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Folklore: Treacle mines

02 Mar 03 - 06:29 AM (#901591)
Subject: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Penny S.

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.


02 Mar 03 - 06:46 AM (#901598)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: John MacKenzie

I've never heard of treacle mines, only jam butty mines, and they are in Knotty Ash nr. Liverpool. Sounds interesting though, I shall investigate.

02 Mar 03 - 06:52 AM (#901600)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: John MacKenzie

Go to Dogpile [the search engine], and put in Treacle Mine, there is loads of information.
Giok.......A mine of information!!!!

02 Mar 03 - 06:53 AM (#901601)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: DMcG

Surely you all know of the treacle well in Alice in Wonderland?
Perhaps a treacle mine is related in some way.

02 Mar 03 - 07:14 AM (#901610)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Penny S.

The Alice in Wonderland treacle well is derived from the treacle well in St Frideswide's churchyard in Oxford, a healing well, as the old use of the word treacle was for a healing substance or balm - but the mines are certainly referring to the sticky stuff.

I googled, rather than dogpiled, but most of the references I found were from within the world in which the mines exist, rather than from our world, in which they are a local conceit. Or is that too posh a way of putting it? What I'm interested in is the idea of the treacle mine as a joke, which seems to encourage, both in the 30's and now, an extended riff on a simple idea.

The closest to what I wanted to know was on the Frittenden website, where it is said that locals sent London tourists off to look for the mines as a joke. But why treacle mines - why not doughnut mines? Jam mines? Sausage quarries?


02 Mar 03 - 07:38 AM (#901620)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Tam the bam fraeSaltcoatsScotland

In Scotland there was an American who thought that we in Scotland mined for Porridge.

02 Mar 03 - 08:17 AM (#901626)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Keith A of Hertford

The village of Wareside, about 3 miles from where I sit, is renowned locally for its treacle mines. I did not know that the storywas more widespread.
Tam, I suppose it is easier drill for the porridge than dig it up.

02 Mar 03 - 08:34 AM (#901628)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Mr Red

Don't forget the Jam Butty mines in Notty Ash

Tattyfalarious, under the circumstances. Have you ever been Tattyfalarious under the curcumstances missus?

(ref Ken Dodd for the bewildered)

02 Mar 03 - 09:41 AM (#901653)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: breezy

'Near Wookey hole in days gone by lived three unlucky men
The first fell down a treacle mine and was never seen again.
And all the birds cried 'Fancy that'
And all the birds cried'Fancy that'
And all the birds cried'Fancy that'
to hear this unlucky tale

from West Heath J.m.infants school, Brum.
music lessons in 1970s

02 Mar 03 - 09:52 AM (#901660)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Bystander

When I moved to Sussex in the 50's I heard references to treacle mines all over the county. Work-shy people were said to work in them ("He's at his usual job, working in the Rusper Treacle Mine"), people who were late were said to have got stuck in them, etc. This is very much the typical humour of the Sussex 'yokel' of Victorian times and probably a lot earlier.

02 Mar 03 - 10:23 AM (#901665)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,willy barden

the Kentish treacle mines (and there are many!) are a very long standing joke on the credulous or extremely drunk ( on Ketish cider) - the joke certainly predates my greatgrandfather who was born in Rye about 1860. It should be pointed out the there are all kinds of mines in Kent - for stone, lime, iron ore and any kind of cave whose origin is obscure can be referred to as an entrance to the old treacle mines.

It seems the joke continues to roll on

02 Mar 03 - 11:31 AM (#901700)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Col K

Don't forget that in Lancashire there are the Sabden Treacle Mines.
Sabden is a small village near Pendle Hill in E. Lancs.

02 Mar 03 - 11:49 AM (#901708)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Mrs.Duck

and I thought they were at Tockholes Colin near Blackburn

02 Mar 03 - 12:51 PM (#901745)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Dave the Gnome

Definitely Sabden, Mrs D. I've been! And what a delightful experience it was.

It was also around that area that 'Larnin pills' were made. One day a tourist to the Pendle area was watching an old farmer picking up little black balls from the fields, studying them closely and then either discarding them or putting them in a sack depending what he saw.

Unable to contain himself any longer the tourist asked the farmer what he was doing, to which the farmer replied,

"Collectin' Larnin pills."

The tourist was impressed and asked if he could purchase some. The farmer though long and hard and told the tourist they would be £5 each. The tourist bought 4 and, pleased with his purchase instanly swallowed one.

"Good grief" he cried "they taste like sheep shit!"

"Tha's larnin," the farmer replied. "Tha's larnin..."



02 Mar 03 - 12:53 PM (#901749)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Dave the Gnome

I saw the story on a poster in a gift shop in Clitheroe BTW so it must be true...


02 Mar 03 - 02:05 PM (#901794)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines

How do you pronounce "treacle"? Thanks.

TD- who has a recipe for treacle bread out, ready to bake.

02 Mar 03 - 02:57 PM (#901825)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Nemesis

I live in Worthing Sussex .. and there was a local history article in the local papers recently about the treacle mines .. BRB havinging a look

02 Mar 03 - 03:04 PM (#901832)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: SussexCarole

Noel Dumbrell sings song of the Sompting Treacle Mines - he has recently released CD - not sure if it's on there - will check

03 Mar 03 - 05:53 AM (#902216)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Dave Bryant

I'm surprised that none of the "Seven Champions" molly dancers from Kent have posted on this thread. The reason that they "black-up" goes back to the days when the side was started by workers in the Frittenden Treacle Mines.

