The History of Leith

May 2, 2012

The old Leith Sugar House Company

In Water Lane was the establishment of the old
Leith Sugar House Company. The circumstances
that Leith was a central port for carrying on West
Indian trade, where vessels could then be fitted
out more easily than on the Clyde, and at a lower
rate than at London—besides the savings on freight
and charges—encouraged the West Indian planter
to make it a place for his consignments. Thus a
house for baking sugars was set up in Edinburgh
in 1751, and the manufacture was still carried on
in 1779 by the company that instituted it.
That of Leith was begun in 1757 by a company,
consisting chiefly of Edinburgh bankers ; but by
1762 their capital was totally lost, and for some
time the Sugar House remained unoccupied, till
some speculative Englishmen took a lease of it,
and revived the manufacture.
As these men were altogether without capital,
and had to fall back upon ruinous schemes to
support their false credit, they were soon involved
in complete failure, but were succeeded by the
Messrs. Parkers, who kept up the manufacture for
about five years.
“The house,” says Arnot, “was then purchased
by a set of merchants in Leith, who, as they began
with sufficient capital, as they have employed in
the work the best refiners of sugar that could be
procured in London, and as they pay attention
to the business, promise to conduct it with every
prospect of success.”

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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