MISCELLANY

 

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Farthing Token ...

Obv. - IOHN TUCKE IN. A Sugar Loaf. Rev. - BURNHAM MARKET. IMT.

Probably 1660s. John Tucke was a grocer in Burnham Market, Norfolk, and used the Sugar Loaf as the sign of his shop.
Such illegal farthings were issued by tradesmen from 1648 into the 1670s as minted silver currency could no longer cater for small purchases.

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Sugar Loaves ....
Those on public view are at the Folk Museum, Cambridge, and the Castle Museum, York.
Please let me know of any others.
There's a glass sugar loaf cover at the excellent Radstock Museum, Somerset.

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Plantations .... " I sold, last year, an 18th century mortgage [document] on several sugar plantations in Antigua. The sum involved was a staggering £10,000 and I hate to think what that would be in today's money." - a Monmouthshire Bookseller, 2001.

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Whitechapel .... Alie St, Leman St, Mansell St, Prescott St - named after 4 sons-in- law or grandsons of Goodman, the owner of the area [Goodman's Field, Goodman's Stile].
- 'The Reminiscences of Doctor John Sebastian Helmcken', ed. Dorothy Blakey Smith, pub. Univ of British Columbia 1975.

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Deed .... 1815 ... between Daniel Austin & John Glennie, sugar refiners of Dock St, and Creditors.

It would appear that Austin & Glennie were in "great debt", and needed to sell property. The deed lists the messuages in Whitechapel and St Georges in the East, and gives names of tenants, however, more importantly for us it also lists their creditors, many familiar names in the sugar trade are included.......
C Dettmar
George Dettmar & Son
Dewes & Henlock
Frieck & Creed
Hincken & Co
H Holtzmeyer
D Martineau & Sons
John Martineau & Co
Major Rohde & Co
W & R Samler
Fred Waymouth
Henry Witte & Partners
- Document TH7866, Tower Hamlets Local History Library.

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Essex census returns .... The numbers returned as working in sugar refining in Essex, were .....

In 1881, there were 503 persons - 498 men & 5 women.
In 1891, there were 740 persons - 731 men & 9 women.
In 1901, there were 961 persons - 936 men & 25 women.

..... the vast majority in the refineries of Messrs Lyle and Tate.
- Victoria County History - Essex - Vol 2, pp 496.

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Eggs .... From the 19 Feb 1690 Chancery proceedings regarding Whitson Ct Sugar House, Bristol; Webb v Pope & Whiting .....

"... Joan [Webb] had the money and was often consulted about the Sugar House, both in the laying of pipes and the buying of eggs, 'without which the refining of sugar was impossible' ... during the frosty weather of 1686 by sending out into the countryside messengers for them and paying one penny a piece for the eggs."
- Document within BRO 36772 Box 5, Bristol Record Office.

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Packaging .... 1803 ... Meeting of Bristol Sugar Refiners ... It was declared that a resolution to make a charge on packages did not eminate from an individual house, but was the general voice ... (13 in total).
There was an indignant protest meeting of the Grocers of Wolverhampton, who resolved that they would not purchase from any of the Bristol sugar houses who had signed the resolution. The Birmingham Grocers did the same the following week.
- Felix Farley's Bristol Journal. 14 Jan 1803. Document within BRO 36772 Box 5, Bristol Record Office.

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Charles Dickens .... In 'On Duty with Inspector Field', Dickens describes accompanying the inspector on a tour of public houses and hostelries to the east of the City, and says ... "...I hardly know how such places could be better regulated. Not that I call the company very select, or the dancing very graceful - even so graceful as that of the German Sugar Bakers, whose assembly, by the Minories, we stopped to visit - but there is watchful maintenance of order in every house, and swift expulsion where need is."
- Reprinted Pieces - Charles Dickens - 'On Duty with Inspector Field', 1851.

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Costs .... In a listing of mid-eighteenth century London businesses, the start-up costs of £1000-£5000 for a Sugarbaker were 5th out of 36, with only Merchant, Brewer, Mercer, and Soap-boiler costing more.
- The Making of the English Middle Class (London 1660-1730), by Peter Earle, pp 107, Methuen, 1989.

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Holland .... "In those same thirteen years [1615-28] the WIC [The Dutch West India Company] captured a total of 547 Spanish and Portuguese vessels. Foremost among the booty, ... , were some forty thousand chests of Brazil sugar, valued at eight million guilders." .... "During the 1630s the VOC [The United Dutch East India Company] shipped over one million pounds of Chinese sugar from Taiwan to Europe." .... "The number of sugar refineries in Holland increased during the 1650s by about half. By 1662 some fifty sugar refineries were operative at Amsterdam, about half of the total for the whole of Europe. Another dozen or so were located at Rotterdam, Middelberg, Delft, and Gouda. But in the 1660s the Dutch sugar boom broke. ... the number of sugar refineries at Amsterdam slumped from fifty to thirty four." .... "By 1751 there were around ninety sugar refineries at Amsterdam alone, another thirty at Rotterdam, and more at Middelberg and Dordrecht."
- Dutch Primacy in World Trade 1585-1740, by Jonathan I Israel, pp 162/174/265/390, OUP, 1989.

