"10 Feb 1762, a fire broke out in Bellman's sugar-house, Little Carter-lane, which was soon reduced to ashes. Two adjacent houses were much damaged. -- The sugar-houses are so harzardous that we are told some of the fire-offices will not insure them. Why then should they be tolerated in the most populous parts of this great city ?"
- (Gentleman's Magazine)

This was the reality of the sugar refining industry ... hot, exhausting and dangerous. Open fires heated the pans and ovens for much of the first 300yrs of the UK industry. The threat of fire was supposedly reduced with the introduction of steam processes early in the 19C, for Phoenix Fire Office charged double premium, and often much more, for the 'old process', but it was far from safe as the number of fires shows.

Below are lists of fires, which will be added to as new evidence is found. Contributions gratefully received.



"From St Michael's, Crooked Lane, ... [one of] two primitive fire engines, [this one] having an open cistern arrangement into which buckets of water were poured, and then squirted on a fire by a two-handled pump."
(- from "Down Thames Street" by Mark Rogers, 1921)

1670 .. .. .. 97 Redcliff Street, Bristol ... destroyed. (I V Hall 'Old Bristol Fire Offices', 1926)
1672 .. .. .. Juxon & Sheppard, "who had loss by a fierce and terrible fire which broke out in a sugar house in Cole Harbor in the parish of Great Allhallowes", London. (Parish Registers of Bunbury, Cheshire, Sep 1672, and of Uppingham, Rutland, Nov 1672)
1701 Feb 9 .. Noncon & Buckland, Goodmans Field, Whitechapel, London. ... Total loss. (LondonLives website)
1718 Nov 2 .. Sugarhouse in Chiswell St, London. (Original Weekly Journal 8 Nov 1718)
1720 .. .. .. First Lewin's Mead Sugarhouse, Bristol, burnt down. (B+G Arch Soc - Transactions, vol.85)
1721 Nov 12 .. Mr Ashurst, Little Distaff Lane, London - consumed a new built sugarhouse. (Weekly Journal 18 Nov 1721)
1722 Dec 25 .. Mr Emerson & Partners, corner Maiden Lane and Queen St, Cheapside, formerly Mr Bagnall's, burnt down, sugarhouse, warehouse and others. (Stamford Mercury)
1726 Apr 2 .. At sugarbakers in Hoxton, London. (Newcastle Courant)
1729 May 4 .. Trench, D, Queen St, Cheapside ... burnt down. (Daily Post 5 May 1729)
1734 Jan 24 .. Kidd & Harbin, Thames St / College St, London. "... and burnt the back part of the house, leaving only the front part standing, and many sugar loaves, and sugars in pots and pans that were refining, were burnt; damage is computed at 2000l and was occasioned by a servant leaving a candle too near the sugar syrups."(London Evening Post, same day)
1738 Jul 1 .. Kidd & Harbin, near Three Cranes, Thames St, London. "... in four hours burnt and damaged over 20 warehouses and dwelling houses, with Mr Hill's Meeting House." And 2 days later ... "a fire broke out on the sixth floor of the new sugarhouse belonging to the same unfortunate gentlemen, which reduced it to ashes." (Weekly Miscellany 7 Jul 1738)
1740 Dec 11 .. Fire broke out at a sugarhouse adjoining the Savoy - totally consumed, damaged other buildings and part of the Barracks. (Derby Mercury)
1745 .. .. .. "A sugarbaker's in Wapping was destroyed by fire with 6 other houses." (Gentleman's Magazine)
1745 Sep 16 .. Old Gravel Lane, Wapping, three and a half hours, consumed dwelling house, sugarhouse, and other houses, 12000. (Derby Mercury)
1749 .. .. .. Sugarhouse in Angel Alley, Church Lane, Whitechapel. (TH)
1750 Apr 5 .. Wapping Wall, warehouse and goods destroyed. (Derby Mercury)
1750 .. .. .. Ogden & Co, Liverpool, burnt to the ground. (London Evening Post 15 Nov 1750)
1750 .. .. .. Danvers, Liverpool .. "Last Monday night about 11 o'clock a fire broke out at the Sugar House in Liverpool which burned with such violence that in a short space of time the building was entirely consumed ..." (Weekly Courant, Chester)
1752 .. .. .. Antwerp, largest refinery in the city totally destroyed. (Derby Mercury, Fri 7 Feb 1752)
1753 Aug 17 .. Back of Angel Alley near Skinner St, Bishopsgate, sugarhouse and 7 other houses destroyed, 2 women missing feared buried. (Derby Mercury)
1754 May 8 .. Holliday, London .."Yesterday morning between 3 and 4, a fire at the sugar house of Messrs Holliday & Co at Puddle Dock, which burnt a great part of the house and other damages, but by the timely assistance of firemen & engines was prevented from spreading any farther." (London Evening Post)
1754 May 15 .. Barret, London .."The dwelling house and sugar house of Messrs. Barret and Co. sugar bakers, near Paul's wharf, in Thames-Street, were consumed by fire, and several persons, assisting the sufferers, were hurt: the presence of the lord mayor, Sir Robert Ladbroke, the sheriffs, and a guard of a party from the tower, were of great service on this melancholy occasion." (Gentleman's Magazine)
1757 Jan 22 .. Copenhagen, Denmark .."Last week a fire broke out at the House of a Sugar Baker in the City, which burnt with such violence that all the efforts made to stop its progress proved ineffectual, and the whole new building, which was very large, was entirely reduced to ashes." (London Gazette, 8 Feb 1757)
