Underground pump to help historic Shrewsbury Flaxmill be green for the future

An innovative system to heat one of Shropshire most historic sites will show that centuries-old buildings can still be green.

Historic England's vision of how the site could look. Picture: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Historic England's vision of how the site could look. Picture: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Installation of a new ground-source heat pump will begin at Shrewsbury's Flaxmill Maltings next week, and it will provide more than two thirds of energy needed for heating and hot water in the Main Mill and Kiln.

The pump will extract heat from the ground via vertical bore holes, and the specialist drilling rig to create these will be on site from next week. These bore holes will be located underneath the line of the former canal tow path, which will become a pedestrian and cycle route through the site to the front of the Main Mill.

The line of the former Shrewsbury and Newport Canal will be preserved in perpetuity and become an open landscaped green corridor which could easily be accessed and adapted should the canal be restored in the future.

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. It is currently being restored and will become a new learning and enterprise quarter for Shrewsbury, featuring offices, a visitor centre and a cafe. There will also be new homes at the site.

Owners Historic England say the pump is an important part of the effort to sustainably restore the site.


Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said:“The ground-source heat pump at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings represents a firm commitment to climate change mitigation. By investing in sustainable energy generation we are taking a step in the right direction to reduce the carbon emissions that exacerbate climate change and prove that energy efficiency and sustainable technology are compatible with the conservation of our heritage."

The restorations of the Grade I listed Main Mill and the Grade II Kiln are taking place thanks to a £20.7m grant from 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 and the Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings.

Alan Mosley, chairman of the Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings said: “The building’s pioneering design led the way in 1797 and Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings is once again leading the way with the adoption of a ground-source heat pump as the main energy source for the Main Mill and Kiln. The Friends are delighted to be part of a project that puts tackling climate change firmly on its agenda.”

The Main Mill and Kiln at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings will open in spring 2022, with the new visitor experience and café opening on the ground floor and the top four floors available for commercial tenants.

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