The Macfie Family
Sugar Refining Enterprises
Hunter, McAlpine & Co
Robert Macfie & Sons
William Macfie & Co.
William Macfie & Co
Macfie & Sons
Macfie & Sons
Macfie & Sons
Kilauea Sugar Co
In 1938 all British sugar interests
of the Macfie family
were acquired by
United Molasses Company
which in turn was purchased
in 1964 by
Tate & Lyle
KILAUEA SUGAR Co.
(plantation and mill)
Located at Lilauea, Hanalei District, 20 miles from Lihu, Robert A Macfie, president, res. Scotland, Robert A Macfie jr ., res. Waiuli Hales, Kilauea ,vice-president and manager, G W Macfarlane & Co agents Honolulu, capacity of mill 15 tons per diem, plantation 7,000acres, 5,000 acres available for cane land, estimated product for 1884, 1,500 tons,. men employed 200, oxen 400 head, horses 50, mules 60, four miles railroad, including portable lines and two locomotives for brining down cane and carrying sugar to the landing. Two ditches, each 1� miles long, converging into one mail flume, a substantial structure and probably the largest on the islands, 1 mile long. The mill is the largest on this island. It was made by Mirless, Watson & Co of Glasgow
Kilauea Restaurant - Kilauea Sugar Co, proprietors
Kilauea Store (general merchandise) Kilauea Sugar Co, proprietors, Wm J Lowrie manager, A B Lindsay assistant
In the mid 1860's, Hanalei sugar planter and coffee grower, Charles Titcomb purchased 3,000 acres of land for $2,000.00 from King Kamchameha IV. In 1877 after the death of Charles Titcomb, Capt. John Ross and E P Adams purchased the land from the Titcomb family and founded a sugar plantation "Chinese" labourers were the first immigrant worker and were followed by the "Portuguese" in 1878 . In 1880, the Kilauea Sugar Company was incorporated and purchased by Robert Macfie, the son of a well known English sugar refiner. C Brewer & Company marketed Kilauea's sugar crop in the mainland United States and became the owners of Kilauea Sugar Company in 1910. The people of Kilauea faced a crisis in 1969 when C Brewer announced it was closing its 90 year old sugar plantation. The company today is the parent company of Guava Kai Plantation , located on former sugar cane lands in Kilauea.
Princess Regent Lili�uokalani, the future Queen of Hawai�i, arrived in
Hanalei Bay on September 23, 1881. King Kalākaua [David La�amea Kalākaua] was
away from the Islands on a world tour at the time, and Lili�uokalani (his
sister) was serving as Regent in his absence.
The day after arriving in Hanalei, Princess Lili�uokalani traveled to
Kīlauea, where she had been invited by one of the Kilauea [Kīlauea] Sugar
Plantation�s owners, R.A. Macfie, Jr., to commemorate the Kīlauea Sugar
Corporation�s purchase of a railroad engine as well as three miles of track and
24 railroad cars to carry the sugarcane. With two hard blows of the hammer,
Princess Lili�uokalani drove in the first ceremonial spike.
managed the plantation of Robert Andrew MacFIE while Robert took a six month
vacation in California. Theo insisted on having a house large enough for his
mother and sisters as he became their sole support for a while. After MacFIE�s
return he became manager at WILCOX�s Grove Farm, Kauai, in 1885 and stayed
there 33 years until he retired.
Extracts taken from " Notes on the Sugar Industry " John M Hutcheson 1901
"Written primarily for Scottish readers by one who for fifty-three years was connceted with the sugar trade in Greenock."
" Many writers records that alexander the great , or his Admiral Niarchus (BC 356-323) brought to Greece from the far East small specimens of sugar; but the authority for the statement is a History (in seven volumes) of the Expedition, written 400 years after the event, by Arriannus, a Greek historian. At great intervals during succeeding centuries allusions are found in writings of various degrees of authority to sweetening substances, apparently sometime of the nature of honey, in other case , sugar extracted from canes.
Strano, for example (BC 54-24) alludes to "honey" procured not from bees , but from reeds or canes. Pliny who is believed to have perished AD 79, in an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, describes sugar produced from canes as " white, brittle between the teeth, and of a salt like consistency" a description repeated by Dioscorides, a Greek physician. Galen , an eminent Roam physician, a century later, prescribed sugar medicinally. About 625, Paul Eginetta, a Portuguese, writes of sugar as brought from China and the East , where it had for a long period been used as medicine.
The progress westward of the sugar cane was slow, but probably fairly continous. In Egypt and the African shores of the Mediterranean, as well in Cyprus, Sicily and the neighbouring countries, its cultivation is alluded to by various writers at different times. In the eight century it was brought by the Moors to Spain, thence it spread to Madeira and the canaries. The West Indian Islands later received it from Portuguese and Spanish settlers. Precisely in what order or at what periods it took to root amongst these fertile islands and the countries around the Caribbean Sea is uncertain, but Barbados is said to have been on of the earliest of the British possessions to cultivate it on a large scale.
During a great portion of the Middle Ages, Venice was the centre of such sugar industry as the n existed, and it seems to have been from that port that sugar was first brought to England, about the end of the thirteenth century. The refining or purifying of sugar for commercial purposes, so far as Europe is concerned, seems to have also originated in Venice sometime during the later half of the fifteenth century. Holland shortly afterwards took up the industry with such vigour as soon to challenge the supremacy of Venice, at least so far as supplying of western Europe was concerned. Thence sugar refining gradually found its way into the neighbouring continental counties, Belgium, France, Germany, and others and at last crossed the Channel to the British Isles in or about the year 1544."
