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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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THE FILM was once an integral part of the website, it’s genesis in fact but somehow it’s been LOST in the transfer over of files.

The film is still on VIMEO so hopefully people will be able still to view it and when the site is revamped then it will be once again AN INTEGRAL and definitive aspect of the LOVE LANE LIVES PROJECT.




» Comment left by Ron Noon from on 07th October 2021

From Ron Noon, Project Coordinator LOVE LANE LIVES.

40 years ago the evening ECHO headline was TATE’S AXE REFINERY - 1570 CITY JOBS GO. That dramatic January announcement highlighted a MERSEYSIDE economy IN CRISIS suffering disproportionately from factory closure after factory closure and aptly labelled THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE OF BRITISH CAPITALISM.

THE OPENING COMMENT made on our LOVE LANE LIVES FILM vimeo.com/2299068 was from a woman who declared after the junking of Love Lane 90 days later on April 22nd, “It’s dead now”. She meant Liverpool was dead, not TATE & LYLE which continues to thrive (albeit not in sugar, having sold off it’s sugar world to an American company ASR in 2010.)

WHAT WAS “officially’ DISCOVERED at the end of 2011 about Government “behind the scenes strategy for Tates and Liverpool”?

When the Government records were published I jotted this down on New Years Eve 2011

“The headline in yesterdays Guardian, the 30th of December 2011, was an eye catching “Thatcher’s ministers wanted to abandon Liverpool”! It went on to disclose how her closest confidantes had come close to “writing off Liverpool in the aftermath of the 1981 inner city riots” and how they’d opined “the ‘unpalatable truth’…that they could not halt Merseyside’s decline”.

The mild mannered, quietly spoken Sir Geoffrey Howe who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer had exhorted her “not to waste money trying to ‘pump water uphill’ telling her the city was ‘much the hardest nut to crack’..... “

Thatcher’s closest advisors told her that the ‘concentration of hopelessness’ on Merseyside was very largely self-inflicted”.

I JOTTED THIS DOWN: The habit of scapegoating Merseyside workers has a long pedigree, and was indulged in by slave traders, shipowners, car manufacturers, Mersey Docks and Harbour Company and criminally by Rupert Murdoch’s flagship tabloid, the Sun. The so called ‘virus’ of Merseyside militancy, was always useful propaganda for employers, despite the objective defensive reaction of workers to continued national and international attempts at restructuring and rationalisations. On Merseyside we never had rationalisation without the sack and longer dole queues.”

WHAT ARE THE MEMORIES OF THE GIRLS AND BOYS FROM THE WHITESTUFF of the issuing of the 90 day redundancy notices? I/WE would love to know.

Best wishes everyone from Ron Noon. The site will soon be revamped. KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON.

» Comment left by Ron Noon from on 22nd January 2021

From Ron Noon Site Coordinator 3rd December 2019

Just a quick commentary note to say that the Liverpool Echo today had a piece on DREAMING OF A ‘WHITE STUFF” CHRISTMAS…

There are some poignant pictures of the LAST SUPPER ON LIME STREET, December 2nd 1999 and A REMINDER IF ONE WAS NEEDED that Love Lane lives live on.

The latest blog has a brilliant cartoon drawing by Phil Bell who works at the Jospice where my wife is and he’s a really talented guy. See what you think of the Scrooge like Mr Cube with the matching ball and chain. The idea was that of Albert E Sloane but the execution and drawing was twenty years after Albert made his views known in the Beehive pub after the last Xmas bash in the Adelphi. Well done Phil.

» Comment left by Ron Noon from on 03rd December 2019

From Ron Noon Site Coordinator

Hi to all who have used our LOVE LANE LIVES site and to any new visitors to a public history project rooted in the community just north of the City Centre where Henry Tate’s mother plant was located in 1872. The Chorley grocer had done very well in Liverpool and Birkenhead (where there is now a Blue Plaque dedicated to his legacy on one of his shops near Hamilton Square).

In 1981 his legacy was tainted by decisions taken by a board of directors which contained no Lyles or Tates, no emotional attachments to the City of Liverpool which had helped Henry become a British version of Rockefeller, the American oil tycoon, possessing fabulous wealth from white gold largely sugar cubes!

Love Lane was victim of MATRICIDE in 1981 and as my sugar mentor Albert E Sloane commented,  it left a big hole in the Vauxhall community.. Clearly there had been no room for sentiment when Merseyside was regarded as “The Bermuda Triangle of British Capitalism” and so many of the 1500 boys and girls from the whitestuff never got jobs again.

For the reasons I have explained in previous commentary, the site which was inspired by the Boys and Girls from the Whitestuff has been MORIBUND for the last four years but hopefully like Lazarus (and Mr Cube) will be brought back to active and useful life again. My darling wife Gail for whom I have been patient carer for over four years inspired me to set the site up and demands nothing less than continuity and revival after this four year HIATUS!

ANYWAY I thought I’d use t his comment channel until I get the hang again of the TECHNICALITIES OF THE BLOG AND PUTTING PICS ON IT to update viewers and encourage their comments and contributions. (Anybody out there good on web site design and helping me redesign and bring it up to date would be brilliant!)

The Blog I did on Sunday will be followed up on later on in the week but in the meantime have a look at this video put together in 2013 by an artist and lecturer at Cambridge School of Art, Rosanna Greaves.

She wrote to me a number of years back asking permission to use some of the excerpts from my writing and from the website as voice over for this film and I’m grateful that she has acknowledged my help. When I watched it before looking at the credits I thought “hey they are the words that I used!. Thanks Rosanna. Ours is indeed a public history project rooted in the community and in our wonderful Port City. See what you make of it.


» Comment left by Ron Noon from on 30th July 2019

A Happy Christmas to all the surviving boys and girls from the whitestuff, their family and friends who support and nurture our Love Lane Lives website. A Happy Christmas to everyone who reads this blog because this project has been my pride and joy and I would never have anticipated back in early 2015 that anything could interrupt what was evolving as a vibrant and confident confirmation of our project to ensure that LOVE LANE LIVES would decidedly live on.

We were/are good at what we do! And I promise that we will continue to do precisely that in the New Year. Already the two Mikes, one from New Zealand and one from the Wirral have been in touch. Their previous contributions and support has been excellent and I’m frustrated that there is a problem getting MESSAGES online and I need to get that sorted out ASP.

I want to talk about our Albert as his loss this year has left a big hole in my life. For so many of you guys who knew him long before me (Albert initially called me Bamber!) that’s an understatement of your lived experiences with him in and outside of the refinery.. Happy Christmas everyone and happy and HEALTHY New year. LOVE LANE LIVES ON.

» Comment left by Ron Noon from on 25th December 2017

“Historian Ron Noon’s decade-long obsession with the Liverpool sugar industry led to the making of the film Love Lane Lives: The Boys and Girls from the White-stuff, which is to be screened tonight at the Tate.”

That was Vicky Anderson’s take on my “sugarcentricity” in an essay published in the Liverpool Daily Post on October 30th 2007.

That was a decade ago! Where have those ten years gone? Where has the Daily Post gone?

Why no blogs or development of LOVE LANE LIVES for two and a half years? The last blog “Vote for my Gail and the Defense of the NHS” on General Election day 2015 was reason enough. There was no sugar in that blog.

We could have lost our Gail, the Noon family lodestar but she’s an indomitable fighter and my darling wife and our four kids, (not sure about the 6 grandkids), want me to get back to “work” on a site inspired by Gail and dedicated to the wonderful friends that we made from the Lane, especially the wonderful Albert E Sloane who passed away last February at the age of 94. Important links with Tony McGann and the Eldonians and with Trinity school are too important to lose. (The school is behind where the GREEN MAN pub used to be before its demolition.) Just this year I was informed that the children did a project on the boys and girls from the whitestuff and the teachers asked me in May to talk to Year 6 about it all.

I think that was when I realised that Love Lane Lives and this website had to live on, had to be reactivated, and so my “comback” was hatched by Trinity School Year 6, the great children I had the privilege to teach.

Tonight is the 10th anniversary of the showing of our film at the TATE down on the Albert Dock. I remember it vividly. Once again thanks to Maggie Skilling one of my former students at LJMU and Leon Seth the wonderful (then) young filmaker, and above all else the wonderful people who worked down the Lane. 

Ron Noon 30/10/2017

» Comment left by Ron Noon from on 30th October 2017

22 April 1981 Love Lane officially closed down- 34 years- a lifetime.

» Comment left by Mike Greenall from NZ on 22nd April 2015

From Ron Noon Project Coordinator of LOVE LANE LIVES

Today @ FACT Liverpool our film is being shown @ 1500hrs! It’s part of the FOOD FOR REAL FESTIVAL LIVERPOOL 19-22 MARCH 2015. Where is my film maker Leon Seth? The film resonates as ever and Love Lane Lives live on, albeit so many of the wonderful characters in our documentary have now in the words of a great Tates transport driver “gone on to greener pastures”!

» Comment left by Ron from Valencia on 18th March 2015

From Ron Noon: Project Coordinator, LOVE LANE LIVES

A happy and above all healthy New Year to all the people who visit this site. The regular “season ticket holders” who have made valuable contributions in the past, Mike Greenall, MWW, Keith Duggan, Allan Brookes, Peter Alker will hopefully continue with their much valued insights, but maybe in 2015 we will have more “girls from the whitestuff” making us think about life on the Lane.

» Comment left by Ron Noon from on 12th January 2015

I would like to wish all ex-Liverpool employee’s where ever you are in this world of ours, a safe and joyous Christmas and a Happy New Year.
I leave on 07.012.2014 for Windhoek for the last job of the year, return on the 23.12.2014, pack the Pajero on the 24.12.2014, and leave for the South Coast for 3 weeks.
My ode to Tate and Lyles employee’s,
I can go days without talking to you,
months without seeing you,
but not a second goes by that I’m not thinking about you.

Take care everybody, and remember that where ever we are in this world of ours, we sit under the same sun and moon.

» Comment left by Keith Duggan from South Africa. on 05th December 2014

I knew the name of Tod Sloane long before I ever met him, or knew where the refinery was for that matter! His was a name I heard often when my Dad talked about work, along with Mickey Mee, Matty Carol, Mickey Hayes and others.
  I think I had been working at the refinery for about a year or so before I found out his name was actually Albert! Best wishes on your birthday. To quote Mr Spock-“Live long and prosper”.

