1712-26 BARWISE Richard
1726-60s> GILPIN William & John


1826-34> JOHNSON Edward & Co



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Quote - "The town has a large number of ships and a large trade with America,
             particularly in tobacco leaves and raw sugar. Factories for working up
             these raw materials into rolls of tobacco, snuff and sugar tops have
             been established here. The master sugar refiner comes from Hamburg
             and knows his job well. Nevertheless, sugar is much more expensive
             here than in Hamburg, and when it costs 9½ pence a pound there,
             it cannot be sold in Whitehaven for less than 12 pence. To a great
             extent this difference is caused by the customs duty on the raw sugar,
             which amounts to 4 shillings and 9 pence per hundredweight."





Duke Street

In 1712 a sugarhouse was erected at the harbour end of Duke Street. (1)

"Sir James Lowther persuaded a Mr Barwise to set up a sugarhouse in Whitehaven in 1712, to refine small amounts for local consumption. Lowther's motives were far from disinterested for he sold coal to Barwise. The boiler continued in operation until 1726 when Barwise moved to Workington. It was then taken over by William & John Gilpin, the former a son and the latter a son or brother of Lowther's former steward. Sugar boiling continued thereafter, although the evidence is sparse and Lowther's accounts do not specifically record sales of coal to the works. The sugarhouse is depicted on several views of Whitehaven drawn during the 1730s (see frontispiece). It's management still seems to have been in the hands of the Gilpins early in the 1740s. Two ships entered at Whitehaven with sugar for William Gilpin & Co, and another vessel in 1741." (2)

In the early 1750s, Angerstein found that sugar was being refined in the town by a Hamburg refiner, though as yet there's no indication of his name. (3)

Records point to these men having worked at the Duke St sugarhouse ...
Richard Barwise 1712-26, William Bell 1732, John Langley 1737, Henry Francis 1743-62, Edward Pearson 1744-6, Samuel Nicholson 1766. (4)

The sugarhouse, with adjoining warehouses, was put up for sale in 1774. (5)

Catherine Street

The sugarhouse in Catherine St appears to have been started by Edward Johnston & Thomas Manley early in the 19th century, however the company went bankrupt in 1826. Edward Johnston jun tried to continue the trade there, but the business closed in the early 1830s. The sugarhouse was demolished and made way for a 1000 seat Wesleyan chapel built in 1836. (6)

Records point to these men having worked at the Catherine St sugarhouse ...
Thomas Manley <1817-26, Edward Johnston sen <1817-26, John Henry Tinkin 1817-25, Edward Johnston jun 1822-31, Nicholas Henry Boschen 1823-4. (7).


Detail from an original painting, c1730s, by Mathias Read,
showing the double-gabled sugarhouse
at the foot of Duke St. (8)



1. RCHME - Whitehaven 1660-1800
2. JV Beckett - Coal & Tobacco, CUP 1981
3. RR Angerstein's Illustrated Travel Diary, 1753-1755
4. see database
5. see sales
6. online.
7. see database
8. Wordsworth House, Cockermouth.