Type: Ruin
Parish: St.George
Founding date: 1669
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Current Status:

There is nothing left standing on this site to indicate where the original estate works or house might have been located. However, Mackie (Mackey) Hill would have been the logical site which overlooks the surrounding flat land and there is an old brick cistern on the property. This eventually became the site of the factory known as the Antigua Sugar Factory, one of the largest factories on the island.

Estate History/ Timeline

1667:“500 acres at New North Sound formerly called ‘Bucks Plantation. John Gunthorpe went to Philip Warner in 1667. John Gunthrop purchased from Maj. Mussenden.”

1678: “John Gunthrop (d.1693) purchased 500 acres at North Sound in 1678.” Vere Oliver Vol.II p.38 In a disputation over the ownership of Buck’s Plantation in New North Sound Division, Antigua, a claimant in 1687 was Margaret Henderson, mother of the infant Charles Henderson, who, as nephew of the late Archibald Henderson (banished from Antigua in 1674), she claimed as the rightful owner. In her answers to the Lord Justices, she cited that John Gunthorpe was the “…son-in-law to that Egregious Traytor John Cooke, Solicitor General to the pretended court of Justice against King Charles the Martyr…..”,

In the mid 1800‘s Gunthorpe’s estate together with Donovan’s converted to steam. This is mostly flat arable land which was easy to cultivate. Although the sugar factory is often referred to as Gunthorpe’s, this estate has become overshadowed by the construction and operation of the Antigua Sugar Factory and is one of Antigua’s most important sites. Nearby surrounding estates were Painter’s , Fitche’s Creek, Weir’s and North Sound.

1897: when a West Indian Royal Commission visited Antigua, there were 71 factories all making muscovado sugar. 54 of these were steam mills and 17 windmills. It was a time when sugar beet was swamping the UK market and it was realized that a drastic change had to be made in manufacturing methods in order for the industry to survive. A brief description of the opening ceremony of the Antigua Sugar Factory which took place at four o’clock in the afternoon on December 19th, 1904, tells us that “proceedings commenced with an impressive religious ceremony, performed at the portal of the buildings by the Rev. H.Y. Shepherd, the Rector of St. John’s, and the Rev. A. Shankland, the Rector of St. George’s. Lady Knollys then started the fly-wheel, naming the engine “DuBuisson”. Amid the cheers of those present. Mrs. Watts, the wife of Dr. Francis Watts, then proceeded to feed the mill with the first canes. The machinery worked most smoothly, and to quote the words of the Antigua Standard, “the engines continued to exert themselves in a manner most suggestive of the ingenuity of man vying with his Creator in the direction of energy as powerful as useful, but controllable human will.” Those present then inspected the buildings, which were tastefully decorated. Mr. Thomas D. Foote proposed the health of the Governor, and Sir Courtenay Knollys responded.

Antigua Sugar Factory, Ltd. 1905-1954. The Antigua Sugar Factory (ASF) and Antigua Syndicate Estates, Ltd. (ASE) were completely symbiotic and combined, the history of which has never been completely clear to the man on the street. It is to be noted that all of the players with shares in ASE were also on the Board of Henckell Du Buisson & Co. in London to whom ASF reported and was registered as a company. From the ASF and ASE minutes along with a brief history by George Moody-Stuart, I will attempt to reconstruct. “George Moody-Stuart CBE (1851-1940) first visited Antigua (and St. Kitts) in 1980. Although he never lived there, he used to visit for several weeks every year between New Year and Easter, which was unusual for a London-based merchant at that time. He was responsible for setting up the central factories in Antigua (ASF) 1904 and St. Kitts (1911), which were both owned by London companies and managed by Henckell DuBuisson & Co. (I was never able to establish the names of these London companies.) He remained chairman of these companies until 1937, when he was succeeded by his elder son Mark. His youngest son, Alexander, went to Antigua in 1924, in an attempt to bring higher standards of agriculture to more of the cane areas. He formed Antigua Syndicate Estates (ASE), which he managed until his retirement in 1961, when ASE was acquired by ASF. He was knighted in 1960. Sir Alec’s eldest son, George, became general manager of ASF from 1961-1966, by which time it became clear that sugar production in Antigua was no longer an economic proposition. The government purchased ASF (which included ASE) and struggled on for a few years before accepting that there was no alternative to closure.” George Moody-Stuart A brief history of the Antigua Syndicate Estates, Ltd.

1939: the first meeting of the Gunthorpes Sugar Estates Ltd was held on January 4th.