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Silvertown - Henry Tate & Sons .... In 1881 a photograph was taken of [some of ?] the refinery's workforce. Those in the photo are ... D. Blair, J. Stewart, J. Culville, T. May, T. Peacock, R. Lafferty, J. Shaw, G. Stark, W. Bass, W. Grainger, ? Flett, A.Reid, J. McCloy, O. Bringes, W. Scott, H. Nolte, R. McCarthy, T. Christy, J. Aitken, D. Mcall, W. D. Wall, ? McKenzie, H. Preece, ? Morris, W. McKissack, R. Mills, R. Downey, W. McNeill, M. McDonald, R. F. Wall, L. Johnston, A. McIlwraith, J. Allen, ? Nicholls, J. Lochead, A Harrison, D. Clacher, Geo. Tate, J. P. Muir, J. Blake, D. Girdwood, W. Hannah, ? Arnold, R Morgan. - with thanks to Ronald Crawford.

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The Big Freeze .... In the worst winter of the 19thC, when much of London froze and came to a halt - "the East London Water Company congratulated itself, in The Times [28 Jan 1814], for having kept up the supply of water to the sugar refineries, but other industries were presumably less fortunate, ...".
- London in the Age of Industrialisation: Entrepreneurs, labour force and living conditions, 1700-1850, by L D Schwarz, pp 111-2, Cambridge Univ Press, 1992.

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Insurance .... From 1775-87, the Sun Fire Office, and Royal Exchange Assurance, insured 131 sugar refineries.
- London in the Age of Industrialisation: Entrepreneurs, labour force and living conditions, 1700-1850, by L D Schwarz, pp 111-2, Cambridge Univ Press, 1992.

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The Rope .... Michael Schopman recalls being told that his grandfather always had a rope under the bed, in case of fire. For many years this meant nothing to him, but now the significance has become clear ... his grandfather was brought up amongst the sugar refineries in Whitechapel, and his great grandfather, a German, worked in one.

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The Cart ... An alternative use for a Tate's box ...

... and yet another ...

The Box .... From a pamphlet describing a small N Buckinghamshire town, early 20C ... "The trotting of horses in those days was a far more pleasing sign than the present motor car or motor cycle with its poisonous fumes. What a common sight it was to see a box of a well known sugar firm, mounted on wheels, pushed along the streets with the necessary shovel to pick up the manure and deposit same on the garden."
- Through the Centuries in Olney and District, by Sidney F Morgan.

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A New Refinery .... Today, 6 Jun 2002, I was offered the opportunity to bid for the privilege of opening a new refinery. The e-mail read ..."To all Sugar Refiners. A prospective sugar refinery project in southern Philippines is available. Estimated project cost is US$300 Million. Please reply for more details. First come first served."
I wonder what the start-up cost of 12 Church St was nearly 200 yrs earlier ?

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Utah's First Sugar Project .... In the 1840s, the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decided to produce refined sugar from home-grown sugar beet. The process was researched, equipment purchased from Liverpool and dispatched to St Louis, and then taken by ox train the 1200mls to Salt Lake City. Delays and the loss of the most knowledgeable individuals contributed to the failure of the project, but years later they were to succeed. For more detail see the Vernon case study.

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Privy Seal .... If you request document "Acc 850" at the London Metropolitan Archives, you will be presented with a small, 10"x8", blue cardboard attaché case. On opening, you will be surprised to see, not a document but, a large, heavy, wax tablet, 6" diameter x ¾" thick, engraved with a royal scene. On investigation you will find braided cords leaving the seal to the document safely folded beneath, with the script immediatly above the point of attachment reading "By Writ of the Privy Seal". The document itself is dated 8 April in the 8th Year of the Reign of George IV [1828], and appears to register an invention by Morton William Laurence, Sugar Refiner of Leman Street, London ... but what he invented, it does not say !!

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Night Work - Male Young Persons, 1879 .... The Factory & Workshop Act of 1878 attempted to restrict the use of young labour. In their capacity as "... the only loaf sugar manufacturers in the Country ...", Henry Tate & Sons, James Duncan, and David Martineau & Sons, requested of the Secretary of State special exception from the Act, giving a number of reasons. An Inspector recommended exception in that the lads were to be employed in the process after boiling (where conditions are exceedingly hot) in the new moulding process which has to be continuous. Conditions OK for lads. "Premises of Henry Tate are new, well lighted, well ventilated, and temperate in atmospherical conditions, being entirely separate from Boiling Dept".
- Document at TNA - HO 45/9587/89333.

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The Smell .... "A gust of wind brings the thick spicy smell of molasses liquor from Tate's. Jenny loves that overpowering Silvertown smell, the sheer weight and history of sugar."
- 'Silvertown' by Melanie McGrath, Fourth Estate, 2002.

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"A Sugarbaker's Outing" ... Nov 2002 ... the London List has just run a short thread ...
Q. "I remembered a saying of my mother's. She has referred to "a Sugarbaker's Outing", meaning, I think, a rather meagre treat. Has anybody else heard this expression ?"
A. "My Mum used this expression, abbreviated to "sugarbakers" when she went out "window shopping". I always understood it to be a rhyming slang, "sugarbakers roll" = "stroll".
Q. "... but what was a sugarbaker's roll ???"
A. "The sugarbakers refined sugar ; it was generally made into "loaves" about the size of a loaf of bread. For those who could not afford a whole loaf, smaller items were made and naturally referred to as "rolls" !"

... and ... "A Sugarbaker's Treat" ... Sep 2012 ... from Jan Hill ...
Q. "Although I have no family connection with sugarbakers, I have been interested in a phrase my late mother used to use, which was "a sugarbaker's treat".
This was used to mean a rather stingy treat as in when someone invites you out to lunch and you end up in a cafe having a sandwich!
I donÕt know why the sugarbakers were maligned in this way!!"

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London Today - Old Sugarbaker Names ... We are all well aware of the Tate Gallery on Millbank, and to a lesser extent Lyle Park in Silvertown, but there's also Goodhart Place at Horseferry, Martineau Estate off Cable Street, and I've just noticed Juxon Street in Lambeth. Any more for the list ???

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Letter of Application, c1870s ... A Sugar Refiner applying for a Situation.
Shoreditch, July 19th, 187-.
GENTLEMEN,
Being out of employment at present, and hearing you required a sober, steady, active, and pushing man to superintend your business upstairs, I write to inform you that for years I was head upstairs man at Messrs. -- and Co. You will see by the enclosed copy of a testimonial from them that the duties of filling out the goods up to the stoving, were carried out in such a manner as to convince them I thoroughly understood the business. A reply at your convenience will much oblige,
Yours respectfully,
O.--
Messrs. Sweet and Sharp.
- Victorian London, Publications, Etiquette and Advice Manuals - The Ladies' and Gentleman's Model Letter Writer, c.1870s.

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Partnerships Dissolved ... Two announcements in the London Gazette refering to Bristol firms ...

Bristol, May 28, 1803
Notice is hereby given, that the Partnership between us the undersigned, as Sugar-Refiners, in this City, under the Firm of Gravenor, Mais, and Company, is this Day dissolved by mutual consent. The Debts due to this Partnership are to be received by Messrs. Mais and Thomas, who will pay all demands thereon.
William Gravenor
Chas. Mais
Norman Bond
Josiah Thomas

- London Gazette, 1803, p641 - with thanks to Howard Mais.

Bristol, May 15, 1806
Notice is hereby given that the Partnership lately subsisting between us, as Sugar Refiners, in Bristol, under the Firm of Mais and Thomas, was dissolved by mutual Consent on the 25th Day of March last. All debts due to this Concern are to be paid to Mr Mais, who will settle any Demands thereon.
Chas. Mais
Josiah Thomas

- London Gazette, 1806, p609 - with thanks to Howard Mais.

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Sugar Bag ... Original calico sugar bag advertising - COLONIAL SUGAR REFINING CO. LTD. - PURE CANE SUGAR - 70lbs - SYDNEY - 1A. ...

( Courtesy of an eBay seller in Australia. )

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English Sugar Duties, 1787 ...

 Duty to be paidDrawback
of duty
on export
 £. s. d.£. s. d.
Sugar Candy, brown, cwt2. 15. 0.2. 10. 0.
Sugar Candy, brown, by the East India Co, cwt4. 19. 0.4. 14. 0.
Sugar Candy, white, cwt4. 2. 6.3. 15. 0.
Sugar Candy, white, by the East India Co, cwt7. 8. 6.7. 1. 0
Sugar refined, cwt4. 18. 8.4. 10. 2
Sugar brown & muscovado, not of British plantations, cwt1. 7. 2.1. 5. 2.
Sugar brown & muscovado, of British plantations, cwt0. 12. 4.0. 12. 4.
Sugar white, not of British plantations, cwt2. 5. 6.2. 1. 10.
Sugar white, of British plantations, cwt1. 9. 0.1. 9. 0.
Sugar white, from any of the British colonies on the continent of America, to be warehoused, (6 Geo III, 52), cwt0. 0. 3.-
Sugar white (as above), when taken out of such warehouse in order to be used in this Kingdom, cwt1. 6. 11.-

- from - Universal British Directory 1793-1798, Vol 1 Pt II London, Facs Ed, ISBN 1 898593 02 7.

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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.)

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The Sugar Association of London, 1928 ... List of Members ...

( From "The Sugar Association of London - Rules & Regulations for Beet & Cane Contracts - 1928" )
[ Established 1882 as the Beetroot Sugar Association ]
Go to Map showing London Brokers

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Firemen in a Fix, 1908 ...

"A Motor Car that saved the Situation -
That much-abused class of vehicle, the motor car, accomplished good work at Greenock yesterday.
On their way to an outbreak during the afternoon the Fire Brigade were rounding Campbell Street corner from the main thoroughfare when a hind wheel of the heavy carriage collapsed, throwing a number of the firemen violently to the ground. Fortunately, none of the men were injured.
At this awkward juncture a motor car, in which seated a small party, drove past. The gentleman in charge, recognising the plight of the fire-fighters, promptly invited them to come on board with their hose, and the invitation having been accepted the vehicle was started for the scene of the outbreak at a good speed.
It was, perhaps, due in large measure to the thoughtfulness of the car owner that the fire proved a comparatively trifling one. The scene of the blaze was a large house, situated as 7 Octavia Terrace, and occupied by Mr. Duncan F. Dempster, of Messers. Neil, Dempster & Neil, sugar refiners. Part of the roof was destroyed.
A spark from the kitchen chimney, which had gone on fire, was responsible for the outbreak."

Daily Record and Mail, Monday, 10 August 1908 (My thanks to Robert H James.)

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The Importance of the Sugar Trade to West Indies ...

The opening page of the 1954 handbook of the British West Indies Sugar Association reads ... "The importance of sugar can be illustrated from the trade figures of our territories. For example, in Barbados the sugar industry accounts for 99% of the total exports; in British Guiana 50%; Jamaica 56%; St Kitts 89%. Why such dependence on one industry? The answer is fourfold -
(1) The cultivation of sugar cane maintains soil fertility to a remarkable degree;
(2) The British West Indies are subject to hurricane, and to periodic droughts. Cane resists the ravages of tropical storms far better than any other crop which can be grow in our area; and cane is also drought-resisting, giving crops even in years of severe lack of rain;
(3) The British West Indies as a whole have no fuel or large-scale water power, and the sugar cane bagasse supplies the fuel for operating the factories;
(4) Finally, and of great importance, sugar will maintain more labour - ie. give more employment - per acre than any other crop, except bulb growing in Holland and intensive tomato cultivation.

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Theft & Receiving ...

"1751 April 1. Convicted also [at Kingston, Jamaica, assizes] John Kowff, sugar baker, for feloniously buying, knowing to be stolen 700 lb. of W. India cotton. --- This villain in less than 7 years, by practices of the sort, had raised from nothing above £2,500 and had carried on with impunity 2 sugar-baking houses, without scarcely buying one hogshead of sugar but such as had been stolen."

Gentleman's Magazine. April 1751 issue, page 182. (My thanks to Steve van Dulken)

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Full circle ...

This whole website is about refining sugar ... at last it is slowly being realized that it is best not to !!!

Organic Granulated Cane Sugar
This free-flowing raw cane sugar has been organically farmed to produce a pure unrefined sugar. Made by crushing the cane and crystallising the juice, it still contains the natural goodness of the cane plant with its rich taste and natural aroma.

500g packet - Whitworths Sugars, International House, 1 St Katherine's Way, London E1W 1XB. 2006.

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Refining Monopoly granted - 1619 ...

Patent to Mr Patrik Hamilton, Dominik Bowens merchant in London, and George Fentoun dwelling in the precinct of St Katherine's near London, and to their heirs and assignees, for the space of thirty one years after the date hereof, of the sole right of sugar refining within the kingdom of Scotland, with liberty to import all sorts of "basse sugaris" fit for refining, "as namelie Panceles, Stomas [S. Thomas], Muscavados, and the lyke," and to erect the necessary works, their imported and exported sugars to be free of custom duty for twenty one years to come, but in lieu thereof a yearly payment of £600 to be made by them to the royal exchequer. - Subscribed by the Chancellor, Mar, Wyntoun, Lotheane, Melros, Landirdaill, Privy Seal, Sir R Meluill, Sir G Murray.
[There's as yet no evidence that these 3 refined any sugar, which suggests that it was this monopoly, and maybe others, that delayed the start of refining in Scotland until 1667 - BM]

Extract from the 1619 Register of the Scottish Privy Council. (Volume 12, pages 91-2, in the British Library 1895 version)

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Scurvy - 1767 ...

A sugar-baker in Cheapside, was put into fresh earth up to the chin, in which situation he remained six hours, by way of remedy for an invertebrate scurvy, that had baffled the skill of eminent physicians.

Gentleman's Magazine 10 May 1767 p277 - My thanks to Steve Van Dulken.

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Hessian bags - 19th century ...

... most of the items were shipped in hessian sacks. Raw sugar was packed in 250lbs hessian bags. This was the largest size of bag that two dockers with hooks could work lifting all day. It seems an incredible weight today when the average size of sack is 100lbs [or 50 kilos]. No wonder dockers, especially in the West Indies, were broken men by the age of forty as the human frame wore out under such loads.

Sugar & Spice - Edward Billington & Son Ltd, by John Billington, 1998.

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Pay ...

