When Louth’s gigantic ‘horror’ was demolished to make way for the Aldi supermarket
We all know the Aldi in Louth, but what’s hard to imagine now is what stood in its place: a gigantic malt kiln! This imposing structure has cast its eerie shadow over much of our town for nearly 70 years.
But after decades of speculative calls to demolish it, the long-abandoned building in Newbridge Hill was finally demolished in 2014/2015, to the cheers of many Louths. The first concrete malting house in Europe, the building was completed in 1950 and stood 32 meters (105 ft) at its highest point.
It was built to replace the old malting houses (where grain is turned into malt for beer), destroyed by bombs in 1943 during World War II. The location was perfect, with nearby farms producing barley and the train station on its doorstep allowing for easy transport.
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Malting is the first step in turning barley into beer. The cereal grain is soaked in water to make it germinate, then the germination is stopped by drying it with hot air. This process develops enzymes in the grains that convert starches into sugars.
Due to the sheer size of the malt kiln, it became a de facto landmark in Louth, but many people considered it an eyesore. Jon Carter, of the Louth Cycle Centre, which is next to the site, told the BBC at the time he was “really pleased to see the back” of the building.
“I won’t miss it at all because I’m going to get some daylight here,” he said.
“Most people really don’t like it. That’s why it’s called the concrete cathedral, that’s what a lot of people call it.”
It wasn’t all rancor, however, with some harboring a fondness for the building – largely because it had simply stood the test of time. Its demolition has also fortunately found a view of the facade of the old station.
So next time you’re grabbing a beer at Louth’s Aldi, which opened in December 2015, why not raise a glass to the concrete giant’s former playground?
Check out these fantastic archival photographs and video stills of the demolition from Kurnia Aerial Photography who filmed the destruction of the building using a drone.