Halesworth is a prime example of a small market town which, for much of its history, was a centre for the malting and brewing industries. It grew rapidly in the C18th and 19th due to a combination of factors – the presence locally of excellent barley grown for malting, a short river connecting town to sea, an independent-minded number of entrepreneurial individuals (including the pioneering Patrick Stead) and later the coming of a direct rail-line to London. Even 100 years ago the town would have been very different to how it is today, dominated as it was by several large red-brick malting buildings, tall smoking chimneys and the pungent smells associated with beer and malt production.
In the C21st, if you look carefully, remains of this ‘golden age’ of manufacturing are still to be found. It is the purpose of MALT – a Heritage Lottery funded project – to uncover this vanishing heritage through the creation of a town Trail and an ‘Experience’ (at The Cut) which will together tell the fascinating story of how this industry transformed the fortunes of the town. The project is a partnership between the Halesworth & District Museum and New Cut Arts. Keep an eye out for developments over the next few months. The official ‘opening’ took place during the Halesworth Heritage Open Weekend in iSeptember 2017.
As a resource of general interest, for schools or for historians, MALT’s own website is a must halesworthmalt.org