1757 Mar .. .. George Maquay, Dublin .."... was as violent as any thing of the kind that ever was seen. Losses exceed 5000l." (London Evening Post)
1757 Jul 22 .. Sugarhouse burnt to the ground in Gotenburg, Sweden, 20,000. (Sussex Advertiser)
1758 Aug 28 .. Edinburgh Sugar House Co, Canongate - fire, damage cost 351.16s.7d. (Weekly Scotsman, May 15, 1926)
1761 Feb 10 .. Cope, London .."Early this morning a fire broke out at Mr Cope's, a sugar-baker in Thames Street opposite College Hill, which consumed the same, Fisherman's Hall, and another house adjoining, all fronting the street, and greatly damaged eight or nine more backwards." (Gentleman's Magazine)
1761 Dec 21 .. Payne, London .. "About midnight, a fire broke out in a sugar-bakehouse belonging to Mr Payne, near Puddle Dock, Black-Fryars, which entirely consumed the whole building, together with his dwelling house, and greatly damaged several others." (Gentleman's Magazine)
1762 Feb 10 .. Bellman, London .. "A fire broke out in Bellman's sugar-house, Little Carter-lane, which was soon reduced to ashes. Two adjacent houses were much damaged. -- The sugar-houses are so harzardous that we are told some of the fire-offices will not insure them. Why then should they be tolerated in the most populous parts of this great city ?" (Gentleman's Magazine)
1762 .. .. .. Alderman Barnes, Duck Lane, Bristol ... destroyed. (Diary of Wm Dyer 1762, BRS; I V Hall 'Old Bristol Fire Offices', 1926)
1763 (Jan 1) .. Bristol .. "A terrible fire broke out at a sugar-house in Bristol, by which the whole stock was consumed to the amount of 8000." (Gentleman's Magazine)
1763 Feb 3 .. "This morning a dreadful fire broke out at Mrs Gramlich's in Distaff Lane, London, which entirely brought down the sugarhouse, several warehouses and greatly damaged the dwelling house". ... caused by a crack in one of the chimneys. 1500. (Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette 3 Feb 1763)
1766 Feb 19 .. Salway & Zimmerman at Deptford Bridge ... "fire broke out occasioned by the overflowing of the Lewisham river and getting some unslack'd lime which set on fire and communicated to the building. Loss of several hundred pounds". (Chester Curcuit 20 Feb 1766)
1768 .. .. .. Roche & Netterville, Dublin - totally destroyed. (Rambaut, Philip Marland - Huguenot Soc XXV(5), 1993)
1768 Dec 24 .. Mr Hay's sugarhouse in Upper Thames St, London, this morning consumed by fire along with 2 dwelling houses. (Oxford Journal 24 Dec 1768)
1768 Dec 31 .. Mr Bishop, Cheapside, London. Sugarhouse entirely consumed and dwelling house damaged. (Ipswich Journal 31 Dec 1768)
1769 (Jul 1) .. Derman, London .. "Mr Derman's sugar-house in Blackfriars, was burnt to the ground." (Gentleman's Magazine)
1769 Sep 9 .. Sugarhouse in Lombard St, Whitefriars, London, consumed. (Kentish Gazette 9 Sep 1769)
1769 Sep 15 .. Mr Halliday's sugarhouse (in Paul's Wharf, London) "took fire and was with difficulty preserved as was the Church of St Benet, which was in great danger". (Oxford Journal 16 Sep 1769)
1770 Feb 23 .. Mr Boltmire's in Ratcliffe Highway ... "...a fire broke out ... which consumed the sugarhouse, greatly damaged the adjoining house, with the White Bear, a public house ... The roof of the sugarhouse fell in, which, with part of the wall falling into the street, several persons were much hurt, and others buried under the ruins. Damage 5000. It is said that [the following day] 11 persons were dug out of the ruins, and that several others were still missing." (Derby Mercury 2 March 1770)
1771 .. .. .. Thomas Ludlow, Old King Street, Bristol ... totally destroyed. (BRO 36772 - Box 7 - I V Hall)
1771 Sep .. John Camden, Wapping New Stairs, London. 7500 of lost stock. (Morris & Cozens, p79) ... the sugarhouse was consumed by fire. (Derby Mercury 27 Sep 1771)
1773 Feb 27 .. Mr Greenhough of Church Lane, Whitechapel ... sugarhouse and much goods destroyed. (Stamford Mercury Thurs 4 Mar 1773)
1774 .. .. .. Tucker Street, Bristol ... destroyed. (I V Hall 'Old Bristol Fire Offices', 1926)
1774 .. .. .. Nicholas Darcy, Dublin .. "A fire broke out at the sugar house of Nicholas Darcy in Graig's Lane near Sackville Street which entirely consumed the same and all the goods therein to a considerable amount." (Freeman's Journal - Rambaut)
1775 Nov 1 .. Badger & Co, Princes Sq, London. (Lloyd's Evening Post)
1779 Dec 16 .. "A fire broke out in Narrow Street Limehouse consuming the sugarhouse and stock and 8 other houses across the street ...". (Oxford Journal 18 Dec 1779)
1781 July .. Mr Cope's, Goldneys Hill, Shadwell, London - "... entirely consumed ..." (Public Advertiser)(DM)
1783 Jul 15 ..Wellclose Square, London ... consumed the sugarhouse and quantities of sugar. (Northampton Mercury 21 Jul 1783)
1783 Sep 30 .. Wellclose Square, London ... fire destroyed the inside of a sugarhouse along with considerable quantities of sugar. (Northampton Mercury 6 Oct 1783)
1783 Nov 20 .. King Street Sugarhouse, Glasgow. (Glasgow Mercury)
1784 Mar .. .. Betts St, London ... consumed sugarhouse, stock and utensils. (Northampton Mercury 22 Mar 1784)
1786 Sep 12 .. Messrs James Piercy and Son, of Old Fish St, London, maliciously set on fire by an employee. George Jacob Stepper sought. (Daily Universal Register)
