The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #57360   Message #902988
Posted By: Steve Parkes
04-Mar-03 - 04:06 AM
Thread Name: Folklore: Treacle mines
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
I saw Ken Dodd (Liverpool comedian and National Treasure) at the Hippodrome in Birmingham in 1964. He made a lot of cracks about local places, including "the treacle mines in Bloxwich" -- the town where I was born. He also talked about snuff quarries and similar unlikely sources of life's necessities. I used to think he'd made them all up, but I'm pretty sure now he draws on an old tradition of cod origins.

But there really is a treacle mine -- as in "brimstone and treacle" -- in Shropshire. It's part of the Blist's Hill Open Air Museum in Ironbridge Gorge. (Go and see it all: the Iron Bridge, the iron works, Abraham Darby's blast furnace. Be prepared for a long day, and a second visit.) It's called the Tar Tunnel , and is an adit that goes a long way into the side of the valley to a source of "tar", natural bitumen. It still runs out, though in far less volume than in its heyday. It was used for a lot of things, including medicinal use as "tar water" (vide Great Expectations).

Isn't the Mudcat educational?