1940: the Gunthorpe Sugar Estates had reissued 18,000 shares at £1 each to three DuBuissons (James Memoth DuBuisson, Mrs. Edith Manus DuBuisson, and William Herman DuBuisson), Alexander Moody-Stuart, and Judith Gwendolyn Moody-Stuart. This signaled the final shift to the next generation, as George Moody-Stuart was offered shares but declined (Antigua Syndicate Estates minutes, 4 January, 1940; 1 May, 1940). The estates to be controlled by the new company were the “Gunthorpes” estates: Cassada Gardens, Painter’s, Tomlinson, Fitche’s Creek, Donovan’s, Gunthorpe’s, North Sound, Cedar Valley, Galley Bay, and Five Islands. This is also the year that the Antigua Sugar Factory was built. In August 1943, Antigua Gunthorope’s Estates, Ltd. was restructured to become the Antigua Syndicate Estates, Ltd.
At the request of the factory, R.S.D. Goodwin and Edward Scott-Johnson, directors of George W.Bennett-Bryson—Robert Bryson had retired and returned to England but remained a partner and shareholder—were invited to become directors of the Gunthorpes Estates, Ltd. (Antigua Syndicate Estates minutes, 2 April 1943). Goodwin became chair of the company in August (at £500 a year, in addition to his Bryson’s salary; Moody-Stuart, as general manager, earned £1,000 a year). The restructuring agreement was signed on August 1,1943. Over the next year, the “new” company—renamed Antigua Syndicate Estates, Ltd.—”bought” the original estates, as well as Tomlinson and the tractor workshop, from Gunthorpes Sugar Estates, Ltd., and then proceeded to buy virtually every remaining producing estate: Delaps, the Bennett-Bryson estates, the jointly owned Bennett-Bryson/R.S.D. Goodwin estates, the Codrington and Tudway estates (these in exchange for shares in the company), and, after a long and unpleasant negotiation, the remaining Maginley estates. In 1946, it bought the Dew’s estates. Bennett-Bryson—Robert Bryson had retired and returned to England but remained a partner and shareholder—were invited to become directors of the Gunthorpe’s Estates, Ltd. (Antigua Sugar Estates minutes, 2 April 1943).
The original company’s estates were Cassandra Garden, Cedar Valley, Fitche’s Creek and North Sound were bought for £30,700; while Delap’s was bought for £7,734. The Bennet-Bryson estates were Sanderson’s, Long Lane / Lavington’s /Ffry’s, Burke’s/La Roche/WIllis Freeman’s, Jolly Hill  (Jolly Hill , Blubber Valley, Ffry’s, Montero’s, Yorke’s and the Cove), Hawes and Mercer’s Creek, Cochrane’s and Thomas’, and were bought for £39,000, and the Bennett-Bryson/R.S.D. Goodwin estates (owned 2/3 by Bennett-Bryson and 1/3 by Goodwin) were Morris Looby’s , Bodkin’s, Parry’s and Diamond, all bought for £7,400. The Dews estates were Gilbert’s, Pares/Cochran’s, and Comfort Hall /Creek Side. Five Islands and Galley Bay were retained by the Moody-Stuarts in the 1943 transactions. In addition, Weir’s was leased as was most of Langford’s (from the government in 1945 – after the Land Settlement Board removed the tenants). Negotiations with Mary Camacho in 1947 for Carlisle and part of Barnes Hill fell through but were eventually settled.

1955: they got rid of all working stock on the estates (mules, horses, cattle) and maintained only such livestock as would assist local supply of meat. Cost of water, food and labour charges rendered them unduly costly. In 1958, the Board approved the use of motorcycle transport for use by the managers and overseers on the estates which proved a success. They were not as costly or labour intensive as the use of horses, but tended to have a problem in extremely wet weather.

1957: Gaynor’s was acquired.

1958: Weir’s acquired.

1960: Sir Alexander Moody-Stuart resigned due to ill-health as Manager of the Company’s estates, but agreed to serve on the advisory board. The Syndicate Estates had many fingers in many pies. They owned their own concrete block plant and not only repaired and built houses on the estates for their managers and overseers, but bid successfully in 1956 on a house for George W. Bennett Bryson & Co in Hodges Bay for $31,441. They built and maintained the railway system used to transport cane to ASF; they owned and leased most of the heavy equipment such as trucks and tractors and repaired them; They imported the Gyrotiller in 1928 which was a massive piece of machinery (the earth shook when it worked); they raised milch and beef cattle; they raised corn for feed and to supply the corn meal factory; they planted cotton as well as sugar cane; they exported mules and horses to a Mr. Lignieres in Guadaloupe when the animals were no longer productive; they operated stone quarries in Parham, Tomlinsons and Bendals; they made and kept coffins to bury the dead on their estates; they contributed L200 per annum to the University of the West Indies and gave to many charitable concerns; they leased cane land to peasants and in many cases offered squatters a chance to own the land at low rates; they were constantly approached by Government to sell off land cheaply for village extensions, schools, grave yards, etc…. Most importantly of all in 1959 “As shareholders are aware, the Company (ASF) took over ASE on the basis of 2 shares in ASF for 3 in ASE. It must be some time before the work of the two Companies can be integrated, but your Board is confident that this was a wise move and will ultimately prove to be for the benefit of the Company.” 40th Annual Report to 31st August 1959 (ASF). Very seldom did money change hands, instead the value was exchanged for a percentage of shares in the company. (on all this see Antigua Sugar Estates minutes, 2 February 1943 through to 1968 – Antigua & Barbuda Archives). The Antigua Sugar Factory, Ltd.

