How a group helped to save The Maltings for the community

Four men

David Wolfe, the late Terry Jarvis, Elphin Watkins and Mike Dines. - Credit: The Friends of Great Dunmow Maltings

Angela Jardine takes a look at the people who are part of The Maltings history.

David Wolfe will forever be a part of The Maltings history. But what is David’s story and how did he help the team to save The Maltings for the community?

After national service David started as an apprentice engineer in Stafford but was soon spotted as management material which eventually saw him headhunted to run Hoffman’s bearing factory in Chelmsford.

Over time David set up seven factories for four different business and even started his own mechanical engineering enterprise. But there was yet another challenge waiting for David.

Until late 1997 and despite living in Dunmow for almost three decades, David only knew The Maltings as a derelict building. It was in fact owned by Boyes Croft, the neighbouring sheltered housing charity who wanted it demolished!

Solicitor Nick Abbott generously funded a feasibility study which was led by respected archaeologist Elphin Watkin. The fight to save The Maltings had begun.

David Westcott JP, ECC councillor, Trevor Hayward, Dunmow Mayor and Rodney Copping, UDC councillor formed The Great Dunmow Maltings Preservation Trust Ltd and negotiated a 100 year lease at a peppercorn rent.

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David was invited to join the Trustees in January 1998 along with Barbara Ball, president of the area WI. Many people will also remember David Westcott as Chair and Nick Prowse, UDC councillor as trustee.

Bob Cowlin, a surveyor from Strutt & Parker covered related matters. Richard Cheetham, an accountant checked the balances and Ian Peatty, a brewer from Coggeshall, provided experience of the Malting industry.

Uttlesford District Council made a huge contribution in lending John Bosworth, Deputy Director of Planning. Melanie Jones, one of his team acted as meetings secretary and was a big support later with ‘the Friends’.

Many people played a role in saving The Maltings but special thanks are owed to UDC, Dunmow Town Council, English Heritage, The Heritage Lottery Fund and to the people of Great Dunmow who gave their time and commitment.

David Wolfe, Mike Dines (ex chairman), Terry Jarvis and Edwin Watkin formally retired as trustees in 2017 after a cumulative 80 years involvement. All four had trained as engineers!

If you would like to become a Friend of The Maltings please email