" In the richer county of England sugar had grown into quite a considerable trade almost a century before it became a Scottish trade worth recording, and when it did make a start north of the Tweed it came naturally to Glasgow and not to Greenock, which is later time had been known as Sugaropolis, then a very insignificant village. it may be worth stating here that it was in 1673 that coffee house appear to have first been introduced into Scotland, although there were known in London as early as 1654. In 1679 tea - for the first time heard of in Scotland - was given as a treat by the princesses to the Scottish ladies who visited the Abbey."
" Refining existed in many parts of Britain for about one hundred years before its introduction into Greenock, and doubtless subsequentprogress there was rendered easier, owing to the earliest refiners having the benefit of the experience of the pioneers in other towns. The first refineries in Greenock and Port Glasgow had connected wit them one or more of the Glasgow merchants interested in the older works there. The chief markets were Ireland, North America and the Mediterranean. The situation of Greenock was peculiarly calculated for this business, the raw material being brought to the door direct, from the plantations."
The Greenock Refineries to 1901 --
(publication date of the book by John M Hutcheson
- The first Greenock sugar refinery other than primitive in type was erected about 1765 on a portion of the site now belonging to the Brewers Sugar Co Ltd at the foot of Sugarhouse Lane, on ground previously occupied by Messrs. Donalds, White & co ( as a rope and sailcloth manufactory) who seem to have remained proprietors of the feu until 1769, when they sold it to Mr Walter Bain. The promoter of the venture were Messrs. Alex Wilson of Glanderstone, Thomas Hopkirk, Claud Alexander of Newton and Arthur Connell, merchants in Glasgow, with Messrs. Thomas Dunlop, Archd White, and William MacCunn, merchants in Greenock. These gentlemen assumed a practical partner or "boiler" Mr Mark Kuhll, who apparently held one eighth share in the concern. The name of the firm seems to have been " The Greenock Sugar House Co. and the business appears to have been carried on with various changes of partnership until 1812. At this date the partners were Messrs. James Hopkirk, Daniel Mackenzie and James Mackenzie and they seem to have transferred the business to Messrs. James Atherton, Joseph Toundrow, and Samuel Farrer of Liverpool and Duncan MacKellar, merchant in Greenock, who carried it on under the name of Atherton ,MacKellar & Co until 1831. In that year the property was purchased from Bain�s representatives by Mr. Alex M�Callum father of the late David M�Callum of Glenburn who was a brother in law of ex- Provost Rodger. Mr. M�Callum carried on refining till his death in 1839 or 1840. It seems to have been rented for a short period to Messrs. Harm Blanken & Co between 1840 and 1846 prior to their occupation of the refinery at the other end of the lane. In 1846 it was rented by Messrs. James Fairrie & Co when their large Carsdyke house was burned down. That firm worked the house until 1854. In that year it was occupied by Messrs. Hoyle, Martin & Co, who for some years had occupied the house at the other end of the Sugarhouse Lane In 1870 Mr Duncan Hoyle the sole remaining partner of Messrs. Duncan Hoyle & Co transferred the business to his nephews Messrs. Duncan Hoyle Gibb and John Hoyle Gibb, who carried it on under the style of DH & J H Gibb until the death of Mr.John Gibb in 1879. In the same years it was purchased by Mr. Dugald MacEachran who was afterwards joined my Messrs. William and Robert George Adam as partners. These gentlemen continued the business until the destruction of the house by fire on 29th Dec 1882. In 1885 the Brewers Sugar Company Ltd, sugar refiners and saccharum makers, purchased the property and have since rebuilt altered and greatly enlarged the works, principally producing the various forms of sugar used so extensively by brewers. Mr J W Bailey has been manager from the start of this company and by its means an entirely new industry has been added to Greenock. END
The second sugar refinery in Greenock was at the south end of Sugarhouse Lane, now converted into a lodginghouse. Messrs John Moody, Hutcheson and Robert Downie, merchant both of Greenock acquired this property in 1777 selling it in 1779 to Messrs Johnston, Armstrong & Co who soon afterwards disposed of it to Mr Wm Coats, merchant.. At that time dwelling houses had been erected on the site or part of it. The next proprietors were prominent townsmen Messrs James Hunter, George Robertson, John Wilson, Walter Ritchie, Thomas Ramsay, William MacCunn jun.( who was commercial manager of the firm), and Robert Macfie. These gentlemen having secured Mr Nicolus Wit as practical manager or " boiler" with presumably an eight share - had bought the property in 1788 and erected a refinery. It was burned in 1793, rebuilt immediately, again burned in 1795 again rebuilt, a third pan being added. The refinery boiled from 900 to 1,200 hogsheads of sugar per annum. In 1800 trade having been bad for several years the company was wound up and the refinery was disposed of to one of the former partners Mr John Macalpine the firm under which the refinery was carried on until then being Messrs Hunter, Macalpine & Co. Mr Duncan MacKellar, a Glasgow merchant next acquired the property and later sold it to Messrs Alexander Angus & Co in 1815. That firm carried on refining till the erection of their new refinery in Princess St and there after Messrs MacLeish, Keyser & Co acquired the property in 1829.Mr J Angus remained in the new copartnery just named. The writer cannot say how long MacLeish, Keyser & co worked this house, probably till about 1843 when he believes Messrs Harm Blanken & Co removed from the foot to the top of Sugarhouse Lane. Messrs Harm Blanken & Co were in turn succeeded by Messrs Hoyle, Martin & Co about 1847. That co-partnery included several well known townsmen. Mr Hoyle was a Greenockian who had returned from Australia with a very considerable fortune; Mr John Martin had been for years the Town Chamberlain and had been Provost of the burgh; Mr Duncan A Campbell was a partner of the Greenock Distillery Co; and Mr Alexander Currie, who was the active manager, was one of the brother of Sir Donald Currie. Under the style of Messrs Hoyle, Martin & Co they worked this house for over twenty years Mr Martin died on 29 July 1855; Mr Campbell had retired early to Appin where he died on Oct 21 1861. Mr Hoyle died about 1870 and Mr Currie after carrying on refining for some years under the style of Messrs Alexander Currie & Co died on June 20 1886. For many years this house has been utilised for other purposes and has recently been converted into a lodging-house. END