03 Mar 03 - 06:21 AM (#902227)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: KingBrilliant

Surely they're in Cookham Dean in Berkshire???? That's what my Grandad told me......


03 Mar 03 - 07:32 AM (#902250)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: McGrath of Harlow

The Edwardian writer E Nesbit had a story involving treacle mines. (Well I think it was a sea of treacle that solidified and turned into toffee.) That would have been around 1900. She could have been drawing on an existing joke tradition, or maybe that was the origin of it.

03 Mar 03 - 08:53 AM (#902294)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Deni-C

songwriter, BARRY GEE has written a terrific song called the Tamberton Treacle Mine Disaster. It goes down a bomb with audiences......

He gives this hilarious story first about where the mines are, just outside Plymouth and the man who first discovered them etc....


03 Mar 03 - 09:00 AM (#902299)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Gubby

I believe there is a treacle mine in Egloskerry Cornwall!
but thats a sticky subject!
I'd better ask the locals.


03 Mar 03 - 09:26 AM (#902308)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Mr Red

Gubby, Penny S re sticky stuff **G**

Not a lot of people know this but:-
In the days before the dole any hand-out was referred to lovingly as the "Treacle Stick" because Treacle was not spooned out of the tub it came in, it was allowed to adhere to a stick and dispensed into the customers container in that long stringy drip. At the end of the tub or if they had their own stick (I know not if) the stick could be given to a child as a treat to lick. Hence any hand-out could be called a treaclestick. Eventually the dole would be known as "On the Treaclestick" in the Midlands much as Glasga called it "On the Brew".

By the 70's I knew a social worker who edited a paper/magazine called "The Treaclestick". It was a far left propaganda rag aimed at informing Social Workers and their "clients" as much as an intellectual exercise in Government bashing. A sort of "Big Issue" with more attitude.

<PEDANT ON> FWIW Treacle is black and Golden Syrup isn't. Modern usage decrees we call it Black Treacle and treacle respectively. Oh the joys of language


03 Mar 03 - 09:28 AM (#902310)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Mr Red

Oh I forgot but it is obvious - I think there is a link here between treacle mines and treaclestick and dole.

03 Mar 03 - 09:34 AM (#902312)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Gervase

My ex has written a book on Wareside, and in her researches she found that the expression 'treacle miners' was often used for those who carted night-soil (human faeces) for use as a fertiliser. It's one of the best ways of enriching soil and from the 17th to 19th centuries, with the growth of towns but the inefficiency of the sewage systems, the night-soil carters were darned important. Not exactly fragrant, though!
The White Horse pub in Wareside has a cod history of the local treacle mines which is well worth a read - total nonsense, but very funny.

03 Mar 03 - 11:13 AM (#902388)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: greg stephens

Well, there have been a lot of made-up stories about treacle mines in previous posts. The actual treacle mines are in Ulpha, in the Duddon valley in Cumberland, and were going strong pre-1900. Anyway, that's what my grandfather, and everyone else in the area, would tell us kids.

03 Mar 03 - 12:43 PM (#902474)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Schantieman

...and then of course, there are the liquorice mines near Pontefract.   Duck territory, I think!?


03 Mar 03 - 05:45 PM (#902702)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Bill D

but the REAL amazing thing is the Swiss Spaghetti harvest (short clip) , documented by the TV show "Panorama" in 1953...still a classic.

"It is not only in Britain that spring this year has taken everyone by surprise. Here in the Ticino, on the borders of Switzerland and Italy, the slopes overlooking Lake Lugano have already burst into flower. But what, you may ask, has the early and welcome arrival of bees and blossom to do with food ? It is simply that the past winter, one of the mildest in living memory, has also resulted in an exceptionally heavy spaghetti crop. The last two weeks of March are an anxious time for the spaghetti farmer. There is always the chance of a late frost which, while not entirely ruining his crop, generally impairs the flavour and makes it difficult for him to obtain top prices in world markets."

03 Mar 03 - 06:58 PM (#902756)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Burke

Pronounced pretty much the way you'd expect. Long e. trE'cl

Are treacle & molasses interchangeable in recipes? From what I found in OED, I think treacle might be sweeter, but it's not clear.

I found this distiction at OED:
treacle: a. The uncrystallized syrup produced in the process of refining sugar; also sometimes extended to the uncrystallizable syrup that drains from raw sugar; = MOLASSES

Note to molasses: In technical language, molasses is applied to the drainings of raw sugar and treacle to the syrup from sugar in the process of refining.

Oh sorry! Did they turn to sugar as a source for treacle after the mines were worked out?

03 Mar 03 - 08:11 PM (#902816)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: McGrath of Harlow

And here's a picture of one of Tate and Lyle's rather spendid Black Treacle tins, and a page about the whole subject of golden syrup and black treacle from the makers. But they keep quiet about the treacle mines.

03 Mar 03 - 10:07 PM (#902871)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Les B.

Hmm - Treacle mines sound like the Enlish version of the fabled Big Rock Candy Mountain (or vice versa).

I kind of get the idea of the term "cod history" from context, as used above, but can someone give a definition. This side of the pond cod generally refers to a fish.

04 Mar 03 - 04:06 AM (#902988)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Steve Parkes

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?


04 Mar 03 - 05:52 AM (#903008)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Hrothgar

Didn't treacle originate in Ireland?

