Ernst Louis Victor Schwier b. 19 April 1815, appears to have come to England from Müsleringen, near Stolzenau, in the Kingdom of Hannover in 1841, possibly with 3 of his 6 siblings. He married Frances Ann Steadman in Whitechapel Parish Church in 1846 when he is described as a sugar baker. Between them they had 10 children.

From 1849-1871 he is variously described as a charcoal burner, sugar baker, sugar refiner, treacle maker, hogshead dealer, and as early as 1851, as a scum boiler in Montague St, is employing men. He moved frequently - from Betts Street, St George in the East, to Gowers Walk, Whitechapel, to Dunk Street, Mile End New Town where he is found from 1855, and to 39 Dunk Street in 1874 where I believe he had a sugar refinery, initially in his own name and then from 1883-96 in the name of C.E and W Schwier (the initials of 3 of his sons Charles, Ernest and Walter). In 1897 this refinery is listed as belonging to Martineau. ELV is noted as being blind by the age of 44 - a hereditary condition which also affected these 3 sons.

ELV was widowed in 1871. In 1881 he is found living in Woodford, Essex, and died in 1902 at Netherhall, Ongar, Essex, though in his will dated 1895 his address is still Dunk Street.

His 3 youngest sons also became wealthy through the sugar industry though from such humble beginnings. Charles is listed as a scum boiler in 1871 (nearly blind); in 1881 as a sugar refiner; by 1889 a master sugar refiner; and a farmer in Wanstead by 1891 (blind) before his death in Westham, Sussex in 1927.

Ernest aged 12 is nearly blind, but at 22 in 1881 is a sugar refiner living with his father in Woodford, and by his death in 1928 he was a wealthy farmer in Southminster, Essex, owning a number of properties and farms.

The youngest son, Walter, in 1891 lived in Barnet, and at 27 was blind and a sugar refiner. He is also reputed to have been a very gifted organist. He died in 1901 in Worthing, Sussex, and his will contains a codicil dated 1896 winding up the partnership with his 2 brothers of the sugar refinery business at Dunk Street, Mile End New Town.

[I am grateful to Ann Peal for the above text for this case study.]

Walter Frederick Schwier buried 2 April 1901 aged 37 years.

A beautiful gravestone in Christ Church Barnet Burial Ground, in the London Borough of Barnet.
The inscriptions tell us that Walter Frederick Schwier had the musical qualifications FRCO (Fellow of the Royal College of Organists) and LRAM (Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music) and that he had been the organist at Christ Church, which is just across the road, for some thirteen years.

[My thanks to Christine Norsworthy for spotting this and sending me the photograph and information.]

... and regarding DUNK ST

*** The refinery at 39 Dunk Street was managed for most of the 1870s & 1880s by EFW Schopman, the nephew of ELV Schwier. ***

[The database shows Joseph Louis Sommer (1859) and Sebastian Muhlhaus (1870) living at 39 Dunk St, as well as Philipp Lenz (1866 ) living at no.34] - BM.


Further information has come in for the periods both before and after the Schwiers' occupation of 39 Dunk St ...

The Times of 27 Nov 1838 informs us of a seroius fire at the sugarhouse in Dunk St belonging to Mr Zabell. It was uninsured. Frederick Zabell appears to have been there since at least 1829, and his business continued after the fire.
My thanks to Jean Zabbell.

The Martineau family took over the refinery in Dunk St and ran it through, I think, until 1961. George Frederick Tutte was a foreman at Martineau's, they having expanded the sugarhouse back to Kingward St (King Edward St) and used 13 Kingward St as it's address. The Tutte family lived across the road at 14 Kingward St and Martineau's was a big part of family life ... "When I speak of their having fond memories, they have told me many stories of how the factory was a family. The children played together and went to school together. The wives and mothers worked in their homes surrounding the factory and spent meal breaks with their husbands when possible. Many of the women and young girls had odd jobs in the factory cleaning up, preparing meals etc. Just for example, when my Aunt was to get married she was told by her parents to ask the foreman over her father for permission to marry a 'bloke from America'. That is just how involved the families were with the factory. Everyone was always in everyone's house regardless of race, religion or nationality. Places like Martineaus must have been hard, hot, sticky work but at least you were part of a family - you were cared for."

George Frederick Tutte with his 4 sons outside Martineau's, Christmas Day 1946.
© Jane E Tutte Mayberry 2006.