, and the bold choices and forward-thinking attitude of the team at J Grant Catering are an ideal match for the site, which came into being through the innovation and pioneering spirit of its founders.

We wanted a partner who would create a warm and welcoming cafe for people who live nearby and for those who will visit or work at the Flaxmill Maltings, and we are confident that Jason and Jody-Lea’s team will do just that.

Alastair Godfrey, Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings Project Lead
Historic England

The café has been designed to be as welcoming and inclusive as possible. It is located on the ground floor of the Main Mill and has step-free access from the site. It will be family friendly with highchairs, a microwave and bottle warming facilities, a breastfeeding welcome policy, a baby changing space and accessible toilet nearby.

Dogs will also be welcome in the café and on the terrace area outside.

A dog outside a brick mill building
Dogs will be welcome in the café and on the terrace. © Historic England

We are really excited to be expanding our business and opening a new café later this year in the amazing ground-floor space at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings.  

We want the food we create to be accessible to as many people as possible whilst being kind to the environment, which is why our menu is vegetarian with delicious plant-based and gluten free options too. And, of course we’ll have a great selection of teas and coffees. We can’t wait to get the doors open and welcome everyone to Shrewsbury’s newest café for a cuppa or food amongst the historic iron columns that make this iconic building famous.

Jody-Lea Grant-DixWilliams
Director, J Grant Catering

Built in 1797, the Flaxmill Maltings had two centuries of use, first as a flax mill, then a maltings and also as a training centre and barracks during World War II. Functioning as a maltings for almost a century, the business closed in 1987 after which the Kiln, and the other historic buildings, fell into decline.

The flax mill was operational from September 1797, and the site housed many of the processes that took the raw flax and prepared it for spinning into yarn and thread.

The restoration of the Grade I listed Main Mill and the Grade II listed Kiln at the Flaxmill Maltings is supported by a £20.7 million grant thanks to National Lottery players through The National Lottery Heritage Fund, combined with additional funding from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership via its Growth Deal with Government, and from project partners Historic England, Shropshire Council.

Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings will open on 10 September 2022. As well as the café, the ground floor of the historic Main Mill will also have a new exhibition and a gift shop.

The new exhibition, called ‘The Mill’, will detail the development of Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings and its crucial role in the industrial revolution.  With digital and hands-on activities for all ages, it will feature the stories of the lives of the workers, engineers, soldiers and entrepreneurs who played their part in one of the greatest heritage transformations and regenerations of all time. The exhibition will also tell the story of those who campaigned to save and repurpose this global engineering landmark for future generations to enjoy.

Tickets to The Mill will be available to book from the Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings website from Monday 1 August 2022. Sign up to email updates to be notified when exhibition tickets go on sale via ShrewsburyFlaxmillMaltings.org.uk. 

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