The third refinery was built by Robert Macfie & Sons about 1802 , in Bogle St. The then senior partner who name has already appeared as one of the co-partnery which promoted the second Greenock refinery, was the grandfather of the Mate Robert Macfie of Airds, who was well known to the present generation of Greeockians and the great grandfather of the William Macfie who is presnet head of the Liverpool firm of Messrs. Macfie & Sons. His eldest son, Mr William Macfie, has formed the idea of building that refiniery in 1801, and so pushed the matter that the refinery commenced wotk on March 1802. After the daeath of the first named Mr Robert Macfie in 1827, he eldest son , William, then of Langhouse, managed the business for a time till succeeded by his second son, the later Robert Macfie of Airds, who for many years was the active head of the Bogle Street firm. He retired about 1854 from active business and lived almost wholly at Airds till his death on the 22 January 1899. The refinery during its career from 1802 till 1854 had been frequently enlarged and imroved. The business of Messrs. Macfie has since then been carried on at Liverool, and the site of thier first refinery in now the property of the Caledonian Railway Company. (In the original volume written by Mr Hutcheson, there are notes made by JW Macfie correcting assumptions by Mr Hutcheson or adding details to the paragraph)
Fourth In 1809 Messrs James Fairrie & Co erected a refinery at Cartsdyke Bridge; the site had been purchased or feued by James Fairrie from Rev William Willis, minister of the Associated Congregation at Crawfordsdyke in 1797. His firm secured two additional pieces of ground in 1811 and 1815. Mr James Fairrie who had been a shipmaster for many years carried on this refinery till his death at Greenock on the 22nd December 1815.Three of his sons continued it and although their ages were then only 25 20 and 17 they soon made their mark. Mr John Fairrie first in Greenock and later in London; Mr Thomas Fairrie in Greenock all his life and Mr Adam Fairrie first in Greenock and then in Liverpool. The three brothers continued in their partnerships while they lived each at the head of the businesses they established and carried on in London, Liverpool and Greenock. The refinery was frequently enlarged and was in full operation until it was destroyed by fire in 1846 after which it was never rebuilt. The site is now part of Messrs Scott & Sons�s yard.
Fifth The next refinery was erected about 1812 on a site now occupied by Messrs Thorne & Sons, Ltd, facing Albert Harbour at Clarence St, Glebe. The ground was first feued in 1801 by the Rev Robert Steele, minister of the old Parish Church Greenock to Mr Hugh Crawford, merchant Greenock and after one or two changes of ownership was purchased in 1814 by Mr Milliam Leitch, and became in 1835 the property of Messers Wm Leitch & Co, the partners being Messrs James Leitch, James Oughterson and William Leitch. The two Messrs Leitch were uncle and father on Messers A O Leitch and W O Leitch of Greenock. This was the house referred to in Weir�s history as in the "Glebe" and was well known as " The Glebe Sugar House" a name now attached to Refinery No 8 in this list. Mr Ebenezer Connal of Glasgow and Mr William Parker bought in 1844 and as Messrs Connal & Parker carried on the refinery till it was destroyed by fire in 1847. IN 1853 Messrs James Richardson & Co purchased the site and erected a large warehouse on it. It became the property of Messrs Thorne & Sons Ltd in 1896 and is now used as a Custom�s bonding warehouse, stores and cooperage.
The next refinery was erected in 1826 on part of what is now Messrs John Walker & Co �s extensive property on Princess St, by Messrs Alexander Angus & Co., Messrs Robert, Alexander and John Angus, David Balderston, and William Ewing all of Greenock, and Mr Willlaim Cummingham of Port Glasgow being the partners. In 1838 the property was acquired by Messrs MacLeish, Keyser & Co, the partners being the same three brother Angus, Adam MacLeish, two Keysers and Robert Steel jr, a farmer from Strachur. In 1843 Messrs Archibald Patten & Co leased the refinery and worked it for five years, on the expiry of which it was purchased my Messrs John Walker & Co, the original partners of that firm being Messrs John walker and James Speirs. Alterations in the co-partnery have since then taken place, by the retiral of Mr Speirs and the assumption of Mr Hugh Walker, Mr Duncan Shaw, Messrs Hugh William and John Walker ,jr and Messrs H Richard and J William Walker at various dates. In its earlier days Messrs John Walker and Hugh Walker and later Mr Duncan Shaw were the active partners. Mr John died 7 Aug 1866, Mr Hugh 4 Feb 1889 and Mr Shaw retired in 1872. Messrs H Richard and J William Walker who had been partners from 1876, retired in 1896 since when the sole partners of the firm have been Messrs Hugh William and John walker, the former having now for nearly thirty years been the active head of the firm. This refinery was one of the two first in Scotland in which centrifugal machines were successfully used for the drying process formerly effected by the tedious draining of the liquid syrups from earthen moulds. During its career of half a century it has been practically destroyed by fire three times, and promptly rebuilt, generally also enlarged. The fires took place on 14 June 861, 28th June 1863 and 25 Feb 1873.
