The origin of iron beams
Construction of this building began in May li96 and it was in operation by September 1797. Charles Bage was responsible for its design. From a letter written by him to Strutt at this time, we know that he received much help from the designer of the Derby mill, and most of the features of Strutt's fire-proof mills were incorporated at Shrewsbury, including ihe brick arch floors. But Bage substituted iron for <timber in the beams. The Shrewsbury beam is shown in Fig. l(b) and we see at once how closely this was modelled on Strutt's timber beam with its skewbacks C). These first iron beams are extemely primitive, but this is hardly surprising as they had no precedent in building construction. William Hazledine cast the columns and beams at his foundry in Shrewsbury (B).