About the building

The Southern Maltings is the last historic malting in Ware with original workings in place and the only one still in public ownership. It is Grade II listed and a unique survivor of what was once Ware’s main industry – there were over 100 malthouses in the town in the 1880s.

The Southern Maltings was first owned by the Dickinson family which had carried out malting on the site since the eighteenth century. The present building dates from the 1830s and originally produced brown malt used for brewing ‘porter’ beer.

Parts of the original malt floors remain in the central section along with a barley store and steeping chamber at the east end. In the west end, now home to Ware Arts Centre, you can see parts of the woven wire roasting floor and the inside of the cowls. Both were made locally by Chas Wells whose name is on the tie plates on the outside wall.

The New Maltings, as they were known, stayed in use until the 1960’s. The building was bought by Ware Urban District Council in 1965 for £130,000 – about £3million in today's money. Ownership passed to East Herts District Council in 1974.

East Herts Council leased the west end of the Southern Maltings to Ware Arts Centre in 2000. It was completely refurbished in 2004, with support from local companies and grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and East Herts Council.

Waggers Social Club occupied the central part of the building until 2013, when East Herts Council put it up for sale along with the store rooms at the eastern end.