Clements Hall
Queen Victoria St  with tram

Clements Hall Local History Group

Exploring the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe and South Bank areas of York

Clements Hall Local History Group

Exploring the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe and South Bank areas of York

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Clementhorpe Maltings

The Maltings on Lower Ebor Street were built in the late nineteenth century of red brick and plain tiled roofs. They are consistently marked on the OS maps, first appearing on the 1892 edition. By 1895 they were operated by the Tadcaster Tower Brewery Company Ltd. This had been formed in 1882 by the amalgamation of three local breweries. Tower Brewery purchased the buildings in May 1903 for the sum of £1,175, and used them until the late 1960s.

The building is now Listed Grade II (List entry Number: 1389599, December 2001), being a good example of a small late nineteenth century urban maltings. In fact, it is the only maltings remaining in York, and one of very few in Yorkshire. At the time of Listing it retained rare machinery relating to the malting process, including an early twentieth century kiln furnace, a cistern steep, and related machinery including a double bucket elevator and dressing machine by Nalder & Nalder.

The kiln was a substantial weight and required a support structure. The drying floors were made of perforated wire. The floors were supported by iron girders and columns.

The Maltings, which are a vernacular brick building with a distinctive pyramidal roof and cowl, were used to store and process barley and malt for brewing purposes, for  making beer and whisky. The processes included steeping, growing and roasting in a kiln. The Listing describes the layout as follows: “Rectangular building aligned north-south with drying Kiln at south end on Lower Ebor Street. Malthouse of 3 storeys, growing floors on ground and first floors, steep at north end of first floor, malt storage bins on second floor, and loft floor for storage of bagged barley.” Goods were originally hoisted into the upper floors using a pulley system and entry platforms supported by cast iron brackets.

Clementhorpe Maltings used a process known as floor malting, whereby cereal grain was converted into malt for the brewing industry. Barley was brought in by road and was hoisted up to the second floor taking-in door for storage. When required, the grain was carried down to the first floor and soaked in water. This process, known as ‘steeping’ was carried out in a large cast-iron cistern. Next, the grain would be spread out on the ground and first floors and left to germinate. Germination would be halted by placing the grain in a kiln, heated by a furnace. The malt was then cleaned and dressed, before being stored in large walk-in storage bins. A double-bucket elevator was used to move the grain between floors.

Over the years various adjustments were made to the processes and equipment. The kiln was originally located at the Lower Darnborough Street end. Excavations here revealed a furnace door made by W. Thomlinson-Walker of York, together with some perforated ceramic kiln tiles. Later, the kiln was rebuilt at the Lower Ebor Street end of the building. A new furnace was installed, manufactured by H. J. H. King of Nailsworth, Gloucestershire. Towards the end of its working life further changes were made to the Maltings. Large-scale grain cleaning equipment was installed, part of the second floor was removed and a large dressing machine and hopper constructed. There were also improvements to the bucket elevator.

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Cherry St view of the Maltings when site for new Health Centre

This photo shows works under way on the Maltings (Photo by Rob Stay, 1984)

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The Maltings in 2018 after conversion for residential use. This photo is taken from Lower Ebor Street, looking north east. The car park on the left is the site of a Roman burial ground. (Photo by John Stevens, April 2018)

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The developers have installed this helpful interpretation board which explains the sequence of processes carried out at the Maltings. (Photo by John Stevens, April 2018)

The Maltings closed in 1963 after lying empty for many years. There was an active campaign by local residents against the changing of the Maltings to residential use. They wanted it to be retained for community purposes and were concerned that the historic features of the building could be lost.[1]

However, the Maltings were converted into residential use by Northminster Ltd in a £2.1 million scheme in 2016. The conversion, which retained many historic features, won regional and national RICS awards in 2017.

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Three interior shots of the converted Maltings showing the preservation of original features, including wooden beams, iron supports and the furnace. (Source: Northminster Limited, December 2016).

[1] See, for example, http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/13316283.Clementhorpe_group_s_fight_to_preserve_historic_maltings/