04 Mar 03 - 12:19 PM (#903245)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere)

Les B., if you go to The authoritative mines site you will see a lot of apparent histories of treacle mines. Of my own personal knowledge, I know some of them cannot be real. I don't know why I used "cod" to define an invented humorous history, full of detail to add verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative. I don't know why, if that is correct usage, it is so. Related to red herring, maybe!
If you google the terms "treacle mine" and "treacle mines" you will find a good number of other sites which play the same trick, some with geological diagrams. There seems to be something about the term that encourages it. One of my ICT Club at school, who had not hitherto heard of treacle mines, and had not seen any of the sites, when told of them to search at home, immediately produced the concept of the Great Treacle Sea, which is obviously the source of at least some of the deposits of molassinite.


04 Mar 03 - 12:24 PM (#903251)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Gareth

Treacle Mines ? Treacle Mines ! Don't talk to me about Treacle Mines. Do you realise the misery and destruction that the Treacle Industry has left in these valleys.

I see them now passing outside my windows, gaunt old treaclers, gasping for breath, their bodies destroyed, by the sugar dust coating and frosting their lungs. I see the tankers delivering bulk insulin to the pharmacy. And I see our landscape dominated by the mounds of waste dumped by the mines, the streams turned into thick dribbles of golden syrup by the run off from the tips.

Aye butty, it was an industry, and the source of wealth to many in London, but the Treacle Mine owners were a hard rapacious lot. Children barely able to walk condemned to slavery in the sweet cloying darkness, pulling trams of raw treacle to the shafts, and all for a halfpenny a day. Treaclers, working naked in their stalls, hacking away with their sugar tongs, listening for the first "gloop" that was the harbinger of a roof fall, risking being buried under tons of crude molasses. No naked flames allowed in case of explosion.

Oh yes, we had the union, The South Wales Federation of Treaclers to protect our interests, but it was a war, a war between men and masters. These valleys still remember the army being sent to open fire on striking treaclers, when our women and bains starved, and scavenged the tips looking for scraps of treacle, missed by the washing screens.

Remember that, in your comfortable homes when you open a tin of treacle, there's blood on that tin.


04 Mar 03 - 12:28 PM (#903253)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Nigel Parsons

Then there was the family of moles travelling underground, and the baby at the back said "I can smell treacle" so the family stopped, and all sniffed the air, but couldn't smell treacle.
On they went,
Five minutes later the baby at the back said "I can smell treacle".
Once again they stoped and checked, but none of the others could smell it.
On they went,
Five minutes later (snip...)
As none of the others could smell it they continued, but father mole this time followed in last place behind the baby. Suddenly the baby stopped and said "I can smell treacle".
This time the father understood, and explained to his son that there was a difference between treacle and mole asses


04 Mar 03 - 12:30 PM (#903256)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere)

And Mr. Red, that dole idea seems to fit with the Patcham Dockyards (Patcham being a bit inland for anyone to find gainful employment there.)

I am trying to find our family copy of the Sussex dialect dictionary to follow up a suggestion that flint was called something treacly for a boring explanation.

And a safety point - black treacle becames a hazard on storage. The tin lid seals shut, and a gas given off by the treacle builds up, so that when the lid is prised off, it shoots up at a dangerous speed.(SASA, the Sussex space guys, were working on a launch technique making use of this effect, by mechanically removing a battery of lids facing downwards, but they came to a.....) Tate and Lyle recommend that if the tin has not been opened for some months, it be binned, and a new one bought, to avoid harm. So, you use a couple of tablespoons in the Christmas pudding, and then put it away. The next time you want it is a year later... I know the effect is true, because I tried it out on the lawn, wearing safety goggles. I now open the tin with a cloth round it. The treacle remains edible.


04 Mar 03 - 12:33 PM (#903259)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Burke

I've never heard this use of cod either so I looked it up. In OED it gets noun definition 5 of 7 with only one related earlier use. It was in a 1952 theater dictionary so maybe there's a connection there:
    1. A slang appellation applied to persons, with various forces: see the quotations.

c1690 B. E. Dict. Cant. Crew, Cod, also a Fool.."An honest Cod, a trusty Friend." 1708 MOTTEUX Rabelais V. v. (1737) 18 O what an honest Cod was this same Ædituus. 1851 C. D. BEVAN Let. in Beddoes' Poems & Lett. (Introd.) 130 [At the Charterhouse]..In those days the pensioners (or as we called them 'Cods') were not remarkable..for cleanliness. 1855 THACKERAY Newcomes II. 333 The old reverend black-gowns..the Cistercian lads called these old gentlemen CoddsI know not wherefore. 1873 Slang Dict., Cod, to hoax, to take a 'rise' out of one. Used as a noun, a fool. 1878 MACLEOD Hist. Dumbarton II. 46 Ye vile drunken cod.

    2. A joke; a hoax, leg-pull; a parody, a 'take-off'. (See also E.D.D. n.5) Also attrib. or quasi-adj., parodying, burlesque; 'mock'.

1905 Sketch LI. 472/2 Says he: 'Is that an absolute bargainno cod?' Says she: 'I don't know what the fish has to do with it, but I am perfectly sincere.' 1914 JOYCE Portr. Artist (1916) i. 45 Some fellows had drawn it there for a cod. 1952 GRANVILLE Dict. Theatr. Terms 46 'Cod version, a burlesque of a well-known play.' 1959 Church Times 16 Jan. 4/4 'The 'cod' Victorian decorations tend to disguise the editor's underlying seriousness.' 1959 Listener 29 Jan. 228/1 She obliged, initially in the delicious hiccup polka, a cod of Old Vienna. Ibid. 228/2 Joyce Grenfell too, doing her evergreen cod chorister. 1961 B. WELLS Day Earth caught Fire ii. 31 Pete picked up the empty tea mug and again used it as a cod mike. 'Alcoholics of the press, unite! 1962 Listener 5 July 36/1 The very idiosyncratic cod cockney of the scenes. 1970 Guardian 11 May 8/2 The cod version of 'Road to Mandalay'.

04 Mar 03 - 12:37 PM (#903262)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Nigel Parsons

And there was I thinking it had something to do with 'cod piece' a false and sometimes boastful decoration worn on the outside of a man's tights.


04 Mar 03 - 12:38 PM (#903264)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere)

I was going to post this in the Gilead thread, but had second thoughts. I really hate to do this - but apparently, in the old Bishop's Bible, an early translation into English, the writers used an earlier English word for a healing material, and wrote " is there no treacle in Gilead". I didn't get this from a joke site, either.

And I'm glad I wasn't misusing English slang!


04 Mar 03 - 12:45 PM (#903272)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Les B.

Penny & Burke: Thanks for the explanation of "cod" - I have been debating for sometime now whether to spend the $400 or so for a CD version of OED - its such a great resource.

04 Mar 03 - 05:58 PM (#903530)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Mr Red

Treacle is unrefined syrup, the burnt bits at the bottom of the tub. Molasses are the same burnt bits but more of the invert sugar (fructose & glucose mostly) taken out. Molasses are definitely not as sweet as treacle, which itself is less sickly than golden syrup (which is how my gran used to describe syrup).

I have treacle on my porridge every morning, it is definitely not a popular sweetener judging by peoples reaction (except in my house).

But the brand I get is definitely quarried not mined. Sort of syruppy equivalent of opencaster sugar.... I'll get my sugar coat....

05 Mar 03 - 05:00 PM (#904228)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Penny S.

Sompting in Sussex, was, of course, known for its porridge quarry hard by the treacle mine.

I started being interested in this field when, at a local model railway exhibition, I saw a reconstruction of the mining machinery in an old cable reel. On the bottom layer of board, around the central column, ran an 000 gauge goods train with the sort of open trucks used in mineral transport. A structure of caves and tunnels had been built around it, and in the caverns the miners, small figures mounted on cams, worked away at the ore. The lower layer was linked to the top by a continuous bucket chain which fed the smelter at the top of the reel. It was intricate, finely made, and fascinating.


05 Mar 03 - 05:43 PM (#904270)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Burke

Here's the citation for an article on Treacle Mines. Maybe you can track it down.

TITLE: Multi-Purpose Treacle Mines in Sussex and Surrey
AUTHOR: Simpson, Jacqueline
JOURNAL: Lore and Language (Lore&L). Sheffield England. 1982 Jan.; 3(6A): 61-73

That 'treacle in Gilead' is not really so strange. OED gives that as the original, but now obsolete use of the term:
A medicinal compound, orig. a kind of salve, composed of many ingredients, formerly in repute as an alexipharmic against and antidote to venomous bites, poisons generally, and malignant diseases.

06 Mar 03 - 03:00 AM (#904562)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Keith A

Gareth, I feel deeply humbled since your post has brought home to me the true human cost of the treacle on my spoon.
I bet that such a hard pressed community has produced at least one song, eh Gareth?

06 Mar 03 - 04:30 AM (#904591)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Gurney

How can you all ignore the other British resource...

North of Oldham, south of Diggle, there's a little town called Mumps,
Where the Tripe mines stand, just by the wash-house wall.......

From the gobsmacking pen of Mike Harding.

06 Mar 03 - 04:42 AM (#904602)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: greg stephens

Hrothgar correctly pointed out the Irish origins of treacle earlier. All the English examples quoted are attempts to claim the mines for the English crown. It is well-documented that the earliest treacle mines were in Taicht an Lyaghdheal, Co Donegal.

06 Mar 03 - 05:17 AM (#904616)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Nigel Parsons

Not forgetting the "Glorious Peoples Republic of Treacle Mine Road" which stood for "Truth, Justice, Freedom, Reasonably Priced Love*, and a hard boiled egg" as described in Terry Pratchett's Historic Discworld novel "Night Watch"

*"Reasonably Priced Love" (Treacle Mine Road does run up to "Madams Gardens" !) so "Free Love" would be a no-no

06 Mar 03 - 10:44 AM (#904782)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,The Admiral

There is indeed a Treacle Mining Song from Cookham Dean which my predecessor and mentor Dave Houlden used to sing. I'll see if I can find it and post it later.

06 Mar 03 - 11:02 AM (#904803)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Steve Parkes

There's a lot of treacle on the 'Net:

06 Mar 03 - 11:13 AM (#904810)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Steve Parkes

There's a lot of treacle on the 'Net: the Treacle Mine Hotel, Treacle Mine Rag, the Ditchford Treacle Mine -- and those are just the serious ones!

Mind you, it's made me think of something I'd forgotten from my childhood. Where I grew up in the 50s, there had been several 19th C ironworks: there was coal and ironstone inthe ground; and the whole place for (literally) miles around was covered in furnace slag. This was a greyish-white flint-like substance: very sharp-edged, and not much fun to play on. Some of it still had a lot of iron in it, and was a rusty brown in colour. In one place, in the "Badlands", as we called it, there was a Great Wonder of Nature: the Vimto Pool. (For any non-Brits: Vimto is the English equivalent of Coke or Pepsi.) The water had leached out so much iron oxide, it looked like Vimto, albeit pretty flat; it didn't taste much like it, though!

Steve (a Tizer lad)

06 Mar 03 - 12:18 PM (#904855)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Mrs.Duck

Schantieman the liquorice in Pontefract is grown not mined.

06 Mar 03 - 05:53 PM (#905137)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Penny S.

There are some songs on the freeserve treaclmine site, if you search it - there was apparently a terrible disaster down one of the mines - unfortunately, no tune is given.


26 Mar 03 - 04:06 PM (#918999)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: SussexCarole


Cookham Dean is apparently the Sompting Treacle Mine - the 'treacle' from that mine used to be used as pitch for boats. Any chance of the lyrics to that song please?


26 Mar 03 - 06:35 PM (#919136)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: McGrath of Harlow

"Cod", is still readily used in the British Isles, along with "codding", meaning the same as "kidding".

Read here about the "Cod Fax" that caused a lot of people a lot of trouble a few years ago. I helped get a former Tory Cabinet Minister banged up in jail as a perjurer with sticky fingers, but not from treacle.

26 Mar 03 - 07:16 PM (#919168)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Gareth

Warning - Anorak Alert

Penny S - a belated reply to your post - and what was a nice girl like you doing in a model Railway Exhibition 30 years ago ?

The Cable drum circular model was, if I recall correctly, built by the Southend-on-Sea Model Railway Club. It incorperated the famous open cast Treacle mine with live action gloops.

How they did it I can not recall, but it was featured in "Model Railwayer" Magazine at the time.


26 Mar 03 - 07:50 PM (#919201)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: McGrath of Harlow

I missed a "t" out of that last post of mine - it should have read "It helped get a former Tory Cabinet Minister banged up in jail." I can't claim any personal credit.

26 Mar 03 - 08:11 PM (#919219)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Seamus Kennedy

I'm afraid treacle-mines did not originate in Ireland, as some 'Catters have speculated, but the Champ-mines of Co. Antrim are well-documented.
I just can't lay my hands on the documents at the moment.
Gareth, so sorry to hear about your people's hardships. You know, folks just don't think about the misfortunes of the treacle-miners until a disaster occurs or someone succumbs to black-sugar lung.


26 Mar 03 - 08:32 PM (#919232)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Tyke

Goodness! I thought everyone knew about the Pudsey Treacle Mines!
Tha knows Pudsey were yon birds fly backads to keep t muck out or tha eyes!

27 Mar 03 - 04:08 AM (#919397)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: nickp

Sompting, eh!? That explains the depression in my son's lawn there.... and I though it was the grandkids digging!!!!!!!!!!!

Fascinating thread!

27 Mar 03 - 08:50 AM (#919554)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: HuwG

When taking my German O-level, a lot of years ago, I wished to describe the coal mines, or Kohlenbergwerke, of the Ruhr valley. Unfortunately, I mis-spelled them as Kohlebergwerke.

The external examiner commented that either my geography or his needed improving. He had never heard of cabbage mines in the Ruhr, or anywhere else.

27 Mar 03 - 08:57 AM (#919563)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: MMario

obviously your examiner is less well read then he thinks. The Cabbage mines in the Ruhr are famous for the qaulity of their sauerkraut - having veins of both the more common white kraut and the ruby red sweet and sour variety.

27 Mar 03 - 10:17 AM (#919631)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Steve Parkes

Who says the Germans have no sense of humour? You only have to learn the language to realise!


27 Mar 03 - 10:42 AM (#919659)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere)

It wasn't thirty years ago - Gravesend Model Railway Club held their exhibitions in our school for a couple of years about ten years back, usually near my father's birthday - so I popped in to pick up any Brighton railway books for him. This one wasn't opencast, though. And no gloop. And I thought it was original! A plagiaristic treacle mine.

It was one of my childhood regrets that my Granny had passed Dad's Hornby train and his Mamod steam engine on too someone, so I never got the chance of a good train set. A clockwork one which goes round in circles doesn't get the idea out of the system, though. My sisters' children's Brio sets were good for that, though. No drive for the engine means lots of track, and umpteen sets of points...

Oops, just remembered, I have to set up a number of marble runs for my literacy group tomorrow. Same old problem - not enough track...


27 Mar 03 - 01:31 PM (#919851)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: HuwG

MMario - LOL !
Steve Parkes - Yes indeed ! Any German will tell you that apples don't grow on trees. You don't even need to mine for them. Horses and other animals will deposit them everywhere.

["Apfel" = apple, "Abfall" = droppings].

28 Mar 03 - 06:47 AM (#920357)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Banjoman

The Treacle Mines are actually in Tadley Hants. where they still hold a regular Treacle Market.
Did you also know about the Kettle Factory in Liverpool where they knitted kettles from steel wool?
There was also the money tree which grew at the bottom of my mum's garden, but which alas died when she did. The world abounds with these relics of ancient times, including the Park Keeper who's main task was to wheel the sun into the Hot Houses every morning, or the man who wiped the sweat off the Bobby Horses at New Brighton Fair.
Keep 'em coming

28 Mar 03 - 09:02 AM (#920439)
Subject: Lyr Add: TREACLE MINING SONG (Dave Houlden)
From: trayton

As mentioned by the Admiral this was not only performed by Dave Houlden by written by him as well, it's in his song book (perhaps I should not mention that)