1786 Sep .. .. Messrs Forster & Co, The Close, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. (ResearchGate online)
1787 Jun 10 .. fire in Distaff Lane consumed the premises of a sugarbaker and several adjoining houses. (Northampton Mercury 16 Jun 1787)
1788 Oct 31 .. Mr Goodhart's in Narrow St, Limehouse. (Northampton Mercury 1 Nov 1788)
1789 May 11 .. College Hill, London ... fire began at an oil merchant's, consumed that, a sugarhouse in Thames St and the house of Mr Sykes sugarbaker, and 4 other houses. 6 more were damaged. (Northampton Mercury 16 May 1789)
1791 Dec 13 .. Mr Engell's sugar factory, Wellclose Square. (The Times)
1792 Mar 2/3 .. Gotenburg ... a fire at a sugarbakers spread to consume 120 houses in total ! (Derby Mercury 1792)
1792 Oct 5 .. Mr Phillips sugar factory, Glasgow. (The Times)
1793 .. .. .. Hunter, Robinson, Wilson, Ritchie, Ramsey, MacCann & Macfie, Greenock. (Hutcheson)
1793 Dec 30 .. William Coslett, Church Lane, Whitechapel. Loss 3,220 4s 9d.(LMA MJ/SPD/00137)
1793 Dec 31 .. Union St, Whitechapel ... entirely consumed sugarhouse and damaged several adjoining houses. (Caledonian Mercury 4 Jan 1794)
1794 Jul 13 .. At Whiting's Wharf, Ratcliff ... sugar to the value of 40,000 destroyed. (London's Sailortown, Morris & Cozens, ELHS)
1795 .. .. .. Hunter, Robinson, Wilson, Ritchie, Ramsey, MacCann & Macfie, Greenock. (Hutcheson)
1796 Nov 30 .. Fire at Coal Stairs, Shadwell consumed the whole premises and 20 other houses. "Five or six fireman were dug out of the ruins; three of them so dangerously bruised that their lives are despaired of". (Derby Mercury 8 Dec 1796)
1797 .. .. .. Messrs Coope & Co, Osborne Street, Whitechapel. (AGFHS Sugarbakers Guide)
1797 .. .. .. Walton & Detmar, Upper Thames St. (The Times)
1799 May 23 .. Messrs Wakefield & Okill, Liverpool. "Burnt down." (Gores' Directory 1825)
1799 .. .. .. Fisher, East Smithfield. (burnt out) (The Times + Oracle and Daily Advertiser)
1799 .. .. .. Worsley & Heinekin, Queen St. (Oracle and Daily Advertiser)
1799 Apr 19 .. Gloucester .. "The great sugarhouse of Clarkes [should read Ercks] & Co in Gloucester, was consumed by fire; the property, of which a considerable part was saved, was insured to the amount of 8000." (The Times Apr 29)
1799 Dec .. .. Mr Lucas, Osborne St, Whitechapel ... sugarhouse destroyed. Total loss of 30,000. (Reading Mercury 30 Dec 1799)
1800 Jan 8 .. Edinburgh Sugar House Co, Canongate. (Caledonian Mercury) [see below]
1800 Feb 1 .. Messrs Friecke & Endelman's sugar factory, in Thames Street, destroyed. (The Times)
1800 .. .. .. Messrs Lawrence & Walton, Leman St. (The Times)
1800 Oct 2 .. Messrs Atherton, Davis & Toundras sugar factory destroyed, Liverpool. (The Times)
<1801 .. .. .. Grobb, Thames St. (The Times)
1801 Jun 10 .. Warren & Co, Wood St. (Ipswich Journal)
1801 Sep 11 .. Sugarbaker's at Bishop's Court, near Old Bailey. (Morning Post 14 Sep 1801)
1802 Dec 16 .. Hamburg - sugarhouse of Herren Graben destroyed along with two other buildings. (Bury & Norwich Post 29 Dec 1802)
1803 Jan .. .. Back Lane, Wellclose Square, London. (Bury & Norwich Post 2 Feb 1803)
1803 Oct 2 .. Opposite side [of the river] from Dolphin St [Counterslip], Bristol, sugarhouse of Mr Worsley. Terrible fire, roof fell in, but much sugar saved and taken to Bath St and placed under guard. Loss 7000, insured. (Hampshire Chronicle 10 Oct 1803)
1804 Jul .. .. Fire that burnt down a cooperage in Angel Alley went on to totally consume the dwelling house of Mr Cooper sugarbaker. (Hereford Journal 18 Jul 1804)
1805 May 28 .. Bell Sq, Bell Lane, Spitalfields - consumed premises and two houses. (Hampshire Chronicle 3 June 1805)
1806 Aug 7 .. Mr Bennett, Conduit St, Shadwell. (Northampton Mercury 9 Aug 1806)
1808 Jul 17 .. Sugarbaker's entirely consumed in Shoreditch. (Hampshire Telegraph 18 Jul 1808)
1809 May 11 .. Ratcliffe Cross ... sugarhouse entirely consumed. (Cheltenham Chronicle 25 May 1809)
1810 Mar 19 .. Sugarbaker's in Tower St, London. (Morning Post 22 Mar 1810)
1811 Jan 18 .. Warehouses of a sugarbaker in Puddle Dock, Upper Thames St, totally destroyed. (Bury & Norwich Post 23 Jan 1811)
1813 .. .. .. Lewins Mead, Bristol ... destroyed. (I V Hall 'Old Bristol Fire Offices', 1926)
1815 .. .. .. Mr Church, Old Fish St. (Taunton Courier)
1815 .. .. .. Constadt - explosion. (Taunton Courier)
1815 .. .. .. Constadt & Spear, Well St, Wellclose Sq. (AGFHS Sugarbakers Guide)
1817 Jan .. .. Biggs & Savery, Nelson St, Bristol - total ruin. (B+G Arch Soc - Transactions, vol.85)
1819 Jul 29 .. Messrs Craven & Shutte sugar factory of Nelson St, Whitechapel. (TH & The Times)
1819 Nov 10 .. Messrs Severn & King sugar factory in Church Lane, Whitechapel. (The Times)
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Severn & Co v Phoenix, 1820. (CUL PX1282)
1820 .. .. .. Ryder & Nasmyth, (Old Gravel Lane?). (Len Metzner Index )
1820 Oct 23 .. At sugarbakers in Old Gravel Lane - great loss of property - Nasmyth's. (The Times)
1821 Apr 6 .. Messrs Burnell & Gies sugar factory in Church St, Mile End - great destruction of property. (The Times)
1822 Jan 28 .. Messrs Rohde & Co sugar factory in Leman St. (The Times)
1822 Mar 20/21 .. Mr List, Alie St. Total loss. (The Times)