The next refinery was erected by Messrs Tasker, Young and & Co in 1829 on the east fall of the Shaws Water Company. This firm appears to have carried on business only for a few years and to have wound up about 1837. For about two years there after it was rented by Messrs James Fairrie & Co and about 1841 by Mesrs James Maclean & Co, saw millers. A portion of the premises was sub-let by that firm to the late Mr Lear Wrede who started refining there on his own account as Messrs Wrede & Co. A few years later he was joined by the late Messrs Robert Thorne and William Curtis as sleeping partners and they continue working there till about 1851 when they built the Cartsburn Refinery. A few years later about 1855 or 1856 the refinery was acquired by Messrs Crawhall, Schultz & Co during whose occupancy it was destroyed by fire in March 1862, rebuilt with many improvements and again destroyed by fire on the 22 March 1864 In November of the dame year work was re started in a rebuilt house. The firm was now Messrs Crawhall & Co, a few years later it became Messrs Crawhall, Allison & Co, still later about 1878 Messrs Hogg, Alison & Co, and finally Messrs Hogg, Wallace & Co., who again made addition, but after a few years ceased working entirely. It has lain in a dismantled condition for a good many years. Mr Allison died on the 17 March 1879 and Mr Hogg on the 4 March 1883.
The next refinery was built in Ker St, on part of the site now belonging to the Glebe Sugar Refining Company. The ground was feued in 1803 by Thomas Young, who carried on business under the firm Thomas Young & Co, from the erection of the house in 1831 until 1836 when it was acquired by Alexander Dunlop of Keppoch from the trustees for the creditors of Thomas Young & Co and the surviving partners of that firm. After lying idle for about nine years, the trustee on Mr Dunlop"s estate in 1845 disposed of the property to Messrs James Fairrie & Co who feued direct from Sir M R Shaw Stewart, Bart. An adjoining plot in the same year. They added a third plot in 1846, a fourth in 1847 and a fifth property which had belonged latterly to the Western Saw Mill Co, became the property of the same firm in 1852. A sixth property, like all the other contiguous, was purchased by them in 1853. The refinery then consisted only of the smaller or more northerly building which was entirely rebuilt about ten years ago by the present proprietors: but Messrs James Fairrie & Co had erected first one and son afterwards the other large addition to the south. On the death of Mr Thomas Fairrie on 10 Sept 1858, the firm resolved to sell the refinery which was soon acquired by the Greenock Sugar Refining Company- Messrs L Mackirdy, David Steele and John Davie who ceased work in February 1865 a few days before the death of Mr Mackirdy, the most active partner. With in one month it was purchased by a strong company, Messrs John Kerr, Abram Lyle, James J Grieve, Walter Grieve and Charles P Hunter and under the title of the Glebe Sugar Refining Company, began a career signalised by unusual energy and enterprise. All the first promoters of this company are dead, Mr John Kerr on 13 Jan 1872, Mr Abram Lyle 30 April 1891, Mr James J Grieve 20 Aug 1891, Mr Walter Grieve 26 Mar 1887, and Mr Charles P Hunter 14 Sept 1876. Mr A Lyle Sr. was the managing partner till 1873, when Messrs Abram Lyle jr Charles Lyle and Robert Grieve became joint managing partners, the three families of Messrs Kerr, Lyle and Grieve remaining proprietors. The Messrs Lyle retired in 1882 on their deciding to erect a large refinery in London. The present heads of the firm are Mr Robert Kerr who has been closely connected with its whole history and Mr James Grieve who succeeded his brother Robert who died 22 April 1898.Since the temporary closure of Messrs Crosfiled , Barrow & Co�s Liverpool refinery in November 1899, this refinery has had the distinction until the time of writing (1901) of being the only one in the United Kingdom which confines its manufacture entirely to cane sugars.