» Comment left by Mike Greenall from NZ on 05th November 2014

From Ron Noon, Project Coordinator: Love Lane Lives .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I’ve just been talking to my bitter sweet fightin’ pal Albert E Sloane, known affectionately to many as Tod Sloane! He’s 92 today and sounded in good spirits although he’s been in some discomfort recently, which he reckons he’ll get over. That’s stoic Albert and I’m sure the “season ticket holders” who regularly contribute to our comments section will appreciate that feisty nature of the man who fought so hard to try to keep open this historic Sugar Refinery.

Here’s the blog I wrote 2 years ago on his 90th birthday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALBERT from the boys and girls from the Lane.

» Comment left by Ron Noon from on 05th November 2014

Hi everyone out there interested in our LOVE LANE LIVES website and it’s continuing relevance/resonance to ensuring that LOVE LANE LIVES do really live on.

I’m hoping to revamp and “freshen up” the site soon but in the meantime here’s the necessary alteration to my email and how to contact me as Project Coordinator for LOVE LANE LIVES.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

» Comment left by Ron Noon from on 29th October 2014

I was watching a program on the satellite the other day about Liverpool. ( thank God there was no football or the Beatles).
It seems that Liverpool is blessed with some very beautiful architectural buildings, Martins Bank and the Phil were mentioned. But the biggest was forgetting “Paddy’s Wigwam” the local name for the Anglican Cathedral. My wife made the comment that Liverpool humor never changes, and that Scousers find laughter in the most absurd situations.
On another tack I do remember going with my father to the Great Homer Street market on a Saturday morning watching an Irishman pull out a wad of banknotes that would have choked a donkey, this was in the late 70’s.

» Comment left by Keith Duggan from South Africa. on 27th October 2014

Hi everyone out there interested in our LOVE LANE LIVES website and it’s continuing relevance/resonance to ensuring that LOVE LANE LIVES do really live on.

Q. “Hi Ron, tried to send you an e-mail but it was returned as unable to deliver, is the love lane address still in use?”
A. Sorry Mike but thank you for bringing this to my attention. MY EMAIL No. as Project Coordinator for LOVE LANE LIVES is now:
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
I will get Warren Keith to update contact details for our website but in addition to this comments column anyone wishing to contact me please use my LIVERPOOL JOHN MOORES UNIVERSITY email address.
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

» Comment left by Ron Noon from on 10th October 2014

Hi Ron, tried to send you an e-mail but it was returned as unable to deliver, is the love lane address still in use?

» Comment left by Mike Greenall from NZ on 07th October 2014

Hello Dave Shaw, of course I remember you well as you were a bit of a hooligan in the car you use to drive everywhere at one speed only, that was top speed. I have just returned from a 6 week tour of Namibia, with a fellow group of 4 x 4’s and return there in January 2015 for an installation with one of the major newspaper groups.
Africa is not for sissies, I got away lightly with “only” two shredded tyres and a fuel bill that would make Oliver Reed look like he was tee-total.
My father said you where always one of the best engineers there and do you remember setting the twin carbs on my fathers SAAB ?.
If you want to know the equipment we supply it is called FERAG, Swiss made and we have covered most of Africa, Google the name. It has provided my family a good standard of living that I honestly think Liverpool could not match. Of course you look back, but sometimes we look back with welding goggles. Thoughts and prayers for all Liverpool’s ex employees where ever you maybe in this world.
RIP Ronnie Duggan, it is 3 years since you left and I thank you first and foremost for being my father.

» Comment left by Keith Duggan from South Africa. on 06th October 2014

Dave, I thought I had the right person, you might not remember my name but I was the tall, thin, second year Process Apprentice who took you and a few others on a “World Tour” of the refinery when you started there forty eight? years ago.

After finishing my time I worked in the Lab for a while, then in 1972 I went on the Pans, initially on B Shift, but I transferred to C Shift when Tommy Hepworth (Shift Foreman) asked me to.

I did quite a bit of relieving on the Yellows and Recovery, finishing up as the Yellows Pansman for the last year or so of the refinery.

I don’t remember the names of many on the Engineering side but I do remember Cyril Watson, he was responsible for servicing the Yellows and Recovery air pumps. He always informed the Pansman on duty as to what he was doing and which pump/s he wanted to work on.

After the refinery closed I worked at a lead processing factory in Bootle then in 1990 I joined the Prison Service, working at a prison in Staffs and retiring in 2008.(Aged 60).

» Comment left by Mike Greenall from NZ on 26th September 2014

Hello all again , Yes Mike you got me , i started a car spares shop in Treeview Court , Maghull , by the railway station in 1981 when we closed and then moved to Powderworks Lane off Prescot Road by the Hen and Chickens in 1991 and retired from there last month . As i said Mike I can,t seem to put faces to the names i recognise and I was the young fitter amongst all these guys so the ones I do remember will all be at least in there 80s. My dad was small packets manager and my brother worked in the drawing office both William Henry Shaw .I have sudden memory moments all the time , normally daft little things that make me smile . I remember queuing outside the wages office for our redundancy and Peter Wright talking about preparing a valve for part of a job that was due to be sorted the next week , and i had to say , Peter we won,t be here next week and none of us could believe what was happening , it all fell silent and one of the process lads behind me suddenly said , Well i,m going to find this ......... place jeopardy cos that,s were all the ........ jobs are !!!

» Comment left by DAVID SHAW from formby on 26th September 2014

Dave Shaw…? That name rings a bell. After the refinery closed down, did you open a car spares shop roughly opposite the Hen and Chickens on Prescot Rd, Maghull?

» Comment left by Mike Greenall from NZ on 25th September 2014


» Comment left by DAVID SHAW from FORMBY on 24th September 2014

Hi Dave C, If you were on B Shift in 1976 we may well have met. At that time I was on the Pans on B Shift along with Gerry Greer and Jimmy Quin amongst others. I also did relief on the Yellows (John Jackson) and the Recovery (John Swords).

» Comment left by Mike Greenall from NZ on 08th September 2014

This site brought back some memories. I am sorry I have only just found it.  In 1976 at the tender age of 16 I started work as a Plant trainee at Love Lane.  Slightly shocked because I was working shifts (B shift) Although I was only there for 18 months the place and the peaople made a lasting impresiion on me.  It certainly helped a nieve 16 year old grow up.

» Comment left by Dave C from Wirral on 02nd September 2014

Here is a list of the different grades of sugar that a fully trained Pansman was expected to be able to boil at Love Lane prior to 1981,  I wonder how many are still in production?

Specials sugars in order of size, smallest to largest,boiled from best quality liquor on the H Pan (Specials Pan)..

Mineral Water Gran.
Two Gran.
The above four grades boiled by “Shocking” the pan.

Two’s Crystals.
Preserving Crystals.
Coffee Crystals.
The above three grades boiled by “Seeding”, using the next smallest grade as seed, i.e. Two Gran as seed for Two’s Crystals and so on.

The remaining six White Sugar Pans boiled First, Second and Third Gran sugar from lesser quality syrups to be blended as Granulated Sugar, and occasionally a grade known as Industrial from the lowest grade of syrup in the white sugar refinery ( No1 Refinery).

In the Yellows House up to six grades were produced, from lightest to darkest they were:-

Thirds for Melt.
Thirds for Market.
Fourths.(Light Soft Brown in the shops).
Primrose.(Dark Soft Brown in the shops).
Special Primrose.

Last, but not least, the Recovery House boiled three grades:-

First Crop.
Second Crop.
Third Crop.
The Second and Third Crop sugars were blended together as seed for the First Crop. The syrup off the Third Crop was sold off as Molasses.


» Comment left by Mike G from NZ on 11th August 2014

Ref the photo showing Love Lane/ Pall Mall as it is now, The wooded/grassed area on the corner of Love Lane and Chisenhale St was originally Irven’s Lard Works and predated the refinery by about 11 years. Tate’s bought it and I think part of it housed the first Small Packets Dept.

The grey clad multi-story building to the right of the picture was originally red brick and housed the hoppers and valve packing machines which packed 25kg/56lb bags of granulated sugar.
The filled bags passed down chutes into the warehouse itself to be palletised prior to storage or delivery.

» Comment left by Mike G from NZ on 30th July 2014

Looks late 1970s or early 1980s. Refinery in the background.

The Love Lane/Chadwick Street/Pall Mall/Chisenhale Street crossroads as it looks today, facing east.  The Home Trade site is now occupied by the Williams motor group‘s service facility centre, whose official address is 100, Pall Mall, L3 7DB (grey building, top right). In the foreground is the Easy Rider motorcycle training centre. And our old friends the bollards are clearly visible.

» Comment left by MWW from Wirral on 27th July 2014

My oldest brother Danny Doran served his time as an electrician and was also involved in the early days of computers he left or was made redundant in the late 60s,now lives in Ireland and is in his early 80s.

» Comment left by David Doran from Virginia USA on 14th July 2014

Regarding records at Thames Refinery ...

In brief ... they do have an archive but they don’t have an archivist. Their archive is not accessible to the public, and enquirers are usually pointed to my website (!!) or to the standard works by Antony Hugill, Oliver Lyle and J A Watson.

The archive is neatly boxed but not indexed. It is mostly financial and production papers from the various businesses T&L have run over the decades. There is little on past employees.

The person with responsibility for the archive genuinely believes there is little if anything there of help or interest to family history researchers, but he appreciates the value of the archive and has decided to gradually move all the archive material to Newham’s Archive and Museum Service who will care for it properly and eventually make it accessible to the public. The transfer has begun but is going very slowly.

[Summary of an email sent to me in 2007.]

Hope this helps.

» Comment left by Bryan from Sugarbakers website on 12th July 2014

When love lane was closed down most of the records were transferred to Thames Refinery though as Tate and Lyle sold Thames in 2010 the records may have been moved on.

If you go to the links on this site and click on the sugar bakers link, look under fatalities, there is one for an Andrew Raab, employed by Henry Tate at Love Lane who died in an accident in 1875.Is this the person you are looking for?

» Comment left by Mike G from NZ on 14th June 2014

Does anyone know if there is an archive of material relating to the Love Lane factory and where it is held?
My great great grandfather died in an accident at the factory in 1875 and I am interested to find his employment records, if they exist!

