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
(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.)
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.
The refiners supplied the liquid sugar in stoneware flagons, the name stamps of some (**) are shown below, followed by the full details of surviving flagons.
For family details of six of these flagons, see the 'History of Six Flagons'.
Those found to be involved in this trade ...
ANGELL, TC & TW - Surrey
AYDEN, Alfred - Gloucester St, Queens Sq
CHAPMAN, John - 83 Hatton Gdn
GODDARD, GREAVES & COPE
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