In 1797, an extraordinary building went up in Shropshire that would change the skylines of our cities forever. Described as “the grandfather of skyscrapers”, the Shrewsbury flax mill was the first building in the world to use an iron frame, which later developed into the modern steel frame structure used in modern buildings today.
In the late 1700s, Shrewsbury already had a long history of textile finishing and commerce, and several local merchants found success in the wool industry. Among those who made the most fortune were two brothers named Thomas and Benjamin Benyon. However, towards the end of the century, the sector had begun to decline and the market had started to shrink. So the two brothers decided to diversify into the booming flax-based linen industry.
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Photo: Shropshire Star