» Comment left by Judith from Rugby on 13th June 2014

Re. shops on Vauxie,Flemings, previously Marshals, alway first port of call on 6-2 shift. Paper, fags, bottle of ” Sterrie”(UHT milk),quarter of tea!

Two photos of railway taken from thhe new office block on Love Lane, the first possibly taken from senior management canteen.

Dock photos, ..2983 Aveline Barford calf dozer clearing internal deck into centre of hold for crane grab to pick up. These machies went out of production in the ‘60s and were replaced by Bobcats,a great improvement. Huskisson Transit had the franchise on Merseyside.It is still held by a Liverpool firm called Huskisson though no relation!

...2845 part of steelwork of inclined bridge carrying the conveyors over Regent Road to the 100,000 ton silo.

...1876 a small version of a Thrower used to move sugar from inaccessible areas to the centre of the hold. Much larger versions of this machine operated in 149 Shed at the refinery.

...2846 more steelwork over Regent Road.

...827 even more steelwork…!

...2158 the silo under construction,commissioned 1957,24 yrs later,redundant…..managed decline???

Liverpool 1980 001 the refinery main yard,photo probably taken from the Instrument Shop doorway.

» Comment left by Mike G from NZ on 05th May 2014

Many thanks for the links to the pictures, it really brought back some memories. The picture of the packing department brought back many happy times, as did the steam train. I might be old but I’m not that old. I do remember the steam trains on the way to the steel works in Shotton. And where the entrance to the road tunnel is in Wallasey, my nan’s house backed on to the then shunting yard before they starting building the tunnel. Did they not find molasses leaking into the new tunnel some time back ?. Bibby’s Oil would complain when Tate’s use to take too much water from the underground lake that Tate’s stood on. I do remember working on the multi-stage pump that they used. My dad used to say to stay away from Scotty Road when ever Liverpool or Everton where playing at home as the visiting fans would be looking for a fight.

» Comment left by Keith Duggan. from South Africa. on 24th April 2014

I think there’s still a newsagent’s on the same site as you mention, Keith - it‘s now “J. Flemimg & Son”. To give some sense of geography, this photo was taken facing east on Vauxhall Road, from where the Crystal Club used to be. The William Hill betting shop on the left of this photo forms the south-eastern corner of the Burly and Voxy crossroads. The Crystal Club was on the south-western corner.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a8/Shops_on_Vauxhall_Road,_Liverpool.jpg [Please click to enlarge.]

Sadly, the burglars who cleaned up Liverpool didn’t do a very good job on Love Lane - or the side streets that lead to Great Howard Street - once the Refinery had gone.

I think these re-posted photographs - taken by railway enthusiasts - are more your era, Keith.
(These 1960s photos was obviously taken from the Refinery during refurbishment work. On the “Streets of Liverpool“ website, Eddie Sutton states - “[South-eastern] corner of T&L was demolished and by 1965 the new offices were completed. It then became the new home of the ‘Town Office’ personnel who had moved from Head Office Sefton House James Street.” This may account for the scaffolding.)

A couple of pics with the Refinery (most notably Home Trade) in the background.

And here are several historical Liverpool T&L-related pictures which I don’t think have been posted on this site before, mostly relating to the silo and docks;

» Comment left by MWW from Wirral on 23rd April 2014

Thanks for the links to the pictures, I really enjoyed them, but seriously I could not recognize any of them any more, as I have said before, someone broke into Liverpool and cleaned the place up.
I always remember my father going into the small shop opposite the Crystal Club for his morning paper a dark and dreary place with a old lady who always greeted my dad by his first name. On a different tack I do remember the Liverpool Echo costing three pennies(?), and the underground trains painted in dark green. I don’t know the name of the local loony bin, but I had a friend who was in the “normal” part of the hospital and he remarked that flocks of seagulls would gather every morning on the lawn with knives and forks, it turns out that the loony’s would be served breakfast and they promptly through it out the window, I believe they where the happiest seagulls in the country. All in the best possible taste. True story.

» Comment left by keith Duggan from South Africa. on 22nd April 2014

OK, Mike - keep us updated.

This is a very clever depiction of Chisenhale Street, assuming it doesn’t turn out to be one of my infamous duff links-

Meanwhile… if the rail historians are keen on the areas around where the Refinery used to be, why shouldn’t the vintage bus enthusiasts get in on the act?
Reminds me that Lockfields survived the Refinery as a unit, becoming a Crosville bus garage/depot. It didn’t last long, though;
(I’ve found some information about Crosville’s closure of Lockfields, but that’s a story in itself. If anyone’s interested, I’ll post it.)

We now (probably) know the official address of Home Trade. It was 100 Pall Mall, L3 7TB. There’s a present-day photo here on the website of current occupants Williams BMW. If you click on the “Liverpool” Body Repair Department link on this page, the address is revealed.

A couple of modern-ish photos of Chizzy which I don’t think have been posted on this Message Board before;

Burlington Street bridge;

» Comment left by MWW from Wirral on 21st April 2014

Guess who has a new laptop! Thanks for all the good wishes, much appreciated. What I have is Guillain Barre Syndrrome which results in paralysis of the limbs,so far I have regained some use of my hands but not my legs yet-it’s a long job.

» Comment left by Mike G from NZ on 19th April 2014

I’m glad to hear that MG’s on the mend. I really should devote more attention to this site.

This link shows Love Lane and a few of its side-streets seven years ago.
(The blue fence in the distance on the bottom photograph indicates where the entrance of T+LT Lockfields used to be.)

Now, it’s no wonder that the historical rail boys are interested in this area; a look at any relevant map reveals that the area between the western side of Love Lane and Great Howard Street was covered in railway lines. (And, of course, there are those photos of steam trains which were snapped from the Refinery building. I’ll post ‘em again if anyone’s interested.)

What I’d be interested in is how much disruption was caused by the removal of the rail bridges on the eastern fork of the viaduct. This must have happened between April and October 1977. (Two videos I’ve seen on the internet - Ron’s “Love Lane Lives” and Dave Forrest’s “Tate & Lyle Lorries Liverpool” - show that the bridges had well gone by 1981.) This must’ve interfered with the traffic between Lockfields and Home Trade/Chisenhale Street; additionally, there were a few warehouses located in the side streets between Love Lane and Great Howard Street where stocks were held of T&L products (notably LGS). I’d be interested if an ex-T&L or T+LT employee remembers any disruption and if there were special measures taken to deal with it.

PS- More by accident than design, I’ve discovered the reason for those mysterious bollards opposite Home Trade which are still there now. An old friend of mine (originally from Bulawayo, but ex-Liverpool Uni) came up from Hampshire to research her late, Liverpool-born father’s ancestry. While in the history section of the new and impressive Liverpool Central Library I happened upon a book showing that the bollards were there to separate road traffic from trams as the latter progressed from Pall Mall to Great Howard Street via Chadwick Street.
There you go. Merseyside’s answer to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

» Comment left by MWW from Wirral on 15th April 2014

hi to all,great news about mike greenhall,he is well on the road to recovery,he is now sitting up in bed without being connected to anything,if you go to my facebook page,jan has posted a photo of him in his hospital bed and he looks great,his arm movements are improving all the time,so much so that jan is going to get him a laptop,and connect it to the internet,so it wont be too long before we hear from him,he still has very limited movement below the knees but the signs are there,slow and painfull,as jan puts it,im sure thats the news we have all been waiting for,if i get any more, i will post,though i have a sneaking suspicion that mike will post sooner than later,take care out there,peter.

» Comment left by peter alker from liverpool on 12th April 2014

From Ron Noon

Project Coordinator Love Lane Lives

The good news recently relayed by Peter Alker about Mike Greenhall’s recovery from pneumonia is a boost to everyone familiar with our Love Lane Lives site. Mike’s wife Jan is now very optimistic although it will be a long road to his full recovery As Peter commented “our thoughts and wishes are with them all at this difficult time” and let’s hope it will not be too long before we have Mike fully fit and resuming his invaluable contributions to the memories of the Liverpool Boys and Girls from the Whitestuff.

» Comment left by Ron Noon from on 12th March 2014

Had a message from Jan,Mike Greenhalls wife about his progress,he has had a bout of pnuemonia,shoved straight back intu icu and put on a ventilator,the good news is he has got over it with no ill effects and is now breathing on his own with oxygen support and he should be out of icu within a couple of days,he has now regained movement in his hands and is also moving his legs by using his thigh muscles,im sure thats the news we wanted to hear,he seems to be on the long road to recovery,Jan is very optomistic that he will make a good recovery,it cant be easy for her and the family at the best of times, so our thoughts and wishes are with them all at this difficult time,as before,if there is any news,i will post immediatly,peter.

» Comment left by peter alker from liverpool on 18th February 2014

So glad to hear he is making progress, prayers and thoughts are with you Mike. Prayers and thoughts to all ex Liverpool Tate and Lyle people who may be in need of help, you are not forgotten.

» Comment left by Keith Duggan. from South Africa. on 30th January 2014

you will be glad to read that Mike Greenhall,a regular contributor to this site,is slowly improving,he is now off the ventilator and is breathing unaided,he has been moved to the high dependancy unit and is coping well,his wife, Jan, says there is slight movement in his hands and he seems to,at times, respond to people talking to him and he is looking much better, thats great news,its early days but at least he is showing positve signs to getting back to his old self,as soon as i get anymore news,i will post immediatly.

» Comment left by peter alker from liverpool on 29th January 2014

I have emailed Mikes wife Jan to try and find out how Mike is getting on,as i type this,i have yet to recieve a reply, which is understandable, given the situation,as soon as i hear anything,i will post immediatly.

» Comment left by peter alker from liverpool on 20th January 2014

Please relay my best wishes for Mike’s speedy recovery, thoughts and prayers to your family at this most difficult time.
I hope everybody has managed to survive the storm that hit Liverpool.
I have just had a look at the pictures in the Echo and hope everyone got through it.
You really don’t want to know the weather is here, suffice to say that the water temperature of my pool is 26 degrees. Tough I know.
All the very best to all ex Liverpool Tate and Lyle employees where ever you are for 2014.

» Comment left by Keith Duggan from South Africa. on 06th January 2014

From Ron Noon: Project Coordinator of Love Lane Lives.

