It turns out Sugar Loaf Court is even less adorable than I originally thought! I don’t know about you, but when I hear “sugar loaf” I think of a big fluffy loaf of bread made out of sugar. I was wrong. This is a sugar loaf. It is a monolithic, vaguely menacing spire of sugar that was sold to people before the invention of the sugar cube. They were pretty awkward to use and in order to break off individual bits of sugar you needed a special tool called a sugar nip, another thing that sounds way more kawaii than it actually was.
Sugar Loaf Court is a real place that was once the sight of a sugar refinery. A cursory google search did not turn up any extensive history of this refinery, but I like the idea of men, women and children toiling over hot coals and furnaces to make the city’s evil sugar loaves. If this refinery survived until about the 1870s–totally not sure if it did–Rachel and her siblings probably worked there.
Beyonce update: I was unable to rewatch the VMA performance because it has been completely scourged from the Internet! I guess MTV doesn’t like making money off ad revenue?