Posted By The Sugar Girls ~ 3rd April 2012
This wonderful photo comes to us courtesy of Pat Griffiths, who worked in the laboratory at the Thames Refinery from 1945 to 1954. Pat was very involved with Tate & Lyle’s amateur dramatics scene and in the photo you can see a production of J.B. Priestley’s Dangerous Corner at the Thames Refinery. Pat is playing the mother, and the maid is played by a man in drag, Albert (aka ‘Soupy’) Edwards.
Soupy was a real character at the factory in the many years he worked there, and would often turn up to work in an old bowler hat. In later years, he was manager of the Tate Institute, and he and his family lived in a house attached to the building. Soupy regularly dragged up as a dame for the Tate & Lyle pantomimes.
Here is another picture, this time of Pat at work in the laboratory.
Pat grew up in Custom House, so would walk into work every day over the Connaught Bridge that divided the Victoria and Albert Docks. Unfortunately this meant that she often arrived late at Tate & Lyle, since the bridge would be raised to let tall ships through.
As well as the amateur dramatics, Pat made full use of the range of social activities that Tate & Lyle offered – she went on company outings to the Proms, went rambling in the countryside, played snooker and even tried the Tate & Lyle rifle range. She remembers Tate & Lyle as a ‘very good firm to work for’ and the ‘friendly atmosphere’ in the laboratories.