Ditherington Mill and the Industrial Revolution
    Ditherington Mill and the Industrial Revolution large image 1

        Publication Date

        15 Oct 2015


        A detailed examination of the world's first iron framed building which illuminates many critical aspects of economic, social and technological history during the Industrial Revolution.

        Main Summary

          Ditherington Mill is rightly celebrated as having the first iron-framed building in the world. Its highly innovative structure provided a fireproof environment for industrial processes and is a predecessor of the technologies that today pepper our cities with skyscrapers. Around the Spinning Mill other early buildings have also survived, which together make the complex a remarkable example of a textile mill from the new generation of steam-powered factories that were changing the face of Britain at the close of the 18th century. The conversion to a maltings in 1897 gave the mill a new lease of life and added further significant buildings to the Shrewsbury skyline. When malting ceased in 1987 the future of the site became an issue of great concern, not only to students of industrial architecture but also to local people who had worked in the maltings or for whom the site had become a familiar landmark in their everyday lives.

          Historic England believes that a detailed understanding of Ditherington Mill’s past should be a cornerstone of its future conservation and adaptation. Since its closure archaeologists and historians have examined every aspect of this internationally significant industrial site. This research has investigated the innovative technologies employed to create the factory’s buildings and has cast light on the people – some of national renown, others now all but forgotten – responsible for the mill’s construction and operation. The story which has emerged is a rich one and is summarised in this book, the publication of which is a further demonstration of a collective commitment to securing the site’s future.

          Additional Information


          Mike Williams
          Colum Giles

          Author Information

          Colum Giles is an independent researcher.
          Mike Williams is an Investigator at Historic England.

          Publishing Status




          Number of Illustrations


          Number of Pages





            1. Ditherington Mill: an introduction - Colum Giles
            2. The Linen Industry in Great Britain: history, products, processes and location - Barrie Trinder and Mike Williams
            3. Shrewsbury in the 18th and 19th Centuries: industry and culture - Barrie Trinder
            4. Building the Mill - Barrie Trinder and Mike Williams
            5. Innovation and Experimentation: Ditherington and the development of the iron-framed mill - Tom Swailes, Paul Murray Thompson and Mike Williams
            6. Steam Power at Ditherington Mill - Ron Fitzgerald, Paul Murray Thompson and Mike Williams
            7. Ditherington Mill at Work - Mike Williams and Barrie Trinder
            8. The Gasworks and Gas Lighting at Ditherington Mill - Ian West
            9. The Workforce in the 19th Century - Paul Belford and Barrie Trinder
            10. Mill into Maltings - Barrie Trinder
            11. Ditherington Rescued - John Yates


              The text is well-written and a pleasure to read. The 118 high quality illustrations include recent and historic photographs, historic plans and illustrations together with clear and informative line drawings. a technical glossary, chapter references and extensive bibliography complete the scope. ... will be of great interest to a wide range of conservation professionals, and to both specialist and amateur historians.
              Ken Moth
              Context, Spring 2016