1822 .. .. .. Wm Macfie & Co, Elbe St, Leith. (Hutcheson)
1824 .. .. .. Mr Alderman Lucas of Osborne St, Whitechapel. (TH)
1825 Apr 6 .. Mr Martin, Goulston Sq, Whitechapel ... "... entirely destroyed interior of building, leaving nothing standing but the outer walls". (Morning Post 7 Apr 1825)
1825 Apr 6 .. Mr Martineau, Goulston St, Whitechapel ... "About half the property consumed ... insured ... so losses will be comparatively trifling". (Evening Mail 8 Apr 1825)
1826 Sep .. .. Mr Lange, New Rd, St Geo East ... fire, total loss, insured with Globe Fire Office. No personal injury. (Examiner 1 Oct 1826)
1826 Dec 27 .. Ledlard's sugar factory in Bristol. (The Times)
1827 Mar 2 .. Guppy's sugar refinery at Bristol. .... "One of the workmen employed by Messrs Guppy, at their sugarhouse in the Black Friers, with wanton indolence stuck a piece of candle in clay against a wall, which, falling thence on the floor among combustibles, threatened a speedy conflagration of the premises; but the fire being put out without calling for public assistance, the consequence was, mercifully, only loss of his place to the cause of it." (Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette, 9 Mar 1827)
1827 Apr 25 .. Soulie, Jones & Co sugar factory in Bordeaux. (The Times)
1828 Nov 8 .. Blackwell's, Bristol ... "An alarming fire broke out ... which burnt with unprecidented fury."(Bristol Mercury, 11 Nov 1828) "The damage done however was considerable; but the property is fully insured."(Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette, 12 Nov 1828)
1829 Jan 12 .. Webbs sugar refinery in Oldhall St, Liverpool. (The Times)
1829 (Jan 21) .. Banks, Old Fish St - burnt uncontrolled for 6 hours. "The solid manner in which the walls of the sugarhouse were built confined almost entirely the ravages of the flames within them. ... It is generally admitted that [the fire] arose from one of the coppers of sugar boiling over. No lives were lost." (The Examiner, 25 Jan 1829)
1829 Jan 22 .. Guppy's sugar refinery at Bristol. (The Times)
1829 Mar 14 .. Oldhall St, Liverpool ... "The premises of Messrs Webb & Mehrtens sugar boilers and W Thornhill sugar refiner at Liverpool was totally destroyed by fire." (Huntingdon, Bedford & Peterborough Gazette 21 Mar 1829, and Gores' Directory 1829)
1829 Apr 22 .. Wm Macfie & Co, Elbe St, Leith. (Hutcheson)
1829 Apr 27 .. Messrs Henning & Co, Shorter St, London. Total loss of premises, though much stock saved. (New Times (London))
1829 Apr 29 .. John Macfie & Co, Leith. ... " ... extensive sugarhouse at Leith was totally destroyed by fire; the loss is estimated at from 8000 to 10,000." (Worcester Herald, 02 May 1829)
1829 .. .. .. Leith Sugar House (Macfie). (Glasgow University Archives)
1829 May 8 .. Briebach & Co, Charles St, Shadwell, London. Total loss - 10,000l. (Morning Chronicle)
1829 Jun 4 .. Friend & Boden's sugar factory, Charlotte St, Commercial Rd. (The Times) [see below - letter to Editor]
1829 Sep .. .. Walker, Brick Lane ... loss of 3000. No personal injury. (Examiner, 20 Sep 1829)
1830 July 17 .. Mr Naysmith, Old Gravel Lane, premises destroyed, loss 3600. (Friday's Gazette, John Bull)
1830 Dec 14 .. J G Geller, William St, Liverpool " ... in a short time reduced to ashes ... twenty to thirty hogsheads of sugar rescued ... the warehouse itself was a very extensive erection, and the amount of property destroyed must be considerable." (Liverpool Mercury)
1830 .. .. .. Sugarhouse on the corner of Mansell Street, in Goodman's Yard. (AGFHS Sugarbakers Guide)
1830 .. .. .. Carsten Holthouse's sugarhouse, Back Lane, St Geo East. (NRO HOLT 272)
1831 Apr 1 .. Mr Farmer's sugarhouse, Osborne St, Whitechapel. (The Times)
1831 Aug 2 .. Stewart & Snidden, Dock St, London. (Newcastle Courant)
1831 Aug 4 .. Smith's sugarhouse, Dock St, London. (The Times)
1832 May 26 .. George & Harwood's sugar factory, Lower Thames St. (The Times)
1833 Jan 4 .. Bowman's sugarhouse, Gowers Walk, Whitechapel. (The Times)
1833 Feb 16 .. Wilde's sugar factory, High St, St Lukes. (The Times)
1833 Apr 4 .. Mr Banks, opposite Whitechapel Church ... his new-built chimney caused a fire in his neighbour's adjoining stable. (London Standard 5 Apr 1833)
1833 Sep 19 .. Davis & Brown, Lower Road, Deptford. (Bell's Life in London & Sporting Chronicle)
1833 Sep 19 .. Dodge & Smith, Lower Road, Deptford. (Morning Chronicle)
1834 .. .. .. Mr Banks of Osborne St, Whitechapel. (TH)
1834 Sep 13 .. Watson's sugarhouse, Pump Yard, Ratcliffe Cross ... total loss insured, 40,000. (The Times)
1835 May 14 .. Explosion of boilers at Ring & Viccars' sugarhouse in Vauxhall Rd - 5 or 6 dead. (The Times) (Norfolk Chronicle 23 May 1835)
1835 Nov 29 .. Mr Hill, Finny Lane, Atherton St, Liverpool. Little damage but uninsured. (Liverpool Mercury)
1836 .. .. .. Clayton & Thomas sugar refinery, Lower Deptford. (The Times)
1836 Feb 17 .. Large refinery in Fredericks Strasse, Berlin. (Caledonian Mercury)
1836 Mar 30 .. Miller's sugar warehouse, Hackins Way. (The Times)
1836 Jul 4 .. Mr Beriot's sugar works, Lille. (The Times)
1836 Sep .. .. Guppy & Co, Congress Steam Sugar Refinery, New York. (Blackwell Family Papers, Schlesinger Library, Harvard.)