About 1832 the next refinery was built in Roxburough St by Mr Hugh Hutton. The feu on which the refinery was erected originally belonged to a Mr James Jelly who later disposed of it to Messrs George and John Ferguson and they in turn sold it in 1832 to Messrs Robert Angus, Archibald Patten and George Oughterson, names not unfamiliar in Greenock. In August 1833 the site was purchased by Mr Hugh Hutton who for some time had been the Agent at Greenock of the Clyde Shiping Co. Associated with him were Robert Warden, baker in Greenock, James Mitchell , merchant in Glasgow, and Daniel Ferguson, Agent in Greenock. These gentlemen carried on business as sugar refiners under the style of Hugh Hutton & Co, but were compelled to consult their creditors in Nov 1834 when on conveying the property for behoof of the creditors, they got an extension of time. The refinery was silent for a time and was exposed for sale twice in 1836, once in 1839 and then it seems to have been worked by Messrs Connal & Parker until 1845, when it was again exposed for sale twice, the last occasion being the 21 May 1845 when after a competition between Mr Ebenezer Connal and Mr Archibald Keer, writer in Glasgow, it was purchased bt the latter for behoof of Mr Shadrach Robson, by whom it was sold to Mr James Richardson of Ralston. Soon after this it was worked by Mr Matthew Brown in conjunction with some of the partners of Messrs James Richardson & Co, from about 1850 to about 1861. Mr Brown then assumed two junior partners and continued business till 1865 when they ceased to work. Mr brown died about 1872. In April 1861 after Mr James Richardson�s death it became the property of Messrs Thomas and David Richardson, until acquired by the firm of James Richardson 7 Co in 1873. The old house was soon afterwards pulled down and re erected by the Roxburgh Street Sugar Refining Company, Messrs James Richardson & Co and started work again in 1875, the active partners being Messrs Robert Binnie and Robert Mason, and for a short time between 1888 and 1892 Mr D B Rishardson. The senior partner Mr D Richardson of Hartfield died in 1896 after which the firm was wound up. The refinery was purchased in August 1899 by a Syndicate, now a Limited Company, who have sold the greater portion of the plant and machinery. It will be good news for Greenock if better prospects for the sugar industry lead to the resumption of refining in this and other silent houses. The chairman of the Company is Mr John Drummond cooper, the other directors being Messrs John Alison, brick manufacturer, James Agnew joiner and builder, J W Dailey sugar refiner, Mathew Blake engineer and John Leckie brassfounder and coppersmith.These are notes only for the Macfie works : according to the writing of Mr John m Hutcheson, there may have been four or five different sugar houses that operated in Leith
The next refinery was built in the Port Glasgow Road in 1833 by he Messrs Speirs and Wrede, it was destroyed by fire about 1841, rebuilt by Mr James Speirs about 1845 and worked by him till about 1859. It was then bought by Messrs A Anderson & Sons who worked it till it was burned on 18 June 1872 and again after rebuilding on 19 Nov 1877 after which it was not rebuilt. Messrs W Connal & Co acquired it and for a considerable time part of the premises was used as a warehouse, but the refinery itself has disappeared. It was known as the Cappielow Refinery
in 1847 the next refinery was built by Messrs Ferguson & Co near the southern end of Inverkip St. The co-partnership of Messrs Ferguson & Co consisted of four brother Messrs Willaim and James who had carried on business in Greenock as Russian merchants and shipowners and Messrs John and Alexander who had carried on a separate business as Russian merchants and soap and candle makers with Mr Robert Ferguson, feuar. Mr James was the active manager , assisted by My William till 1852. The refinery began work in Oct 1847 and continued without interruption till the destruction of the house by fire on the 8 March 1857. It was never rebuilt. In March 1852 Messrs J & A Ferguson, having sold their soap and candle business rented the refinery in Leith. Mr James died on 17 July 1865 in his fifty second year. Mr William went to Australia in 1852, returning in 1854 and going to Cuba in that year where he died two years later about forty five years of age . Mr John died 2 July 1863 in his fifty third year and Mr Alexander on 13 Feb 1875 aged sixty. About 18868 the ground was purchased by Messrs John Walker & Co. The Greenock West Station now occupies a portion of it.
The next was a small refinery situated in Main St , Cartsdyke, a converted building, worked by Mr Matthew Parker from the end of 1847 till July 1848 when it was burned down and not rebuilt. The site now forms a portion of Messrs James M�Lean & Co�s extensive saw mills
The next was a large refinery built also in 1847 by Messrs Robert Blair, F R Reid and James Steele in Ingleston St. This company as Messrs Blair, Reid & Steele carried on business till about 1847. Previous to this date, Mr Steele had died and Mr Reid retired. A limited Company was then formed which with Mr Blair as managing director continued the business till about 1881 when it was wound up. Mr Blair removed to Dublin shortly afterwards where he managed the only refinery in that city till his death on 15 March 1886 .The house was partially burned on 23 Dec 1867, resumed work June 1868 and was again burned on 14 Nov 1876. The refinery was purchased by the Glebe Sugar Refining Company in 1882 and was worked by that company from April till Dec 1882 in order that they might rebuild the older portion of the Glebe house and maintain their trade without interruption. Later it has become the property of the Ardgowan Distillery Co Limited
The next refinery was erected about 1848 at the upper end of Baker St and has been familiarly known as " Patten�s" .The firm of Messrs Archibald Patten & Co was formed on the 1st Nov 1843 by four brothers Messrs Archibald, James, and Hugh M�Corquodale, merchants and MrHenry Tower Patten, writer , all of Greenock. It was primarily formed to enable the older firm of Messrs Patten & Co, merchants and shipowners Greenock to realise by refining it a large quantity of molasses which they then held. For this purpose they leased Messrs Angus�s refinery (then lying unworked) occupying the site where Messrs J Walker & Co now are , and commenced business in 1843. On the expiry of their lease they feued, from the Shaws Water Co., the Baker St ground and built the large house which for many years they worked, and which had been specially adapted for the working of molasses. Mr Archiblad Patten died 9 th July 1854, Mr James Patten on 21 May 1868, Mr Hugh M�Corquodale Patten on 23rd July 1873 and Mr Henry Tower Patten on 2 Nov 1871. Mr Archibald Patten had retired from the firm of Messrs Patten & Co, merchants on 31Dec 1853, but continued as partner of Messrs Archibald Patten & Co sugar refiners till his death, and on the 13 June 1856 Mr Henry Tower Patten retired from the latter firm. After the last named date, the two remaining brothers carried on the sugar refining business till their respective deaths. On the death of M Hugh M Patten, his three nephews continued the business for some years. The partnership consisting of Messrs James, Henry Tower jr and John Patten, the more active part being taken by Mr Henry Tower Patten jr. The Bounties of foreign Gouvernments, together with the competition of more modern houses led to the firm finally retiring from the trade in 1877. After lying idle for some years the refinery was purchased by Messrs Alexander Scott & Sons and is now part of the property owned by the Ardgowan Distillery Co Ltd.