1829: Gunthorpe’s contained 690 acres – 280 slaves. In 1921, 633 acres. Every estate had a nearby burial ground with some of those tombstones still visible in the bush today, where the owners and their families were buried. There was often a slave burial ground nearby where the graves were marked by the spider lily plant. There was a small ledger at Gunthorpe’s, which read – “To the Memory of/Thomas B. Freeman/Who was Born Anno Domini 1797 and /departed This Life Sep. 13th 1827/Aged 30 years – 8 lines follow. Also – Sacred/to the Memory of/Henry Freeman/who departed this life/December 15th Anno Domini 1837/aged 38 years/ – 8 lines follow.” Vere Oliver p.269 Another tombstone – Sacred/to the memory of/George Vurt/who deceased on the/5th September 1881….33 years – fragment. Vere Oliver Vol.I p.91 “In the foundation at the site of the one of the houses on the factory housing complex, the house known as the ‘Stamer’s’ house, there were two tombstones forming part of the foundation. As children we always got the shivers when passing by. However, I do not remember the names on the tombstones. “ Joslyn (nee Lake) Evelyn

In 1833, Parliament finally abolished slavery in the British Caribbean, Mauritius and the Cape. The slave trade had been abolished in 1807 but it took another 26 years to effect the emancipation of the enslaved. The legislation of 1833 was the result of a combination of factors where it was felt that the plantation owners should be compensated for their slaves who were to be freed. The amount of 20 million pounds , a huge amount in those days, was divided up between all slave owners. Margaret Gunthorpe Not a Claimant Antigua 350 (Gunthorpe’s; St. George’s) 1871 £3922 3s 0d (297 enslaved) 1851:Antigua Almanac shows Gunthorpe’s of 690 acres belonging to Heirs of W. Gunthorpe. 1860: Encumbered Estates Act. 1864-1892: Papers, Correspondence and Plans, Gunthorpe (deceased): Gunthorpe’s Antigua No.26 Held by The National Archives – Colonial Office. Ref. #CO 441/5/11

1837: Francis Shand of Woolton Wood near Liverpool, West India Merchant, owned large estates in Antigua. In 1837 married Lydia Byam of Cedar Hill at St. George’s. Vere Oliver Vol.III p.78

1858: Gunthorpe’s estate in Antigua was sold by the West India Encumbered Estate Court for £2,000 to Francis Shand.

1897: Following the recommendations of the Norman Commission of 1897, to invest in Antiguan sugar production by building a central refinery to produce grey crystals, in the negotiations that followed the Antiguans were rebuffed in their attempts to maintain control over the process. The grant to build the refinery was given to a British company with both capital and the ear of the Colonial Office. Within a few years, Henckell DuBuisson & Co. of 5 Putney Lane, London, owned most of the producing estate’s, controlled the Legislative Council, and was setting the tone for social relations. Henckell DuBuisson incorporated as a private company in 1920 as a West Indian Sugar Trader. It is my understanding that their interests were later sold to Tate & Lyle. The Antigua Sugar Factory (ASF) was built in 1904 by the London company Henckell Du Buisson & Co., 5 Lawrence Pountney Hill, London EC4, under the direction of George Moody-Stuart CBE by the firm Mirrlees Watson & Co. Glasgow (est.1840). The Imperial Government assisted financially by allocating £15,000 for Gunthorpe’s and £3,000 for Bendals.

1918: The riots of 9th March 1918. On the corner of Newgate and Popeshead Street there is a stone marker with the inscription “9th March, 1918. This commemorates the infamous riot where three people were killed and fifteen were injured. It was a year of severe drought which lead to deprivation and poverty and a dispute arose over the estate owner’s method of paying for cane to be cut. Instead of by the row they wanted to pay by the ton. The workers could see how much they cut by the row, but once loaded onto carts and transported to the factory yard to be weighed, there was no way they could actually see what they were being paid for. Cutters at Delaps refused to cut cane and a workers meeting, the first ever, was held by Charlie Martin at All Saints. Cutters refused to cut cane unless fields were burnt first and cane fires were set at Villa, Gambles and Palmer Jelly. When cane cutters struck at North Sound and Sanderson’s March 1st martial law was proclaimed and George Weston and Willie Collins were accused of setting fires. The furious crowd became unruly and when Governor Best and the Anglican Bishop tried to plead with the people they were met with stones and empty bottles. The Riot Act was read and Police Chief Colonel Edward Bell, said that shot’s would be fired in an hour if the crowd did not disperse. When they did not, the police fired into the crowd. 1918: new laws were put into effect ……acre increasing 1/2d for every 5 tons or part thereof above 9 tons. A sliding Scale for Plant Canes above the minimum rate shall be fixed on fields averaging more than 14 tons to the acre increasing 1/2d per line for 5 tons or part thereof above 14 tons The minimum rate to be paid at 12 0‘clock noon Saturday The Surplus rate to be paid on the following Saturday by 12 o’clock noon on production of Certificate from the Factory of the tonnage per Acre of field cut to each individual cutter. Tiers to be paid by the Cutters at the rate of 9(d) per day by their respective tiers. Source: Enclosure Best to Long, 28th March 1918 PRO, CO 152/358/108353.

1921: Gunthorpe’s contained 531 acres.

1926: the Antigua Sugar Factory was revamped in order to produce white crystal sugar which obtained a higher rate on the market. 1938: The Lands of Antigua & Barbuda Sugar Factory, Limited and the Antigua Syndicate Estates, Limited (Vesting) Act. April 1938 and Register Book 0 Folio 14. All that piece of parcel of land forming part of Gunthorpe’s and Fitche’s Creek Estates approximately 103.373 acres as contained in Certificate of Title No.31. 1939: the inauguration of the Antigua Trades and Labour Union which marked the first meaningful attempt by the workers to gain their rights.