1838 Feb 8 .. Messrs Licht & Cos, Pest, Hungary. (The Times)
1838 Jun 13 .. Briebach & Mogge (reads Mosca & Bircbeck), Denmark St. Rapid fire consuming all three storeys and all stock. 3000. (The News & Sunday Globe)
1838 Aug 11 .. Messrs Petiots, Les Alouettes. (The Times)
1838 Nov 26 .. Mr Zabell, Dunk St / King Edward St, MENT (uninsured). (Essex Herald) [see below]
1838 Dec 20 .. Albert & Co, Half Moon Alley, Whitechapel. (The Examiner)
1838 .. .. .. Francis Bowman & Son, Duncan St. (TH)
1840 Dec 28/29 .. Goodhart's sugar factory, Ratcliffe Highway. 25,000. (The Times)
1841 .. .. .. Spiers & Wrede, Greenock. "... destroyed by fire ..." (Hutcheson)
1842 .. .. .. Cope, London. (The Times)
1842 .. .. .. Langelutje JC, Hamburg ... destroyed by fire. (Business moved to Meissen) (Julian Williams - family research)
1843 Dec 29/30 .. Branker's sugar refinery, Liverpool ... between Matthew St and Harrington St ... total loss 40,000 - refinery and 1000 tons of sugar ... plus 130+ jobs. (The Times, Liverpool Mercury, Liverpool Mail)
1844 Jun 17 .. Craven & Lucas sugar refinery, Whitechapel. (The Times)
1845 Mar 3 .. George Jager, Blackstock St, Liverpool. Minimal damage - 25. (Liverpool Mercury)
1846 .. .. .. Messrs Grant & Baldwin, 17½ St George's Place, Back Rd, St George's in the East. (Illustrated London News) [see below]
1846 .. .. .. James Fairrie & Co, Greenock. (Hutcheson)
1846 Jun 11 .. Finzel's, Counterslip, Bristol. (Bristol Mercury)
1846 Sep 10 .. At sugarhouse in Greenock. One man killed. Loss very heavy. (Kentish Mercury 15 Sep 1846)
1846 Sep 17 .. Macfie & Son, Bachelor St, Liverpool. (Northern Star and National Trades' Journal)
1846 Sep 21 .. Branker's sugar works, Liverpool. (The Times)
1847 .. .. .. Connal & Parker, Greenock. (Hutcheson)
1847 Aug 26 .. Craven's sugar refinery, Whitechapel. (The Times)
1848 Jul .. .. Matthew Parker, Greenock. (Hutcheson)
1848 Oct 30 .. Samuel Wilson & Sons, 71 Alston St, Glasgow .. "... a frightful catastrophe occurred in the city, by the falling of a large sugarhouse, by which 19 or 20 men were suddenly buried in the ruins, 14 of whom appear to have been killed ... all at work early morning as usual ... the building seems to have given way without a moment's intimation, as none within the walls had time to escape ... all 6 or 7 stories collapsed with only the gable ends standing ... by midnight only 6 men recovered alive. (Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser - from Glasgow Courier)
1849 May 6 .. Wainwright & Co, Washington St, Glasgow. Totally destroyed along with neighbouring soap works and church. (Liverpool Mercury) ... in a court off the west side of Washington St. "The flames soon attained such mastery that all hopes of saving the sugar works were deemed futile." A fierce gale was blowing. Mr Gray's foundry, adjoining, was saved, but not Mr Barr's boiler-making works, the Anderston Chapel of Ease in Clyde St, Mr Hutchinson's woodyard and stables where a sow and 12 pigs died, Mr Jarvie's ropeyard, Boyd's soap and candle works, Jamieson's oil works, and the plumbers, painters and paperhangers business of McDonald & Ballardie. Loss in total of about 50,000. (The Scotsman, from Glasgow Herald)
1849 May 20 .. Rotterdam ... "The whole pile of buildings opposite the Scottish Church consisting 24 houses and several warehouses were destroyed. The Scotch Church took fire twice, but was saved. The fire crossed over the Leuvrehaven where several more houses were burnt. No lives lost, no one even injured. The total loss is estimated at four million guilders, or 334,000. The fire is understood commenced at a sugar refiner's". (Essex Standard 25 May 1849)
1849 Sep 20 .. Amsterdam .... refinery destroyed, loss 20,000. (Morning Post 1849)
1849 Dec 22 .. Woosley & Co, New York. "... consuming the large refinery ... and other valuable property to the amount of $600,000, of which less than half was insured. Nearly 500 men are thrown out of employment by this disaster." (Glasgow Herald)
1849 (abt) .. James Watson, Alston St, Glasgow. (Hutcheson)
1850 Mar 21 .. Wackerbarth & Collins, East St George's Inn, near the London Docks ... almost completely destroyed. Loss estimated at 15-20,000. (Caledonian Mercury)
1852 .. .. .. Alexander & Thomas Anderson, Baker St / Dellingburn Sq, Greenock. Seven-storey, roof fell in. (The Scotsman 31 Jan 1852)
1852 .. .. .. Tritner, scum boiler, St Katherine's Dock, London. (The Times)
1852 Sep 10 .. Mr Braden, Denmark St, St Geo East, fire raged for up to 12 hours, loss 20-30,000. (Bell's Life in London & Sporting Chronicle)
1853 Mar 11 .. Macfie's, Batchelor St, Liverpool ... in recently constructed large wing devoted to boilers and stoves. Attended by fire-police and workmen, no material damage. (Liverpool Mercury)
1853 Apr 30 .. Stone Bridge Sugar House, Bristol ... burnt down.(Western Daily Press 5.9.1878)
1853 May 1 .. James Leitch, Wellington St, Liverpool. (Liverpool Mercury)
1853 Nov 23 .. Mr Wright's, Manesty Lane, Liverpool. Insured. (Liverpool Albion)
1853 Dec 9 .. H M Brown, Back Road, Shadwell. (Daily News)
1854 Jun 6 .. Goodhart's, St George's St, St Geo East. (Daily News)
1854 .. .. .. Old Market, Bristol ... destroyed. (I V Hall 'Old Bristol Fire Offices', 1926)
1855 .. .. .. Hall & Boyd, St George's in the East. Boiler explosion - 6 dead.(The Times)
1857 Mar 8 .. Wm & James Ferguson, Greenock. (Hutcheson)
1859 Feb .. .. Duncan's, Greenock. (Hutcheson)
1859 Mar 9 .. Duncan & Scott, Baker St, Greenock. (Greenock Telegraph) .. .. Already being rebuilt April 16 same year. (Greenock Telegraph)
1859 May 6 .. Fripp, Mudge & Co, Quay Head [Stone Bridge], Bristol ... amongst the largest sugarhouses in the country reduced to a smouldering ruin, with serious damage to surrounding properties. 1000 tons of charcoal, 500 tons of raw sugar, along with all the cylinders and machinery lost. Insured for 70,000 to 80,000. (York Herald, 7 May 1859)
1859 .. .. .. Fuidge & Fripp, Stone Bridge, Bristol .. "Fire destroys sugar refinery leaving 250 men unemployed." ('Brunel 200 time line' online)
1860 Oct 10 .. Goodhart's, Horseferry Rd, Limehouse .. Huge premises, total loss, one man killed. (Morning Chronicle) [see below]
1861 Mar .. .. Crawhall, Shultz & Co, Greenock. (Hutcheson)
1861 Jun 10 .. John Walker's, Nicholson St, Greenock. Totally destroyed, with large stock of sugars. (Liverpool Daily Post)
1861 Aug 30 .. Harrison & Wilson, Upper Dock St, London. Loss - 30,000l. (Daily News)
1863 Jun 3 .. Cowan & Son, Barnes, Surrey, pan explosion, 2 killed. (Bell's Life in London & Sporting Chronicle)
1863 Jun 24 .. Walker's, Greenock. (Hutcheson)
1864 Mar 22 .. Crawhall & Co, Greenock. Eight storeys totally destroyed. 20,000.(Newcastle Chronicle)
1865 Jan 23 .. Murdoch & Doddrell, Port Dundas, Glasgow. (Hutcheson)
1865 Oct 18 .. Neill, Dempster & Neill, Greenock. (Hutcheson)
1865 Oct 18 .. Neill, Dempster & Neill, Greenock ... seven floors plus attics, large stocks of sugar ... main building destroyed, engine house saved ... loss of 50,000, insured. (Plymouth Horror)
1866 May .. .. West of England Sugar Refinery, Plymouth ... destroyed by fire ... plant and building insured. (North Devon Gazette)
1866 Dec 17 .. Deer Park Sugar Refinery, Greenock. (Hutcheson)
1867 ?May .. Dawson, Martin & Co, Baker St, Greenock. House lost, machinery saved. (Greenock Telegraph 18 May 1867)
1867 Dec 23 .. Blair, Reid & Steele, Greenock. (Hutcheson)
1868 Aug 14 .. Paul, Sword & Co, Greenock. (Hutcheson)
1868 Aug 19 .. Orchard's, Greenock. (Hutcheson)
?? .. .. .. Martineau's, Christian Street, boasted the tallest chimney stack in London, which was twice burned down in 30 yrs. (AGFHS Sugarbakers Guide)
1872 Jun 18 .. A Anderson & Sons, Greenock. (Hutcheson)
1873 .. .. .. P Kuck, Christian St. (The Times)
1873 Feb 25 .. John Walker & Co, Greenock. (Hutcheson) (The Times)
1876 Nov 14 .. Blair, Reid & Steele, Greenock. (Hutcheson)
1877 Oct 29 .. Queen St Sugar House, Bristol - small fire in charcoal room. (Western Daily Press)
1877 Nov 19 .. Anderson's, Greenock. (Hutcheson) ... Cappielow Sugar Refinery, Greenock, an establishment which dates back to 1833. The damage is set down at about 50,000 l. But this is not the first occasion for the same refinery to suffer by fire. (Robert H James)
1879 Aug 16 .. Martineau's, 6 Christian St, London. Almost total loss. (Illustrated Police News) [see below]
1880 Jan 6 .. MacEachran's, Greenock. (Hutcheson)
1880 Jan 17 .. Liverpool Saccharine Co, Blackstock St, Liverpool. Two upper floors destroyed. (Liverpool Weekly Courier)
1881 Oct .. .. Refinery burnt down at Peoris, Illinois ... loss estimated at five thousand dollars. (Aberdeen Evening Express)
1882 Jan 6 .. MacEachran's, Greenock. (Hutcheson)
1882 Jan 9 .. Havemeyer & Elder, New York. (Online)
1888 Apr 16 .. Colonel Cowan, Soap Manufactory & Sugar Refinery, Barnes. "... flames ... spread so quickly that firemen were only able to save the adjoining building [soapworks], the sugarworks being totally destroyed. The floors fell in one by one, and five red hot copper vacuum pans, each weighing 30 tons, were twisted into the most extraordinary shapes. The melted sugar ran in burning streams all over the floors of the building. The loss is estimated at 60,000, and 500 men employed in the sugarworks are thrown out of employment."(Birmingham Daily Post) [In 1894, Harrods purchased the site, where their Depository still stands by the Thames.]
1889 Sep 7 .. Havemeyer, New York. (Online)
1889 Sep 18 .. Boutin Sugar Refinery, Bordeaux ... destructive fire ... contained at the time over 300,000 kilogrammes of sugar ... estimated loss 1,000,000 francs.. (London Daily Chronicle)
1891 Mar 17..'Previously a Sugarhouse' in Nelson Street, Bristol, gutted by fire. (Bristol Mercury)
1893 Jun 15 .. D Martineau & Sons, Clyde Wharf ... "- a building of ten floors, about 76 by 70 feet (used as a refinery and stores), and contents nearly burnt out and partially fallen down ... Matineau's state that the outbreak was confined to a comparatively small portion of the refinery and that the greater part of the business will be carrying on as usual. Only about fifty men will be thrown out of employment, and the loss is fully covered by insurance." (Cheltenham Chronicle)
1894 Oct 30 .. Garston Sugar Refinery, Liverpool - large explosion - 3 lives lost. (Local Press)
1895 Oct 3 .. Glebe's, Greenock. (Hutcheson)
1906 Oct 31 .. Havemeyer, New York. (Online)