I was very upset to hear from Peter Alker’s last posting that Mike Greenhall is very ill over in New Zealand and I just want to wish him on behalf of all the boys and girls from the white stuff, from Henry Tate’s historic mother plant of Liverpool Love Lane a speedy recovery to good health. Mike has kept LOVE LANE LIVES, live, with all his insights and comments about what it was like to work in the PROCESS! We love you Mike. Please get better soon and all our love and best wishes to you and Jan. Everyone associated with our site and with a project that has kept these wonderful stories of THE BOYS & GIRLS FROM THE WHITESTUFF alive, know how important your contributions have been. WE WANT MORE IN THE NEW YEAR MIKE. Get better soon. It will not be a happy Christmas unless you get better sooner rather than later. Lots of love and best wishes for you and Jan.

P.S.There is a blog that I did on Mike’s “Apprenticeship to Sugar”. Check it out. It ought to be what I’ve typed below but I’ve had problems with site addresses so you may have to “trawl” through the blogs!

» Comment left by Ron Noon from on 24th December 2013

Just to let everyone know,Mike Greenall,who often posts on this site is seriously ill in hospital in New Zealand,his wife,Jan has posted some details on his Facebook page,im sure you will join me in wishing him a speedy recovery.

» Comment left by peter alker from liverpool on 21st December 2013

First of all,may i wish all ex Tates emplyees a very merry xmas and a happy and prosperous new year wherever you may be on this planet of ours,secondly,is there anyone out there who can solve a problem,ive been in regular contact with Mike Greenhall in New Zealand and between us we have discussed every part of the refining process from start to finish and all the departments involved,however,although nearly everyone involved,we can name,one name is eluding us,does anyone know the name of the h pan man on b shift in no1 refinery,we can picture him but can we put a name,nope,and its driving us nuts,if anyone has the answer,post it here and we will be forever in your debt,heres hoping!

» Comment left by peter alker from liverpool on 19th December 2013

From Ron Noon Project Coordinator Love Lane Lives:

Hi everybody, I’ve been out of the country and so have not monitored the site as methodically as I would normally do. Getting back today I realised that there was loads of junk mail cluttering up and slowing down the system(the price of a popular site)! Unfortunately a few of the most recent contributors contributions were “culled” with the bad! Apologies but let me know via email or this comments column if there is anything that pressingly needs uploading.

It seems a long time ago since the annual and then biennial Christmas Parties for the Boys and Girls from the Whitestff. The last one was held on December 3rd 1999!

» Comment left by Ron Noon from Liverpool on 13th December 2013

I remember the bandit in the Crystal Club, I never played it myself but I do remember there were those who hid in the darkened snooker room watching the bandit being played by others, when they thought it was about to pay out, they would emerge from the darkness and get on it in the hope of dropping the jackpot. Whether it ever worked for them I don’t know!

Thanks for the “left footers” explanation, it sounds about right.

As for pretty girls, there was a young girl who worked in the Taylor’s Shop in the mid 60’s, I don’t remember her name. She would come into the Love Lane canteen with the other women from the Tailor’s Shop for their tea break and was much admired by the Process Apprentices who would already be in there having their own break.

» Comment left by Mike G from NZ on 11th November 2013

I have an original ticket of the apprentice dance we use to hold once a year. I will scan and send to Mr. Noon so he can decide if he wants to include it on the website. I remember going into the Crystal Club one lunchtime, put in a couple of pounds and dropped the jackpot, 100 pounds, in those days 76/78, it was a lot of money for a hairy ?????
apprentice. As for the word left footers, here is just some explanations that are a bit different.
It was common in Northern Ireland, Scotland and the north-west of England, especially, for Catholics to be called ‘left-footers’. It is based on the supposed tradition whereby Protestant farm-laborers dug with the right foot on the spade, whilst Catholic ones did so with the left!

I had wondered if there was a link with ‘left’ being ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ given that sinister means left in Latin (think it’s ‘sinistra’).
Given that many Northern Irish Protestants tend to ‘demonize’ their Catholic neighbors. The Latin ‘sinister’ actually means ‘left handed’, as well as something to be feared. So a ‘left footer’ has to be ‘sinister’. here endeth the history lesson. Please ask Ralph if he remembers Irene Martin in the packing department. I really wanted to out with her, but had two chances, and does Ralph remember calling me Ace when one of the girls needing something done on the machines ?.
“No problem, I"ll get Ace to do it”

» Comment left by Keith Duggan from South Africa. on 04th November 2013

Keith, you’re right, Catholics were “left footers” no idea why though! As I remember it, in those days Catholics lived west of Scottie Road (the refinery side)and Protestants lived east of it, which meant that most of Tate’s workforce tended to be Catholic particularly the packets girls.

Best Friday meal in my opinion was pan-fried fish and chips, bit dearer than ordinary fish and chips but well worth the difference.

I think the toilet you are referring to was actually the Recovery Pan Floor dressing room if you asked a Pansman for permission to use it, not the Melt House. |To the best of my knowledge there was no toilet actually in the Melt House as the Filtration dressing room adjoined the Machine Floor via a short tunnel off which was a fitters cage.

Allan, as I started at the refinery in 1965 I don’t remember the canteens in the Yellows building. I know where they were though, in fact the open spaces left when they were moved to the new block were still just large open spaces up to the day the plant closed. The new block housed the Works canteen and the Junior Staff canteen ( staff up to and including Foremen) on opposite sides of the kitchens and up in the dizzy heights above was the Senior Staff canteen (Senior Foremen, Managers and above).

The Directors Dining Room was long gone, in fact by 1965 the building it had been in had been sold off and the bridge over Vauxie connecting it to the old Fairrie refinery had been removed, though I think the building itself was still there. I have been told that there was actually a self-contained flat under this building that had been used by Geoffrey Fairrie during the War when he had to stay over at the refinery.

» Comment left by Mike G from NZ on 23rd October 2013

It was in the then new canteen in Vauxhall Road that I first had a curry. It was so good I am still a curry fan. By the way, in 1958 the main canteen was in the Yellows Building, they had two in fact on two different floors, one for staff and the other for the rest of us. These were replaced when they built the new one on the Burlington Street site having moved the workshops up to Vauhall road.

Another canteen they had was called The Directors Dinning Room. It was in the building on the corner of Hornby Street and Vauxhall. In those days at 8 AM an instrument mech. would get the exact time , with a stop watch, from Tim and would then take a leisurely stroll around the refinery and check the various clocks. This took up to the first tea break and he would usually take an apprentice with him.  It was sought after job, a chance to get to the Small packets etc. Anyway, one of the stops was the Directors who know what. The clock there was an antique mantle clock. The whole suite of rooms was what I imagined a really posh house or hotel would be like. The waitresses there wore proper uniforms, black with white hats and aprons just like Upstairs Downstairs. In my several visits there I never saw anyone other than an occasional chauffeur. They had a number of black cars kept in a parking garage on the premises and the divers seemed to wait till needed by the dinning room.Very posh and Old Worlde.

As for the apprenticeships Tates were among the best if not the best. We were all expected , and as far as I can remember we all did , got at least an ONC. Up to about 1960 if you got a really good ONC they transferred you to a Higher Diploma Course and you went into the DO full time. The last guy I know of to benefit was George Darlington an electrician.

» Comment left by Allan Brookes from Canada on 21st October 2013

I seem to remember that every Friday was fish and chips. (all good Catholic’s had to have fish on a Friday).
There was a rigger called Ray whose mother bought him a new car every year, and he used to refer to the Catholic’s as left footers while we were good proddies’. The girls in the packaging department used to ask if you where proddie or catholic, if you replied proddie you had no chance of going out with them.
On the top of the melt house there was a toilet in the corner and on this day I was desperate. So I very nicely asked the pans man to use the loo, no problem, help yourself. Un be known to me they had put something in which when I let go of an unholy load, reacted and the gas produced left me in tears and choking like it was the end of the world. Not very nice people.

» Comment left by Keith Duggan from South Africa. on 21st October 2013

Can’t say I know much about engineering apprentice training, being on the process side myself, though I do know it was considered to be exceptionally good. I think apprenticeships of that standard went out with Margaret Thatcher’s “close-down-everything” culture.

On the subject of canteens, I do remember Tate’s “Industrial Strength” Spotted Dick and Jam Rolly-Polly, with custard, of course!

» Comment left by Mike G from NZ on 18th October 2013

Keith,its a small world we live in,my eldest who is 25 is also a vehicle technician,motor mechanic to everyone else,with Mercedes here in Liverpool,started his apprentiship at 17 and as they say,the rest is history,the smart arse got apprentice of the year in 2009,how his head got through our front door is beyond me,and as for the dockers sarnie,boy, i remember it well,as you rightly point out,a heart attack in a bun,but worth it all the same,on a lighter note,my dad sends you his regards and hopes you are all well,look after yourselves in sunny s.a,winters on its way here,the garden is alive with dozens of red breasted robins,noisey buggers,especially at first light,regards,peter.

» Comment left by peter alker from liverpool on 15th October 2013

My son just qualified as service technician for Mercedes Benz, top of his class and he showed me the gear/bearing puller he had to make as an exercise.
This brought me to thinking of the very first exercise in the apprentice workshop we had to do. It consisted of a 3 inch square of metal, 1/4 inch thick. with a 1 inch square in the middle. Alan Francis(God rest his soul)taught you how to use a file. The square in the middle had to fit on all four sides and turned 180 degrees about face to fit again. No light had to pass where the metal touched and all the sides had to be 90 degrees to each other. It took me 6 weeks to just do this exercise. Then when used all the old files and took them to the blacksmith to make scrapers, half round, triangular etc.
I still have them and still use them at home to this day. My son is amazed that I can still use them to this day. I sometimes wonder where the next generation of skilled people are going to come from.
Where we the last of apprentice’s to be trained to such a high level ?
To me what a throw away society we have become, rather than fix it, rather replace it. The really sad part is I cannot pass on these skills to my son as he has no use for them. On a lighter tack does anyone remember the Docker’s sarmie you got from the Dock Canteen ?.
That thing would choke a donkey, bacon, egg, sausage, black pudding,
beans, mushrooms, tomato. All the good stuff that today would be an
instant heart attack.

