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Two-century-old building restored with concrete flooring

The world’s first iron frame building, built between 1796 and 1797 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, has been restored at a cost of £31m. As part of the restoration project, new concrete flooring was installed.

Iron frame construction is used to build tall buildings usually located in cities because of the restricted supply of land. The world’s first iron frame building, the five-storey Flaxmill Maltings was constructed at Shrewsbury, which at the time was a market town where land was not in short supply. In the 1840s, the flax mill employed 800 people.

By 2005, the site was derelict and was bought by English Heritage because of its historic importance. Thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, work commenced to save and restore the building. Concrete flooring was chosen to restore the floors on each of the mill’s five storeys.

The mill houses a museum on the ground floor, and the other four concreted floors will be occupied by commercial tenants.

Buildings granted listed status by English Heritage often have concrete flooring installed as part of their restoration work. Notable projects that have concrete flooring are Harrogate’s Royal Hall, the Thames Tunnel and Bolton School. Sometimes, floors are repaired using repair mortar, but if they are in an especially bad state, new concrete flooring is necessary.

The iron in old buildings like Flaxmill Maltings is often corroded and must be repaired. Concrete coatings is an effective method for repairing and protecting corroded iron or steel.

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