The next refinery was built in Crescent St by Messrs Wrede & Co in 1851. Mr Wrede had then Messrs Thorne and Curtis as sleeping partners and Mr Thomas M Thorne assisted him in the mamagement of the business. In 1857 that gentleman, Messrs John Beattie and John Macdonald were all assumed as partners and the style of the firm became Messrs Wrede ,Thorne & Co. in 1859 this firm ceased work. After being silent for about three years, the refinery was purchased in 1862 by Messrs James P Muir, James Lang, William Scott and James Aitken who carried on business under the style of " The Cartsburn Surgar Refining Co" till 1870 when the partnership was dissolved. The property was then purchased by Messrs James Aitken, Andrew Stewart and James G Thorburn who continued business till 1889 along with Mr R R Paterson and other who had joined the co-partnery in 1878. In 1889 that co-partnery was dissolved. The Messrs Thorburn and Paterson purchased the property and carried on the business under the same style, Mr J G Thorburn being the active head of the concern. M R R Paterson died on 4 March 1895. The refinery has been silent for about two years, but it may be hoped will soon resume operations.
The next was built by Messrs Anderson , Orr & Co at the top of Lynedoch St, familiar as the "Berryyards Refinery" It was erected in 1852. The partners Mr T Anderson, the veteran Captain Wm Orr , the late Mr Alex Scott and Mr W B Paul, the last named three gentlemen being the active members, carried on business until 1864. Some years after this date the property was purchased by Messrs Alex Scott & Sons, Mr A Scott Sr, died on 25 Sept 1881. Mr A Scott jr retired about eight years ago and died on 5 July 1901 and the sole remaining partner Mr Joseph D Scott sold it about 1896 to the Westburn Sugar Refineries Ltd.
The next was built by Messrs Neill & Dempster in 1853 near the Dellingburn Reservoir. The partnership consisting at first of Messrs John Neill Sr and D F Dempster, became Messrs Neill, Dempster & Neill by the inclusion of Mr J Neille Jr about 1863. The firm carried on business there till the destruction of their house by fire on 18 Oct 1865. It was never rebuilt and the site is now the property of the Scottish Aluminium Co Ltd.
The next refinery was an old logwood mill in Barker St converted in 1858. Messrs James Duncan and Alex Scott Sr effected this transformation. This small refinery was one of the two first in Scotland in which centrifugal machines were successfully used for the drying process previously effected by the tedious draining of the liquid syrups from earthen moulds. It was destroyed by fire within less than a year, a new and large refinery being speedily erected on the same site fitted up with centrifugals and to that new method of drying and to a process of crystallizing syrups known as " the jelly process" much of the success attained by the firm was attributed. The firm had meantime become Messrs Bell, Duncan & Scott, by the inclusion of Mr James Bell. In 1886 Mr Bell retired and Mr Scott took over the property, Mr Duncan acquiring a large new refinery which the firm had just erected in London. The Baker St refinery, after being worked for a time by Messrs Alex Scott & Sons was demolished and the site is now partly the property of the Ardgowan Distillery Co Ltd and partly of Messrs Rankin & Blackmore engineers.
The next refinery was built in the same year (1858) by Messrs J H Ballantine , William Adam and Thomas B Rowan, directly opposite that of Mr Messrs Neille. This refinery was worked by Messrs Ballantine, Adam & Rowan till the death of Mr Adam which occurred with appalling suddenness in the Sugar Exchange on the 22 March 1870 after which the firm became Messrs Ballantine & Rowan. Mr Rowan retired about 1883 soon after which the refinery was closed. Mr Ballintine dies on the 26th Jan 1890 and Mr Rowan on 9 May 1895. Since then the property had been purchased by the Scottish Aluminium Co. Ltd.
The next refinery was built in 1864 by Messrs Paul, Sword & Co. in Ingleston St, to the east of the Burn the first partners being Messrs William Boag Paul, Archibald Sword, Colin Buchanan Sword and John Paul. The refinery was burned down on 14th Aug 1868 and rebuilt and resumed work 1870 and worked until 1878 when the business was wound up. Mr C B Sword had retired from the firm in the early "seventies" and emigrated. Mr A Sword died 31 Dec 1890; Mr W B Paul on 21 Dec 1900 and Mr John Paul many years ago. In 1878 the refinery was purchased by the Cartsburn Sugar Refining Co. who worked it until 1889 under the style of the Orchard Sugar Refining Co, when it was acquired by the present co-partnery Messrs Andrew Stewart, James Aitken, Andrew Downie and John Crawford Aitken, by whom the business has been since carried on under the same style
The next refinery was in the conversion of an old mill into a refinery by Messrs Dawson, Campbell & Dickson about 1864. It stood near the foot of Baker St and was called the Deer Park Sugar Refinery. Mr Campbell soon retired, his place being taken by Mr Martin a Glasgow gentleman. The refinery was worked till 17 Dec 1866 when it was burned and never rebuilt. The site now belongs to the British Aluminium Co.
