In 1704 only 760 tons of raw sugar was imported through Liverpool, but by 1785 this had risen to 16,600 tons, supplying a dozen sugar houses in the town. Sugar arrived from Barbados and Demerara as a dark sticky molasses; treacle, syrup, sugar loaves and granulated sugar were all stages in the evolution of the refining process.
Another snippet to plunder – such a massive explosion of industry, and such a sticky one at that, is worth investigating. Sugar, which has a high boiling point, produced fierce burns, and many of the sugar houses were run by Germans, willing to work with the dangerous stuff when Liverpudlians weren’t.
Of all the sugar bakers and refiners in the town, the most famous was Henry Tate, whose sugar money founded the Tate Gallery.