1939: the Bendal’s Sugar Factory closed and some of the machinery was transferred including a 10-ton Vacuum Pan and pump. It was built at Gunthorpe’s to produce initially 3,000 tons of sugar per annum. The completed factory cost £45,359 pounds sterling and the first crop produced 1,634 tons of sugar. By 1907 it had increased to 4,230 tons, by 1913, 7,336, when modifications were made to provide for the increase. Mr. L.I. Henzell OBE was Chief Engineer in 1904 and General Manager by 1907. Mr. G.A. Macandrew was in charge of the ASF office from 1904-1920 when he retired. Several of the staff from Bendal’s Sugar Factory were also transferred to ASF including James McIndoe Watson, junior engineer.

1940: The Antigua Trade & Labour Union (AT&LU) received its legal status on March 3, 1940. In his remarks, President of the Union Wigley George, dedicated the day to the original “Thirty-niners” who were the leaders of the labour struggles in the 1930’s. (The Antigua Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) was formed in 1967.)

1940: the Antigua Sugar Estates had reissued 18,000 shares at £1 each to three DuBuissons (James Memoth DuBuisson, Mrs. Edith Manus DuBuisson, and William Herman DuBuisson), Alexander Moody-Stuart, and Judith Gwendolyn Moody-Stuart. This signaled the final shift to the next generation, as George Moody-Stuart was offered shares but declined (Antigua Syndicate Estates minutes, 4 January 1940; 1 May 1940). The estates to be controlled by the new company were the “Gunthorpe’s” estates: Cassada Garden, Paynter’s, Tomlinson’s, Fitche’s Creek, Donovan’s, Gunthorpe’s, North Sound, Cedar Valley, Galley Bay, and Five Islands. antiguahistory.net/upload

1941: The Antigua Sugar Factory, Ltd. published Cane Returns for 1941 Crop. A total acreage of 6,497 for estates under cultivation, 2,546 1/2 peasant land on estates under cultivation giving a total tonnage of cane delivered 144,691. The 86 estates still growing cane delivered to ASF are shown as follows, while the individual tonnage and acreage records are recorded under the individual estates. The estates not on the list tend to be in areas showing development, ie. Winthorp’es now the airport, Barnes Hill, Crabb’s & Carlisle’s, etc…. or those belonging to Montpelier which was still in production. Several of the estates were growing more cotton and others were raising livestock. The names appear in the order on the report. Cassada Gardens, Fitche’s Creek, North Sound Delaps, Tudways, Belvidere, Cocoanut Hall, Weir’s, Morris Looby’s, Parry’s & The Diamond, Merce’rs Creek, Cochran’s & Thomas, Sanderson, Willis Freeman’s, Burke’s, Long Lane & Ffrye’s, Jolly Hill, Belle Vue, Comfort Hall, Pare’s & Cochran’s, Thibou’s, Gilbert’s, Belmont, Creekside, Codrington’s, Gaynor’s, Duer’s, Collin’s, Millar’s, Blake’s, Langford’s, Judge’s, High Point, Winthorpe’s-Date Hill, Blackman’s, Otto’s, Cedar Hill, Lyon’s, Yepton’s, Friar’s Hill, Renfrew’s, New Division, Buckshorne, Gamble’s, Mathew’s, Jonas, Crosbie’s, Weatherill’s, Marble Hill, Tyrrell’s, Richmond, Parson Maul’s, Body Pond’s, Dunning’s, Greencastle (Govt), Jenning’s, Seaforth, Regby (Rigby), Montero, Follies, Follies (Govt), Brook, The Wood, Herberts & Briggins, Oliver’s, Patterson’s, Red Hill, Clare Hall & Golden Grove, Rendezvous Bay, Sawcolt’s & Sage Hill, Mill Hill & Walling’s, Cade’s Bay, Cook’s, Greencastle, Orange Valley, Union, Willock’s, Lightfoot. 1944: Gunthorpes Sugar Estates changed to Antigua Syndicate Estate, Ltd. Codrington Estates sold for £3,500 and £125,000 in Syndicate shares.

1951:1,006 hours were lost due to industrial action and only 18,500 tons of sugar was produced. 01 January,
1951: Memorandum of agreement between the Antigua Trades & Labour Union and the Antigua Sugar Factory. For further information contact: The National Archives, Ref. #CO 152/539/4 William Edwards who worked on the erection of the Factory in 1904 retired at the end of the 1953 crop after more than 50 years of service. (picture) Many others were recognized for their years of service, 30 and 25 years respectively.

1955: Diesel locomotives replaced the steam. Antigua had 50.08 miles of rail traversing this island and held the record for the highest density of rail track in the world. One of which ended up at Point wharf in St. John’s harbor where bagged sugar was offloaded at the warehouses awaiting shipment, the remains of which are still visible today (2016).

1958: was one of the worst years for ASF due to drought and unrest with labour.

1959: a dispute at ASFactory- workers struck – many of the fields on the estates set afire. A small wage increase resulted.

1959: ASE sold out to ASF with transfer of all shares on the basis of 2 shares ASF for 3 in ASE. The Unions were gaining strength at this time and supported the workers who were agitating for higher wages. With constant strikes and factory stoppage, ASF turned to importing St. Lucian cane cutters in order to take off the crop.

