Silvertown, the sweetest place in the whole UK, 2017
Where’s the sweetest place in Essex? There used to be a rock factory in Southend, that was a former chapel; you weren’t supposed to but you could just open the door at the side, look in and see and hear everything that was going on. Tiptree and Wilkin and Sons jam factory? You might think so but Silvertown, as this commentary from the PS Waverley says, is home to the Tate and Lyle Thames Refinery. Just to clarify, it is a cane sugar refinery, not beet, it’s one or the other but not both, and molasses is just treacle.
There are some peculiarities in that around the world most sugar comes from cane, 80 to 20%, but in Europe it’s the other way round with most sugar coming from beet. Tate and Lyle argue that it’s a rigged market, they can only import about 700,000 tonnes of raw sugar a year under current EU rules whereas their capacity is 1,000,000+ tonnes, but that will end with Brexit. It is the largest sugar refinery anywhere here, the largest in the EU and one of the largest in the northern hemisphere.
Raw sugar is delivered by ship, unloaded and then goes through the refining process and, like the former rock factory in Southend, it all happens on the one site, the boiling, spinning off of liquid, drying, packaging, dispatch, with all the noises that go with it.