Lewin’s Mead Sugar House
Address: Hotel du Vin and Bistro, The Sugar House, Narrow Lewins Mead, BS1 2NU
Date: Georgian period (1714-1837)
The Lewin’s Mead Sugar House, which is now the Hotel du Vin, was once a sugar refinery that processed sugar cane. The building has been changed and modernised a lot so it is difficult to imagine the steam and smell from what would have been a very busy factory. In the 17th century, sugar was an expensive luxury item, but by the end of the 18th century it was enjoyed by more people. It was used to sweeten tea, coffee and desserts as well as to make alcoholic drinks like rum. The Georgians developed quite a sweet tooth!
The new craze for sugar meant that there was a massive increase in the number of sugar plantations in the Caribbean and the huge number of slaves needed to plant and harvest the sugar. Bristol was a centre for refining sugar and had over 20 sugar refineries by 1760, which processed over 378,000 kg of sugar cane to supply the local demand.
Many sugar merchants became very rich and bought large estates around Bristol. For example the Codrington family who made a fortune from their sugar plantations in the West Indies owned Dodington House, near Chipping Sodbury.