The MALT Project wins National Lottery support
MALT – a New Cut Arts heritage project celebrating the malting industry in and around Halesworth – wins National Lottery support
Today, New Cut Arts – the charity which runs the Cut Arts Centre in Halesworth – announces that it has been awarded £65,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting creative heritage project to be known as ‘MALT’. Working in partnership with the Halesworth & District Museum – and with support from the Halesworth Town Council and in collaboration with other local voluntary organisations such as The Millennium Green Trust – the project focuses on the story of the rise and decline of the malting industry in north-east Suffolk. Initial training for research volunteers (on which the whole project depends) will commence in May 2016 and the project aims to be completed in time for the September 2017 National Heritage Open Weekend.
The centre-piece of the project will be an ‘immersive experience’ at The Cut enabling visitors to get the feel of what it was like to work in the building circa 1890 at the time when it was a traditional maltings. From this building, a heritage trail will be developed taking visitors to various points around the town where they can discover aspects of the story in the very places where they happened.
Local volunteers will be key to researching the story itself. They will receive training in research techniques and then let loose to gather archival evidence, which will form the basis for the variety of digital presentations which will feature as part of the MALT experience back at The Cut.
These presentations will include a ‘virtual fly-through’ recreation of the original New Cut Maltings; dramatised scenes from the local history of the malting industry performed by young people from the Mouth Youth Academy which will be recorded on film by other young people from The Cut’s Media Club; an illustrated account of the history and workings of the East Anglian Maltings Industry by Ivor Murrell, retired director of the Maltsters Association of Great Britain: and finally a digital archive of what remains of Halesworth’s malting trade and associated brewing industry, created by local amateur photographers. The project will also create study materials for use by local schools and the general public based on both the ‘experience’ and the trail.
Why Halesworth? It is a now forgotten fact that Halesworth developed as a market town on the back of the malting industry because of its location in a prime malt-barley growing region and was one of the most significant centres for the trade in East Anglia during the 19th century. This was in large measure due to the work of Patrick Stead, a Scottish entrepreneur who came south to set up a malting empire and who later became a prime benefactor for the town – the local hospital (sadly now threatened with closure) was founded and named after him.
Commenting on the award, Simon Raven, chair of the MALT steering group, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and are confident that the project will encourage a feeling of local pride in our industrial heritage as well as providing another fascinating reason for visitors to spend time in the Blyth Valley.”
Explaining the importance of HLF support, the Head of HLF East of England, Robyn Llewellyn, said: “We are delighted that, thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to support this excellent project for the people of Halesworth and the surrounding area. It provides innovative ways of exploring a very particular local heritage which is fast disappearing from the East Anglian landscape and, in so doing, has managed to involve a wide range of local people to contribute their time and energies in an act of inspirational ‘uncovering’”.
‘Eastern Daily Press’ – 4th Mar. 2016
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