Ste. Madeleine Sugar Factory

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This site is on the Heritage Asset Inventory which is the official list of Trinidad and Tobago’s historic sites that are worthy of notation and preservation. The register is authorized by the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago’s Council and is by no means exhaustive. The sites on the Heritage Asset Register are not owned by the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. The Trust welcomes any historical information and oral histories the public wishes to share with us concerning this site via the feedback form.

usine-st-madeline-postcard

Picture of Usine St Madeline Sugar Factory

Source: The Rise and Fall of King Sugar, National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago

 

The village of Ste. Madeline is named after the estate Usine Ste. Madeline. Ste Madeline estate was owned by Mary Madeleine in 1838. The estate benefitted from the Cipero River which passed through the estate, giving it a considerable advantage over other estates. The River was the main way to transport sugar from the estates to the sea. By 1850 the Ste Madeleine estate was doing well. The estate was later taken over by the Colonial Company which led the way in the joining of estates and modernization of the sugar production process at Ste. Madeline. Around 1870-1872 the Usine or factory was built on the estate by George Fletcher & Co. of Derby, England, for the Colonial Company. The Company at the point in time was investing in upgrading machinery and transport facilities in British Guiana and Trinidad. It spent £213,000 on the construction of the Usine at Ste Madeline (Besson, 2018). In 1859 the Cipero Tramway was established. This was an agricultural line connecting the Cipero Wharf in San Fernando to Usine Ste. Madeleine. It initially used mules for transportation but in 1861 the line was extended east to Princes Town and in 1864 the first steam locomotive was introduced (Kautzor, 2014).  A railway was set up to transport cane from the estates to the Usine.

 

This new Usine came with new changes to the processing of sugar. The Company introduced Vacuum Pan Process which at the point in time was only used by the Brechin Castle Estate (Anthony, 1988). The highest grade was the golden sugar, which sold for 9 cents per pound (Anthony, 1988). This was also the first central sugar factory in Trinidad and Tobago, which meant that cane from surrounding estates were sent there for processing. It was the largest sugar factory at the point in time in the British Empire.

 

In the 1950s Tayte and Lyle purchased Usine Ste. Madeleine, making it the colony’s and later nation’s largest producer of sugar, molasses, rum and bagasse.

 

Sources:

Anthony, Michael.1988. Towns and Villages of Trinidad and Tobago. Port of Spain: Circle Press.

Besson, Gerard. 2018. Sweet Sorrow: The Timeline of Sugar in Trinidad and Tobago,

16th–18th Century. The Caribbean History Archives. http://caribbeanhistoryarchives.blogspot.com/2018/12/sweet-sorrow-timeline-of-sugar-in.html

Kautzor, Thomas. 2014. The Railways of Trinidad. https://www.internationalsteam.co.uk/trains/trinidad01.htm

National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago. The Rise and fall of King Sugar. http://www.natt.gov.tt/sites/default/files/pdfs/The-Rise-and-Fall-of-King-Sugar.pdf

Outdoors Trinidad. Ste. Madeleine Train History. https://www.trinoutdoors.com/pages/other%20places.htm#Ste_Madeline_Train_History

University of the West Indies. The Usine, St. Madeleine, A Central Sugar Factory in Trinidad. Michael Goldberg Postcard Collection. http://hdl.handle.net/2139/5181

https://uwispace.sta.uwi.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2139/5181/GoldF10_51B.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

 

Other Known Name: Usine Ste Madeleine

Address: M1 Ring Road

Town/City: Ste Madeleine

Region: Princes Town

Site Type: Cultural Heritage

Ownership:

Public Accessibility:

Cultural Community: British

Site Features: Sugar Estates

 

Address:

M1 Ring Road, Ste Madeleine, Princes Town