The surveyors found the treacle mine in 1849
And off they went to Cookham recruiting for the mine
Underneath the mount far below Cookham Dean
The finest job creation scheme that Cookham's ever seen


Bang with the shovel lads make the picks to fly
Haul away the chalk we'll strike treacle by and by
In with the spigot forward with the can
Nobody gets the better of the treacle mining man

They flocked from farms and they left the boat yards
Some found the work was very very hard
Of course the main attraction was the Fowler company money
They soon found that treacle mining wasn't all honey

The collier thinks the treacle miner's life is soft
And so does the sailor as he's freezing up aloft
But picking treacle from our eyes and nose did near defeat us
And there's the treacle miner's scourge the dreaded diabetes

We had our mine disaster as it seems that all mines do
It wasn't an explosion, the fire damp or the dust
When the news was brought to Cookham you could hear the women scream
A swarm of wasps had built their nest in number two top seam

Now they've raised the target up to forty can a stint
The mine was near worked out all the miners skint
In nineteen nine they closed it down and ended all the larks
Now it's part of the history of South East Berks

Tune: I'm Marching Inland From the Shore

28 Mar 03 - 09:10 AM (#920443)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: The Admiral

Thanks for that Trayton! Everytime I was near the PC I was nowhere near the book and vice versa!

28 Mar 03 - 09:12 AM (#920445)
Subject: ADD:Treacle Mining Song
From: MMario

ADD: for above post - nice to see it's a tune we have already as well!

14 Dec 04 - 04:07 AM (#1356344)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Gadaffi

I am almost sorry to revive this thread so long after it was initiated. I initiated a thread in the Folklore Society quarterly newsletter FLS News about eleven years ago which drew quite a lot of response before petering out.
So far as the original question is concerned. The truth about the Frittenden Treacle Mine in Kent is down to the geological fact that the Beult Valley in which it is situated comprises a very sticky clay soil. The 'mine' itself is in Dig Dog Lane (check that out, I didn't make that one up!) about a mile south of the village and almost within sight of Sissinghurst Castle. It comprises a worked out brickfield site. Over the last fifteen years, there have been unsuccessful attempts to have houses built there - all refused by the local council. There are also legends about the Frittenden Band Chaps, and the 'dock' to be build where the Medway was to link up with the Royal Military Canal.
Chris Rose (the Molly of the Seven Champions) told me the story behind the Tovil Treacle Mines near Maidstone lay in that the local paper industry was under threat during the Second World War because they were unable to import timber. As a solution to this, somebody tried to ferment straw, it later being found a sticky goo resulted. Chris supported this to explain the street name Straw Hill Road.
I am still trying to corroborate stories of treacle mines at Trottiscliffe (another place where gravel excavation is taking place), Lamberhurst, Tudeley and Challock.
Any takers?

14 Dec 04 - 07:11 AM (#1356413)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: The Fooles Troupe

Cod: Straight - as in as cold as a dead codfish.

To play a (comic) role cod.

14 Dec 04 - 10:38 AM (#1356619)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: KateG

There is actually a real treacle disaster on record. On January 15, 1919 21 people were killed and over 150 injured when a large molassas storage tank in Boston, Mass (USA) ruptured. The resulting flood overwhelmed people who drowned in the sticky syrup. If you Google "Boston Molassas Flood" you will find lots of references to this genuine historic event.

14 Dec 04 - 02:07 PM (#1356826)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: John C.

I have it on good authority that the original treacle mines are at Dogsthorpe on the outskirts of Peterborough. They're a bit hard to find now as the area is a hideous mess of partially filled in brick pits, housing estates, bypasses, trunk roads etc., etc. - but, hey, that's progress!

14 Dec 04 - 02:22 PM (#1356841)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Fliss

No body has mentioned the treacle mines at Wem in SHropshire.

Someone said it may have come from a brewery being opposite a butchers slaughterhouse and the residues running down the gutter mixed and formed treacle!


15 Dec 04 - 03:40 AM (#1357306)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Dave Masterson

If you look hard enough at the Kent & East Sussex Railway you will find the only remaining Frittenden Treacle Mines wagon left in existence!

18 Nov 07 - 12:44 PM (#2196812)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,c.g.

The Treacle mine is at Dunchideock near Exeter, or at least it was in the 1960's

27 Nov 07 - 10:47 AM (#2203166)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Marcus in New York

Does anyone have any recollection of the lore surrounding the "Wareside Treacle Mines" in East Hertfordshire. And does anyone know where one can buy Fowlers West India Teacle (even at vast cost to import/smuggle past the FDA..)?

Best to all otherwise..


27 Nov 07 - 11:10 AM (#2203183)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Georgiansilver

I was aware as a child of the Northumbrian Treacle mines, where they mine rock treacle.....the female haggis gets a craving for this delicacy and flies many miles South of the Scottish border to partake of it.

02 Jan 08 - 06:49 PM (#2227066)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: The Vulgar Boatman

For a definitive answer, why not try - the front desk at British Geological Survey...

02 Jan 08 - 08:33 PM (#2227123)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: McGrath of Harlow

"And does anyone know where one can buy Fowlers West India Treacle?"

A bit too late for that - Fowlers were absorbed into Tate and Lyle in 1976. But Lyle's Black Treacle is still produced. Here's an Amazon link for buying it, with a picture of the rather splendid tin it comes in.

