Morgan Lewis Sugar Mill - Barbados Colonial Past
Duration: Half Day
Learn about Barbados’ rich architectural heritage and one of the island’s most important traditional industries on this memorable tour of Morgan Lewis Mill. Listed as one of Barbados National Trust’s "Seven Wonders of Barbados", it one of only two intact and restored sugar mills in the Caribbean. The other mill is located at Betty's Hope Estate in Antigua. Step back in time during your holiday in Barbados and gain an insight into the island’s fascinating colonial past.
Sugar was introduced to the island by the early settlers in the 15th century, who provided Britain and the rest of the ‘Old World’ (Europe, Asia and Africa) with a growing demand for this precious ‘white gold’ as it was once called, as well as rum and molasses. During the 18th century, sugar was Britain's largest import from the Caribbean, and around this time Barbados boasted more than five hundred mills.
Morgan Lewis Mill in St Andrew was built in 1727 and is typical of the wind-driven mills that crushed the juice from sugarcane during the 18th and 19th centuries, helping to produce the sugar for which Barbados was once famous for. The mill was operational until 1945 and was later donated to the Barbados National Trust by the late Egbert Lawrence Bannister in 1962 for preservation as a museum. It was restored to its original working condition in 1998. Although the mill is no longer used to grind sugarcane, except for occasional demonstrations, a tour of this unique historic and architectural monument is fascinating nonetheless.
You can see the mill in action during the tour, including the sails, wheelhouse and British-made machinery, and there is an opportunity to taste freshly crushed cane juice during the sugarcane season. Inside you will see an interesting display of plantation artifacts such as yokes, ladles and horse-drawn machinery, as well as old photographs documenting the sugar glory days. Visitors can also visit the on-site plantation house, a picturesque ruin that has certainly seen better days but is still worth seeing. The rubble walls are held together with a mixture of egg white and coral dust because there was no cement at this time.
The acres of land surrounding Morgan Lewis Mill are now used for dairy farming. What makes this site particularly appealing for tourists is its scenic location on a mount in the beautiful northeast of the island. Visitors can climb to the top of the mill to enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the local area, which stretches across to the beautiful East Coast.
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