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Report - Langley Maltings, The Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries – June 2011

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by The Lone Ranger, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. The Lone Ranger

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    Langley Maltings, The Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries – June 2011

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    History

    It is a striking building, rising from the side of the canal, the water at the base of its walls, and a feature of the canal walk from Oldbury locks to Titford Pool. The maltings were erected by Walter Showell around 1880 on the side of the Titford Canal to supply malt to his new 'Crosswells Brewery' a hundred yards away across the railway line. This was one of the largest breweries in the area, and Showell's Ales were distributed throughout the Midlands. Local barley was used in the malting process, supplemented with grain brought in by barge and, later, by railway.

    Malting ceased in 2006, and the building was sold by its owners,Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries, in 2007, since when it has been allowed to deteriorate. It was one of the last maltings to still use the traditional 'floor' malting process: the grains of barley were steeped in water and then spread over the floor of the maltings, the mass being frequently turned to permit even germination. At the end of the twentieth century, there were only five maltings in the country still using this process.

    On the evening of 8th September 2009 fire broke out in the derelict Maltings in Western Road, Langley. Half of the roof of the grade two listed building was destroyed before the fire was put out, and three of its characteristic outlet towers destroyed. This was not the first major fire. On 25th September 1925 the maltings caught fire and half of the building destroyed. Added hazards in 1925 were the location of the Shell-Mex petroleum tanks next to the maltings, and tar wagons in the railway yard opposite: both long since gone. On that occasion, the maltings were part of a commercially successful operation, and were quickly rebuilt. Their future now is much less certain, but it is to be hoped that they can be retained and a new use found for them.

    My Visit

    Visited with Tonto as we had an hour or two to kill. I spotted this building last October while working in the area, it has been on the list of places to visit since. Today started well, was up early to drive to work, so we called off at another site only to find out once inside my SD card was still sat in the van – bugger.

    Another spin on the day was I did a quick search on this site last night, but it didn’t register that I was looking at images of the wrong site, spent the whole time looking for an old lorry which is at Lallians Flour Mill, no wonder it all looked different :)
    This must have been a great explore 4 years ago, pictures from the archived reports are stunning. It’s a shame how much a place can change over a relatively short period of time; the fire in 2009 has destroyed about half the site, the majority of interesting features have either walked out of here or been trashed. Having said that I still enjoyed my mooch around this site, there still are some interesting features (but no lorry).

    REPORT

    To be honest there is no real structure to this report, apart from starting at the top of the non-fire damaged building and working down and through the ground floors.

    First image is of a corridor in the roof space

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    Tonto climbing up to our high point

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    Wish I knew more about the process here, but it’s my first malthouse; this looks like where the malt was dried?

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    Same as previous

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    Reflections on the open floors

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    Large open spaces

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    I wish I’d now tied his feet to a post, Tonto having a play :)

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    An old sign from the out buildings; Poor Fred

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    After another look for the old lorry I found these nice stairs.

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    Well that’s it, know there have been a few reports on here, but glad it wasn’t Lallians Flour Mill now as there have been a lot of reports about here over the last couple of weeks, but now have to pay the flour mill a visit just to see the lorry :)

    Quite scary how quickly a place can become trashed, 4 years ago the images still had piles of malt on the floor.

    Thanks for looking

    TLR
     

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