27 Jul 08 - 12:42 PM (#2398773)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Sparky

I spent an evening with a very interesting old man in a pub just outside Maidstone, Kent...a few summers back. I had heard of the Tovil Treacle Mines...but had dismissed it as fable....but this old man put me right. I was still not sure....I was on a trip from the States and I realise it could have been a joke. I done more research and have found it to be completely true. Obviously there are a lot of hoax Treacle Mines...but The Tovil Treacle Mine was actually real. I found a video on YouTube. You just search for Unlucky Fried Kitten at Tovil Treacle Mine. It's wonderful...and very informing. It says how the Mines had to be closed during the Second World War cos the LuftWaffe (German Air Force)used the Treacle Fires as navigation as they flew over Kent. Also in the video you can see a row of cottages where the Treacle Mine Managers used to live...and each cottage has a treacle well in the back Garden.
At one stage in the video you see The Treacle Tower....which is basically a huge chimney from where they used to melt the treacle. The top of the tower was sealed off in the late 50's after 2 local lads fell to their death whilst looking for "treacle scrapings".
Maidstone had a huge Sweet Factory in the river...called Trebor Sharps (which was bought out by Cadburys) and most of the Tovil Treacle was sent there to be made into sweets like The Tovil Tart and the Shooting Star ( a particular fave with the locals at the time)
Interestingly enough the area (Bockingford and Loose valley) had another delightful industry with the Ice-Cold Oggy Factory...just up the road. They made devastatingly refreshing Ice-Cold Oggies (soft-drinks) and , predictably, had a Treacle Flavoured one.
Their best-loved soft drink was the Barming Cherry Ice-Cold Oggy made from the cherries picked at Barming...on the other side of the River Medway in Maidstone.
I don't know if you can do a link on here...won't chance

YouTube....Unlucky Fried Kitten at Tovil Treacle Mines

You'll be pleasantly surprised

27 Jul 08 - 12:45 PM (#2398774)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Adam Pallit

There's also a group on Facebook called Tovil Treacle mine Appreciation Group...just fyi

27 Jul 08 - 01:01 PM (#2398782)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Sparky

There ya go...Tovil Treacle Mines
tovil treacle mines

27 Jul 08 - 02:49 PM (#2398843)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Richard Bridge

Surely these are pale imitations of the Faversham treacle mines, the long guarded secret of which has only recently started to be revealed by Dead Horse Morris, who seem to be transforming from a secret society, to a society with secrets, to a society with rather fewer secrets than we might wish. There may be a sinister connection with German treacle groups too, as heavily disguised persons with blackened faces have been heard to speak that language at Dead Horse stands - ALL THE TIME DENYING THAT THE GERMANS HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOUR!

27 Jul 08 - 10:03 PM (#2399115)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Sparky

Although the Treacle Oggie was the most densely produced soft-drink at the Ice-Cold Oggie factory it was not considered to be the most delicious flavour. That mantle is bestowed upon the Barming Cherry flavour...made from cherries picked at arguably the UK's finest cherry-growing region of Barming, on the outskirts of Maidstone.
The factory founder-owner, Mr Harold "Slash" Wildly would make a twice-weekly trip to Barming on the trolley-bus which ended at the Barming Terminus and he would meet the local cherry-farmers in the Cherry Tree public house across the road....where they would thrash out their best prices for the world-famous Barming Cherries.
Back at Bockingford the valley was a favourite location of landscape artists....often seen capturing the idyllic rural scene of the streams and the mills...munching on a Shooting Star or a Treacle Tartello and guzzling on a Blackberry and Damson Ice-Cold Oggie.
An original Barming Cherry Ice-Cold Oggie sold on e-bay recently for £16, a Japanese soft-drinks bottle collector

27 Jul 08 - 10:09 PM (#2399119)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Sparky

To Richard Bridge
There were indeed treacle mines at Faversham...but they were not on the scale of the Tovil Treacle Mines. In fact....I'd go as far as saying that they very rarely even hit treacle. I'd ask this Dead Horse Morris lot if they're not confusing this with the Faversham Licorice Farm. Jeez...some people.

27 Jul 08 - 11:12 PM (#2399136)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines

Somebody early on in this thread mentioned Sabden Treacle Mines (Lancashire). Derek Stanton wrote an epic in Lancashire dialect "The Sabden Treacle Mine Raid" or "The Battle of Sabden Treacle Mine". There's a link to a recording at . I can't get it to work for me. It's a .wma file and iTunes doesn't appear to recognise it (or at least I can't find it in the iTunes library).


17 Sep 08 - 05:02 PM (#2443442)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,lorna

in reply to a post from gadaffi 14 dec 04
my dad & his family grew up in frittenden, the treacle mines were actually down sand lane, there used to be an old tall iron windmill there, that was were the treacle mines are, also my uncle has a photo of the frittenden band chaps from 1860, he and my dad know the stories about them dancing around a haystack and 1 of them getting lost in london.

17 Sep 08 - 05:18 PM (#2443458)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Penny S.

What a surprise seeing this up here again today. I was thinking about the Sussex mines earlier while reading a book about lost Sussex railways.

I feel it need to be said that if anyone does seek out and buy Black Treacle, they need to be aware that Tate and Lyle advise that if you have had an opened can for more tha a year unused, it should be disposed of without any attempt to open it for H&S reasons. It produces gas which cannot escape from the can which is sealed by dried treacle. If you prize off the lid, you risk it shooting up into the air, or your face, where it can do serious damage.

I managed all right outside on the lawn with a cloth over the can and a screwdriver - but it did want to escape forcefully.

This is not a joke.