» Comment left by Keith Duggan from South Africa on 15th October 2013

I didn’t say sugar doesn’t rot yer boots ,yer teeth and yer brain, only that it ain’t particularly toxic! As to visiting a sugar refinery, I would love to, just to see if anything has changed over the last 30-odd years.

I remember the Hein Lehmann machines, though only from a process workers point of view, they would dry almost anything produced by the Yellows or Recovery, but were no good at all for white sugar, not dry enough.

I know one thing, the uniformity of the granulated sugar grain isn’t what it was, we certainly wouldn’t have been able to get away with the stuff produced today.It would never have got through the machines!

As to health and safety and asbestos, as I remember it, it was all still there when the place closed, certainly on the tanks and most pipelines. It would have cost a fortune to remove, I wonder what happened to it during the demolition?

Hard hats, gloves, safety goggles, what were they? I do remember the clogs, though only on the “Mud ‘Ooks” (Fletcher presses),I didn’t know they were popular in the Boiler House.

» Comment left by Mike Greenall from NZ on 04th October 2013

to my mind, as far as actually working with sugar, there was a far more dangerous substance met with in Love Lane. I cringe when I remember how we treated asbestos in those days. When you had to work on anything insulated with the stuff, which was more or less every day, out with your 2 lb hammer, off with the crap and boot it out of your way. I would think that would not be tolerated today.

I remember we didn’t have hard hats, don’t remember gloves, safety glasses, dust masks etc. Safety boots yes, in fact I used clogs in the boiler house. If Love Lane hadn’t closed would it have cost an arm and leg to get rid of the asbestos or encapsulate it? Or, was that done between my leaving in 65 and the Close?

» Comment left by Allan Brookes from Canada on 30th September 2013

Of course sugar is bad for you, it rot’s yer teeth and yer brain.
Safety boots would last maybe 6 months. Does anyone else remember working on the Hein Lehmann centrifuge machines ?. The drive main shafts where removed and tested for cracks. What is strange that just before Mad Bob’s takeover in Zimbabwe I was in Harare installing 3, 5kw high frequency generators for a large printing and packaging company and I smelt raw sugar. Right next door was a sugar refining company that was/is owned by Tate and Lyle London. Would I like to have a guided tour ?. What a thrill to see everything on such a small scale. At the end of the tour the engineer said why am I smiling ?.
Take about teaching your grandmother to suck eggs. I served my time at Tate and Lyle Liverpool, the engineer replies he severed his time in London, what a small world. We meet at his hotel to have a few beers and chat about the old days. In Zimbabwe you can drink in the bars casual dress but only to 5.00 pm. After 5.00 pm you have to change to smart and the waiters serve you with white gloves a hangover from the colonial days. A truly beautiful city with very friendly people. On a different tack I also got to go to Lake Kariba, nothing to do except fish for Tiger Fish and drink beer, very, very hot. But nothing compares to going to Victoria Falls, truly one of God’s finest creations, going on a booze cruise on one of the many house boats that ply the river. I have never seen so many crocodiles, hippo’s, elephants, buck of every description in my life.

» Comment left by keith Duggan. from South Africa. on 30th September 2013

Ref your last Ron, I am not a scientist or a politician but I find it hard to accept the sugar is “toxic”, “carcinogenic” or any more unhealthy than a lot of other substances that we consume. Accepted it is probably not something to be consumed in large quantities, but then almost everything we eat is bad for us if taken in large enough doses.

If it is as bad as is implied, how is it so many of the people I worked with thirty-odd years ago are still with us now into their seventies, eighties and even nineties? Surely they should have been poisoned years ago!!

» Comment left by Mike G from NZ on 28th September 2013

From Ron Noon, Project Coordinator Love Lane Lives

It’s always great to hear from former Tate & Lyle employees from Love Lane and comments from Mike Greenhall in New Zealand, Keith Duggan in South Africa, Alan Brookes in Canada are invariably reciprocated by Michael Wray, Peter Alker and Steve Mac from Merseyside. That’s lively and stimulating debate and shared memories about people they worked with many of whom have “gone onto greener pastures”!

I want to encourage more people if possible to talk and comment about their work and life experiences at Tates and about their jobs and friendships.Hopefully soon the website will be “adapted” to encourage much more informal chats of that nature.

That said what about the once so much taken for granted everyday product that the boys and girls from the whitestuff produced? How many talked about sugar being “toxic” and a major public health hazard in the 1970s? My dear friend John McLean was a great letter writer and in the 1970s penned a really sarcastic but very effective letter to the New Statesman and defiantly declared that he would continue to have sugar and jam on his butties!

The public health debate around sugar has been underdeveloped by this site not forgotten, and today when there are so many scientists who believe that sugar may be to blame for many modern diseases including obesity, heart disease and cancer, a more informed debate is seriously needed. The latest Sugar Buster on the Block is American Endocrinolist Dr. Robert Lustig who likens sugar to controlled drugs and claims it is “toxic”. He argues that “we need to wean ourselves off it and de-sweeten our lives. We need to make sugar a treat, not a diet staple”. Lustig’s book FAT CHANCE: THE BITTER TRUTH ABOUT SUGAR has had a major impact in America and is now published over here.

Anyway by way of a laperatif and a stimulus to more “food for thought” I thought I’d remind people that we are (as I type this out) just an hour and a bit away from a major anniversary. On the 26th September 1953 at midnight Sugar was de-rationed. I think I’ll write a blog about that!

» Comment left by Ron Noon from on 26th September 2013

Keith,thanks for the reply,ive mentioned you to my dad,he remembers you and sends his regards,i too remember the fitter who had parkinsons though i cannot remember his name,as you say,he was a very likeable chap,its quite possible that our paths may have crossed all those years ago,i was on the chambon for a while before i moved to the process side in no1 refinery as an apprentice pansman where i stayed to the end,i did five years on that job,another name you might recall is Ralph Jones,he was in your workshop,he and my dad started at the same time,and as for the antics of the cube wrapping girls,i know exactly where you are coming from,as i was 20 at the time and a bit green,i got some stick from them,i did get my own back,but the girl in question didnt bat an eyelid! Its 22.00 0n a wet friday night here and im off to the pub,so ,i will pass your regards to my dad next time i see him,he is 87 now,we still chat about the good old days from tates,so take care and best wishes to you in sunny S.A.,regards,peter.

» Comment left by peter alker from liverpool,uk on 23rd August 2013

What a small world this is, thank you Peter, I do remember your father Gordon. Please relay my very best regards to him and thank him for all that he taught me.
I was in the workshop in the top end by the wrapping machines.
I also remember there was one person who suffered from Parkinsons, a very likeable and skilled person, the reason I mention it was because he had to sometimes laydown when he had an attack or fit in the workshop. I also remember my father saying at the time that Tate’s closed a lot of people also “died”, after a life time of work to suddenly lose the one reason for getting up in the morning is the cruelest blow of all.

» Comment left by Keith Duggan from South Africa on 22nd August 2013

  Yes, those tanks you remember were part of the Cal Plant, there were twelve tanks (cisterns) in all and a gas fired Herreschoff kiln. The principle was the same as the char houses but the plant used granules of 100% activated carbon rather than bone charcoal. The Cal lasted longer between “burnings” and was moved round the plant as a water slurry, the cisterns were quite a bit larger than the char cisterns. The stainless steel screens you fitted were in place of the cloth screens used in the char houses.

We, that is the Pansmen, used the accumulator shed as a short cut from No1 Pan-floor to the Recovery and Yellows Houses. I have to say I was always rather wary of passing through the accumulator shed, all that high pressure steam in a vast airship-shaped metal container. I wouldn’t like to have been in there if it had ever split! And the noise it made when the relief valves blew!

I never actually considered how the hydraulic system operated, very interesting and yes, it would have been between the “W” and No1. Presumably the same hydraulic system operated the rams on the Mud’ooks? (filtration mud presses) and the hydraulic valves on the Yellows and Recovery pans and pan receivers and the No1 pan outlet valves prior to being replaced with motorized valves during the modernization of No1 Refinery in the late 60’s.

As to college courses, we did day and night school all on one day, 9am to 9pm - a long day! If you were on 6-2 or 2-10 you just had the one day off but on nights, if your day was mid-week you got the shift before and the one after off- not bad really! As to the courses, they varied with your ability, everything from Chemical Plant Operators course through various chemistry courses, the one I did was the Chemical Technician’s Course, primarily laboratory based stuff.

» Comment left by Mike G from NZ on 22nd August 2013

well Mike I don’t remember the Cal Plant but I certainly remember Home Trades although I never had anything to do with it. I recall some tanks put in behind the Char Houses close to where the Ruthes Steam Accumalator was. Remember working on those installing stainless steel screens. Would that be the Cal Plant?

That accumalator was some beast. I’ve seen lots of steam accumalators in various pulp mills in BC but none can match the size of the Ruthes. Tates needed lots of low pressure steam for process as do pulp mills and accumalators are pretty common.

Another rare setup was that Love Lane was connected to a water hydraulic system which was operating throughout the docks. I think it was called The Liverpool Water Hydraulic Company no doubt a Victorian enterprise. Anyway as you probably recall the Sweetland Presses used water hydraulics to close and open them. I’ve never come across such a system since.There was a pressure accumalator for the system to maintain pressure on Tate’s site. It was behind W Warehouse? opposite No.1 Ref. I once worked on it re-packing the seal on the ram on a Sunday(double time).It consisted of a ram ( maybe a foot or so in dia.) sunk in the floor. This ram lifted a tank containing a couple of ton of sand. Small reciprocating pumps pumped hydraulic mains water under the ram and lifted the tank up until it made a limit switch when they cut out allowing the tank to slowly sink down so helping to maintain the systems pressure. When it got so far down another switch caused the pumps to restart etc.This in-floor ram is of course the same as present day oil hydraulic lifts found in two to three story buildings but water is safer than oil. I learned a lot in Tates which stood me in good stead throughout my working life. Doubtless there are dozens of ex apprentices who were similarly blessed.

By the way sorry to learn you didn’t get a tankard also I had forgotten that Process Apprentices worked shifts.How did that effect going to tech. college and what did you guys study? Process Apprentices were a relatively new departure when I was completing my time. Up to then we had Mech. Electrical and Motor Mech. Apprentices.