1960 January: the Rottenberg Enquiry Report by Prof. Simon Rottenberg invited by the Government of Antigua to enquire into the Antigua Sugar Industry. Associate Professor, Department of Economics at the University of Chicago. It was held in Princess Margaret School. George Moody-Stuart represented HDB, Mr. Park for Peasant Development Officer (PDO), Jimmy Watson manager for ASF, David White Chief Engineer, J. McFarlane Chief Chemist and Sandy Wilson Chief Accountant. The purpose of the enquiry was to (a) Revue to economic position of ASF and the industry, (b) investigate cost of production of sugar at all stages, (c) investigate cause of dissatisfaction among peasant cane growers and (d) discuss with all parties engaged in the industry and (e) submit a report and recommendations to Government. In conclusion it showed that there were many unfounded beliefs by the peasant community as to how the operations of the business was run and it was recommended that there be closer relations between the PDO and the peasants in disseminating information. It also showed that the sugar industry was in serious trouble.

1961: The Mackenzie Enquiry was conducted. At that time ASF employed 477 -831 employed through 1957-62 depending on crop and non-crop time. Antigua & Barbuda Archives

1962: The Windward (Antigua) Sugar Factory Co. Ltd. was formed by several of the private estate owners owned by Maginley, Goodwin, Sir Codrington and Ernest Dew giving them all shares in ASF.

1962: 102 cane-cutters were imported from St. Lucia. 1965: W.P. Cocking was the General manager at ASF and George Moody-Stuart remained the Director of the Company. The crop this year only produced 14,040 tons of sugar due to drought and labour problems.

1965: ASF agreed that the Antigua Government would purchase 308.333 ordinary shares for $1,000,000BWI (£208.333 which would provide a cash investment which would protect jobs being the main employer on the island). This obviously did not help the situation and upon finishing the crop for 1966 ASF announced on Thursday July 21st that the factory would be closed and would no longer be operating. All work in the fields stopped on 19th June. Bennett Commission Report.

1966: The Antigua Sugar Factory Ltd was to be sold to the Government for $5,400,00.

1967: the Antigua Workers Union was formed and this is the year that Antigua & Barbuda got full internal self government from England. February 23rd, 1967 Gazette. Unrepresented Estates Act. Cap.85. Pursuant to section 32 of the Unrepresented Estates Act Cap.85 the following list of unrepresented Estates in the possession of the administrator of the unrepresented estates as at 31st December 1966, is hereby published.

1967: Government finalized negotiations with the Sugar Factory (Henckell Du Buisson & Co. UK). The Assets of the Sugar Industry was being acquired by the Government for the benefit of the people of Antigua. A Board of Management for the Industry was appointed – Mr. Hugh Burrowes, CBE Chairman, Hon. Kenneth Gomez, Mr. Joseph Lawrence, Mr. Maurice Michael, Mr. George Sheppard, Mr. Anthony Shoul, Mr. Keithlyn Smith and Mr. Percy Yearwood. The Receiver was James McIndoe Watson. In 1967 Mr. Cheeseman appointed General Manager by Government.

April 8th 1967: The Bill for borrowing $5,621,386.08 was approved for the purchasing of the remaining assets of Antigua Sugar Factory Ltd., including the Antigua Syndicate Estates. The Loan Act 1967. The loan was obtained from Royal Bank of Canada on 13,000 acres of arable land being handed over to the manager, Frank Dubeaut and was paid in full 20 years later, 1987, by former Finance Minister John St. Luce in the presence of the Governor General Sir Wilfred Jacobs, Prime Minister V.C. Bird and Agricultural Lands Minister Hillroy Humphries. Act #32 of 1969 removes the land held by Royal Bank mortgage. (picture in Archives)

April 11th, 1967: there appeared in the Workers Voice “Board seek million-dollar loan for operation of Sugar Factory and Estates. The Board appointed Mr. Cheeseman as Manager. Ex workers were recalled to their jobs and grinding operations might possibly start in the next few months.”

1968 : V.C. Bird, First Premier of Antigua & Barbuda (1967) negotiated to purchase the Sugar Factory from Henckell du Buisson & Co. for six and a-half million pounds. In order to borrow the money from the bank he put up as collateral all of the estates recently purchased by the Government. The following Vesting Acts pertain to the sugar factory.

1969: The Lands of Antigua & Barbuda Sugar Factory, Limited and The Antigua & Barbuda Syndicate Estates, Limited (Vesting) Act. 30th December, 1969.

  1. All that piece or parcel of land forming part of Gunthorpe’s and Fitche’s Creek Estates approximately 103.373 acres as contained in Certificate of Title No.31/1936 dated 7th August, 1936 and registered in Register Book N. Folio 31.
  2. All that piece or parcel of land forming part of Gunthorpe’s Estate, approximately 3.7162 acres as contained in Certificate of Title No.3411963 dated 5th March, 1963 and registered in Register Book D1 Folio 34.
    The Estates Listed Under the Act are as follows with the following exceptions:
    Fitches Creek,
    Morris Looby – Bodkins 375 acres PDO $36,000
    Cochran’s 32 acres H.A. Tomlinson $17,000
    Pares & Cochranes 8.2 – H.A. Claxton $4,000
    Creekside – 50 acres privately
    Tudway’s – 5 acres
    Carlisle 1.35 Antigua Government Airport
    Gaynor’s – conveyance 222.00 acres – Antigua Government PDO #11,000
    Table Hill Gordon ? acres – Antigua Government CHAPA $16,362
    Betty’s Hope 8.5 acres – Antigua Government Chapa $7,200

