From Sam in Australia ...


Hi Bryan,

Shirley has been telling me of your rellies connection with the sugar industry.

Coming from GREENOCK, I have some first-hand experiencies and Shirl has asked me to put them to paper. I take it that you have read "History of Greenock" - R.M. SMITH - 1921.

I was born 1928, there were three refineries still going strong then. The Westburn, Walkers and the Glebe. My recollections are that the docks always had lots of sugar-ships and the horse-drawn carts to and fro was continuous. I lived near 'Walkers' and on the way to school would hand a bottle through a window and it was filled with sugar 'liquer', yummy (great for the teeth!) or sometimes it would be pan sugar (like candy what sticks to the boiling pan).

The working men's home built on the site of a refinery took a direct hit with a land mine (1941 blitz). No survivors. I lived nearby and got some house damage. Another land mine hit the 'sunderland' and 'catalina' base, previously a refinery and later Harland and Wolf shipyard.

The Westburn had a reservoir where I sailed my model boat and another great sight was the trace horses waiting at the bottom of the hill, not forgetting the blacksmith shoeing the horses - I can still smell the smouldering hoofs (hooves). The horses of course were phased out and trucks (sorry lorries) took over.

So in closing, no sugar works and no cotton mill and no shipyards and no woollen mill and God knows what else is gone. Que sera sera.

Cheers, Sam.

Westburn refinery. Blitz damage 1941 - mclean museum & art gallery, greenock 2010.




Go to The History of Greenock - R M Smith, 1921.

Go to Brewers Sugar Co - sugar storage 1904-5.

Go to Film Clip - Walkers, c1961.

Go to Maps/Details of Greenock