Maltings and Foundries
Wallingford was once famous for malting and brewing. There were two major breweries, Edward Wells’s and Hilliard’s, both in Goldsmith’s Lane. The Wells brewery buildings still remain, as do the brewery worker cottages by the Coach and Horses pub on the Kinecroft. The Morrell brothers who set up the Morrells brewery in Oxford also came from Wallingford.
There used to be at least 17 maltings in the town, and Paul’s Malt or ABM, built in 1958 in Hithercroft Road, dominated the skyline (it was nicknamed “Wallingford Cathedral”) until its demolition in 2001.
Hand in hand with the brewing industry were Wallingford’s pubs. Over 60 are recorded, and many former Tudor pub buildings remain (such as those now occupied by Sportswise and Allen and Harris). The George (formerly the George and Dragon) began serving in 1517.
Iron founding was another key industry, with the Wilder family responsible for much of the ironwork that can still be seen here. They operated from a shop on St Mary’s Street (now Louise Claire Millinery), with a foundry at the back. The shop has a weathervane of a ploughman made by the Wilders, Later they built a larger foundry in Goldsmith’s Lane, which has now been converted to flats.
The Wilder Foundry Legacy
Amongst the many things cast by the Wilder foundry are the lamps on Wallingford Bridge, some of the railings at St Leonard’s Church, the elephant at the Maharajah’s Well in nearby Stoke Row and the arches supporting the Corn Exchange roof.