This is Lilian’s story, one of four stories from The Sugar Girls. During the Blitz and the years of rationing, the Sugar Girls kept Britain sweet. The work was back-breakingly hard, but the Tate & Lyle factory was more than just a workplace - it was a community, a calling, a place of love and support and an uproarious, tribal part of East London.
‘When Lilian Tull came to Tate & Lyle shortly after the end of the war, she was older than most new arrivals. A lanky, fairhaired woman of 23, she worked in the can-making department, where the Golden Syrup tins were assembled. Lilian had arrived on the job with a heavy heart, and her colleagues noticed a sad, far-away look in her eyes.’
In the years leading up to and after the Second World War thousands of women left school at fourteen to work in the bustling factories of London’s East End. Despite long hours, hard and often hazardous work, factory life afforded exciting opportunities for independence, friendship and romance. Of all the factories that lined the docks, it was at Tate and Lyle’s where you could earn the most generous wages and enjoy the best social life, and it was here where The Sugar Girls worked.
This is an evocative, moving story of hunger, hardship and happiness, providing a moving insight into a lost way of life, as well as a timeless testament to the experience of being young and female.
Includes Lilian’s own personal photographs of life as a sugar girl.