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Leith Sugar House

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**Family Background**:
– Robert Douglas elder was the son of William Douglas of Blackmiln and Marjory, claiming descent from Archibald Douglas of Glenbervie.
– Robert Douglas was known as Robert Douglas of Cruixton or Cruckstown and later became Robert Douglas of Blackmill.
– Marjory, Robert’s mother, was the daughter of John Ross, Minister of Birse.
– Family connections included relations with Anna Douglas, Lady Boghall, and John Hamilton of Boghall’s interest in the tobacco trade.

**Business Operations**:
– Robert Douglas, a merchant burgess of Edinburgh, lived and traded in Leith, where the Douglas soap business succeeded Nathaniel Udwarts concession.
– The Leith Sugar House aimed to be the sole regional maker of refined sugar, recognizing the fire hazard associated with sugar boiling.
– The operation required specialized equipment and had partners like Robert Baird of Sauchtonhall to finance the start-up.
– David Forrester managed the sugar business in Leith, which proved to be a commercial success.

**Sugar Trade and Connections**:
Sugar from the Caribbean, particularly Barbados and the Leeward Islands, was received at the Leith sugar house.
– Scottish involvement in the sugar industry included Captain Edward Burd’s transport of convicts to Barbados and William McDowall managing a sugar plantation on Nevis.
Sugar plantations in the Caribbean had English owners and Scottish staff, with the Leith sugar house receiving sugar produced by enslaved laborers.

**Historical and Economic Impact**:
– The Leith Sugar House, established in 1677, played a significant role in the economic development of Scotland and the growth of the sugar industry in the UK.
– It contributed to trade with colonial America and the West Indies, impacting Scottish emigration to the colonies and the economic history of the British West Indies.
– The establishment was associated with the sugar industry in the United Kingdom and considered a notable Scottish company.

**Cultural and Scholarly Significance**:
– The Leith Sugar House is recognized for its architectural significance, being associated with soap boilers and the Stuart style of architecture in Leith.
– It has been the subject of academic research, historical studies, and scholarly articles, cited in economic history reviews and Scottish historical journals.
– The sugar house is linked to Scottish maritime warfare, trade connections, and the early Scottish sugar houses’ study, offering potential for further expansion and research.

Leith Sugar House (Wikipedia)

The first Leith Sugar House was established in 1677 by Robert Douglas and partners. Between 1667 and 1701 four sugar boiling and rum-distilling enterprises were established in Scotland, three in Glasgow and one in Leith. The financial success of the Leith Sugar house in the seventeenth and eighteenth century demonstrates Edinburgh's economic connection to the Atlantic economy and enslaved labour.

Leith is a port near Edinburgh where several new industries were sited in the 17th and 18th centuries.
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