The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #57360 Message #901591
Posted By: Penny S.
02-Mar-03 - 06:29 AM
Thread Name: Folklore: Treacle mines
Subject: Folklore: Treacle mines
On Friday my father, while watching Bill Oddie wandering through a field of tall docks, recalled his father taking about Patcham Dockyards and Treacle Mines. I have searched for references to these, and found plenty on the latter. Some Sussex geologist (I deduce) has a fancy website on mining the stuff, and there are other references elsewhere. Most of the references seem to date to the 1930's, though some attribute a greater age to the concept, which in one place is recorded as being part of the British folk tradition. (Music connection - a Kentish Morris side.)
Can anyone throw any light on the origin of the idea of treacle mines - I don't want the cod history of prospectors uncovering veins of theriaciferous rock - or the buried army molasses - was it in some music hall sketch, some precursor of the Pythons' parrot? An author was producing stories in the Worthing area of Sussex between the WW wars, but there are enough references in other parts of England to suggest that that may not have been the origin.
And if anyone can throw any light on the Dockyards, that would be a help as well.