The old malting industry of Twerton
Malting is the process whereby grain such as barley is turned into malted grain. This involves soaking the grain so that it begins to germinate, then drying it out with heat.
Starch in the grain turns to sugar and the grain is then ready to be sent to breweries for the brewing of beer. It is also used to make other products including malt vinegar and whiskey.
Up until the Victorian era, malting in Twerton would have existed on a small scale to serve the needs of local pubs. A pub named The Clothiers Arms – which once stood where the FOTEC learning centre next to The Foyer is today – was listed as having its own malt house in 1840.
The Maltings on the Lower Bristol Road
But the development of new malting techniques and large multi-storey malt houses were soon to take over.
By the 1830s, the buildings that are still known as The Maltings on the Lower Bristol Road, were constructed.
These were run as a malt house by the Bence family, who at that time lived at Nelson House in Twerton High Street.
Today The Maltings is used as office space for the social landlord Curo.
The large building on the right in the photo, once contained the grain drying floors, while the remains of heating kilns can be seen in the reception – see here.
The Bence family were bought out in the 1880s by the Taylors, who went on to own all of the malt houses in Bath until the time of the First World War.
Malt houses that once stood behind The Golden Fleece Pub
In 1901, J.D. Taylor & Sons’ malt house (pictured left) was constructed some distance behind The Golden Fleece Pub in Twerton.
It replaced an earlier malt house at Walcot Street that had been destroyed by fire. Unfortunately this new malt house at Twerton was also to be ruined by a fire that broke out in March 1915.
It was rebuilt as the Bath Flight Works, a factory that manufactured aeroplane parts. A later photo of the Bath Flight Works with heavy wartime bomb damage can be seen here.
Malting in Twerton continued until 1964 when the last maltings on the Lower Bristol Road closed down.
So the malt houses represent another interesting layer of Twerton’s industrial past to explore. My sources of information for this article were:
Chapman, M. (2003) The High Street Twerton: An Historical Survey, pp. 9, 16
Little, P.R., Notes on malt houses in Twerton
Swift, A., and Elliot K. (2005) The Lost Pubs of Bath, pp.130-1
Nash Partnership (2012) Design and Access Statement for The Maltings, River Place, p.5
Carol Bus comes to Whiteway this Christmas
Whiteway residents who hold fond memories of the Carol Bus have had a wish granted this year.
Some weeks ago, Jimbob Warman, a local dad who has come to the fore as a community activist, asked residents via Facebook what they would most like to see happen on the estate.
Many people replied that they would love to see a return of the Carol Bus, which used to make a trip around Whiteway with its glowing lights, festive music and Father Christmas figure waving to all the people.
Communications with St Philip and St James Church at Rushill revealed that the church had its own Carol Bus that could be taken around Whiteway one evening close to Christmas Day.
The plan came to life on Monday with Jimbob making a tour of the neighbourhood dressed as a cheery Father Christmas. Behind him Reverend Alan Bain drove the brightly lit Carol Bus!
Some families stood outside their homes excitedly awaiting the Carol Bus, while others watched from windows. Many people commented that this was a special moment for the children, some of whom had not seen a Carol Bus before.
At Rosewarn Close a crowd of people came together to greet the Carol Bus and have their photos taken with Father Christmas. It was also possible to visit some roads in Southdown and Twerton.
Members of a Whiteway residents group called Changes carried collection buckets on the tour. Money raised will be split between the work of St Philip and St James Church and community related work on Whiteway.
Community party in Twerton enjoyed by about 130 people
A party organised by the Bath Community Shop in Twerton turned out to be a rip-roaring success, bringing together about 130 people for a lively evening of fun.
The entertainment, which lasted several hours in the Randall’s community room (Bath City Football Club), included a disco and food, craft activities, Bert the Clown, a balloon modeller, face painting, pass-the-parcel and more.
There was a special appearance from Father Christmas and more than a hundred children received presents.
After everything had finished, Rachael said on Facebook:
“Just to say a big thank you to everyone who turned up to the party. Fantastic to see all the children so happy. Here’s to many more fun things for the community. Thank you for all the support. A bigger thank you to my team of volunteers – without your help I couldn’t do all this.”
This was a free event, financed by the Bath Community Shop which donates all its profits back into the surrounding community. Well done Rachael and her team who run the shop for giving all these people such a great time!
Bath Spa students give children a fun time in Twerton
Some young people from Bath Spa University have devoted time to doing craft activities with children at a Christmas event in Twerton.
The event, which was organised by the Time Bank and held in The Hut on Saturday, was designed partly to remind local residents of ways that they can help set up community projects with support from the Time Bank.
A Time Bank member named Sophie is also an art student at Bath Spa University, and she encouraged other students on her course to run a Christmas Art and Crafts Workshop at the event.
This proved to be a star attraction and the sound of happy children making Christmas decorations filled the building for a couple of hours.
Other attractions at The Hut were a Santa’s Grotto, balloon modelling, badge making and refreshments.
On the same day, St Michael’s Church and Bath City Farm were holding their Christmas Fairs. Mr John Rawlings of Whiteway has sent in a photo of the fair taking place in the church (see here) and the Bath Chronicle has a write-up on the farm’s fair here.
New family play sessions at Southside
Local parents and volunteers have started up free family play sessions at the Southside Centre, Kelston View.
The play sessions, which involve crafts, sports, games and den building, give kids something to do on a Monday evening from 4pm to 5.30pm, and serve to make the Southside Centre available to younger children.
Some of the adults who run the sessions are members of Changes – a Whiteway residents group that has launched a range of community projects over the years. They have the support of a Bath Area Play Project worker and volunteers from the youth service. However, more funding is needed.
Next week there will be a Christmas Tea with games. For more information call Sarah on 07814 780850.
News bits and pieces, 9th December
Bath City Farm Christmas Fair
I just wanted to send a reminder about our Christmas Fair this Saturday from 11am to 2pm. There will be an opportunity to meet Santa and his ‘reindeers’, craft activities for kids, crafts and chutneys for sale, chestnuts roasting on an open fire and the Café will be open. We also have plenty of meat for sale if you need to stock up your freezer for Christmas!
Sara Chapple, Bath City Farm
Messy Christmas at Southdown
Messy Christmas at Southdown Methodist Centre is happening on Sunday 15th December from 4pm to 6pm. Messy Church is held every third Sunday of the month and is structured around play sessions. See here.
Free energy advice at Twerton
Are you worried about your heating bills this winter? The Home Energy Team provides free and impartial energy saving advice. They run an energy advice drop-in service at the Time Bank, 86 Twerton High Street. Come and have a chat if you’re worried about gas and electricity bills, struggling with a cold home, or if you’d like information on upgrading your heating or insulation.
Drop in from 10am to 12 noon on: Tuesday 10th December, Tuesday 17th December, or Tuesday 7th January. Then every Tuesday and every other Saturday after that. No appointment is necessary. For free advice call: 0800 082 2234 or see www.cse.org.uk/loveyourhome.
Primary school challenge
Hi! I am working with a group of 20 amazing pupils at St Michaels School (p.e. activities) and I have set them a challenge of covering a distance of 100 miles together over a 6 week period, in a fun way with various activities!
I would love to find someone or a local company that might be able to donate toward their sponsorship? If anyone could help please do let me know, the children are truly brilliant and are working so hard! Thank you.
Ali McLachlan, St Michael’s School