The personnel of a Bristol sugar refinery in 1878.
No. of employees Occupation Weekly salary
78 unskilled workers 15s 6d
2 pan operators 50s
2 boiler-men 25s
1 person in charge of bone black filter 26s
1 head engineer 47s 6d
84 Total £87 4s 6d
Source: Bristol Chamber of Commerce, 1879 - quoted in
'The Making of a Sugar Giant, Tate & Lyle 1859-1989' by Philippe Chalmin, 1990.

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Postcard ... Original postcard produced for Burton & Sanders of Manchester, sugar millers. They were suppliers to the confectionery trade and this card appears to have been an early form of mail order ! ...

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Paper ... 1666 February 16 ... British Patent number 147 ... Making blue paper used by sugar bakers and others. (AbeBooks, 2008)

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Personal Description ... was this the archetypal sugarbaker ??? ...

Age 28
Height 4' 11''
Brown hair
Blue eyes
Oval face
Fresh complexion
Curly hair
Long beard
Moustache

This was the written description, on 21 October 1854, in Gloucester, of Prisoner No. 571, Henry Meier, single, native of Hamburg, sugarbaker. He said he had previously worked at Edgar & Co [maybe Jager's]. He was charged, along with a seaman from Gloucester, with felony and committed for further examination 2 days later. (Gloucester RO - Gaol Q/Gc6/3)

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... and was this the archetypal Georgian sugar refiner ??? ...

Maria wrote, "My grandfather was a handsome and dignified old man, very kind to us, very courteous to everybody, wore powder and I think breeches and shoe buckles and was altogether very 'point de vise' in his accoutrements. We were very fond of him, admired and reverenced him, but did not confide in him. I think we were a little awe struck."
... and Maria's elder sister Kate wrote, "My grandfather who was very handsome and quite a beau, wore powder and a queue [pigtail], he thought a great deal of me as his first grandchild, and I went to school at Brixton with his old friends daughters the Misses Edwards, he used to walk out to Brixton Hill before breakfast to see me and his old friends and return for his days work. He did so, shortly before he died in the Cholera year, though he was 80."
Maria & Kate were two of the grandchildren of John Smith, 1750s-1832, who refined in Upper Thames St, London, from around the turn of the century to his death. See City page.

Early Memories March 1883, by Maria Giberne nˇe Smith. Unpublished. ©Christopher Cobb 2014.
The Mirror, by Kate Hopkins nˇe Smith. Unpublished. ©Christopher Cobb 2014.
My thanks to Christopher Cobb.

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Union badge ... that I assume to have been an employee's indicator of union membership
at the California and Hawaiian Sugar Refining Company, Crockett, California, in 1941.
(24mm diameter)

 

 

 

 

 

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Employee badge ... for Spreckels Sugar Company, California; suggested 1920s - 1940s.
(35mm diameter)

 

 

 

 

 

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Company badge ... for the Manati Sugar Company, Oriente, Cuba;
suggested 1930s. One of the many Cuban companies to develop
out of the N American branch of the original London brokerage company
of Caesar Czarnikow. Manati Sugar Co., incorporated in 1912,
operated Czarnikow-Rionda's largest sugar mill, Central Manati,
plus more than 200,000 acres of land.
(66mm x 17mm)

 

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Employee badge ... for Sea Island Sugar, Western Sugar Refinery, San Francisco.
(32x44mm)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Company badge ... for Beghin-Say, Thumeries, Lille, France.
Recent, though Say are long-established French refiners.
(15x25mm)

 

 

 

 

 

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Company badge ... for Tbilisi Sugar Factory, Georgia.
(34mm dia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Employee badge ... for United States Sugar Corporation - worn by a guest worker / sugar cane cutter
from the West Indies who went to south Florida seasonally to cut sugar cane
under the employ of the U.S. Sugar Corp.
(57x34mm)

 

 

*****

Mrs Jane Clowes (1771-1827) - Confectioner of Manchester ...

