Way out east in, appropriately, Factory Road, Silvertown is the Tate & Lyle Thames Refinery – to give it it’s proper name. As part of our trip to the Mystical East, the Cabbie Family couldn’t help but stop by this place for a quick look and snap a couple of photos. You certainly can’t miss it as it dominates the area. Surrounded by not much else, it seems to occupy a part of the riverside that has nothing else to offer, certainly not until you get to the Woolwich Ferry just up the road.
To get to Factory Road itself you have to pretend that you really want to go to City Airport, then take a sneaky turn off the roundabout by the Esso garage, nip across the disused railway tracks and turn left. And then it’s there in front of you, a full blown, no nonsense factory. Not exactly central London I know, but even so I can’t think of another factory this big, so close to town. There used to be the odd brewery of course, Youngs in Wandsworth has gone and that other one in Mortlake soon to follow, but is there another ‘proper’ factory on this scale in London? I can’t think of one off the top of my head.
It’s good to see that they haven’t strayed too far from the original location of Sir Henry Tate’s factory, this site being where he built his 2nd factory in 1878. Sir Henry famously invented the sugar cube and founded his eponymous art gallery. Tate & Lyle didn’t form a partnership until 1921, Abram Lyle being most famous for his Golden Syrup, which is manufactured just up the road, right next to the Thames Barrier. It’s remarkable stuff Golden Syrup, the recipe not having changed since it was introduced over 100 years ago, and it it now holds the record for the oldest brand in the world. And long may it continue, even with it’s weird dead lion surrounded by flies logo.