» Comment left by Allan Brookes from Edmonton Canada on 20th August 2013

When I was an Apprentice, 1965-70 the cube wrapping machines were in the Fairrie Building on Vauxhall Road as were the Sepal? machines which produced the sachets of sugar, presumably the were moved some time after this to the Small Packets? I remember they had a store room full of reels of wrappers for these machines with different customer logos for the various buyers.

Regarding the Pans, even now I recon I could go back there (if the place still existed)and boil a perfectly good Pan of sugar! That list of Pansmen’s names is not exclusive, there are still a number of people I remember but can’t put a name to.

» Comment left by Mike G from NZ on 20th August 2013

Allan, I started exactly eleven days after you left, 31st August 1965. I don’t think the tankard tradition was followed by the Process Apprentices, at least I didn’t receive one. Possibly this was due to us spending most of our time on different shifts.

Presumably the Cal plant was built during your time, it was fully operational by the time I started but was still being evaluated by the Tech Lab. Eventually it took over most of the work done by the Char Houses.

I think that another building you would have seen built would have been the Home Trade?

As you say, it was a good time to be young,the first generation after the war with money in your pocket and things to spend it on! (after you had given your mother her cut!)

» Comment left by Mike G from NZ on 20th August 2013

I never worked in the Small Packets except when in the Instrument Shop we were called in several times to unplug the IBM clocks which seem to frequently get jammed up with card, paper etc. just before 6:00 AM.

Apprentice fitters had to choose between Heavy or General Engineering the difference being if you wanted a really good BOT Pre-Sea grading you went for the heavy stuff which I did. This gave you a chance to get into the Marine Engineering with a good company such as Blue Funnel or Shell. To get the extra time in Steam & Power you missed out the small Packets and did a shorter stint in Construction. Hence no Hesser Building for the likes of yours truly. I did however get the chance to meet the girls in The Why Not or Palatine. A great life.

» Comment left by Allan Brookes from Edmonton on 20th August 2013

Keith Duggan,you probably dont know me,but you may know my dad,he was also a fitter on the cube machines,i was working on the chambon for a while with Albert Shutt,Frank Samosa and Billy Gandy before i moved to the process side to be a pan boiler in no1 refinery,my dads name is Gordon Alker and the fitters all used to hang out in their room by the stairs at the side of the chambon,i cant remember what shift he was on,i do know it was days,if his name rings a bell,leave a message and i will let him know,regards,peter.

» Comment left by peter alker from liverpool,uk on 20th August 2013

I too have a tankard with said lady. It says “To Keith from all the lads at Tate and Lyle”. I finished in the small packets working on the sugar cube wrapping machines, most enjoyable, but not so when you were a bit young and not so wise in the ways of the world. One thing that comes to mind, I was bent double on one wrapper with my head stuck inside when a ladies hand, most definitely a ladies hand, all soft with long nails, came through the double opening in my pockets of my overalls and started to cradle my “privates”, I could not get out the machine quick enough, all the girls where laughing and my face was bright red. The best part was if it happened again and it did, you did not even batter an eyelid.

» Comment left by Keith Duggan from South Africa on 20th August 2013

Mike,thanks for the names,i worked with most of them at one time or another,there are two names missing which i recall,one was jimmy doolan,i think his dad was a chargehand somewhere in the refinery and the other was john peters,i think that jimmy doolan came to no1 after you went on the yellows for the last year or so,further to the chambon,when i was on it,the cubes were wrapped by machines just in front of the chambon,sometimes ,we used to fill boxes with loose cubes and have them sealed by a machine to the left of us,as far as the elusive b shift h panman goes,ive still got a few leads i can follow so watch this space,take care,peter.

» Comment left by peter alker from liverpool on 20th August 2013

    it has just occurred to me that I left Tates Friday August 20 1965. Here in western Canada it is now 10:35 PM August 19 which means it is already the 20th. in Liverpool. So I’ve been gone 48 years. I’m having a wee drop as I write and just in front of me is my reminder of Tates, a pewter pint tankard with a nude lady for the handle bought by a whip around by the apprentices for leavers. This was a tradition in my time perhaps it was still going on later when you were there?

» Comment left by Allan Brookes from Canada on 19th August 2013

    I kind of remember the old Melt House and Lime End. I did go in the Melt House To the best of my recollection the old Melt House was torn down. I remember working with the Construction crew on the new roof of the Lime End installing a bucket elevator. At the time Adam faith was big and the riggers with us were singing his hits. Gives you an idea of the time scale. It was an upbeat time for us teens in the city. We were very lucky.

» Comment left by Allan Brookes from Canada on 19th August 2013

Am I right in thinking the “new” lime end was built on the site of the old melt house? Was the old melt house demolished or just gutted and re-used as the lime shed?

Its ironic really but I could have asked my dad these questions as he worked in the old melt house as a mobile man. However he is no longer with us and its only relatively recently that I thought this should be recorded somewhere before there is no one left who remembers.

The Bridge still exists though no longer a pub, the last time I was there it was a decorators office/shop.

As to the drawings etc. I don’t know for certain, but a lot of archive material was transferred to Thames after the closure, hopefully they were transferred too. My dad was one of the select few who were kept on for an extra 12 mths to clear the place out (I think he had been working n the sales room just prior to the closure).

I remember the Chambon, though I never worked on it, I always thought it odd that the Chambon was in the Small Packets, then the cubes had to be trucked all the way up to Vauxhall Road to the packing machines.

» Comment left by Mike Greenall from NZ on 19th August 2013

    there was a lot of construction during my apprenticeship including the melt house , lime end? new cents machines etc. really interesting times. The apprentices worked different departments one of which was Construction. During my time in Construction I worked on the new Lime End. I always assumed Tates would last for ever so I was amazed when I learned about the closure some years after it occured.

I’ve only been back to the UK twice since 1975. The last time I was in Love Lane was 1978 when I ended up in The Bridge (Fly House) and didn’t see anyone I knew. In particular I was looking for fellow apprentice Jimmy Irving from Limekiln Lane but his folks had by that time moved and I never did get manage to contact him. I still envision things as they were so if ever I get back I will visit and see for myself.

By the way what happened to all the drawings etc. which were filed away by the Drawing office ? When I was in the office I saw stuff from the very beginning in Love Lane. Was it all just dumped? That brings to mind a job I worked on in the office in connection with the Chambon ? project. They wanted to be able to add measured amounts of water to the sugar prior to pressing and one of the draughtsmen with me in tow borrowed a beer engine from the Crystal Club and designed   and built a contraption using the engine but with an electric drive. Took us weeks to get it right but it did work. Don’t know how true it was but I was told years later after I had left that the device was replaced by a simple toilet cistern which was “flushed” as needed. If true I can imagine some process guy coming up with the idea. It would never occur to a draughtsman. Can’t see the woods for the trees so to speak.


» Comment left by Allan Brookes from Canada on 19th August 2013

Peter, here’s a few names from the Pans you may remember,

Jim Morton: - Pan Boiling Foreman. (was Recovery Pansman)
Dickie Hart: -Recovery Pans “C” Shift
John Swords: -Recovery Pans “B” Shift
Sid Moult: - Recovery Pans “A” Shift
Peter Haylward: -Yellows Pans “A” Shift
John Jackson: - Yellows Pans “B” Shift
Albert Cooper: -Yellows Pans “C” Shift- Later Chargehand
Mike Greenall: -No1 Refinery, later Yellows Pans “C” Shift
Joe Moran: - “H” Pan
George Thomas: -No1 Refinery-later Chargehand
Billy McGillvary: -No1 Refinery- Later Chargehand
Bill Worthington: - No1 Refinery
Pat Hoey: -No1 Refinery
Peter Alker: - No1 Refinery
Ronnie Harrison: - No1 Refinery
Jimmy Pendleton: - No1 Refinery
Jimmy Quinn: -No1 Refinery
Bill Croft (Crofty):- No1 Refinery
Gerry Greer: -No1 Refinery
Bobby Austin: -No1Refinery
Jack Robinson ( Jackie Robbie):- No1 Refinery

But Billy Croft (Crofty) wasn’t on the H Pan, certainly not on B Shift anyway. I do have an e mail address but I won’t put it on here, too public, I am on Facebook though if you want to look there.

» Comment left by Mike G from NZ on 19th August 2013

mick,update on the elusive h pan boiler,the name that came up was Billy Croft,jimmy pendleton who was on our shift,was on b shift for a short while and is almost certain thats your man,if it is ,let me know as jimmy is dying to know,if not,theres more than one way to skin a cat!Regards,peter.

» Comment left by peter alker from liverpool on 19th August 2013

Mike,great to hear from you after 32 years and i trust you are well down under,i do recall the h pansman on b shift but like you i cant recall his name though i might be able to find that out for you,i do remember bill worthington,he was the one who dragged me round the refinery when we did a drain down opening this and closing that,eventually i got the hang of it. Remeber when we were serving out the 90 day notice,a firm called kenana sugar were looking for pansmen to commission a new refinery in the sudan,africa,i was fortunate to get a job there initially for two years,i ended up doing almost twenty! Ive been reading your comments for a while and they bring back some memories. One pansman you may recall on our shift was jimmy pendleton,he came a while after me,he lives next door but two!Its 00.10 on a monday morning here and time for me to close,i work as a despatcher at speke airport sending aircraft out and guiding them on the ground and im in at 6am so i will bid you goodnight and hope to hear from you again,if you have an email address let me know,all best to you,peter.

» Comment left by peter alker from liverpool on 18th August 2013

Yes Peter, I am the same Mike Greenall you remember from No1 Pan Floor. Hope things are going ok with you. You left out Billy Worthy (Bill Worthington),also No1 Refinery.George Thomas had also been a Pansman before he became No1 Chargehand and Chris Brennan was Tommy Hepworth’s Chargehand on the raw side.

I don’t suppose you can remember the name of the H Pansman on B Shift? A slim chap, thinning grey hair, glasses and a mustache, I worked with him for several years but i can’t remember his name.

I spent the last year before the close-down on the Yellows Pans after Albert Cooper went as a Chargehand, in fact I might be the last person in the UK ever to have boiled a pan of yellows sugar, I was certainly the last person on C Shift!

