Free half term family fun, 22-30 October 2022 - Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings

Free half term family fun, 22-30 October 2022

18 October 2022

Everyone’s invited to enjoy the free programme of family activities taking place at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings this half term, 22 – 30 October.

The daily programme of events will bring the history of the newly-restored 225-year-old building to life in a fun and engaging way, encouraging people of all ages to find out more.

There’s something for everyone with activities including an opportunity to meet Flax and Barley, the time-travelling, storytelling cats, a family trail, a competition to build the tallest skyscraper, badge making and daily arts and craft activities. Booking is not required.

Cat graphics.
Meet the storytelling and performing cats this October half term.

Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings in Spring Gardens, Shrewsbury, opened to the public in September for the first time in 35-years, following a £28 million, eight-year restoration programme. Access to the site, including the shop and Turned Wood Café, is free of charge.

As well as the free programme of family activities, child entry to the new exhibition, called The Mill, is free throughout half term. Tickets for adults are £7.50 and pre-booking is recommended.

Created by Historic England and exhibition consultants Mather & Co, The Mill, tells the story of Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings and its crucial role in the industrial revolution. With digital and hands-on activities for all ages, it features the stories of the lives of the workers, engineers, soldiers and entrepreneurs who played their part in the incredible story of this industrial heritage building known as the grandparent of skyscrapers.

People in an exhibition.
Interior of the new exhibition “The Mill” at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings, which opened to the public on Saturday 10 September 2022 © Historic England

The exhibition also tells the story of those who campaigned to save and repurpose this global engineering landmark for future generations to enjoy.

We’re delighted that Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings is now open and are looking forward to welcoming more and more visitors to discover the story of this fascinating place.

We’re excited about hosting a wide-range of activities for half term week, the first of our upcoming seasonal holiday offers which are a key part of bringing the site back to life. They will help make it a hub for the local community and give people a reason to come back time and time again.

You can journey with our story-telling cats Flax and Barley as they stroll through the building and tell tales of the people who worked at the Flaxmill and the things they saw. Our craft activities include learning to make badges, build brick skyscrapers and mask making. “We’re also keen to hear from local people about their ideas on further events and activities we can host here, to get the whole community involved.  Whether you live nearby, work locally, or just really care about this special place – we’d love to hear from you.

Alastair Godfrey, Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings Project Lead,
Historic England

The History of Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings

Known as the ‘grandparent of skyscrapers’, the Main Mill structure paved the way for modern-day buildings such as London’s Shard, New York’s Empire State Building and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. 

Following the site’s beginnings as a flax mill and major local employer for the area from 1797-1886, it was repurposed into a modern maltings, which operated from 1897 to 1987, converting grain into malt for brewing, whisky-making and vinegar production. The site was also used as a temporary army barracks during the Second World War.

£20.7 million of funding for restoration of the Main Mill and Kiln has come from National Lottery players through The National Lottery Heritage Fund. The remaining funding for the restoration of the site has come from Historic England, Shropshire Council, philanthropic donations and additional funding from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership via its Growth Deal with Government.

Four of the eight listed buildings that make up the site – the Smithy, Stables, Main Mill and Kiln – have now been sustainably restored by site owners Historic England with the help of architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. The four remaining listed buildings – the Cross Mill, the Dye House, Apprentice House and the Warehouse – still need funding to bring them back to life.

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