See also the losses, almost all to fire, recorded by the Phoenix Fire Office 1829-46, on the Phoenix page.

[References to 'The Times' have been found in Palmers Index to The Times at Guildhall Library or at The Times on-line site.]


Glasgow 1725 .....

Special provision was made for the sugarhouse workers in Glasgow regarding their town guard fire duties ...

"The magistrates represented that in pursuance of a former Act, daited the 11th December last, they had mett with the proprietors of the sugar houses and had received in from them some proposals, viz. that upon the toun's exeeming their servants from keeping of the toun guard, in respect their labour and work in the sugar houses nessessarilly requires their working in the night time ass well as throw the day, they in liew theirof agree and condescend that the sugar house boyler of each sugar house shall be ready at all times when fire happens in the city, on their being advertised by drum or bell or first alarm therof to attend the magistrates and give their best help and assistance, the toun providing each suggar house with foir slings and stands and buckits, so that on the first occasiounne of fire, shall come to the place with them filled with water and they will observe the orders and directions of the magistrates and others whom they sall apoynt; which being heard by the Council they agree thereto and remit to the Dean of Guild and Decon Conveinar to provide the said slings, stands and buckits."

Extract from the Minutes of The Burgh of Glasgow, 11th December 1725, via; "Proud Record, The Story of the Glasgow Fire Service." Campbell Steven. 1975: Chapter II - Century of Progress, page 17, paragraph 3. (My thanks to Robert H James.)


Edinburgh Sugar House, 8 Jan 1800 .....

"An alarming fire broke out yesterday morning, about nine o'clock, in the Edinburgh Sugar House, the property of Messrs. William Bell & Co of Glasgow.
The flames were first discovered in the pan vents by the sugar boiler, who immediately gave the alarm, and, notwithstanding that the different engines were instantly at work, the flames could not be got under until the sugar-house was completely in ashes; the accident is the more unfortunate, that upwards of 3000 worth of refined goods in moulds were burnt, and though the quantity is not exactly known, we have authority for saying that both the subjects and stock are completely covered by insurances in the Sun and British Fire Offices. We have also the pleasure to add that by the exercise of the fire engines, not only were the dwelling-houses, lump-room, and Company's books saved, but also the raw sugar warehouse with 39 hogsheads of sugar.
On the alarm being given, Lord Dundas, with a party of the North York militia, came very promptly from the castle, as also a party of the first fencible cavalry, commanded by the Hon Col Villiers, from Piers Hill barracks. Their services were highly beneficial, and deserve to be acknowledged with every mark of respect.
Parties from the different regiments of Royal Edinburgh volunteers speedily repaired to the spot, and assisted in keeping off the crowd, and permitting the workmen to use their exertions in extinguishing the flames."

Caledonian Mercury 9 Jan 1800.


Zabell's, MENT, 26 Nov 1838 .....

"On Monday night, about nine o'clock, the greatest excitement was created in the immediate neighbourhood of Whitechapel, by a most destructive conflagration breaking out in the extensive premises of Mr Zabell, sugar-baker, situated in the rear of the houses (forming a square) in King Edward-street, Princes-street, Dunk-street and Halifax-street, on the north side of Mile-end-road, and most densely populated by poor people. A communication being immediately sent to the fire-engine stations in various parts of the metropolis, within half an hour ten large powerful engines with sixty of the brigade, under the direction of Mr Braidwood, were on the spot, but for a considerable period the engines were useless owing to the circumstance of no water being obtained; and an immense multitude having assembled, the confusion and dismay that prevailed was beyond description; but the H division of the police coming up with the greatest difficulty, the ground was cleared for the operations of the firemen and engines. The flames were in the interval roaring with uncontrolable violence from every window of the factory, which stands by itself, five stories in height, producing utter dismay to the surrounding inhabitants, whose houses and habitations were, though detached, within reach of the fire. The only approach to the factory was a small and narrow gateway, and through no less than forty dwellings. For a few critical moments all hopes of saving any portion of the factory were given up, for the contents, which burn like turpentine, were blazing away on every floor; in fact, every portion of the building, from basement to the roof, was on fire. The firemen, nevertheless, having learnt that Mr Zabell was not insured to a penny's worth, exerted themselves most vigorously, attacking the work of destruction on every side of the building. The engines were worked by upwards of two hundred labourers. who were hired, and kept there constantly in one continual motion for nearly two hours, at which time the firemen had conquered the flames, and with a success that is wonderful, knowing the construction of the building and its combustible contents. The fire has passed through every storey, and through the roof, but it is not totally destroyed. The factory has sustained a most serious damage, and will have to undergo an entire rebuilding inside. The loss is estimated at 3,000 which is not insured. During the raging of the fire a portion of the brick rampart of the roof fell down with a great violence, and several of the brigade had a most miraculous escape. The origin of the fire at present cannot be accounted for: it commenced in the boiler-house, at the lower part of the factory, which the workmen left apparently safe about an hour previous."

Essex Herald 4 Dec 1838.


Fire at St. George's-in-the-East 1846 .....

