- Mike Greenall




Henry Tate & Sons, Liverpool

1859 - Henry Tate became a partner in the firm of John Wright & Co sugar refiners of Manesty Lane, Liverpool.

1861 (Dec) - He disposes of his grocery business.

1862 - He opens a small refinery in Earle Street, Henry Tate & Co.

1869 (Jun 30) - Partnership with John Wright dissolved, Henry Tate carries on alone, name changed to Henry Tate & Sons.

1869 - Land became available for new refinery in Love Lane. Decision made to concentrate work of the small refineries on one site.

1870 (aprox) - Building commenced. W, A, B, C, D Warehouses built. E, F, G Refinery built. I, J, K, Charhouses built plus two boiler houses, two engineer's shops, two lime kilns and ancillary buildings.

1871 (Apr) - Application to the Leeds Liverpool Canal Co. to use canal water for condensing purposes is made.

1872 (Aug) - First water usage fee paid, refinery operations began.

1874 - Probable date Boivan Loiseau process first used at Love Lane. Henry Tate goes to London leaving his son William in charge.

1875 - Melt 413 tons per week.

1876 - Extensions made into the A Warehouse, one Pan and ancillary plant.

1877 - Melt 623 tpw.
1878 - Melt 698 tpw.
1879 - Melt 799 tpw.
1880 - Melt 887 tpw.
1881 - Melt 1146 tpw.

1883 - Extra cisterns and Buchanan kilns installed in existing Char Houses.

1884 - Carstairs rice mill, Burlington St acquired.

1886 - Burlington St warehouses built. Java St comes into existence.

1886 - First Granulator (rotary drum drier) installed.

1887 - Love Lane office block built, electric lighting installed replacing gaslight. First external telephone lines installed.

1888 - L Char House completed, operating 7 Jan 1889.

1890 - Second Granulator installed.

1892 - First affination begins for beet raws (75% of the melt) in A Warehouse. Melt 1800 tpw.

1893 - Now twenty-three Lancashire Boilers are in operation, requiring 24 men on two 12 hr shifts.

1894 - Two storied W Warehouse rebuilt to four storeys.

1895 (Mar 31) - W Warehouse began operations as raw sugar warehouse and affination station, first six, increased to eight 48” by 30” m/cs installed. Sucrate process replaced by carbonatation.

1895 - Third Granulator installed, probably in W Warehouse where white sugar production was to begin.

1897 - First production of Primrose (15 Feb) and Canary (8 Sep), Yellows sugars, Fourths had been in production since the beginning. First Lille evaporators (U.S manufacture) in operation, initially purchased for evaporation of Sweet Water.

1898 - First surface condenser installed, condensed vapour used to melt raw sugar. First internal telephones installed. First small packets work began.

1899 - Death of Henry Tate.

1900 - Production of Molassine meal cattle feed started. Melt 2000 tpw.

1901/02 - four white pans operating in W Warehouse J, A, D, and K with P and Q added later. By now there were eight pans in original refinery, V, G, H, C, I and T (white) E and F (Yellows).

1903 - Water softening plant installed on site of I section of old Char House.

1904 - First water tube (Stirling) boilers installed in new boiler house which stood on canal bank between Java St warehouses and original boiler house.

1905 - Irvin's (lard works) premises acquired.

1908 - First raw sugar extraction process (now known as Recovery) operating in W building. Two further Stirling boilers installed. Melt 2500tpw. Raw sugar storage by now transferred from W Warehouse to Java St warehouses.

1909 - K char house shut down after recovery plant started up. Restarted later when melt increased.

1913 - Property in Clement and Chisenhale Streets purchased. Plans drawn up to move affination and melt to new site adjacent Carstair's warehouse.

1914 - Melting of beet raws ceased due to outbreak of WW1.

1915 - Affination and Melt operating on site adjacent to Carstair's warehouse previously occupied by saddler's shop and stables. Initially 12 m/cs rising eventually to 28 m/cs.

1916 - S Pan operating in W Refinery overlooking main gate.

1918 - Further property purchased in Clement and Chisenhale Streets. White sugar imports began from Europe and America.

1921 - Henry Tate & Sons amalgamated with Abraham Lyle& Sons to become Tate and Lyle Ltd.

1921 - Carbonatation and Filtration transferred to Burlington St site between Carstair's warehouse and Love Lane, Sweetland presses used for first time for raw liquor.

1921- Cottages in Eccles St and land on canal bank purchased.

1922 - Melt 4000 tpw.

1923 - X Pan, similar in detail to S Pan and adjacent to it, operating in W Refinery.

1924 - White imports reached 600,000 tons resulting in short time working at the UK refineries.

1924 - J Section built linking C Warehouse over Liver Mill Place with Irven's. 99 year lease on land in Burlington St purchased from Liverpool Corporation.