... from Harland in his Collectanea Relating to Manchester (1866-67) ...
"This Mrs. Clowes is worthy of a few lines in our gleanings. In her days sweets, such as lozenges, toffy, and the large yellow things called humbugs were in great demand by young and old; but in modem times they have been much superseded by intoxicating liquors. Though at first she was in a humble way of business, she was so industrious, persevering and successful, that she realised a fortune, and bequeathed £18,000 or £20,000 to her relatives, and left a flourishing business to her successor. She had several men and boys (apprentices) in her sugar-bakery; and in the summer of 1812, when several regiments of militia were encamped on Kersal Moor, although that period of the year was usually the slack season, so great was the demand for sweets to vend to the numerous visitors to the Moor, that all her hands worked almost night and day for some time, to meet this extraordinary demand. She would often herself take an active part in the labour, for severe labour it was, of pulling the boiled sugar into long ropes; and when her step-son, who worked in this part of the business, one day fell exhausted and fainting on the floor, overcome by the severe toil in a necessarily heated atmosphere, while his comrades got him water, she only looked at him and said, "Thou art a poor soft thing". It must not be supposed, however, from this circumstance, that she was hard-hearted or stern. She was only so strong, physically, that she could not understand how a man could be more feeble than herself. She was a kind mistress to her servants; and she had one good trait, that every Sunday she gave a good dinner to fourteen old men and women in poor circumstances; and she never tasted dinner until they had all dined, serving them herself. One of them, the senior, continued to dine at her house every Sunday for many years, indeed till death at a very advanced age, nearly one hundred. She went regularly to the Old Church, and required all her household to go there; but she also kept them at work till the last bell "put in"; and they had to make the necessary change of attire in the very few minutes left before the commencement of service. As for herself she went to church in her usual head-dress, consisting of an old-fashioned mob-cap, and a chocolate silk handkerchief tied over it, by way of bonnet. She went frequently to Liyerpool to buy her sugar, and always in this style, though occasionally an old black bonnet covered all. After doing business for some time with one of the old sugar houses in Liverpool, she learned that the Branckers had commenced business, and thinking she would give them a trial, she proceeded to their warehouse, and asked to see samples of their sugars. The vendor, after glancing at her humble and odd attire, evidently came to the conclusion that she was a customer not worth attending to, and he accordingly did not take the trouble to show her any variety of samples. Mrs. Clowes, seeing how things stood, left the warehouse, and the next morning (for journeys to Liverpool in those times were affairs of two days) she borrowed a silk gown and more fashionable head-dress of her landlady, and again going to Branckers sugar warehouse, found herself received with much more consideration and respect. Still her order for sugar was so large, that there was some inquiry made as to payment. She at once paid the amount, and the scruples and precautions of the vendors being at length fairly satisfied, Mrs. Clowes, in her old gown, mutch, and kerchief, was ever afterwards welcomed as a good and safe customer at the warehouse of the Branckers. In the balmy days of her trade, it is said, she baked and worked up into sweetmeats not less than from eight to nine tons of sugar weekly. She made up a cwt. of sugar, at eightpence the cwt, into ''humbugs", finding the colouring and flavouring, and then retailed them at eightpence the pound."

... from The Manchester Guardian of 16th June 1827 ...
"Lately, in the 56th year of her age, after a long and painful illness, Mrs. Jane Clowes, of this town."

(My thanks to Keith Byrne)

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The Contrast ...

"Inside the mill [in 21st century Mauritius], the air is deliciously steamy. Even the dust tastes sweet, as if it were snowing sugar." - from 'The sweetest flames', by Rose Prince. Telegraph Magazine 19 Nov 2011.

... Reading that immediately made me think back to 'At a Sugar Baking' - an extract from "The Wilds of London", by James Greenwood, in 1876, a time when London's refineries had been working for over 300 years ...

"Just as unmeasured indulgence in sugar is nauseating to the palate, so was the reek of it palling to one's sense of smell. You could taste its clammy sweetness on the lips just as the salt of the sea may be so discovered while the ocean is yet a mile away." ....
"The walls were black - not painted black. As far as one might judge they were bare brick, but 'basted' unceasingly by the luscious steam that enveloped the place, they had become coated with a thick preserve of sugar and grime." ....
"The heat was sickening and oppressive, and an unctuous steam, thick and foggy, ..."
"With no more exertion than leisurely walking about demanded, before I had been in the factory a quarter of an hour, I was drenched with perspiration, and was not a moment free from a trickling down my face."

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Zyklon B ... one of the FAQs on the website of the Berlin Sugar Museum ...

"What does sugar have to do with Zyklon B? ... In the exhibition in the Sugar Museum, in the section on sugar refining, the by-products displayed include a can labelled "Giftgas Zyklon", or "Zyklon poison gas". The pesticide Zyklon B was used for mass murder in the gas chambers of the Nazi death camps.
Production of Zyklon B ... When sugar is refined, molasses is left over. Zyklon B is made from vinasses, the waste product left after fermented molasses mash has been distilled. After the vinasses has been concentrated and broken down by pyrolysis, the extracted betaine is used to produce Zyklon B.
Use of Zyklon B ... As a pesticide Zyklon B is still used against insects and rodents. For people it is a deadly poison even in small doses.

The misuse of the gas to murder millions in the Nazi concentration camps was a crime of unimaginable dimensions."

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Alien Certificate, 1804 ... Godliap Schinard of Messrs Smith & Seiffe ...

On the 14th January 1804, this sugarbaker was granted 3 months residence, provided he stay (and work, I assume) at the sugarhouse of Smith & Seiffe at 17 Bennett's Hill, London.

This certificate was with the papers of the Schoner family, the name coming from 'Schönherr', however was Mr Schinard, a 'Schinard', a 'Schönhardt' or a 'Schönherr', and how was he related to the Schoner family ?

( With kind permission of Philippa Towler, 2012.)

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Bequest of a Sugar Loaf ...

1640 Aug 17 Will written by John Bigg, Jurat [Alderman] of Maidstone included a bequest of 20s "for a sugar loaf" to Mistress Mary Duke [his first wife's niece]. For comparison, John Bigg left Mr Thomas Swinnock his brother in law [a fellow Jurat], Mr Wilson and his wife, and Brother Wilding 40s each for a ring.