"Shortly before three o'clock on Sunday morning, a fire occurred at the extensive sugar-refining house belonging to Messrs. Grant and Baldwin, 17, St. George's Place, Back Road, St. George's-in-the-East, the whole of which, together with the valuable stock, in all upwards of 20,000, was entirely consumed. A fire taking place in the night time is always sufficiently alarming, but the consternation created in this instance may be readily imagined from the circumstance of a large building, about eighty feet in height, one hundred feet in length, and forty in breadth, being, within an hour after the above time, one mass of flame, towering several feet above the summit, and threatening destruction to St. George's Church, and the surrounding houses. Though the sugar factory is bounded by the Back Road on the north, Cannon Street [Road] on the west, Ratcliff Highway and St. George's Church on the south and east, yet it stood so far isolated from all as to keep them from injury. There was but little wind, and that being south-westerly, the parochial church was preserved.
The engines were promptly on the spot, and there being an abundance of water, immense streams were continually thrown upon the burning pile: but the flames had got too firm a hold; the contents were of too inflammable a nature to admit of the slightest check, and the flames rushed rapidly from the basement, where the fire commenced, to the seven successive storeys, until the whole mass was completely encircled in one sheet of fire; and about half-past four o'clock the roof fell in with an awful crash, partially smothering the fire, but only for a moment, as it again burst forth with redoubled fury. Subsequently a great part of the east front fell, and the south wall, with the lofty chimney, was expected to fall.
The immense stores are still partially standing, and that to the eastward, where the fire is supposed to have commenced, it is expected, contains a portion of the stock unconsumed; it is also anticipated that a portion in the lower floor may yet be recovered. The fire was not entirely subdued till nine o'clock in the morning, but throughout the day the engines were incessantly playing on the smoking ruins. The building is fully insured."

The Illustrated London News. Feb 28 1846, p.148.


Goodhart's, 10 Oct 1860 .....

"A great fire at the premises of Mr Goodhart in Horseferry Rd, Limehouse. One man, Charles Cooter, killed, leaving wife and family in Germany.
The premises in which the fire commenced were about 400 ft in width, 200 ft deep and about 90 or 100 ft high ... the steam floating engine from Rotherhithe was kept at work for hours, as were seven land engines ... damages will exceed 50,000, the works being nearly the largest in the East End ... about 100 men, principally Germans, will be thrown out of work ... at one time, when the fire was at its highest, the flames could be seen issuing from nearly 200 windows and loop holes, and sparks and burning embers flying over the vessels in the Regent's Canal basin, Bethel Chapel, and Poter's boat building shops, extending as far as Narrow St and Tyers Alley ... the old, new and double houses all burned out, and many thousand tons of raw and refined sugar have been entirely destroyed."

Morning Chronicle 12 Oct 1860.


Martineau's, 16 August 1879 .....

"On Saturday night, at twenty minutes past eleven o'clock, a fire occurred at the works of Messrs D Martineau & Sons, sugar refiners, 6 Christian St, St George's East. On arrival the firemen found that the flames had obtained a strong hold of the south west corner of the building, near the Blackwall line of railway which runs parallel to the sugar refinery ... fire spread rapidly and it was feared that the whole block of buildings, which cover several acres of land, would be destroyed. By midnight, thirteen steam land engines and six manual engines seemed to have no effect on the flames. The roof of one of the refineries soon after fell through and the flames shot up to a great height, illuminating the whole of the shipping in the London Docks. Soon after one o'clock the upper front walls on Christian St fell outwards and several persons had a narrow escape. The extensive machinery, costing several thousand pounds, fell through into the basement, and it is feared it is all destroyed by the action of the fire. By six o'clock the fear of the fire spreading to [further] adjoining premises was at an end. Damage : A building of seven floors, about 80 ft by 50 ft burnt out and roof off. Another building of seven floors burnt out and roof off. A building of ten floors, about 50 ft by 40 ft; five upper floors burnt out and roof off. A building of ten floors, about 60 ft by 30 ft; three upper floors and contents severely damaged by fire and part of roof off. Another building of ten floors, about 90 ft by 30 ft; contents severely damaged by fire and water (all adjoining and communicating). Front and back rooms, in tenancy of Mr J Wousnop, Christian St, burned out; a second floor and rest of house of six rooms severely damaged by fire and water and furniture damaged by removal. No.3 Christian St (opposite) belonging to Messrs C Wohlgemuth, sugar refiners; roof damaged by fire and breakage, contents by water. No.9 Christian St, roof damaged by fire and breakage, and furniture by removal and water. A building in Grove St, belonging to Mr D Martineau, roof damaged by breakage. Four engines were still playing water on a great body of fire at 9 o'clock on Sunday night. About 150 labourers were at work removing bags of sugar from the building. The Salvage Corps rendered valuable assistance and were the means of saving a vast amount of property. It is found that a large number of men, principally Germans, will be thrown out of employ. The front walls in Christian St were in a very dangerous condition, and they were shored up by order of the Board of Works. The damage is estimated at over 100,000 sterling."

The Illustrated Police News, 23 August 1879.


The whole of which, Mr Editor, is FALSE .....

Sir, - In your paper of today a statement appears that a most alarming fire broke out in the sugar refinery of Messrs Jacob & Henrich, Back Church Lane, Whitechapel, which, notwithstanding the exertions of the firemen of the various engines that attended, was entirely destroyed, and 8,000 damage sustained; also, this makes the seventh or eighth that has fallen a victim to the devouring element within less than two months. The whole of which, Mr Editor, is false: there was no sugar refinery on fire, neither is there any firm of that name in the trade, nor any sugar refinery in Back Church Lane, Whitechapel; a small dwelling house in Back Church Lane caught fire, which the parish engine put out before any other arrived, and the damage sustained will not exceed 6 at the outside. So far from seven or eight refineries being destroyed, there has only been three within less than two months, of which, had the firemen followed the instructions of the trade, very little property would have been destroyed, as was fully proved at the late accident of Messrs Friend & Boden, when the gentlemen connected with the trade attended, and prevented the firemen from opening the stove doors, which communicated with every floor, and for greater security are made of wrought iron, (in the other cases of fire there were not enough present to prevent them from opening the doors), and smeared them round with clay, of which there are quantities always handy, to prevent the fire from having vent, by which means an immense property was saved. If the firemen could be made to follow orders in every case of a fire in a sugarhouse, instead of dictating, there would be scarcely any sugar refinery destroyed.
An early contradiction will oblige, as from the manner in which sugarhouse fires have been announced in your columns, it would lead to a belief there was a great deal more risk in a sugarhouse refinery than in reality exists.
I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,
A Constant Reader.
Commercial Road, June 19.

The Times 22 June 1829