» Comment left by Mike G from NZ on 18th August 2013

on my last comment,i said i joined tates in 1984,got that well wrong,try 1974!Istarted in vauhall road clearing up after the tankers ha dropped their loads down the grilles,i was there for about 6 months then moved to the small packets,anyone remember the gullies,from there i worked on the chambon,the cube making machine,i stayed there untill 1976 when i applied for and was pleased to get,the job of apprentice pan boiler in no1 refinery,there followed a 2 year apprentiship before you were even considered to be let loose on the pans,i was there untill closure in 1981,as mentioned,i worked with mike greenhall on c shift for all the time i was on the pans along with joe moran who was on the h pan,george thomas,shift chargehand who couldnt half drink tea and he loved westerns,tommy hepworth,shift foreman and others on the shift whom i cant remember,occasionally,i also worked on the yellows pans but never got as far as the recovery pans due to the closure,the memories of that place will stay forever,it was the place to work.Best wishes to all ex tates people wherever you are.

» Comment left by peter alker from liverpool on 18th August 2013

i worked at tates,liverpool from 1984 untill closure,i was a pansman in no.1 refinery,one thing i would like to know if anyone can help is the comments ive read from mike greenhall,is it the same mike who was on the same shift as me,i was on the d pan and he was on the e pan,joe moran ran the h pan,the chargehand was george thomas and the foreman was tommy hepburn,other pansmen i remember were pat hoey and john peters,other names escape me,if you can help,leave a message or mick,if it is you,leave one as well,best wishes to all ex tates people whereever you are,peter.

» Comment left by peter alker from liverpool on 17th August 2013


1959 sounds about right, the 100,000 ton silo at Huskisson Dock was completed in 1957 and I believe the bulk receiving bays were operational just before the new melt house started up in 1960.

I never saw the Latils, the only vehicles I saw were the the newer artics, the blue tractor units and silver trailers, though I did “google” Latil to see what they looked like!

I don’t know if you have visited the area since the refinery was demolished, but if not, the only thing you might recognize now is the Home Trade Warehouse. It is now the service garage for Williams BMW cars. Everything else has long gone to be replaced by a housing estate for the local area.

Believe it or not, Marshall’s shop is still there (or was a four years ago when I was last in the area). It is opposite where the Crystal Club once stood, having been moved from its previous site when the receiving bays were built. It is now called J. Flemming and Son.

» Comment left by Mike G from NZ on 16th August 2013

    I don’t know for sure when they built the receiving bays in Vauxhall Road. I think it was before they opened the new shops and that would be late 59 or 60ish. I think for the first two years of my time they still used the Latils to pull the old style draw bar trailers for the raw sugar. Then they had the new style artics which to my recollection used the new Vauxhall Rd. bays so an educated guess would be they were built 1959 or so. If you never saw them, the Latils were French. They had all wheel steering and could turn on a sixpence. They used a Meadows Diesel (same as in lifeboats I was told)
and needed a second man because of the trailer. Bibbys also had them. I guess they were glorified farm tractors. It must have been pretty bumpy on the old cobble stones.

» Comment left by Allan Brookes from Canada on 15th August 2013

I thought I was right about Cyril’s name, though I wasn’t sure if I might have made it up, so long ago now.
As Process Apprentices we also spent time at Huskisson Dock, I particularly remember the size of the silo, massive!

I can’t say I ever swam in the corporation water tanks, though the roofs of the old warehouses on Love Lane were popular dossing points as was the flat roof of the structure on top of the Recovery House housing the raw liquor buffer tanks (471/472).

A bit of useless information:- The corporation roof tanks (380/381) held 5317cu ft each, something like 300 tons between them I think.

I don’t remember ever seeing the Bren carrier, it might have gone by 1965, but I do remember the throwers on the conveyor gantry to the rear of the shed, that is the wall bordering Burlington Street, and watching them in action. The shed was 149 Shed and held about 10,000 tons of raw sugar, about four days supply. Do you happen to know when the bulk sugar receiving bays on Vauxhall Road were built?

As to the club room, I remember that small “booby-traps” would be rigged at the door, so that any unexpected visitors would make a noise on entering. Then by the time the visitor got into the clubroom proper, every one in there would be busy doing homework etc.

Another venue for card schools was the steel fire-watchers turret on the corner of the Yellows roof.

» Comment left by Mike Greenall from NZ on 14th August 2013

Cyril was a fitter in the Recovery House and I did work with him on the vacuum pumps. Other fitters include Spike Hughes and the Trainer brothers. Bob Bumbey was the foreman. he was the first and last foreman I worked for, 58 to 65. In 58 he was in charge of the main shops in Love Lane. This all dates back to the early sixties. Anyone reading this that I may have forgotten I apoligize.

You may be intrigued to know that they had a converted Bren Gun Carrier driven by an electric motor rigged up to throw raw sugar in the shed was which situated in the yard opposite the “new” workshops in Vauxhall Road. We used to go through the shed , across the canal and come out opposite Java Street. The carrier trailed a cable for power. I never saw it operate but it did.

As for skiving-off in the club room, I think we all did it at some time or other. In my day they had a math teacher from Byron Street Tech come in and give extra maths for the apprentices doing ONC and HNC at school. His name was Scholes if I remember. You could also officially use the room to do what was called The Boiler House Survey. All the mechanical apprentices (not sure about the sparks) had to complete written report on their time in Steam & Power. However card games were well attended, Thursday being favourite,the most popular game being Nap. Happy days indeed.

» Comment left by Al Brookes from CANADA on 13th August 2013

I do remember Cyril Watson, a hell of a nice guy. I should add that I started in 74 and yes we spent a year in the apprentice workshop before being let loose in the plant. We spent so many months in each department. One of the best times was spent down on the docks with the Bobcats, small front loaders that where dropped in the ships hold to get the remaining raw sugar out for the main grab to take away.it was down on the docks I got to see my first ever “sex worker” for want of another name .The girls would go on board as soon as the ship docked and would not leave till the ship turned round. My father said at the time they would be doing card tricks or reading the News of the World behind your back while on the “job”. What ever did he mean by that ?. Does any else remember swimming in the corporation water tank in summer ?.

» Comment left by Keith Duggan from South Africa. on 13th August 2013

The names I remember are primarily from the process side, I only vaguely remember the engineers and non of their names I’m afraid.

One engineer I do remember used to service the Recovery and Yellows air pumps. He always spoke to the Pansman on duty to explain what he was going to do before he started work on a pump and again when he finished. I think his name was Cyril Watson, I may have made that up, but its the name that comes to mind when I think of him!

As Process Apprentices we didn’t have much to do with the Apprentice Workshop, but I do remember being there on occasion. I seem to remember that all apprentices except the process ones had to do six months or was it a year in the workshop learning basic skills before they were allowed to continue with their particular specialism.

I do remember that the apprentice club room, which was in the old warehouses off Java Street, more or less opposite the boiler house, was moved to a room above the Apprentice Workshop so that Harry could keep an eye on it. This was because too many naughty apprentices were skiving off and hiding in the one in the warehouses.

» Comment left by Mike Greenall from NZ on 10th August 2013

The apprentice workshop was started in 1960 there abouts after the various shops were moved from Love Lane (where they later built the new canteen, locker rooms and drawing office).

Harry Moore came over from No.1 Refinery to look after the apprentices. Prior to that you spent your first two years or so in regular workshops.

Harry was a smart engineer and believed the apprentices should start their time in the apprentice workshop to get the basics so to speak.

I was in my second year at the time and actually helped to install the machines etc. The machines were surplus to requirements after the main shop moved. Incidentaly, one machine not meant for the apprentices was the grinding machine which fell off the back of the truck during the move ( I think it was the Scammel Mechanical Horse).

The wrecked grinder was deposited in the apprentice workshop and was repaired by an old fitter named Jack Melling , brother of Ernie Melling who was charge hand later foreman for the fitters. Jack was a very skilled guy and filed and scraped the repaired bed back to shape.

Harry had us do practice pieces such as square multi-start threads. Another job we did for him was to make new gears for the big old lathe for screw cutting. All good stuff but I must admit I have never had to make another two-start square thread ever.

By the way, in 1958 I started at two pounds eighteen and seven pence for 44 hours. We used to work Saturday mornings in those days

I looked at the names previously mentioned and remember an Alan Francis who was a fitter in the shop, I worked with him in 1959. He was a first rate tradesman very methodical and if it is the same guy he would have been ideal for training apprentices. Also the Bill Slater I remember was in charge of the old instrument shop.

» Comment left by Al Brookes from Canada on 08th August 2013

You may well be right Keith, my start pay was five pounds nine shillings and eight pence, real money! This was in 1965 so some time before you I presume. As the chap I remember as being in charge of the Apprentice Workshop was at least a hundred at that time( probably in his sixties). He would no doubt have retired before you started.

» Comment left by Mike G from NZ on 07th August 2013

I seem to remember it was Alan Francis and Don Hardy were in charge of the apprentice workshop, Alan doing the mechanical and Don the electrical. We had to wash the workshop every Friday, apart from driving spikes through the top of the bench to stop one of the guys opening his draw after he went on leave. Drilling a small hole and filling his tool draw with oil, having a tool bag made out of the old conveyor belts. Placing a coin in the inspection lamps, replace the globe and switch on. Selling tickets for the apprentice dance at Christmas to all and sundry at the other technical schools.
Lager and lime at 13 pence a pint at the Crystal Club.
Bert the store man at the main LoveLane workshop, he always gave the apprentices the worst tools in there.
Even worst was my first year wage a week was 13.50 and my mother took half, even when I was qualified. Keith Best who ran the capstan lathe,
Geoffrey Bubbles the tinsmith.
I remember Alan Francis telling me that if I could not file the metal to the correct tolerances to go and join the brickies (bricklayers)
Happy days indeed.

» Comment left by Keith Duggan from South Africa on 06th August 2013

Here are just a few of the names of people I remember from thirty-odd years ago, ring any bells with anyone?

