Sugar beet factory


The factory so well known to York folk, with its landmark chimney, pictured over a flooded ings, in its last ‘campaign’. As well as giving employment to so many people, for decades it gave a distinctive odour to our autumn and winter air. As mentioned previously on this site – a few times. The photo above was included on a page from 26 November 2006.

Five years on, do you miss it?

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  1. Andy Tuckwell

    Lovely picture – but my abiding memory is of the seasonal hazard for cyclists when an overloaded lorry pulled up a bit sharp in front of you – and beets the size of cannonballs tumbled off into your path!

  2. I have an abiding memory of seeing beets lying in the gutters on Beckfield Lane – but had never really thought about the hazards they presented on their way down!

  3. My sugar beat memory, is of my Uncle Frank,coming in the house at Ouseburn Ave,where I ‘’holidayed’’ pre war,and my Cousin Beryl and I used to rush to greet him home,burying our face in his clothes,to smell the lovely sweet smell he emenated,after a shift at his work as foreman at the beet factory.Happy Happy days!

  4. PS.Sugar beat as in River ooze.

  5. YorkStories

    I’ve just found on my computer this info on production at the factory, copied from the official info on the British Sugar website, before the factory closed:

    A few ‘factory facts’ from the British Sugar website, in case they’re of interest:

    “Some 500 lorry loads are accepted each day and the factory is able to process over 9,450 tonnes of beet a day.”

    “Sugar produced at York is stored in three silos with a combined storage capacity of 30,000 tonnes. Some of the beet processed is stored as thick juice in six large tanks with a combined capacity of 170,000 tonnes to be fully refined into crystal sugar during the late spring and early summer.”

    “Molassed sugar beet feed, a high energy animal feed sold under the Trident Feeds label is also produced in quantity at York. About 90,000 tonnes of feed are produced each campaign, plus 40,000 tonnes of molasses.”

    “50,000 tonnes of LimeX70 is produced each campaign and sold to farmers to correct acidity, add some nutrients, and improve the structure of the soil. In addition, over 25,000 tonnes of conditioned Topsoil are sold each year to the landscaping industry.”

    “The factory provides all its own electricity from a 10Mw generator. Daily fuel requirement during the campaign for boilers and dryers is provided by natural gas with oil standby for occasional interruptions in supply.”

  6. Grace Roberts

    I remember sometime in the 90s there was some kind of chemical accident at the sugar factory which caused a smell all over the city of York in summer. Can you pease tell me when this was and what caused the accident.
    Thank you,

    G Roberts

  7. YorkStories

    Hi Grace, sorry but I don’t remember this, perhaps someone else will though.

  8. Hi my mum is coming over from Ireland and we are visiting York on the 15th March 2024. her Dad used to come over from Ireland every winter and work the sugar beet factory. Is there any location I can take her to so she can see where it once was?. Any info is really appreciated thanks in advance

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