Malthouse Passage, SW13

Place Name

Originally Malthouse Alley and before that Back Lane, the current name was in use by the 1890s. Having changed the name once around the time that Barnes Bridge station was opened, a request to change the name to Malthouse Lane by one of the inhabitants in 1938 was refused by the Council. It takes its name from the malthouse owned by John Moody in the late 18th and early 19th centuries Mary Grimwade and Charles Hailstone in the Highways and Byways of Barnes write: “The malthouse is depicted with a wide arched central door and a characteristic cowl above the roof in Leigh’s Panorama of The Thames, c 1830. It was one of three malthouses in Back Lane.” Between 1830 and 1865 the owner was Henry Downs who had a large malting business at Richmond. He was in turn succeeded by Henry Walmsley and later by Hockaday and Alderson. By 1884 the malthouse was the Riverside Brewery of Todd & Company. This however was a short-lived venture, because by 1910 the building was being used as a venue for early cinematography presentations although plans to convert it into a cinema came to nothing. Instead it returned to industry, as the foundry of the the Barnes Aluminium and Bronze Company. Grimwade and Hailstone describe its demise: “All vestiges of the old malthouse went in 1950 with then rebuilding of The Terrace front and the insertion of factory windows. On the 1968 OS it was marked as Brass Foundry. In 1981 the boundary was pulled down and Maltings Close built in its place in a style consonant with the period architecture of The Terrace.” The cottages on the south side of Malthouse Passage were built sometime after 1867. The road originally ran all the way from the High Street (part of which was later renamed Terrace Gardens) and overlooked West Field. Grimwade and Hailstone: “The development of Back Lane began slowly in the early nineteenth century until by the middle years it was crowded with cottages, stables and sheds all along the southern edge with a veritable warren of courts and alleys at the High Street end, the whole being airily dismissed as ‘the back of The Terrace’ or ‘the back lanes’. During the last century a small colony of tobacco pipe makers flourished in the lane. The complicated rookery of a little over two acres at the High Street end was doomed under a clearance scheme of 1911… demolition in the warren was in stages so that the 141 inhabitants could move into the new council houses as they were completed. To avoid hardship tenants were allowed to continue their old rents of from five to eleven shillings a week. Malthouse Passage at that point was widened into the present road.”

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