( My thanks to Judy Buckley. See Judy's Maidstone book; For the Good of This Town.)

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'Jury' attacked ... Goodhart's, Horseferry Rd, Limehouse ... The Standard, 30 May 1834 ...

The leet jury of Stepney arrived at Emanuel Goodhart's refinery in Horseferry Rd, Limehouse, with the purpose of checking the weights and scales therein. Having checked two scales, one deficient by 12 ounces and the other a false balance, a workman admitted they were inaccurate and also that the firm had been fined five years earlier for having bad scales. He then "called the men out" and the members of the jury were attacked by German sugarbakers who assembled from all parts of the building armed with staves and bludgeons. With some having been thrown down ladders and others beaten, the jury was forcibly removed from the premises. A magistrate granted warrants for the sugarbakers to be brought before the court.

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Ration Book Holder ... Tate & Lyle ...

Just one of the ways in which T&L got the message out regarding nationalisation of the industry.

( Thanks, Hilly.)

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Anthony Trollope ... from "Can You Forgive Her", pub. 1864 ... a father's advice to his daughter ... "Everybody should endeavour to stand as well as he can in the world, and if I had a choice of acquaintance between a sugar-baker and a peer, I should prefer the peer, - unless, indeed, the sugar-baker had something very strong on his side to offer. I donÕt call that tuft-hunting, and it does not necessitate toadying. ItÕs simply growing up, towards the light, as the trees do."

(My thanks to Ian Rathjen, who adds ...) 'People in that mid-Victorian age must have been expected to know with some nicety just where a sugar-baker came in the social hierarchy!'

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More eggs ... Regarding Flamborough Head, E Yorkshire ..."In the months of May and June, the rocks seem absolutely animated, being covered with innumerable birds of various plumage, exceeding in number the inhabitants of the largest city, and in varied hue the tints of the rainbow. ... Hung in air as their nests seem to be, they are still not inaccessible to the depredations of man! Boys are let down the rocks by ropes fastened to stakes, and bring away bushels of eggs for the use of the sugar house in Hull, without seeming to diminish their countless number."

(History, Directory & Gazetteer of Yorkshire, Vol- East & North Riding, 1823.)

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A man's best friend ! ... Early on Sunday morning some villians broke open a Sugarbaker's in Saffron Hill [London] and stole things to a large amount. When the family arose it was discovered that the thieves had left a small dog behind them, which was let loose, and followed by some of Sir John Fielding's men to the the Bull's Head, where the dog fondling on a very suspicious person, he was taken into custody, and, after a trivial examination, confessed himself to be a party in the robbery, and gave evidence against the gang, which consists of five desperate fellows, all of whom Sir John Fielding's men went in pursuit of.

(Oxford Journal 21 Nov 1778.)

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Collapse ... Two houses collapsed in Snowhill, London ... they'd been hired for temporary storage of sugar by a sugarbaker of Thames Street.

(Staffordshire Advertiser 1799.)

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Stolen from barge ... "A barge laden with sugar, the property of Mr Tunley, sugar refiner, Tower-street, which was lying at Union-stairs, was on the 28th inst. removed from her moorings and turned adrift near the Strand-bridge, after having been plundered of sugar of the value of £500."

(Morning Post 1 Dec 1815.)

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Unusual theft ... "Twelve casks of bullocks' blood were stolen from outside the premises of a sugar refiner in Dock-street, Rosemary-lane, [London]."

(Lancaster Gazette 1836.)

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Singular Revenge ... "Two workmen having quarrelled in a sugar-refiner's at Valenciennes, one of them threw his companion into a copper of thick molasses. The latter scrambled out, covered from head to foot with the sugary stuff, and angry at his adversary, rushed into the street, just as he was, to make his way to the King's Procureur to obtain legal redress. It was freezing very hard at the time, and the sugar became so firm that when he arrived at the house of the magistrate he looked like a substantial stick of barley sugar. His arms were glued to his sides, and he was compelled to ask a by-stander to ring the bell for him. This curious exhibition attracted crowds of spectators, and excited much merriment. - French paper."

(West Kent Guardian 28 Jan 1837.)

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Highwaymen ... "A German Sugar Baker of Whitechapel was found in the road near Uxbridge, quite naked, and bound hand and foot. He had been robbed and stripped by highwaymen."

(Exeter & Plymouth Gazette 11 Sep 1847.)

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Macfie - Charge Book of Greenock Refinery 1811-1848 ...

Just a few snippets ...
Income tax for 1809 & 1810 amounted £10 per year.
1811 the wages bill was £7 10s a week, by 1846 was just over £30 a week.
1818 the daily rate for labourers appears to have been 2/-.
There was a frequent charge for butter ... it was used to stop frothing of the sugar liquor in the vacuum pans.
Whisky, at 8/6 per gallon, went to the men.
Paid for Mary, 2/-.
"... a decision of the Directors about 1840 to circulate a warning to their customers not to use ordinary paints for painting sweets, as several deaths had already occurred from this practice."

