Have been trying this place for a few years now, as it seemed every time I went it had recently been re-sealed. However on this occasion we were lucky and finally cracked the ‘beast of Beeston’. There are quite a lot of interesting artifacts left inside, which painted a clear picture of the malting process. For more information on the stages of the malting process please visit my report on the Bass Maltings at Sleaford.
The maltings at Beeston began life as a brewery in 1897 for Messrs Waite, Corbould and Faulkner of the Beeston Brewery Company. Unconventionally the Brewery also housed a large maltings, generally accepted to be the first pneumatic and box maltings in the UK. Pneumatic malting differed to ‘floor malting’ in that the germinating seed was not wetted and spread out on the floor, but instead the barley seeds were allowed to germinate in large boxes supplied with air whereby they were mechanical turned by a roving arguer, or within a drum. Despite being less labour intensive, continuous and less effected by seasonal changes the pneumatic technique was not popular in the UK until the mid 20th Century, with all the larger malting (such as Sleaford) sticking to the traditional floor method.
In 1883 Samuel Theodore Bunning took over the brewery and began expanding the works and enlarging the portfolio of licensed establishments the brewery owned which included The Victoria, Malt Shovel and Three Horseshoes in Beeston.
In 1922 the Brewery was bought by Shipstones which by 1926 had converted the whole site into a traditional floor maltings which ran until 2000. Very little remains of the original pneumatic malting and even less remains of the brewery; however the stages of the floor malting process are clearly visible. Despite laying claim to the first of its kind in the UK the building is not listed and was scheduled for demolition in 2007 for housing. Since then new houses have been built around the site and the maltings remain.
2 - Cleaner for the dried barley
3 - Steeping tanks for wetting the grain
4 - bottom of the steeps
5 - Germinating floor
8 - Malt Stores, possibly where the pneumatic and box maltings were