In the 1820s Patrick Stead was recognised as the ‘foremost East Anglian maltster.’ Famous brewer, Michael Bass, considered him the best in England.
Stead developed an innovative malting system that used steam and hot air to control germination and kilning. These techniques were the forerunners of those used today.
Newson Garrett was born in 1812 in Leiston, Suffolk, grandson of Richard Garrett, founder of the Leiston agricultural machinery works, and his wife Elizabeth.
While running a pawnbroking business in Whitechapel he married Louisa Dunnell and the first of his six daughters, was born there in 1836.
After moving to Aldeburgh, he bought a barley and coal merchants at Snape Bridge. In 1854 he began malting there and his success as a maltster and businessman led to him being elected mayor of Aldeburgh in 1889.
Described as ‘fair-haired and blue-eyed, strikingly handsome, self-confident, and impetuous,’ Garrett passed on his entrepreneurial spirit to his daughters. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was Britain’s first legally qualified woman doctor. She also became the UK’s first woman mayor when she took over the position from her father. Millicent (Garrett) Fawcett became first president of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, and Agnes Garrett was London’s first woman interior designer.
After closing in 1960, the maltings at Snape Bridge was converted into a concert hall under the leadership of Benjamin Britten and became the venue for the annual Aldeburgh Music Festival.
Bronnen raised her chin, her cheeks hot. To him it would appear she was blushing. In truth she was angry – at herself for having listened to his spite, and at him for expecting her to believe his malicious attack on Santo. His compliments made her skin crawl.
‘Much obliged for the warning. I’ll take more care in future. Or who knows what people may tell me?’ As his smile faltered she continued, ‘Does the loss leave you short?’
‘No, not at all,’ he said quickly. ‘It is an inconvenience, nothing more.’
‘Good,’ Bronnen said. ‘Because I’m here to place an order – so long as we can agree terms. The malt brought to Gillyvean from Curnock’s was spoiled by smoke from the fire.’
He seized her hand, clasping it between his. ‘My dear Miss Jewell, I am filled with admiration. You have succeeded where my father – God rest his soul – failed. Though my malt is the best, he was never able to persuade my uncle to buy it. I think you must possess some remarkable powers.’ He started to raise her hand to his lips.
Bronnen pulled free without apology and brushed her hand against her skirt. She didn’t want him touching her. He had no right. ‘Like I said, Mr Curnock, first we need to agree terms.’
‘If you have come to me, it is because Uncle Arthur has finally given up on Endean’s. I will supply you with top quality malt at a generous discount of five per cent.’
Bronnen inclined her head politely. ‘Good day to you.’ She turned towards the door.
‘Where are you going?’
Hearing the shock in his voice, she was careful to keep all expression from her face as she glanced over her shoulder. ‘We’re both busy, Mr Curnock. I don’t want to waste your time or mine.’
‘You can’t just walk away.’
‘Yes, I can.’
‘Wait!’ She turned, watched him smooth his hair. ‘Give me a figure.’
‘Thirty per cent.’
He laughed. ‘You are not serious.’
‘I would never joke about Mr Tregarron’s business. P’rhaps I’m wrong, but I’d have thought a contract with Curnock’s brewery would be good for your malthouse. But you probably got more customers than –’
Bronnen shook her head. ‘Like I was about to say, you and Mr Endean are not the only suppliers. Twenty.’
Astonishment battled with irritation. ‘Miss Jewell, you really are –’ he shook his head, words failing him. ‘Fifteen, and that is my final –’
‘Fifteen it is.’ Custom demanded she shake his hand, but she kept the contact brief. After they agreed the number of bushels per week and a delivery day, she nodded again and crossed to the door.
‘This has been a revelation, Miss Jewell. I look forward to our future dealings.’
‘Mr Curnock,’ she dipped her head. Walking away, her heart still thumping, Bronnen could hardly believe what she had done.
Treeve Curnock watched her retreating figure. ‘You will pay dearly for that, Bronnen Jewell,’ he murmured. ‘Indeed you will.’
Santo Innis is developing a revolutionary new engine to counter the lethal effects of high-pressure steam. His backer is Richard Vaughan, heir to Frederick Tregarron, owner of Gillyvean estate.
Following the tragic deaths of his wife and baby son, Richard immersed himself in work. But his world is turned upside down by the unexpected arrival at Gillyvean of Melanie Tregarron, a talented artist and Frederick’s illegitimate youngest daughter.
Desperate to prove the viability of his invention, Santo persuades Richard to let him fit one at Gillyvean’s brewhouse.
But when Bronnen Jewell – worried about her mother’s suffering at her father’s hands – arrives to brew the harvest beer she’s horrified, fearing loss of the income on which she depends.
As the lives of these four become entwined, a shocking revelation shatters Bronnen’s world; desperate for money Santo makes a choice that costs him everything; Melanie fears she will never be free of her past; and Richard has to face his deepest fear.
Jane Jackson has been a professional writer for over thirty years, and twice shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award. Crosscurrents is her twenty-eighth published novel.
Happily married to a Cornishman, with children and grandchildren, she has lived in Cornwall most of her life, finding inspiration for her books in the county’s magnificent scenery and fascinating history.
She enjoys reading, research, long walks, baking, and visiting Cornish agricultural shows where her husband displays his collection of 28 (and counting) restored vintage rotavators.