The vast majority of sugar houses, big or small, early or late, refined raw sugar in order to produce sugar for sale in the forms of loaves, lumps, ground, granulated, cubes, etc, as well as dark treacles and golden syrups, and of course molasses. There were just a few however, 1790s to 1890s, that concentrated on the production of capillaire and spirit colour, both light syrups, but for very different purposes. These refiners often styled themselves as "Liquid Refined Sugar Makers".

Capillaire was a water-clear syrup originally flavoured with dried maidenhair fern though later with orange-flower water, much used by confectioners as a flavouring, and also as a cordial. (1) In the theatre advertisements on the front of The Times the sale of capillaire as a refreshment was often mentioned.
(For an idea of the liquid refined sugars produced today, take a look at the Sugar Australia website.)

Spirit colour was developed as a colouring for rum ... a boiled dark muscovado sugar with a small amount of rum added was produced, and about 3 pints would colour 100 gallons of spirit. (2)
(The website regarding Caramel Colors gives us an insight into how this trade has developed more recently with our greater 'need' for food and drink colourings.)

Those found to be involved in this trade ...
    ANGELL, TC & TW - Surrey
    AYDEN, Alfred - Gloucester St, Queens Sq
    CHAPMAN, John - 83 Hatton Gdn
    FRIEND, C - Wentworth St
    FULLER, R (+Ann) - 4 Webber Row, Blackfriars
    HILL, Adam - 258 High Holborn
    POWELL, John - 3 White's Row, Spitalfields
    POWELL, John (jun) - 3 White's Row, Spitalfields
    RAMSDEN, William & Hugh - 7 Brook St, Holborn
    RAMSDEN, Hugh - 7 Brook St, Holborn
    RAMSDEN, H & R - 7 Brook St, Holborn **
    RAMSDEN, Richard & Son - 7 Brook St, Holborn
    ROBERTS, Rowland - 32 Percival St
    ROBERTS, Rowland - 3 Britannia Row, Islington
    SCHOTTLER, Augustus - 3 Princes St, Bishopsgate
    SCHWARTZ, Sebastian - 3 White's Row, Spitalfields
    SCHWARTZ, Andrew - 3 White's Row, Spitalfields
    SMITH, John - 50 Thames St **
    SMITH & BROWN - 50 Thames St
    SMITH & Son - 50 Thames St
    SMITH, Charles - 50 Thames St
    SMITH, Charles - 203 Thames St **
    SMITH & TYERS - 203 Thames St **
    SMITH & TYERS - 14 Green St, Blackfriars Rd **
    STAPLES, A F - 6 New Ct, Old Bailey
    STAPLES, A F & J - 6 New Ct, Old Bailey
    WALLIS, John - 37 Dartmouth St, Westminster
    WILBEAM, William - Surrey
    MOLLENHAUER, J H - 47 Dale St, Liverpool
    MORTON, William - 76 Blundell St, Liverpool

** The refiners supplied the liquid sugar in stoneware flagons, the name stamps of some are shown here ...
For full details of these flagons, see the 'History of Six Flagons'.


images - bryan mawer 2004-18.
mark bromley 2008. bryan mawer 2013. bryan mawer 2014.


1. 'Sugar - A Handbook for Planters & Refiners' by Lock & Newlands Bros, pub Spon 1888 - pp593.
2. 'Sugar - A Handbook for Planters & Refiners' by Lock & Newlands Bros, pub Spon 1888 - pp789.