Tools of the sugar trade in Mauritius

Baton Relay arrives today (01.02.2014) in Mauritius, which is nowadays known as a paradisal holiday destination. Traditionally, it was known for exporting sugar – and it was no surprise that the Scots, particularly the Glaswegians (known for their sweet tooth), were there to help provide the tools to manufacture the sweet stuff.

Records of Duncan Stewart & Co Ltd (UGD52/1/2/2/b)

Records of Duncan Stewart & Co Ltd (UGD52/1/2/2/b)

The business collections of the University Archives hold the records of several Glasgow-based sugar machinery manufacturers, such as Smith Mirrlees, who experienced the boom years in the sugar machine manufacturing industry  of 1878-1884. Another company benefiting from the sugar boom was Duncan Stewart & Co Ltd (and Fletcher & Stewart LTD), of Bridgeton, Glasgow, who supplied countries across the world with sugar machinery. In 1988 they acquired Smith Mirrlees. One of their clients was the Rose Belle Sugar Estate in Mauritius, now the only government-owned sugar estate. Here is just one of their orders for parts from 1893:

Mirrlees Watson & Co. order book (UGD118/2/4/12)

Wonder if any of this machinery still exists in Mauritius today?

With a wealth of information still to be explored in these business collections – here is how one recent researcher on the Sugar Mills machinery got on.

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Filed under Africa, Commonwealth of Nations

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