Story of Tate & Lyle’s ‘Sugar Girls’ coming to Custom House

A popular exhibition about the ‘Sugar Girls’ of the Tate & Lyle factories in Silvertown is moving to Custom House.

Hundreds of people attended the launch of “Working Women of Newham - Sugar Girls” at The Hub in Canning Town and now the exhibition of photographs and memorabilia is coming to the Custom House Library.

Visitors are also invited to sign the memory wall by writing about personal experiences or stories passed down by family members.

Run by Newham New Deal Partnership in association with the legendary Tate & Lyle sugar refinery, the launch on Tuesday June 12 will feature Nuala Calvi and Duncan Barratt, authors of The Sunday Times Bestseller “The Sugar Girls: Tales of Hardship, Love and Happiness in Tate & Lyle’s East End”, with guest speakers.

Refreshments will be provided along with specially crafted ‘Sugar Girls’ cupcakes.

Jessica Wanamaker, Newham NDP chief executive, said: “This exhibition is not only about celebrating the lives of working Newham women of the past, but it also provides a platform for visitors to share stories about how the thriving area impacted their lives post 1950s.

“We want as many people to contribute to our exhibition as possible, to provide us with a wider insight into how Newham once was.

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“The exhibition will examine a significant, but rarely explored, heritage of the local area.

“Newham has a fascinating history, we want people to visit the exhibition and develop a sense of pride for the old Canning Town and Custom House.

“The work these women did contributed significantly to the now world famous Tate & Lyle brand.”

The official launch of “Working Women of Newham - Sugar Girls” is at Custom House Library, Prince Regent’s Lane, E16 3JJ from 4pm to 6pm on Tuesday June 12 and it will run until Tuesday July 17.

For more information about the launch, email Jessica Thomas at