The next was a large new refinery, built by Messrs Neill, Dempster & Neill about 1868 on the Drumfrochar Road near the Cotton Mill. Since the burning of their first refinery these gentlemen had worked the old Cotton Mill as a cotton mill, but apparently thought their first love worth returning to after barely two years� experience in the cotton trade. Since its erection this new refinery has been very successful under the management of John Neill; his brother Mr George Neill and the other partners of the firm. The original partners are both dead Mr John Neill Sr on the 1st Dec 1878 and Mr Duncan F Dempster on the 23 Dec 1894
The last was the conversion of the Cotton Mill into a surgar Refinery in 1873- 1874 by a large co-partnery, including Messrs John Cowan of Stoneleigh, Tom Neill, R D Oliphant, Alex Livingstone, and ex Provosts Robert Neill and Dugald Campbell. Under the style of " The Clyde Sugar Refining Co" business was carried on till 1887, the more active management being in the hands of Messrs Tom Neill and RD Oliphant. In that year Mr Tom Neil and some of the other partners retired and the business was continued under the same style by Mr John Cowan for a few years, when it was finally wound up about 1889. Mr Livingstone died about ten years ago, Provost Neill on 18th March 1881, Provost Dugald Campbell on the 27th October 1899 and Mr John Cowan on the 30 Nov 1985. After it became idle it was leased for a short time by the Brewer�s Sugar Co, Ltd, but for some years has lain unworked
The refining of sugar began here about 1777 in a house erected in Balfour St by George Crawford ,William Cunninghame, Andrew Buchanan, William Crawford and Robert Dunsmore, all merchants in Glasgow: James King Sr. John Dunlop and James Aitken, merchants in Port Glasgow; Samuel Crawford, John Buchanan Jr. And Robert Gregory merchants in Greenock carrying on business under the firm of Crawford ,King & Co. The house was sold in 1789 to A M�Pherson & Co who ceased working about 1824. The site now belongs to some members of the Birkmyre family
A second refinery was projected in 1800 by Messrs Peter Macfarlane, merchant in Port Glasgow and Jacob Batieman sugar boiler there. The partners were the gentlemen named and Messrs Archilbald Falconer Sr. Joseph Dougall and James M�Lean merchants in Port Glasgow, William Ewing shipmaster there and John Taylor merchants there. Mr John Christopher Keyser sugar boiler was subsequently assumed as partner. The Style of the firm was Messrs Peter Macfarlane & Co. The premises were afterwards occupied by Messrs James M�Lean & Co. and about 1824 were used as a candy manufactory, while in 1864 they were used as a store and belonged to Messrs James Richardson & Co. The building has been removed years ago, the site now belongs to the Gourock Ropework Company.
- In 1805 a third refinery was built in Princes St by the said Peter Macfarlane & Co, with Messrs Falconer, Dougall, Ewing and John Taylor as partners This building after a time was converted into a warehouse. Since then it was converted into a lodging house , then burnt and about 1872 the Port Glasgow Town Hall was erected on the site.
In 1809 Messrs James Fairrie & Co erected a refinery at Cartsdyke Bridge; the - site had been purchased or feued by James Fairrie from Rev William Willis, minister of the Associated Congregation at Crawfordsdyke in 1797. His firm secured two additional pieces of ground in 1811 and 1815. Mr James Fairrie who had been a shipmaster for many years carried on this refinery till his death at Greenock on the 22nd December 1815.Three of his sons continued it and although their ages were then only 25 20 and 17 they soon made their mark. Mr John Fairrie first in Greenock and later in London; Mr Thomas Fairrie in Greenock all his life and Mr Adam Fairrie first in Greenock and then in Liverpool. The three brother continued in their partnerships while they lived each at the head of the businesses they established and carried on in London, Liverpool and Greenock. The refinery was frequently enlarged and was in full operation until it was destroyed by fire in 1846 after which it was never rebuilt. The site is now part of Messrs Scott & Sons�s yard.
Messrs. William Macfie & Co, commenced business as refiners in Leith in 1084 in Elbe St, the refinery being partly furnished with utensils brought from one of the old refineries at Aberdeen. This house was burned in 1822, and was rebuilt on the " fireproof" principle, being the first of the kind in Scotland. In 1825 the patent mode of refining was substituted for the ancient method. On 22 April 1829, it was again burned , fireproof notwithstanding , where upon the firm bought with characteristic promptitude from Mr Bell of Ramisscales Dumfries, " The Edinburgh Sugar Refinery" then lyying idle, where they continued refining sugar for some years. Their Leith house was promptly rebuilt and worked till finally cosed in the forties. Messrs" Macfie's Edinburgh Refinery was in Sugarhouse Close, 160 Canongate , opposite the Canongate Churchyard and the Old Tolbooth. A tenement of dwelling houses now occupies the site. which is still, i believe, owned by some member of the family. Messrs Macfie's Edinburgh office appears to have been finally colsed in 1851 or 1852. Since their house closed ( some years earlier than that date) no sugar has been refined in that city.