Certificate Title No.10/1940 acres 1805.01163
No.11/1940 acres 240.225
No.22/1943 acres 262.281
No.23/1943 acres 220.077
No.24/1943 acres 188.7223
No.25/1943 acres 113.387
No.26/1943 acres 676.72
No.27/1943 acres .539 (less an area)
No.28/1943 acres 1.395 (less an area)
No.29/1943 acres 2 roods, 30 poles (less an area)
No.30/1943 Isaac Hill less area sold to W.T. Camacho
No.36/1943 acres 987.2139
No.02/1944 acres 769.999
No.04/1944 acres 1246.0682 + 86 acres of swamp
No.39/1944 Building 37 High Street
No.40/1944 acres 191.5109
No.40/1945 acres 1315.035
No.14/1947 acres 262.145
No.16/1947 acres 373.072
No.17/1947 acres 305.2162
No.18/1947 acres 305.324
No.19/1948 acres ———-
No.9/1949 acres 129.06
No.25/1949 acres 27.21
No.13/1951 acres 918.321
No.62/1951 acres 4.946
No.64/1960 acres 123.619
No.34/1963 acres 3.7162
No.492/1965 acres 1
Part I
Gunthorpe’s & Fitche’s Creek 31/1963 acres 103.373
Title #13/1938 – no name – acres 59.5
Betty’s Hope & Comfort Hall 14/1938 acres 5.26
Title # 76/1938 acres 28.9094
Title # 4/1939 acres 24.486
Title # 14/1939 acres 61.12
Title # 26/1939 acres 1.179
Title # 39/1939 acres 4.548
Title # 44/1939 acres 8.341
Title # 45/1939 acres 23.327
Title #47/1939 —————–

1970: Sugar railway had 13 diesel locomotives and 300 cane carts.

1971: The Sugar Factory and estates closed down by the newly elected PLM Government leaving 60% arable land uncultivated. Equipment, machines and locomotives were sold (some to St. Kitts) while the valuable copper tubing, fire blocks, tools and spares just disappeared or were stolen. The railway tracks were uprooted and cut up to make fencing posts. The factory operated until 1972 when it closed down. The sugar was of an inferior quality and the business was no longer sustainable. Most of the machinery was sold to a factory in Barbados while anything remaining has been stripped and sold in the scrap iron trade. The island’s tourism product was beginning to become viable and eventually took over as the major source of employment and revenue for the populace.

1979: It was proposed to rehabilitate and modify the closed factory at Gunthorpes to provide a capacity for producing 5000 tons of sugar annually for local consumption. It was estimated that between the Coca Cola plant, the Dunbar’s jam factory and local consumption that this was a reasonable assumption. Almost ironic that the factory should return to the original size when it was built in 1940 ! Development of 1,400 acres of estate cane and rental of machinery services to small farmers to cultivate 1,750 acres. Estimated to cost $10,523,900. A company from Barbados assisted with the machinery and getting the factory up to speed again.

1979: Antigua Sugar Industry Corporations was formed in order to enable the new Government to purchase machinery to restart the factory and by 1982 the Factory was started up again with the help of a Barbados firm.

1981: Antigua became an Independent Nation.

1985: Antigua Sugar Industry Corp. (Govt.) borrowed $400,000EC from Swiss-American Bank, Ltd. for cultivation and reaping of up to 120 acres for 1985/86 Cotton Crop. The factory continued to produce sugar up until 1988 when it was closed permanently.

1988: After opening in 1980 ASF operated for eight years finally shutting down for good in 1988. The General Managers over the years were: 1907 Leonard Henzell who was the Chief Engineer became the General Manager until 1937 (ret.) when J.C. McMichael OBE, MSM, MI.MechE was promoted from Chief Engineer to General Manager till 1951 (dec.). James McIndoe Watson OBE who was also Chief Engineer in 1952 (junior engineer 1940-1945) became the General Manager in 1954-1961. 1961-1966 George H. Moody-Stuart General Manager . In January 1965-1967 W.P. Cocking was appointed General Manager of ASF while George H. Moody-Stuart was to remain Director.

In 1980 when the factory reopened ————–. Many old photographs exist showing first one stack (or chimney) then two stacks as the factory continued to produce more sugar and several of the loco lines entering the yard. Unfortunately most of the original machinery was sold to factories in Barbados at closure in the 1970’s and the rest have been removed by the scrap iron dealers, leaving very little to show the original layout of the interior factory. Most of the pipes were insulated with asbestos and this is falling off in large chunks making it extremely hazardous and a dangerous environment to walk around in. This would have made a wonderful museum giving the history of the island from the mid 1600’s when the sugar estates were being developed up to the present day, given that our Government is formed out of the Trade Unions that sprang from sugar days. It is not just about the production of sugar but what happened to the island of Antigua when colonised after the demise of the Amerindians and how the island and its people grew to its present day state, the influence of the American Bases and tourism today. The original metal beams are still intact and with photographs to carry the story line, it is still not too late to turn it into a museum. The Museum of Antigua & Barbuda has quite a large collection of blueprints and drawings of ASF machinery, spare parts and locomotives and the Antigua & Barbuda Archives reams of ASF and ASE records. The Sugar Factory complex was also a residential area for the employees who worked there with white management residing on the slight rise to the southwest, and coloured management on the flat land directly west of the factory with the exception of Mr. CF Peters. Many of the houses have been turned into private homes while others have disappeared entirely. There was a large playing field with clubhouse used for cricket matches where cricket is still played today, and a small shop originally started by Mrs. L.I. Henzell at the gate entrance which was used by everyone. The factory was known for its machine tool shop which manufactured parts to keep the factory and locomotives going, but also needed parts for automobiles to cake pans and any part that was needed for literally, in the private sector, anything. The early years of Gunthorpe’s Estate: The earliest records I could find on Gunthorpe’s estate mostly came from Vere Oliver and from those records we learn that the estate was originally called ‘Bucks’.

