Historic England has revealed that the Flaxmill Maltings will open to the public on Saturday, September 10.
Built in 1797, the Grade I listed Main Mill was the world’s first multi-storey, cast iron-framed building – described as “the grandparent of the modern skyscraper”.
The site had fallen into disrepair but work started in 2017 to restore the historic building and the surrounding area, and after a delay caused by the pandemic, it is now set to open later this year.
Alastair Godfrey, Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings project lead at Historic England, said: “We are delighted to announce Saturday, September 10, as the day we throw the doors open for people to come and visit Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings.
"After years of restoration work, we can’t wait to welcome visitors from all over Shrewsbury, Shropshire and beyond to visit this fascinating and important site and learn more about its role in the region and in shaping the modern world.”
Alan Mosley, chair of the Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings, said he was thrilled at the major milestone for the project.
He said: “We are very proud that the site will reopen its gates in September after years of restoration. Through the work of our volunteers and staff over the last 12 years the friends have played a vital role in the site's redevelopment.
"It is now wonderful to see that our efforts to gain funding, encourage community engagement, provide research and education, open a visitor centre, provide talks, tours, events and activities for all, have finally reached fruition.
"We believe that Shrewsbury Flaxmill Malting will be a great success and a fabulous asset for Shrewsbury."
Robyn Llewellyn, director, England, Midlands & East, at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We are thrilled to have supported the redevelopment of Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings with a grant of £20.7 million, made possible thanks to National Lottery players.
"I would also like to thank Historic England and The Friends of Flaxmill Maltings for their tireless efforts in bringing this important heritage site back to life, ensuring its trailblazing history is preserved for all to celebrate.”
Now fully restored, the main mill and kiln are opening for the first time as a visitor destination, café and workspace – where people can come to celebrate and explore the site’s story.
A new exhibition, called The Mill, will detail the development of the site and its role in the industrial revolution.
It will include digital and hands-on activities for all ages, featuring the stories of the lives of the workers, engineers, soldiers and entrepreneurs who played their part in one of the greatest heritage transformations and re-generations of all time.
The ground floor of the historic main mill will also be home to a new independent café and gift shop.
Next to this, the new shop will showcase local producers, featuring more than 50 per cent of products from local suppliers and 90 per cent from across the UK.
The site is a flagship project for Historic England in demonstrating how historic buildings can be sustainably reused and how technology can be used in heritage sites to help tackle climate change.
The site has a ground-source heat pump, has maximised use of natural lighting and ventilation and contains reused materials.
Floor tiles from the site’s earliest days as a flax mill have been incorporated into window ledges.
The restoration of the Grade I listed Main Mill and the Grade II listed Kiln at the site has been supported by a £20.7 million grant thanks to National Lottery players through The National Lottery Heritage Fund, combined with the 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.
Though four of the eight listed buildings on the site have been restored, 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.
It is hoped that they will be restored in the coming years, once plans for how they will be used and funding to carry out the restoration works are in place.
Tickets will be available to book from the Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings website from Monday, August 1.
People can sign up to e-mail updates to be notified when exhibition tickets go on sale at ShrewsburyFlaxmillMaltings.org.uk