The rise of Snape Maltings
The navigable River Alde runs from Snape Bridge, dominated by the Arts Centre housed in the former maltings, to Blackstakes Reach where it becomes the River Ore. The waterway is tidal throughout, and only navigable along the upper reaches at high tide. The navigable channel west of Alde Mud Flats is constantly changing and tortuously wriggly – hinted at by the channel name of ‘Troublesome Reach’. No works have been undertaken to modify the river for navigation.
Newson Garrett, a Victorian entrepreneur, purchased the business of Osborne and Fennell, corn and coal merchants of Snape Bridge, in 1841 at the already busy port. From here, he used the river Alde to transport barley across Britain and into Europe on Thames barges. Within three years of his arrival, Newson Garrett was shipping 17,000 quarters of barley a year from Snape. Much of this barley would have been destined for breweries, where it had first to be malted. Demand from the London breweries was growing fast, and it was becoming impractical to make malt and brew beer on the same premises. In 1854, Newson Garrett began malting at Snape, and was soon shipping malt, rather than barley, to the breweries.
[The photo shows the quayside at Snape Maltings on the River Alde – by Christopher Hilton © and licenced for reuse under cc-by-sa/2.0]