The Sugar Process

  1. Sugar canes were cut down by field labourers and brought in by light railway.
  2. They were weighed and placed on a cane-carrier to be conveyed into the mill. There they were crushed by a succession of rollers.
  3. The begasse or crushed cane was removed by another conveyor direct to the furnace, where it was used as fuel.
  4. The cane juice was pumped into clarifying tanks in which it was treated with lime to separate the impurities from it.
  5. The pure liquor was then drawn through pipes into the triple effect, an apparatus for economical evaporation consisting of a series of closed vessels in which the juice was boiled to thicken it.
  6. By producing successively lower boiling points in the several vessels through reducing the air pressure in them, the vapor from the juice in the first when heated by steam was made to boil the juice in the second, and that from the second the juice in the third, to which a vacuum pump was attached.
  7. The syrup, as the juice was then called, was transferred to the vacuum pan, in which it was boiled at a low temperature until granulation set in. The progress of crystallization was tested by a `proof stick’. The vacuum pan was then `struck’ or tapped at the bottom, the contents were called massecuite, and transferred to the centrifugals. These were large drums with mesh sides, which were made to revolve at 1,200 times a minute. This drove the molasses out by centrifugal force, leaving behind the sugar, which was packed in sacks and made ready for shipment.
    Heritage Landmarks by Desmond

Fifty years of records 1905-1950.

YearTons of CaneTons of SugarSale price /ton.
190515,8601,634ukl 12.15.05
1928130,48517,088 ukl14.13.01

Looking back over the records one can pick out the years of drought just by looking at the tons of sugar made 1924 – 1931 -1948 and 1954 being the most severe. My Grandmother Sutherland worked at the Sugar Factory for years weighing cane for the Syndicate Estates. I always understood that her husband had that job but when he died she was then given the job at 1/2 his pay. Mrs. Sutherland lived at The Wood at the time and used to walk back and forth to the factory daily to work by Piggot’s village. Helen Abbott. Qzxs Personal memories. I was born at Bendal’s Sugar Factory in 1940 just after the decision was made to close the Bendals factory and transfer all production to the Central Sugar Factory, Gunthorpes. My father, James (Jimmy) McIndoe Watson, was a Scot who arrived in Antigua in 1937 and married my mother, Mae Conacher, a fifth generation Antiguan who had all been involved in the sugar industry through the ages, in 1939. He was a mechanical engineer trained at Mirrlees Watson & Co. in Glasgow and transferred to ASF after dismantling the Bendals machinery where he worked as a junior engineer till 1946 when he was transferred by Henckell Du Buisson & Co. London, (who owned or managed the sugar factories in a lot of the islands) to their factories in St Lucia, Roseau and Cul de Sac. In 1952 the family returned to Antigua and ASF where he became senior engineer and shortly afterwards Manager when Mr. MacMichael died, the then Manager, who had taken over from Leonard Henzell. We at first lived in the little house below Reg Jordan (then Sr. Engineer) which was below the Manager’s house in a row of five houses from the main road. The dock at Parham is still called Jordan dock after him and he was one of the first people to have a motor boat which he kept in Parham. Victor Ferrence of Parham used to be in charge of getting it ready. On the other side was the Lake residence and the Cockburn’s who were on the main road. Other than Mr. Cecil Peters who lived to the west, these was considered the upper management staff houses who were all white. On the other side of the main road were staff houses for families with lower management positions and these were black families such as the Corts and the Mathews. The only person who did not live on the compound per se was LC Wright who did all of the surveying work and who lived on top of Mackay Hill. We loved to walk over to visit and swing on his gallery swing bench with a glass of lemonade. Later we moved to the ‘new’ Jordan house on the flat below presently owned by Dr. Lake and finally to the manager’s house on top the hill. This was lovely old wooden house with a gallery facing north, east and south with two bedroom wings off the central living, dining and kitchen area. Unfortunately, the building was burnt to the ground after it became a nightclub when the factory closed. All that is left are the remains of the servant’s quarters and two old cisterns. It was a carefree way of life, a day when there were several live-in house servants and additional staff from the factory to work in the gardens. If anything was broken or needed repairing it was fixed by factory workers who were all trained in the various trades such as plumber, electrician, brick layer etc…. and the machine tool shop could replicate just about any machine part required, even to the making of cake pans and motor car parts! There was a playground with swings and see saws when we were younger, and later the cricket pitch where we met with the children ‘across the road’ to play cricket or rounders. When we were old enough for bikes we took off through the cane field brakes exploring; the boys had bb-guns or catapults to shoot ground doves which we cooked over an open fire, built club houses on some of the dams which we also fished in and swam off a makeshift dagger-log raft till someone got a leech up their bum! There was a factory van to take us to and from school whether you went to the Convent School, Boys Grammar School or the Antigua Girl’s High School and if that broke down we travelled in the factory ambulance. At one time it was just the children of white management that were transported until one day Mr. Griffith Mathew laid down on the road in front of the van to protest that their children needed an education also and required transportation. After that we all rode together and were friends anyway, from school and the cricket field. There was a fine line of segregation in those days but it was more a social line when black families who were doctors or lawyers were accepted by the white community. It was a time when even some of the Portuguese and Lebanese families could not break into that social structure. We loved crop time and to this day I can still smell it in the air when I drive by the factory that distinctive crop smell which was often referred to by those not exposed, to ‘that stink’, totally different from the bad smell at Weirs. It, however, could just be a figment of my imagination! The soot from the chimney’s blew directly over the compound during crop time (you could see it flying in the air) and our feet were black at the end of the day. So were the sheets and towels which were always white in those days. Everyone told the time of day by the factory horn (hooter) which blew at the end of each shift – no need for a watch in those days, you could hear it all the way to town. We hid in nearby cane fields, pilfered sugar cane to chew and every Saturday we were allowed to take a Captain’s Cigarette can into the factory for a dip out of one of the centrifugals of gooey molasses sugar. Then we would stop at the little shop just outside the gates for a ‘penny bread’ to dip. That was our treat for the week and nothing got better. Memories by Agnes Meeker 2011-2015. Lawrence Gameson proposed to the Museum that several of the locomotives rotting in the bush or stored at various sites on the island, could be refurbished as a static display. An MOU was signed with the Minister of Tourism giving Lawrence permission to work on four different styles of locomotives at cost to him in exchange for any loco bases, bits and pieces which he shipped back to the UK where there is a big interest in rebuilding locomotives. It took four years with Lawrence coming out to Antigua in his spare time and a cost of £60,000 to refurbish a Plymouth engine, (Paul’s), the Hunslet “Bessie” from World War I and The Marion. All four can be viewed in the Museum yard on Long Street, St. John’s, until a home for them has been built out at Betty’s Hope. Several odd pieces such as a worker’s cart and cane carts will add to the collection. This was literally a “last dance, last chance” effort to save some of the machinery from the sugar factory era. It was hard to believe when viewing the rotted carcass that was once a loco, that it could ever be reconstructed. But Lawrence had steel replacement parts tooled in the UK, shipped out by Geest Lines and finally painted with paint from the company that paints the Firth of Forth Bridge in Scotland that should last 20 years. A special thank you also needs to go to Douglas Luery who not only saved many of the locomotives by storing them in places such as Camp Blizard and Caribbean Relay, but for researching the history behind each loco and being hands on in helping Lawrence. Doug has also put together two power points – one extremely technical for historical purposes, and one for public viewing which can be accessed through the Museum of Antigua & Barbuda. For further information there is: The minutes of the Antigua Sugar Factory, Ltd. and the Antigua Syndicate Estates, Ltd. held by the Archives of Antigua & Barbuda. A contract for construction of sugar factory in Antigua and as to advances in connection therewith. Dated 26th October, 1903 by the Antigua Sugar Factory. Factory and Agricultural evaluation of the Antigua Sugar Industry Final report by F.C. Schaffner & Associates 1982, publisher Baton Rouge, LA. USA. Part I Sugar & Empire by Susan Loews – an historical review of Antigua’s sugar industry The Sugarcane Industry by J.H. Galloway Papers on both the Syndicate and Antigua Sugar Factory – Archives of Antigua & Barbuda.

Enslaved People’s History

Based on contemporary research, we have little information to share about the enslaved peoples from this plantation at this time. We do know that the estate contained 690 acres and 280 enslaved people in 1829, right before slavery was abolished in the Caribbean. We will continue our quest for more information about these vital individuals

Legacies of British Slave-ownership £3,922 3s 0d with 297 enslaved. Hardman Earle, Alicia Gunthorpe (nee Jackson, James Gunthorpe and John Haward Turner were all awardees. Margaret Gunthorpe and Thomas Smith were not claimants, Rev. William Gunthorpe was a beneficiary deceased and Francis Shand listed as other association. Legacies of British Slave-ownership claimants. www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/.

Ownership Chronology

  • 1677 Major Mussenden
  • 1678 John Gunthorpe (d.1693)
  • 1750 Col. John Gunthorpe
  • 1790 Hon. William Gunthorpe (1785c-1826) 1777-78 Luffman map
  • 1829 Heirs of Gunthorpe
  • 1851 Heirs of W. Gunthorpe
  • 1858 Francis Shand (1800-1868) md. Lydia Byam (1818-1868)
  • 1872 Horsford Almanac
  • 1904 Gunthorpes Sugar Factory built and becomes The Antigua Sugar Factory, Ltd. head office Henckell DuBuisson & Co. London.
  • 1921 DuBuisson & GM & AM Moody-Stuart
  • 1933 Camacho map
  • 1959 The Syndicate Estates, Ltd.sold their shares to Antigua Sugar Factory, Ltd.
  • 1967 Antigua Sugar Factory bought by Govt. for $5,400,000
  • 1968 Antigua Sugar Factory, Ltd. last crop.
  • 1971 Closed – shut down.
  • 1982 Opened for a brief 6 years.
  • 1988 Closed permanently