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east float mill

Case Study: East Float Mill

East Float Mill is situated near to the historic and regenerating town of Birkenhead.

Gregor Shore the main contractor set out to transform this superb Victorian listed warehouse dating back to 1850, into 168 contemporary loft style apartments, retaining much of the original cast iron and brickwork.

The building has a fascinating history, it is thought to have been designed by G.F. Lister, the architect responsible for Liverpool’s Waterloo Warehouse. Throughout the 1850’s East Float Mill was used as a departure point for emigrants on ships bound for Australia. In 1866 Alfred Dock was built providing access for cargo ships bringing grain into East Float Mill and as demand for grain increased this became the busiest time for Birkenhead Docks.

east float mill

In 1879 the worlds first ever submarine, Resrgam II was launched into the waters next to East Float Mill. This vessel had the capacity to stay underwater for up to four hours but unfortunately sank near Rhyl in North Wales a year later, the wreck was discovered in 1995 and is now on permanent display at Woodside Ferry, home of the world famous Ferry across the Mersey. Major flour milling Company Rank Hovis (Spillers) still used East Float Mill almost throughout the twentieth century and this operation only closed in 1999.

Gregor Shore engaged Cull Dry Lining to assist in a pioneering conversion set to act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the whole dockland area in Birkenhead. Cull was appointed as the Dry Lining Contractor. The first task was to underseal each of the existing timber soffitts, with two layers of fireline plasterboard, each cavity being filled with 200mm Isowool. The void above each of the separating walls was filled with 200mm Rockwool and then all joints were them Firetaped.

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We were then introduced to a different system of partition erecting, which was new to ourselves, whereas the Main Contractor manufactured the steel components on site, both standard and load bearing. Load bearing floor beams were also used, which were made from steel components measured and manufactured on site by Gregor Shore and assembled by ourselves.

The partitions were riveted together and placed into position, and then the traditional method of dry lining was used. The load bearing and separating walls were a twin frame construction with 200mm Isowool in each frame and a 19mm plank and 12.5 plasterboard to each side.

Toilets and bathrooms were boarded with moisture resistant board. The curved ceilings in the main entrance were formed using Armstrong curved components. The ceilings were formed using the M/F system, then all works were skimmed using either thistle board finish or Knauf plasters.

There is one three storey apartment which incorporates a small hoist housing, which was built on the roof to house machinery for hoisting up the main tower, in the buildings days as a flour mill.

The second stage of East Float Mill Block B commenced in June 2007 and major regeneration is planned for the Docklands over the next five years.

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established 1971