1925 - Melt 5000tpw. Jager's refinery in Black Diamond St and cottages in Vauxhall Rd purchased.

1926 - Packing 2lb sugar in 28lb parcels begins in Radford's which was that part of Irven's abutting Chisenhale Street.

1927 - Molassine meal discontinued, declining market. Packing 1lb pkts in 28lb parcels begins.

1928 - Modifications to duties on raw and refined sugars result in virtual cessation of white imports, sugar production is split between British beet producers and the cane refineries. Melt 7000 tpw by year end.

1929 - M Char House began operations, K finally shut down and converted for use drying and packing Yellows sugars.

1929 - Fairrie & Co, Vauxhall Rd, built in 1847 purchased, refining at Fairrie's continued. 15 white pans and 3 recovery pans in operation on Love Lane site, 9 of the white pans were in the W Refinery. Nos 3 and 4 Stirling boilers installed.

1930 - Due to overcrowding, rebuilding was necessary, the E F G Refinery is demolished, building of No1 Refinery begins. Matron engaged to take charge of girls in packing dept.

1931 - 149 Shed built. George Atkins and co, asphalt manufacturers, Chisenhale St purchased.

1934 - Raw silos completed on Burlington St. More property in Clement St purchased. No1 Refinery on site of E, F, G Refinery completed and working. Power House transferred to site behind No1 Refinery adjacent to K Charhouse. No's 5 and 6 Stirling boilers installed, all other steam generating plant shut down. New Liquor Gallery between L and M Char Houses in operation. Bag wash transferred to Vauxhall Rd.

1935 - Experimental work on continuous carbonatation carried out at Vauxhall Rd.(Fairrie's).

1936 - Land purchased from Liverpool Gas for erection of 71 Shed.

1937 - New Recovery House completed. New Filtration House completed, Wotherspoon's Whirligig installed on Sweetland floor. Small Packets (Hesser Building) completed on Atkin's site. D Warehouse extension (D Top packing station, 1&2cwt bags) completed. Cooling Towers and gas washers in operation. Outward appearance of refinery now largely as it was at closure.

1937 - Refining at Fairrie's ceased and machines transferred to Love Lane increasing Melt House m/cs to 28.

1938 - Macfie & Co purchased and closed, production absorbed by Love Lane.

1939 - Peter Lunt soap factory, offices and warehouse, Hornby, Titchfield and Raymond Sts purchased. Blueing of sugar ceased.

1940 - Yellows House adjacent to Filtration and Recovery Houses completed. Pans receivers and m/cs transferred from Fairrie's, feed tanks and DSW evaporators transferred from W Refinery. First canteens set up within the refinery during wartime.

1940 - Refinery hit by 3 HE bombs damaging M Char House and lift, top floors of Recovery house, Melt House roof and Boiler House, refinery out of action 2 weeks.

1941 - Refinery out of action for one week due to bombing raid which breached the canal preventing coal supplies from arriving. High test molasses produced for a few months - munitions industry.

1942 - The shell of Bancroft's on corner of Chisenhale St and Pall Mall purchased. Golden syrup production started in the Fairrie Building, Vauxhall Road.

1943 - Lowest wartime melts 35tph or 4,000 tpw.

1944 - New Milling House (icing sugar) adjacent to Yellows House completed. High test molasses re-started February.

1945 - High test molasses production stopped - October.

1946 - K Char House building adjacent to Power House demolished and Power House extension completed.

1948 - Char Herreshoff kiln fired by town gas, installed in W Warehouse adjacent to L Char House. Golden syrup production at Liverpool refinery ceased.

1950 - Lease obtained from Liverpool Corp for site of Burlington St Baths, site cleared for use as coal yard. The “prefab” erected in main yard.

1951 - New Boiler House completed, 4 Simon Carves boilers operating at 650psi replaced 6 Stirling boilers at 250psi. Burlington St cinema purchased.

1952 - SS Sugar Transporter brings first cargo of raw sugar in bulk arrived at Liverpool.

1954 - Construction of bulk handling systems commenced in 149 Shed and Burlington St. Raw Sugar Silos, Black Diamond St becomes part of the raw sugar discharge bays on Vauxhall Rd. 84 Shed construction in Chisenhale St begins. Char Herreschoff changed over to be fuelled by oil.

1955 - 84 Shed construction completed. Construction of 100,000 ton Huskisson silo begins.

1957 (Dec) - raw sugar silo at Huskisson Dock completed. Vauxhall Rd Tannery purchased.

1959 - Yellows pans renewed. Einwurf system installed in Recovery House - grain from first and second crop used as seed for first crop.

