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Mabey props up the “grandparent of skyscrapers”, Ditherington Flax Mill

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The world’s first iron-framed building is set to be propped up by Mabey, as the bridge and engineering services company announces its role in a national project to restore key Historic England site, Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings. Designed by Charles Bage, the Grade I listed Mill was built in 1797 and is the forerunner of today’s skyscrapers.

The four-year renovation project on the outskirts of Shrewsbury will see multiple repairs to the building, including restoring the windows, brickwork piers and roof. The Mill, which has been derelict for over twenty-five years, will be restored as a site of national heritage, with activity and learning space for tourists on the ground floor and new commercial space above.

Working closely with Croft Building & Conservation Ltd, Mabey’s role is to supply all propping equipment for the renovation project, ensuring the works are carried out as quickly and safely as possible while protecting the listed site. The company has provided four essential propping systems - System 160, Mass 25, Mass 50, and a proprietary aluminium propping system – to support the building works.

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Stephen Hubbard, Chief Engineer, Mabey comments: “It’s a real privilege for Mabey to be part of the team restoring this iconic building to its historic glory. The challenge for us is specifying and supplying the temporary works equipment needed to hold the frame whilst making sure the Mill, which has stood through two centuries, is protected. Our proven propping solutions are enabling these works to be carried out quickly, safely and efficiently, and we look forward to continuing our work with Croft Building & Conservation and Historic England over the coming years.” 

Nick Hill, National Conservation Projects Manager, Historic England, comments: “This is a major project for Historic England – not just in terms of protecting a site of huge historic significance, but restoring the derelict “grandparent of skyscrapers” as a place that people can visit and explore. Thanks to the help of Mabey and Croft Building & Conservation, the restoration has been moving along brilliantly, and we can’t wait to see the end result.”

Oliver Chance, Contracts Manager, Croft Building & Conservation Ltd comments: “This is a landmark project for all involved and it is an honour to be associated with such an iconic building. We have worked closely with Mabey and its design team to ensure that the structural integrity of the building is maintained whilst carrying out timber and brickwork removal. We are very much looking forward to the dismantling of the scaffold and seeing the Flax Mill and Maltings window openings reformed.”

The first phase of the renovation is expected to be complete by December 2018. The full restoration is scheduled for completion in spring 2021.

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