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Greenock, 150 Lynedoch Street, Westburn Refinery

Sugar Refinery (19th Century)

Site Name Greenock, 150 Lynedoch Street, Westburn Refinery

Classification Sugar Refinery (19th Century)

Canmore ID 68388

Site Number NS27NE 21

NGR NS 2789 7533

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/68388

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Inverclyde
  • Parish Greenock
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Inverclyde
  • Former County Renfrewshire

Archaeology Notes

NS27NE 21.00 2789 7533

NS27NE 21.01 NS 2776 7541 offices

Architecture Notes

NS27NE 21.00 27 75

(Location cited as NS 278 753). Westburn refinery was damaged by bombing during the Second World War and partly rebuilt, but some classic red-brick, 6- and 7-storey blocks remain.

J R Hume 1976

This is the last working cane sugar refinery in Scotland.

Information from RCAHMS (MKO) 14 August 1995

Westburn Refinery was founded in 1896 as 'Berryards Refinery', and operated continuously until 1997, apart from a spell between 1941 and 1946, during which it was extensively re-built following air-raid bomb damage. After its take-over by Tate & Lyle in 1976, it became the last survivor from a group of at least a dozen sugar refineries which combined to make Greenock one of the most important sugar producing centres in the UK.

The Greenock Refinery produced sugar from raw cane sugar, which was delivered to the James Watt Dock, where it was stored in huge polychrome-brick warehouses. Closure of the refinery resulted from tight European Union quotas and high taxes on cane sugar, which is imported mostly from the Caribbean, the purpose being to protect the interests of European sugar beet farmers. The result has been that, although sugar cane is 70% sugar and sugar beet only 17%, trade restrictions allowed Tate & Lyle to retain only one cane refinery, the company choosing to opt for its plant in London.

The Greenock Refinery occupies a site of 9.5 acres, at the heart of which are six- and seven-storeyed red-brick buildings, within which most of the refining processes took place. There are also detached office buildings at the west side of the site, and a large block of buildings on the north side containing filling, packing, despatch and warehousing departments. Steam for many processes was provided by coal-fired boilers in a boiler house which also contained it's own steam-powered electricity generating station. There were plans to demolish most of the refinery buildings following closure.

Visited by RCAHMS (MKO) December 1997

Tate and Lyle 199[?]

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