1960 - Tannery opened as Small Packets Dept. Hesser Building now becomes Specials Building. New Affination and Melt House completed,16 automatic m/cs replace 28 manual m/cs. Theoretical max throughput 120tph.Thermal Economy Plant completed. Engineers shop transferred to new building on Vauxhall Rd site. Buildings on Burlington St between Carstair's and Love Lane demolished.

1961 - Home Trade warehouse corner of Pall Mall and Chisenhale St completed.

1962 - First stage of new amenities block built between Carstairs and Love Lane housing changing rooms, instrument shop, canteens and laboratories.

1962 (Sep) - First six continuous m/cs in operation on 3rd crop in Recovery House. October-four more continuous m/cs operating on 2nd crop. Crystal Club opens on site of Burlington St cinema. First stage of new amenities block opens on Burlington St between Carstairs warehouse and corner of Love Lane.

1963? - 10 megawatt set installed in boiler house, Power House now only used in emergencies and at weekends.

1964 - 10,000 ton white sugar silo completed. Cal Plant fully operational. Modernisation of No1 refinery begins with first pan stirrer being installed in G Pan. Hutchinson's purchased and demolished for use as car park.

1964/1972 - No1 Refinery receivers re-aligned, 16 automatic Asea m/cs replace 28 manual m/cs, granulators renewed, steel bands and conventional conveyors replaced with vibratory conveyors, reducers modified, four granulations reduced to three.

1965 - Three automatic Asea Landsverk batch m/cs in operation in Recovery House on 1st crop. Final section of office block along Love Lane to main gate completed.

1966 - T Pan installed in Recovery House, S Pan scrapped. Parcel conveyor system installed in Tannery carrying parcels over to automatic palletisers in 71 Shed.

1967 (Jul) - C Warehouse on Love Lane partially demolished to make room for Conditioning Silos.

1968? - Yellows House manual m/cs replaced with continuous m/cs. Milling House closed down, mills and ancillary plant transferred to Specials Building.

1968 - Protracted negotiations on 7 day working put to vote, London and Greenock accepted, Liverpool rejected pending further negotiations, management decline talks, Liverpool stays on 5 day week - overnight Liverpool goes from most efficient refinery to least efficient. First nail in the coffin?

1970 - Conditioning Silos completed.

1971 - Various problems with 10,000 ton silo had been experienced since construction ending with distortion of centre tower, silo rapidly emptied and eventually demolished.

1972 (Feb 21) - dust explosion in D building, two men seriously burned needing specialist treatment for injuries.

1972 - Modernisation of No1 Refinery completed with installation of last pan stirrer in the D Pan.

1972 - Centenary of sugar refining on Love Lane site.

1972 - Ted Heath negotiates UK entry into E.E.C. Second nail in coffin?

1974 - Refinery throughput begins to reduce on instructions from EEC, target 300,000 tons.

1975 - Government encourage beet industry to increase its throughput to 1,300,000 tons. Home consumption expected to drop by 300,000 tons, the target melt for Liverpool.

1976 - Tate and Lyle acquire Manbre and Garton, Hammersmith closed down.

1977 - Tonnage metricated. Canal between Burlington St and Chisenhale St filled in. December, Sankey ceases melting.

1978 - The R Pan (second crop) renewed. Melt rate rapidly reduces.

1978 (Sep) - Sankey closed down.

1978 - Walkers in Greenock closed down.

1979 - Throughput 296,918 tonnes. New 54” automatic Johnson mud presses installed to replace manual Fletcher presses in Filtration House.

1980 - Throughput 290,725 Tonnes. Major repairs to Q Pan (first crop) completed by February. C Pan (No1 Refinery) completely rebuilt, pressure tested but refinery closed before it could be used.

1980 (Dec) - Announcement made that barring a major change in circumstances the melt would not re-start after the Christmas shut-down. Ground floor of Recovery House being re-laid, elevators in D Warehouse being re-newed. Both jobs stopped when closure was announced.

1981 (Jan) - No further melting, redundancy notices handed out.

1981 (Apr 22) - Refinery closed down. Small packets transferred to new packing plant at Trafford Park, sugar trucked up from Thames Refinery.

1983 - Merton Grove syrup plant in Bootle closed.

1996 - Due to further reduction in import tonnages Westburn refinery (Greenock) closed.

2010 - Thames refinery now operating on reduced melt of 600,000 tons sold to American Sugar Refiners. United Molasses Liverpool also sold.
After almost 140 years Tate and Lyle no longer involved in sugar refining.



My thanks to Mike Greenall, who wrote ... "Both myself and my Dad worked at the refinery, he started as a process worker in the mid 50's and finished up in the sales room. I started as a 16 yr old in '65 and finished as a Pansman. My claim to fame? The last Yellows Pansman on C Shift and possibly the last person to boil a pan of Yellows sugar at Love Lane."