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Love Lane Lives - the boys & girls from the whitestuff

Love Lane Lives

The history of sugar in Liverpool and the effects of the closure of the Tate & Lyle sugar refinery, Love Lane

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Written by Ron Noon at 05:07 on Thursday, April 22nd 2021

This POEM was written by one of the BOYS FROM THE WHITESTUFF who had long left the Lane when on this historic day forty years ago Liverpool Love Lane Refinery was closed down. Such is the strength of community and camaraderie that Joe continued to meet up with his Tate’s mates and I was fortunate enough to be welcomed as an “associate member” at the regular PUNCH & JUDY get together drinks. A lovely man who has lost so many of his refinery pals Joe’s poem helps us all to remember LOVE LANE LIVES. Thanks Joe

Sweet Memories

(By Joe Liasides)

I will try to recall some memories
When I worked at Tate & Lyle,
A place where people seemed so happy
And always had a smile

I started in the “Handy Gang”
A temporary more or less,
We would be sent to “clean up”
If there had been a mess.

I then went to the warehouse
To deliver on W.Two,
We did a double day shift with a “nutty crew”.

We rushed around with our wooden trucks
Sometimes it was almost insane,
Loading the wagons with different produce
From the sugar cane.

I was moved around again
To Fairies for a while,
The name of the building was Fairie
But it belonged to Tate & Lyle.

I worked on the machine called the Goka
Cube sugar it used to make,
And the bloke in charge of the said machine
Was a ringer for Charlie Drake.

Then after a while I moved again
To the Recovery House I came,
I have still not recovered
As they were all completely insane.

The shifts and conditions they worked in
Were really sometimes dire,
But they always had a laugh and a joke
Something I had to admire.

With doms and cards and practical jokes
I joined in with this nutty crew,
Nights out at the Barracks with guitars playing
Set up by Tom Donague.

With Bobo and Poynton arguing
Who had the biggest nose,
We all thought it was a dead heat
But no-one would ever disclose.

But with Byrne ‘o’ and Brannigan on the loose
You had to be alert,
You would either get water bombed where you sat
Or something stuck to your shirt.

In between the games and the practical jokes
These men worked day and night,
They knew their job, they done it well
To get their product right

The girls that worked at Tate & Lyle
They were a “feisty” lot,
You would never go alone in a lift with them
Because you would come out showing all you’d got.

Alas I had to leave Tate & Lyle
And so with much regret,
A new job I started and though broken hearted
For people I’ll never forget

Then I heard the refinery was closing
A great note of sadness did ring,
I thought of the families and friends who still worked there
And the hardship and sorrow it would bring

It was a sad day when it closed down
To not hear that old refrain,
Tate & Lyle, Love Lane Liverpool
Ever, Ever, Again

The Eldonian Village now stands there
A new part of Merseyside
We may have lost our workplace
But we never lost our pride.

Joe Liasides

Joe and Albert Tod Sloane in the Punch and Judy.