The International Steam Pages

Industrial Heritage in Antigua, 2013

Thomas Kautzor has been to several Caribbean islands to check out what is left of their railways and industrial heritage.

For the full general index, see Railway Relics (and more) in the Caribbean, Other report for the eastern islands in this series comprise:

Mainly or exclusively railways

Railways and Sugar Mills

Sugar Mills and Distilleries

This Tangye oil engine is near the Antigua Sugar Factory.

These are Douglas Luery's picture before it was painted and that of the pump it used to drive:

This shows a Ruston and Hornsby oil engine on display next to the cruise ship terminal. It was formerly in use at a exclusive private holiday club.

Montpelier Sugar Factory, St. Philips:

Montpelier is an example of a late 19th century muscovado steam factory. The 1890 McOnie, Harvey & Co. Horizontal steam engine used to power the mill, while the twin cylinder winch engine used to power the cane carrier system. They’re also supposed to be a Weir steam pump, but I did not see it. In 1945 Antigua Distillery Ltd. (owned by one of the influential Madeiran families of Antigua) acquired most of the sugar estates on the eastern side of the island, including Montpelier, to produce molasses for their rum distillery. Montpelier factory eventually closed down in 1954 due to labour troubles. Today, ADL produces rum from imported molasses at its distillery next to the new deep water dock in St. John’s. There appears to be plans to turn Montpelier into a tourist attractions.

Betty’s Hope Plantation, Pares:

This estate, once one of the largest on the island, was founded in the 17th century and was in use for the Codrington family from Barbados until 1944. There are two windmill towers, over 300 years old, of which one was restored and fitted with a G. Fletcher & Co. mill. There is also a small museum on the property (open Mo-Sa 09.00-16.00, admission EC$ 5). See also

Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, Long Street, St. John’s: IMG_7443-7444

The section on the sugar industry at the museum (open Mo-Fr 08.30-16.00, Sa 10.00-14.00) contains information boards, photos as well as some small displays, including:

  • A pressure gauge from an Antigua Sugar Factory steam engine and a barometer from the ASF;

  • A model stationary steam engine.


Suzanne Gordon & Anne Hersh, “Searching for Sugar Mills – An Architectural Guide to the Eastern Caribbean”, MacMillan, Oxford, 2005.

Gunthorpe's Sugar Mill

Thomas was advised that it is dangerous to try to enter the mill in its current derelict condition. It is known that there are still two Mirlees vacuum pumps inside, this picture is from Antigua resident Doug Luery:

Antigua Sugar Mill

On the site of this long closed mill were the bases of two old Bedford steam cranes at least until 2001.

By October 2013, one had disappeared and the other had been removed to a safe place:

These pictures are also courtesy of Douglas Luery.

Rob and Yuehong  Dickinson