LiverpoolMessrs. Macfie & Sons began refining in Liverpool in th year 1838 in the refinery which had been Hutchinson's situated in Temple St. unders different landlords, the firm of Macfie & sons worked that house as tennants until 1873. In 1841 they purchased from Messrs. Wainwright & Company the refinery that firm had worked in Batchelor Street. That House was destroyed by fire in 1846 and rebuilt and it is still worked by the firm. Some years after the purchase of the Batchelor Street house the rented another house in William Street which they remained tenants till they ceased working molasses when it was pulled down.
Regarding Messrs Fairrie & Co Limited, the only addition to the paragraph respecting the family which might be made here is that on the formation in 1866 of that company, the late Messrs. Robert Macfie and John Graham who had retired from Messrs. Macfie & Sons firm in 1864, associated themselves with the new company and one of their sons assists Mr James Fairrie and his sons in the management of the business.
Goole , EnglandThe Only refinery , so far as I am aware in one uilt by Mr James Duncan of London, about 1890-1891, and which is really at Rawcliffe, about four miles inland from Goole. This house was exposed for sale in October of 1893 and bought by Messrs. Macfie & Sons of Liverpool. After making many alterations and additions work commenced in January 1895, but it was closed in July of the following year. It now stands idle, but I understand is kept in excellent order, and could be retarted on very short notice.
Letter from J W Macfie to his son J W S Macfie following the publication of the 1901 book on the Sugar industry by John Hutheson ( this letter was glued to the back of he original volume of the book in my possession)
| Rowton Hall
22 Januy 1902
My Dear J W S,
Many thanks for yours & for the trouble taken about Gamble livery, I cannot think how I missed seeing it in Fox Daviies.
I have written Eleanor Gamble explaining the matter & she will probably consult " Arsson & Families".
Did you see the review " Sugar Industry " a Hutchison book on the sugar trade in the Daily Post today, 22 Januy..
I think the Editor will have to be written to as surely no history of the Liverpool sugar trade can be complete without mention of the name of R A Macfie who being in business in Glasgow & acting as agent for the National Bank of Scotland ( of which his father was an ( original) director) induced his Father and Uncle to open a business in Liverpool and came to Liverpool in October or Sept 1838 and started the sugar house in temple Street and pushed the business till the name of macfie was known all over the Kingdom and who was not a nominal head but the mainstaying and consulting mind and largest sharholder after the death of his father and Uncle till his retirement in 1868 when his interest came to me.
Since the Greenock sugar house had to be shut up owing to losses and bad management against your grandfather's wish, as he wished to have it under Liverpool management & send Mr Easton there to manage. The whole business has been concentrated in Liverpool but at no time was Robert Macfie even senior in any way or at any time.
R A Macfie also took so prominent a part in Liverpool the whole of his residence in England is Religious, Philanthorpic, chartiable & Camber of Commerce work that surely it is an ommision not mentioning him.
William Macfie's claim to nominal headship is simply that he was the oldest of three juniors admitted the same day as partners.
Your afectiate Father
J W Macfie
Sugar Plantations Island of Tabago
Parish in which Estate located
Name of Estate
Name of Proprietor
Nature of cultivation
Hermitage & Campbelltown (2)
Mt. St. George (8)
Grange & Old Grange (14)
Golden Grove (17)
HENDERSON & Co
W. Sauger TUCKER
John MCCALL & Co
R. B. ANDERSON
H. Hislop TUCKER *
E. W. DICKINSON
Paula BENNETT & others
Heirs of Christmas MURPHY
Rv Joseph TURPIN
Heirs of HAMILTON
R. A. MACFIE
A. C. HOPE
HUTSON & Co
W. D. PHILLIPS
D.F. & H.O.D DAVIDSON
heirs of Jas. HAMILTON
G. L. LATOUR
Heirs of John B. MURRAY
Sugar cane & cocoanuts
Cocoa & provision grounds
Cocoa & cocoanut
3 acres provision ground
Cocoa, sugar, rubber, nutmegs, coffee,
Rubber, coffee, cocoa
Coacoa & cocoanuts
Provision chiefly, & cocoa
Cocoa & cocoanuts, high wood
Was until recently in canes
Sgar cane & cocoa and cocoanuts
Sugar cane & cocoanuts
Sugar cane & cocoanuts
Provision ground and cocoanuts
Cocoa, rubber, nutmegs, sugar and stock farm
Cocoa, rubber, nutmegs, sugar
Provision ground, small quantity
Cocoa, nutmegs, india rubber, coffee, sugar
Craig Hall (22)
Mary's Hill (23)
Orange Hill (25)
The Whim (26)
M.A. Des VIGNES
Heirs Mrs. MACGILLIVRAY
HERDERSON & Co.
West India Rubber Plantation
Cane and Cocoa
Cocoa and nutmeg
Pasture and provision grounds
Pasture and provision grounds
Sugar cane and provisions
The sugar cube
Note by Derck Marquis
" There is a story, almost certainly totally aprocryphal, once told in the family ( Marquis) that a young and enthusiastic Marquis, possibly Robert, burst into the office of a very senior Macfie and said " I've discovered a way of making sugar stick into hany cubes" ( he could already see the advantage of being ables to say" Two lumps, please") Drawing himself up to his full height Macfie is said to have replied " Young man, as I have sepnt my entire life trying to refine sugar so that there are no lumps in it and it flows like dry salt, I am not in the least interested in your discovery, Please leave." Robert is said to have gone off and told his story to a certain Mr Tate who seemed to be very interested.