Love Lane Lives

The history of sugar in Liverpool and the effects of the closure of the Tate & Lyle sugar refinery, Love Lane

The Girls & Boys from the Whitestuff

The Blue Turban Ladies of the Tate closure protests

"The remarkable thing about this project was not just sugar, an extraordinary but much taken for granted commodity but the extraordinary lives of ordinary refinery workers... This project has lots of historical curiosity value but it has wider ramifications for ongoing debates on the politics of food and globalization. It's also a vital record of the people who struggled against a major multinational to protect not just their own livelihoods but a whole community."

Ron Noon

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From Ron Noon, Project Coordinator LOVE LANE LIVES.

40 years ago the evening ECHO headline was TATE’S AXE REFINERY - 1570 CITY JOBS GO. That dramatic January announcement highlighted a MERSEYSIDE economy IN CRISIS suffering disproportionately from factory closure after factory closure and aptly labelled THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE OF BRITISH CAPITALISM.

THE OPENING COMMENT made on our LOVE LANE LIVES FILM was from a woman who declared after the junking of Love Lane 90 days later on April 22nd, “It’s dead now”. She meant Liverpool was dead, not TATE & LYLE which continues to thrive (albeit not in sugar, having sold off it’s sugar world to an American company ASR in 2010.)

WHAT WAS “officially’ DISCOVERED at the end of 2011 about Government “behind the scenes strategy for Tates and Liverpool”?

When the Government records were published I jotted this down on New Years Eve 2011

“The headline in yesterdays Guardian, the 30th of December 2011, was an eye catching “Thatcher’s ministers wanted to abandon Liverpool”! It went on to disclose how her closest confidantes had come close to “writing off Liverpool in the aftermath of the 1981 inner city riots” and how they’d opined “the ‘unpalatable truth’…that they could not halt Merseyside’s decline”.

The mild mannered, quietly spoken Sir Geoffrey Howe who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer had exhorted her “not to waste money trying to ‘pump water uphill’ telling her the city was ‘much the hardest nut to crack’..... “

Thatcher’s closest advisors told her that the ‘concentration of hopelessness’ on Merseyside was very largely self-inflicted”.

I JOTTED THIS DOWN: The habit of scapegoating Merseyside workers has a long pedigree, and was indulged in by slave traders, shipowners, car manufacturers, Mersey Docks and Harbour Company and criminally by Rupert Murdoch’s flagship tabloid, the Sun. The so called ‘virus’ of Merseyside militancy, was always useful propaganda for employers, despite the objective defensive reaction of workers to continued national and international attempts at restructuring and rationalisations. On Merseyside we never had rationalisation without the sack and longer dole queues.”

WHAT ARE THE MEMORIES OF THE GIRLS AND BOYS FROM THE WHITESTUFF of the issuing of the 90 day redundancy notices? I/WE would love to know.

Best wishes everyone from Ron Noon. The site will soon be revamped. KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON.