Paul's malting
Ipswich Historic Lettering: R&W Paul 1a
Paul’s company history
The business was founded by Robert Paul (1806-1864) in c1842. Previously the Paul family had owned a small brewery in Foundation Street, Ipswich, with a tied estate of fifteen public houses and a wine and spirit trade. There is some evidence of financial crisis, and in 1842 the brewery, together with Robert's Ipswich saddlery and his father's Bury St Edmunds ironmongery were sold. Robert, maintaining his interests in the London and Ipswich United Shipping Company, continued as a wharfinger and maltster. On his death in 1864 the business comprised eleven small maltings and six barges. He constructed a trust to administer the estate to provide sufficient money for his family without disposing of his fixed capital, ships or stock in trade.

His brothers-in-law were required to manage the business effects until either of his sons reached the age of 24. After a decade of administration by his executors the business therefore passed to his sons, Robert Stocker Paul (1845-1909) and William Francis Paul (1850-1928) and thereafter expanded rapidly. During the critical years after their father's death they received financial support from William Hewitt, Robert's father-in-law who financed the purchase of their first substantial malting (the 'Oliver Prentice' malting in Fore Street, Ipswich) in 1877. The Albion Malting, Smart's Mill (a factory for dressing foreign barley) and No 4 Malting were all built during the 1880s and maltings were rented at Woodbridge, Stowmarket and Stonham. Expansion in malting was matched by diversification into the manufacture of animal feedstuffs and flaked maize for brewers.

William Francis Paul was to become a major philanthropist in Ipswich and his name is commemorated on the W.F. Paul Tenement Trust buildings and the Ragged Girls' School, as well as being linked to the setting-up of Rosehill Library in Tomline Road.

Paul’s also developed their shipping interests. In 1886 the first coastal steamship, the Swift, was acquired. By the early 1890s the fleet comprised six steamships, ten 40-50 ton sailing barges, a number of lighters and steam tugs, including the Merrimac which doubled as a summer excursion steamer. Maize and barley were imported from America and eastern Europe, and malt, barley and smaller quantities of wheat and oats were shipped outwards, accounting for some two-thirds of the grain exported from Ipswich. In 1893 the business was incorporated as a private limited company, R. and W. Paul Ltd, worth a share capital of 250,000.

In 1902 the company purchased Gillman and Spencer Ltd of Rotherhithe (manufacturers of flaked maize and brewers' preservatives), where they developed Kositos, an animal feed made from cooked flaked maize, for which the company was known for many decades. In 1904, the first of two 300 quarter maltings was built at the New Cut (junction with Felaw Street) at Stoke, Ipswich, the second was completed in 1912, the complex remaining the centrepiece of the enterprise for several decades. In 1906 a financial interest was taken in the Grantham malting company, Lee and Grinling Ltd and in 1914 the Barnetby (Lincolnshire) maltings of Truswell's Brewery Company were purchased. Boal Mill in Kings Lynn was purchased in 1912 and converted for the production of animal foodstuffs. In 1918 the Hull Malt Company, manufacturers of flaked maize, was acquired and converted for milling animal feeds.

Expansion continued throughout the inter-war years with full control of Lee and Grinling achieved in 1928. The Stonham maltings were purchased as were the Creeting Road maltings at Stowmarket and, in 1937, maltings at Blyton, Lincolnshire. The Albion Sugar Company, producing invert sugars for the brewing trade, was registered in 1929 (a joint venture with White, Tomkins and Courage). The Leeds firm of Richard Dobson and Son was purchased in 1941 and, three years later, the Thetford maltings of James Fison Ltd. However, the main emphasis during the period was on the company's animal feed interests especially the new growth area of compound feeds.

In July 1960 Pauls was converted into a public company, enabling capital to be raised for a large-scale expansion programme. In February 1963 the company merged with one of its oldest competitors, White, Tomkins and Courage of London. A new holding company, Paul’s and White’s, was formed with five wholly-owned subsidiaries: Gillman and Spencer; the Albion Sugar Company; White, Tomkins and Courage; Paul’s Foods and R. and W. Paul (Maltsters) – the last two formed by separating Paul's milling and malting interests. The acquisition in 1965 of S Swonnell and Son of Oulton Broad and Harrington Page of Ware, brought further centralisation of sales and distribution. In 1967 the company was reorganised into a multi-divisional structure embracing three divisions: malt, animal feedstuffs and general products. Two years later, following the report of the management consultants, John Tyzack, the general products division was disbanded and the business reorganised on a marketing basis into three new divisions: farming, foods and brewing material.

In 1969 after the acquisition of the Gainsborough maltsters, Sandars and Co., a new operating company, Paul’s and Sandar’s was formed. Founded in the eighteenth century, Sandar’s was one of the most prestigious of British malting companies and brought to Paul’s valuable contacts with the British brewing trade. The purchase of the Scottish maltster, Robert Hutchison and Co. in 1972 enabled further penetration of the distilling market. Britain's prospective entry into the EEC also prompted a direct move into the European malting industry. In 1971 a quarter share was taken in the Belgian company, Malteries Huys NV; in 1973 the French companies Usines Ethel SA and its neighbour Grands Moulins de Strasbourg; and in 1977 a German subsidiary, Malzfabric Schragmalz.

The sharp recession from 1979 saw further rationalisation across the British malting industry and the closure of many of the remaining floor maltings. The Stoke Maltings (Felaw Street) were closed in 1980; part of the German subsidiary was closed in 1984 and the remainder sold. In March 1985 Paul’s was acquires for 113 million by the overseas trading and plantation group, Harrisons and Crosfield. George Paul, fifth generation of the firm was subsequently appointed chief executive of the group. In July 1987, in the most important take-over in the history of the Britiash malting industry, Paul’s acquired their old competitors, Associated British Maltsters, the integrated company becoming the largest European malting enterprise.

The economic downturn of the early 1990s brought the closure of maltings at Grimsby and Kirkcaldy in 1992 and two years later at Ware. Paul’s purchased the Glenesk Maltings, near Montrose, from United Distillers in January 1997, the acquisition including an agreement to supply distilling malt to Guinness's Park Royal Brewery in London. In February 1998 Paul’s commissioned a new malting at Bury St Edmunds; its annual capacity of 100,000 tonnes making the site the largest in Europe. Two months later, following the decision by Harrisons and Crosfield to focus on their core business of chemicals, Paul’s Malt was sold to the Irish-based agriculture and sugar congolomerate, Greencore.


See our page on the Trinity House buoy for photographs of the two Paul's maltings which stood on St Peter's Wharf, including some from the 1980s before the ship loading gantry was removed. The Paul's malting which used to tower over its neighbour the Custom House appears our Burton's page with other lettered Paul's buildings.


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