Gwilliam Williams
Jim Scott
Ted Goldbourn
Bill Toner: - Senior Foreman
Joe Quinn Snr: - Senior Foreman
Charlie Ray: - Senior Foreman
George Threadgold: - Senior Foreman
Harry Moore- Engineering Foreman in charge of the apprentice engineering shop and apprentice club room.
Bill Slater: -Engineering Forman
George Fitzpatrick: - Cleaning Gang-Days
Joe Woods: - Char House Foreman-days
Ted Mercer: - Raw Foreman-A shift?
Frank Till: -Refined Foreman-A shift, later Small Packets Superintendent
Terry Walsh: - Refined Foreman- C Shift.
Tommy Hepworth: - Raw Chargehand later Shift Foreman -C shift
Tommy Roach: -Shift Foreman- B shift
Gerry Townley: -Refined Foreman-B shift, later Training Supervisor
Chris Bennan: -Raw Chargehand-C shift
Jock Love: - Raw Chargehand-B shift
Jack Fletcher; -Raw Chargehand
Bob Jackson: -Raw Chargehand-A shift
Tom Jackson: -Chargehand-packing?
Dennis O’Sullivan: -Chargehand
George Thomas: -Chargehand-No1 Refinery (was Pansman)
Bill Tibke; -Chargehand No1 Refinery-B shift, ex Senior Pansman
George Brookman: -Chargehand No1 Refinery, A shift, ex Senior Pansman
Charlie Deport; -Packing Chargehand (previously Pansman)
Ken Caldwell: -Sales Room?
Bill Greenall: -Mobile Man-Process Clark- Sales Room.
Frank McGrath: -Process Clark
Danny Flexon: - Tailors Shop.

» Comment left by Mike G from NZ on 05th August 2013

This comment is from the Love Lane Lives Project Coordinator Ron Noon:

Because of a couple of twitters and a couple of “pieces” in today’s Guardian I’ve endured an acute SUGAR RUSH. The two pieces in the Guardian are timely reminders of the tragic fact that the white stuff is not just tainted by the blood of the triangular trade, but also Tate & Lyle’s iconic brand is tainted by Cambodian Blood Sugar!

Seasoned readers of this site will know that Tate & Lyle Sugars was bought by American Refining Company three years ago! (It was rebranded as ASR Group earlier on this year and is “dominated” by Alfy and Pepi Fanjul the two Cuban Americans who are the real drivers in the world of sugar today.)

Tate’s sugar cubes and Lyle’s golden syrup had gone together in popular parlance like British bangers and mash but the July 1st 2010 announcement of the sale of its international sugar business meant that the London based company made on Merseyside was now SUGAR FREE!

It’s brand image (the brand is a corporation’s reputational asset) is now threatened by a boycott led by the Clean Sugar Campaign.(http://www.cleansugarcampaign.net/) That said the two exemplary pieces in today’s Guardian contain a basic CATEGORY mistake that might at least make the SUGAR FREE Tate & Lyle Company (headquartered in London not Yonkers New York) think about damage limitation to its reputational asset.

The front page of today’s Guardian has a headline “Tate & Lyle supplied by firm accused of using child labour” and then the category mistake of the first sentence. “The British Sugar Giant Tate & Lyle has imported large volumes of sugar from Cambodia through a supplier that is accused of using child labour and being complicit in expropriating land and inflicting violence on local people…” It’s not a British Sugar Giant! It has n’t been since 2010!

Here’s the first link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/jul/09/tate-lyle-sugar-child-labour-accusation

The second link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/09/cambodia-sugar-land-grab-claims

FINALLY here’s the link to my July 1st 2010 blog: http://www.lovelanelives.com/index.php/blog/entry/tate_lyle_one_time_imperial_sugar_giant_sings_bye_bye_sugar_bye_bye


» Comment left by Ron Noon from on 13th July 2013

Steve Mc- Peter’s rigid tanker fleet number while I was at the Locks was 219. Every morning, he’d stroll into the T+LT Traffic Office and announce “Two-one-nine, please” in that sonorous voice of his in order to obtain his Load Summary and destination(s) for the day.

Occasionally eccentric but always likeable, he once put forward the idea of an employee buy-out.

» Comment left by MWW from Wirral on 06th May 2013

I am 49 now, but hold the sad claim to fame that I was the last apprentice employed by Tate & Lyle’s in Liverpool, albeit in the Lock Fields transport division. I started in October 1980 and so had only been there a few months when the redundancy notices were handed out. Your site brings back many memories, I recall everyone telling me how fortunate I was to have got a job in Tate’s, how I was made for life! I only lived in Walton so used to walk down Commercial Road (past Tillotsons and the BAT - also now long gone!) and was so proud to see the Bedfords, the Leyland Buffalos and Fodens we had in their blue livery heading out on their runs, I think there were 200 trucks at Lock Fields when I started. It’s a little upsetting when you mention Peter Leacy because I grew very close to Peter in subsequent years, he was indeed an “extraordinary ordinary man”, a lorry driver who could hold his own with anyone, what a speaker, I could listen to Peter for hours, he used to come into the workshop posing a “Peter Leacy:- Secret Agent” with his donkey jacket tied around his neck like a cloak, he’d sidle along the side of his truck and attack whoever he fell upon when he reached the end, what a character, he reckoned he was a secret agent for the Milk Marketing Board. I could talk forever about Tates, it left a lasting impression upon me. Sadly all I have left is memories and a few photos I managed to salvage from the Transport Division archives. All gone… so sad.

» Comment left by Steve Mc from Liverpool on 01st May 2013

32 YEARS AGO TODAY! - April 22nd 1981 was the day that Love Lane officially died in terms of employment! After all those years of refining African, Caribbean and Pacific countries supplies of raw sugar cane as well as years of refining the beet sugar that BSC (British Sugar Company) could not refine itself, the historic mother plant in Henry Tate’s sugar dynasty was closed down. It was a truly historic date. LOVE LANE LIVES live on, and this site and its comments column is always open to anyone with new stories or ideas for improving material and coverage.

One of the themes that I’ve always emphasised is the importance of extraordinary ordinary lives! It seems that our phrase is now used in the media as exemplified in this weekends qualities! Clearly there’s a lot more to sugar stories than meets the palate!
Check this out:

Ron Noon

» Comment left by Ron Noon from on 22nd April 2013

» Comment left by MWW from Wirral on 22nd April 2013

Some interesting stuff there. Seems Chisenhale St was a dangerous place to be in the 1800’s! The last time I was there about 5 yrs ago it was like a quiet lane. I walked from one end to the other and didn’t see a single person or vehicle on it.

For anyone who doesn’t remember, 32 years ago on 21 April 1981, the last shifts left the refinery. The end of an era.

» Comment left by Mike G from NZ on 21st April 2013

Another of my infamous duff links in the previous post…

Please try Googling “Irvens lard” and “Liverpool” (both in quotes). The link “Havana NY Journal 1886-1892- Fulton History” appears second on the list on my steam computer.

» Comment left by MWW from Wirral on 21st April 2013

Hi, Mike. Thanks once again for the background.

Oddly enough, the only reference on the ‘net thus far I’ve found to Irven’s Lard Works is in a North American newspaper, the “Havana Journal”, dated Saturday January 10th 1891. It’s a little tricky to access, but, if you’re successful, it’s in the third column (“The News Epitomized”) under the sub-heading “Foreign”.
http://fultonhistory.com/Newspaper 18/Havana NY Journal/Havana NY Journal 1886-1892/Havana NY Journal 1886-1892 - 0434.pdf

Noticed a few queries about Chisenhale Street bridge on the “Yo! Liverpool Community Forum”. Apparently, it was the only bridge to feature the Liver Birds.

Chizzy itself has a notorious past, according to this posting made on 22/2/2013.

The following is a repost;
Salt of the Earth, then, the Corrigans of Chizzy.

Please see also bottom paragraph, middle column here-

In the meantime… I’ve succumbed to temptation and purchased a copy of John Watson’s book via mail order. I’ve been at a motorcycle rally this weekend, and upon returning home found it waiting for me. I’ll probably start reading it in the pub tonight.

» Comment left by MWW from Wirral on 21st April 2013

A bit more information for you,
The first link shows the main yard, also known as the Foundry Yard. To the left is the building known as the Prefab, behind that is the wall of the Milling House (icing sugar production), no longer used as the mills and associated plant had been moved to the Specials Building in the late ‘60’s.
The bridge in the picture carried 56lb/25kg bags of soft brown sugars from the Yellows House(left of picture)to the W Warehouse, the building directly in front. The building to the right is the side of the office block.
Behind the W warehouse is No1 Refinery and to the right of No1 are the Conditioning Silos.

The next link is a picture of the refinery from the Burlington St/Vauxhall Rd junction. The low, flat roofed building right on the corner to the left is the Crystal Club. the large double roofed shed behind it is 71 Shed which received the parcels of granulated sugar from the Small Packets, paletised them and stored them pending delivery.
Further down Burlington St is the Boiler House and across the road to the right are the Raw Sugar Silos under demolition. Coming back toward the junction is a stretch of wall which was all that remained of 149 Shed, a raw sugar storage facility.

The last link shows Chisenhale St, to the left is what originally had been Irvin’s Lard Works but was bought by Tate’s in 1905, part of which was the original Small Packets, but was largely unused when this photo was taken.
The drum like structure is the 10,000 ton Silo, never very successful and eventually demolished. The bridge in the foreground carried granulated sugar to the Home Trade Warehouse for packing and delivery. It is the only bit of the refinery surviving and is, I believe, the service garage for Williams BMW dealership now.
The last building in the distance on the left is the Specials Building. A point of interest, there is a small cylindrical structure on the Specials Building roof, next to the water tank, this was a wartime fire-watcher’s point, used during air raids.

As you say Clement Street and Eccles Street disappeared into the refinery as it expanded, but they still existed as internal roadways. The top end of Eccles Street nearest Vauxhall Road remained public as there was a small gas facility there which needed to be accessible to the gas board, as it the was.
Further along Vauxhall Rd north of Burlington St is a small unidentified road running into the Fairrie site, this was Black Diamond St and also disappeared into the refinery as it expanded.

As to the foundry, the following information is from John Watson’s book. Its address was apparently 18 Love Lane, Henry Tate’s address was 12-16 Love Lane. The foundry had ceased operation when Henry Tate was building his plant and some of its land was purchased for the building of the refinery. The main yard within the refinery was known as the Foundry Yard.
More land was purchased from the executors of Edward Holme who had operated a mill on the canal bank and another portion was purchased from Irvin’s Lard Works. This last was land they were not using and ran from the rear of their premises back to the canal.

» Comment left by Mike G from NZ on 16th April 2013

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