(An Old Minute Book - Edinburgh Sugarhouse Co 1763-1773 - by A C Cumming ... [Macfie info extra to ESC minutes])

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Payment for Lease ...

The lease, dated 20 September 1614, between Richard Perrin of St Mary Whitechapel and William Penton of London for a messuage in Grays Inn Lane, called the Blue Bell, for the terms of 70 years and 36 years (cellar) shows payment to be £30 p.a. and a 10lb sugar loaf.

(Norfolk Record Office, Ref: NNAS G2/5/14)

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Sugar as payment for Church Rates ...

The Norfolk Society of Friends took payments for Church Rates in various forms, including sugar ...

Taken from ...
Ephraim Heywood - loaf sugar, value 15s 3¾d. 7 May 1798 (Ref: SF 300/30, 301X6)
Edward Ready - two ½ firkins of butter, 4 Derby cheeses, 1 loaf of sugar, value £5 6s. 9 Feb 1803 (Ref: SF 300/103, 301X6)
Ephraim Heywood - 32lb lump sugar, value £1 13s 4d. 17 May 1804 (Ref: SF 300/122, 301X6)
Thomas Wagstaffe - 36¼lb lump sugar, 7lb powdered sugar, value £2 2s 10¼d. 17 May 1804 (Ref: SF 300/123, 301X6)
Edward Ready - 2 firkins of butter, 1 loaf of sugar, value £6 7s. 3 Mar 1807 (Ref: SF 301/17, 301X6)
Thomas Wagstaffe - 5lb tea, 8lb lump sugar, 14lb sugar, 20lb cheese, 14¾lb soap, value £5 5s 2d. 1 Sep 1814 (Ref: SF 300/216, 301X6)
Henry & Robert Giles - sugar, value £3 4s 6d. 10 Jun 1828 (Ref: SF302/20, 302X1)
Joseph Blake - sugar, value £2 18s. 13 Jun 1828 (Ref: 302/22, 302X1)
James Ellis - sugar, value £1. 26 Mar 1857 (Ref: SF 99/1, 300X5)
(+) Theodosia Wagstaffe - 9 teaspoons, 3 dessertspoons, 1 tablespoon, pair of sugar tongs, value £2 9s. 13 Jun 1828 (Ref: SF 302/23, 302X1)
... and there's also a letter from E Jolly requesting "1 stone of good moist sugar". 20 Mar 1807 (Ref: SF 301/79, 301X6)

(Norfolk Record Office, Ref given next to each entry)

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Golden sovereigns ...

Having made his vast fortune, Henry Tate was asked by broker Arthur Hodge why he did not retire to the country and rest.
Tate replied, "You know, Hodge, when you are pulling a rope and golden sovereigns are falling down it is very difficult to stop pulling the rope."

('56yrs in the London Sugar Market' by Gordon B Hodge, 1960)

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Hogsheads, hogsheads ... and the canal ...

In 1830, the porter of Mr Jos. Coleman, grocer & cheesemonger of Bedford, went to Gt. Linford Wharf, Bucks, and collected 2 hogsheads of sugar and fifty four cheeses. The cheeses had been purchased at Leicester, but the documents do not say from where the sugar was purchased.

This gave rise to two queries ...
* A hogshead in the sugar trade referred to the very large casks that the raw sugar was packed in for shipping from the plantations in the West Indies to London/Bristol/Liverpool/Greenock etc. It leaked molasses and generally weighed 13-16 cwt, and it's unlikely the Bedford grocer would have ordered 2 of those. In 1830 we hadn't worked out how to make granulated sugar (that was prompted by the gentleman who invented the centrifugal dryers for the cloth industry some years later), so sugar came as conical loaves of various sizes and the refineries packed them into barrels for transportation. So, I assume this report refers to two wine hogsheads, each of about 50-60 gallon capacity and 40"ht 30"dia, packed with sugar loaves that the grocer would sell either as complete loaves or as pieces.
* Both the sugar and the cheeses were delivered to the Gt Linford Wharf on the Grand Junction Canal between Wolverton and Newport Pagnall, from where they were collected. We know the cheeses were to be delivered to Deacon's Wharf, Leicester, to be landed at Gt Linford. If the sugar had come up from London to Gt Linford, then it was good timing for the porter to only make one journey from Bedford, however, if the sugar had also been ordered from Leicester it's probable that it travelled by canal from London, through Gt Linford, to Leicester, and then back again to Gt Linford !!

(The source of this article is the Bedfordshire Quarter Sessions. On the journey to Bedford all but 18 of the cheeses went missing near Astwood and two local men were eventually charged with theft.
Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service, QSR/31/1830/322, + ~333, ~479, ~520, ~521, ~524, ~979)

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Char women ...

During WWI women where required to fill the jobs of the men who had joined up. In a review of a recent Kate Adie book in the Observer, Sep 2013, a photograph was used of women in a Scottish refinery feeding the charcoal kilns.

(The Observer, 22 September 2013)

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