This, as the name would suggest, is the story of rum (plus the smell and taste). Set in the original 1785 shop, courtyards, cellars and bonded warehouses of the Jefferson family. The Rum Story has been authentically designed to provide all-weather family entertainment. During your visit you will travel through a tropical rainforest, an African village, a realistic slave ship, Cumbrian cottages, a Cooper's workshop and much, much more. The precursors to rum date back to antiquity. Development of fermented drinks produced from sugarcane juice is believed to have first occurred either in ancient India or in China, and to have spread from there. An example of such an early drink is brum. Produced by the Malay people, brum dates back thousands of years. Marco Polo also recorded a 14th-century account of a "very good wine of sugar" that was offered to him in the area that became modern-day Iran. The first distillation of rum took place on the sugarcane plantations of the Caribbean in the 17th century. Plantation slaves first discovered molasses, a byproduct of the sugar refining process, could be fermented into alcohol. Later, distillation of these alcoholic byproducts concentrated the alcohol and removed impurities, producing the first true rums. Tradition suggests rum first originated on the island of Barbados. However, in the decade of the 1620s, rum production was recorded in Brazil. A liquid identified as rum has been found in a tin bottle found on the Swedish warship Vasa, which sank in 1628. A 1651 document from Barbados stated, "The chief fuddling they make in the island is Rumbullion, alias Kill-Divil, and this is made of sugar canes distilled, a hot, hellish, and terrible liquor.
After rum's development in the Caribbean, the drink's popularity spread to Colonial North America. To support the demand for the drink, the first rum distillery in the British colonies of North America was set up in 1664 on present-day Staten Island. Boston, Massachusetts had a distillery three years later. The manufacture of rum became early Colonial New England's largest and most prosperous industry. New England became a distilling center due to the technical, metalworking and cooperage skills and abundant lumber; the rum produced there was lighter, more like whiskey. Rhode Island rum even joined gold as an accepted currency in Europe for a period of time. Estimates of rum consumption in the American colonies before the American Revolutionary War had every man, woman, or child drinking an average of 3 imperial gallons (14 l) of rum each year. To support this demand for the molasses to produce rum, along with the increasing demand for sugar in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries, a labor source to work the sugar plantations in the Caribbean was needed. A triangular trade was established between Africa, the Caribbean, and the colonies to help support this need. The exchange of slaves, molasses, and rum was quite profitable, and the disruption to the trade caused by the Sugar Act in 1764 may have even helped cause the American Revolution. In the slave trade, rum was also used as a medium of exchange. For example, the slave Venture Smith, whose history was later published, had been purchased in Africa for four gallons of rum plus a piece of calico. The North West of England became an important part of the triangle. Rum's association with piracy began with British privateers trading on the valuable commodity. As some of the privateers became pirates and buccaneers, their fondness for rum remained, the association between the two only being strengthened by literary works such as Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. The association of rum with the Royal Navy began in 1655, when the British fleet captured the island of Jamaica. With the availability of domestically produced rum, the British changed the daily ration of liquor given to seamen from French brandy to rum. Whitehaven is a Georgian town situated in The Western Lake District and is one of the first pre-planned post medieval towns in the country. Built on shipping and mining, Whitehaven is one of the 40 Gem Towns in England. Whitehaven was the last mainland place in Britain to be attacked by American naval forces. On 23rd April 1778 during the American War of Independence, John Paul Jones arrived in Britain with the intention of setting the whole merchant fleet on fire. The alarm was raised, and he retreated forthwith. Group rates are £3.50 pp. Free guided tour with experienced guides. Fully wheelchair accessible
Location : Lowther Street, Whitehaven CA28 7DN.
Transport: Whitehaven (National Rail). National Express have routes from all over the UK. Local routes served by Stagecoach Cumbria.
Opening Times: Daily 10:00 to 16:30.
Tickets : Adults £5.45 Concessions £4.45 Children £3.45.
Tel: 01946 592933