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Report - Thorpe Maltings - Essex - May 2013

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Special Brew, May 14, 2013.

  1. Special Brew

    Special Brew 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Dec 17, 2012
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    This was a solo explore and my first taking pictures.

    I have been past these maltings hundreds of times on the train through Thorpe-Le-Soken station watching its slow (but fast considering its age) demise, through the constant loss of slates to roof collapses and major demolition. I have always wondered what lie within but never dared to find out.​

    Times have changed and access couldn't be easier, although I did have to be careful to avoid being seen by the many people passing through the station next door. On my first visit I only had my phone on me and after taking loads of pictures only 3 or 4 came out even acceptable. I wanted to go back and try again, but this time with a decent camera! So i returned alone a few days later on my bike on one of the hottest days of the year. After exploring camera-less until this point it showed me how much more time taking photos takes up and also how much more detail you notice. Playing around with the camera and finding all sorts of things to capture i spent hours in only a relatively small building, and loved it. I also explored a section that I had missed previously as access takes a bit of effort/balls as well as being pushed for light the first time around. Even with a good camera some of the areas I struggled to capture due to the lack of, or contrasting light.

    Despite the demolished part there was still plenty to see and some boring and uninspired graffiti in the demolished end were the only sings of vandalism, all natural decay.​

    The History:​

    Thorpe Maltings were built by Robert Free (of Mistley Maltings fame) between 1874 & 1878 (although BBC doomsday records of 1986 list the buildings as being built in 1895). It comprised of two independently run halves; with the West half, using crystal malt, and the East half, using pale malt. They are the only surviving maltings in the country to show evidence of this double use. Built adjacent to Thorpe-Le-Soken Station, the location chosen to provide vital transport links as well as keeping the associated smells away from the village. I could find no records online of the when the maltings changed ownership, but they were run by Free Rodwell & Co ltd. from construction and later taken over by Ind Coope /Albrew Maltsters. Various articles state an abandonment time of “at least the early 1970s” however there is another contradiction from the BBC Doomsday records of 1986 that state the ongoing use of the maltings and employment of 5 people.

    Maltings in 2003 with kiln flues and East wing roof intact. Taken by Ian Peaty.​

    The maltings have been grade II listed since 1998, and added to English heritage’s “Conservation Areas at risk” register in 2009. It has since been identified by Essex County Council as a “Building at risk” and also forms part of Tendring district council’s “Thorpe Station and Maltings Conservation Area”. All of these organisations have acknowledged the rapid decline of the maltings yet nothing significant has been done. Despite a change of use application to “residential” being rejected, in recent years Tendring district council have been stating their keen interest in ensuring that the maltings are saved. Talks regarding the conditions of its regeneration were held between the council, the owners: Rosegrade Ltd of Ipswich, and British Heritage, however no plans were ever put into action.

    Following a major collapse of the Eastern roof in 2007, through 2007/2008 demolition work was carried out: removing the pyramidal kiln flues and the roof, internals and floors of the Eastern half of the maltings as well as securing the walls with scaffold to prevent further damage to the structure. Since then the rest of the building has seen various collapses throughout, leaving it in the state it is now.
    Chances of restoration look extremely bleak, as it seems the owners are willing to wait for the place to fall down allowing them the far cheaper option of complete new-builds on the site.

    The Photos:​

    Front of the maltings and the station car park featuring my car (i wish)



    Scaffold holding up the front wall of the Eastern half.

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    Eastern part of the maltings following internal demolition.



    8718599633_93499ffa72_z.jpg 8719716396_1ed8f5c5a6_z.jpg

    1st and 2nd kiln furnaces, (couldn't get a picture of the kilns on this visit)

    8718615431_d523d7295f_z.jpg 8718575315_2d00c33641_z.jpg
    3rd kiln furnace at the rear​



    8719697386_ba9307b688_z.jpg 8719687524_46abfeb646_z.jpg


    The basement was pitch black, featured 2 furnaces and roasting cylinders for the Crystal malt process.

    There was also a crate with these in, confirming Ind Coope as the likely last occupants of the building.

    8719657894_0da3253849_z.jpg 8719655420_ee3a3c7059_z.jpg
    The Showers and a small workers room featuring lockers, heater and benches are also in the basement.

    Then i was confronted by this.

    3 floors and partial roof collapse, with a belt conveyor hanging above.

    Ground floor of the Western half.



    Steep in the Western half viewed from 1st floor.

    These stairs are completely rotten.

    8718476427_55ce8b9a3a_z.jpg 8719560294_67de40a237_z.jpg

    Struggled to get a shot of this.


    If you got this far thanks for having a look at my first report, apologies if its too pic-heavy i struggled to narrow them down from my full set.

    Attached Files:

    #1 Special Brew, May 14, 2013
    Last edited: May 14, 2013
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  2. Jordanchinkbmx

    Jordanchinkbmx "Take only pictures, leave only footprints"
    28DL Full Member

    Mar 29, 2015
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    Looks good! Job well done !
  3. Exxperious

    Exxperious 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Oct 11, 2015
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    Any updated info on this place ?
  4. Special Brew

    Special Brew 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Dec 17, 2012
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    Havent been back for nearly couple of years, but I have been past it and its still there. No doubt its pretty much the in same condition as you can see here.
    Its currently being sold with planning consent to convert into flats with houses built on the land behind. The adjoining Station Hotel (not in this report as its sealed up tight) is also included in the lot. Its been up for sale for a while and will likely stay so for the foreseable future. Not quick profit development this one!

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