Northcot project scoops top prize at the 2023 Brick Awards

  • 15 Jan 2024

Northcot Brick is celebrating after winning at the Brick Development Association’s 2023 Brick Awards, with its flagship project Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings scooping the ‘Supreme Award’.

This is the fifth Northcot project to collect the coveted top brick industry prize in the last eight years, following the successes of Radley College’s Chapel Extension (2022), Newnham College’s Dorothy Garrod Building (2019), Newport Street Gallery (2016), and Manchester’s Whitworth (2015).

The restoration of Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings and its repurposing as a vibrant business hub and heritage destination not only claimed the ‘Supreme Award’ but also topped the ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Craftsmanship’ categories.

After years of decline, the 226-year-old former flax mill, considered to be the world’s first ever cast-iron framed building – often dubbed as the ‘grandparent’ of the modern skyscraper – was bought in 2005 by Historic England with a view to its conservation and sustainable reuse.


A £20.7 million grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund in 2017 enabled the project team, led by architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, working with Croft Building & Conservation and over 80 specialist craftsmen, to undertake a comprehensive programme of repair, reuse, and retrofitting, with some bold architectural insertions.       


Critical to the success of the restoration was Northcot’s expertise in manufacturing 90,000 bespoke handmade bricks in two sizes (75 & 93mm) to match the existing ‘Great Bricks’ of the Grade I listed Main Mill. These oversized bricks had been made approximately one-third larger than standard bricks in order to avoid the 18th century brick tax imposed by George III.

By combining age-old hand throwing skills and traditional kiln firing with highly sophisticated weathering techniques, Northcot could match the exact size, colour and the texture of the originals.


The judges commented: “The introduction of new brickwork into this existing building is an example of well-executed craftsmanship. The heritage skills programme and light-touch conservation approach used to repair and convert this internationally important building is a significant accomplishment.”

Michael Brown, Managing Director of Northcot Brick, says: “It has been a privilege to work with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Croft Building & Conservation and the large team of skilled craftsmen who have meticulously restored this iconic building.

“The expertise and commitment of the project team has not only preserved Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings, but ensured that it has a viable and sustainable economic future.”


Click here to watch the 2023 BDA award video, where you can find more information about this award-winning project.

For more information about Northcot Brick, telephone 01386 700551, email [email protected] or visit

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