18 Sep 08 - 11:13 AM (#2444047)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Penny S.

I see that in skipping down to the end last night I missed that I had issued the lid removal warning already - still, I suppose if anyone else does the same, they won't miss it.


18 Sep 08 - 12:19 PM (#2444107)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: romany man

RB, oh god the secret of the faversham treacle mines has broken cover, Dead horse have the history of the mines, i have explored some of the shafts, oh the place is infested with ferrets and torn yorkers, there can be found several remains of the miners boots, (all thats left after the rampant ferrets got to them) i warn other beware the faversham treacle mines, those that were at the hop festival will have seen two of the ferrets freely roaming the campsite in the locality of dead horse ,bishops gundulf, and gongscourer morris, one of the beasts firmly ataching itself romantically to one particular female, it was not a pretty sight.

18 Sep 08 - 04:02 PM (#2444320)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Charmion

It takes me anywhere up to four years to go through an entire tin of Tate & Lyle black treacle, and I have yet to experience a black treacle lid removal incident such as Penny describes above. I can hardly wait -- such an event would certainly put a bang into my annual fruitcake production!

19 Sep 08 - 02:06 AM (#2444727)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: open mike

once upon a time, a group of us started a food co-op.
we ordered in our first shipment of food, a 5 gallon tin of
molasses. it got fermented somehow, and the tim overflowed.
the church basement where we were storing our food had a
surplus of molasses that day!

thankfully there were no ants....or were there??

19 Sep 08 - 04:56 AM (#2444819)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Gadaffi

Faversham treacle mines?? Sounds like fake-lore rather than folklore to me, especially when perpetrated by a morris team! At least the 7Champs' stories were based on pre-acknowledged tradition at Frittenden.

19 Sep 08 - 04:51 PM (#2445405)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Penny S.

I suspect the lid problem occurs with people who only use the stuff in Christmas cake.


20 Sep 08 - 11:27 AM (#2445918)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: romany man

Faversham treacle mines are a well known a constant source of fear to the locals gadaffi if you lived near faversham you would know not to take the stories lightly

14 Oct 08 - 09:00 AM (#2465195)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Nigel Parsons

The Welsh brewers, S A Brains, have a Treacle Mine pub in nearby Hereford.


28 Nov 08 - 06:39 PM (#2503870)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Chislehurst ,Caveman Pete

Now rumour has it that the Faverham Treacle mines are supposed to link up with the Chislehurst Chalk mines and the Hever Castle Hash mines.

28 Nov 08 - 07:16 PM (#2503889)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: John MacKenzie

C Terry

28 Nov 08 - 07:21 PM (#2503893)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Jack Campin

Re the Gilead quote: "Treacle Bibles" are worth a lot of money.

29 Nov 08 - 06:15 AM (#2504096)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Penny S.

That underground link would be the one that runs all the way to the tunnels under Dover Castle, would it? And the bottomless well at Buckland near Strood?


29 Nov 08 - 06:26 AM (#2504105)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: greg stephens

Things are in a very sad way in the Duddon valley in Cumbria, and the Ulpha treacle mines have laid off all undergound workers; a skeleton management staff are keping the pumps going to stop the mines filling with water, and we are all praying for an upturn in the economy. Christmas is coming, and children need presents, so if anyone would like to contribute to the Distressed Treacle Miners' Fund, please send a cheque made out to me: I will make sure the money gets to someone who can make good use of it.

29 Nov 08 - 10:15 PM (#2504149)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Chislehurst caveman pete.

Faversham and crayford mines. Anyone ever been down em.go to ADITNOW.CO.UK
IF NOT .Google type in Knockholt chalk mine. go to south east and Caveman pete.

17 Dec 08 - 04:05 PM (#2518228)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Jeremy Babcock

The Maidstone Boro' Council are considering spending some money on turning the Tovil Treacles Mines area into a big tourist attraction. I guess it should be preserved for posterity...rather than turned into more new houses.

18 Dec 08 - 10:55 AM (#2518909)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Musket

Les Barker refers to treacle mines in his "Curse of the hound of the Baskervilles."

Just thought I would add something.

Never mined treacle myself. Coal, yes, many years ago, but if there was treacle down there, I would just have taken bread down, and save a fortune on black pudding.

29 Dec 08 - 04:18 AM (#2526399)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,RyanD

This is becoming more and more interesting! I've only heard about Treacle Mining this morning after watching 'The Treacle People'.

Noticing on the credits that the story was based on the Dewhurst Family I Googled it.

Can't believe that the children's tale was true!!

I haven't seen on this page any mention of 'Boggarts' - the creatures that lurked in the mines. Whats the story there?

27 Feb 09 - 11:54 AM (#2577316)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,morrison

When I was a lad I often heard about the mines at rusper,I even went up there to look for them,what a dissapointment to find it was a myth.

05 Mar 09 - 07:17 AM (#2581689)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,andy mackay

Where I grew up, just down the road from Knotty Ash everyone knew about the Jam Buttie mines made famous by buck toothed, cash hording comedian Ken Dodd, although the only time I ever saw a diddy man was @ the 1973 Christmas panto @ the Empire Lime Street, I did see Ken Dodd knocking about from time to time. One time as a callow youth I was in my car with several cahorts, when I was halted @ a pedestrian crossing, and the pedestrian was none other than the previously mentioned celebrity, with a stack of newly collected dry cleaning over his shoulder. Our reaction was to lean out of the windows and give the poor guy copious amounts of stick, IE where's the diddy men ken etc etc, looking back it wasn't a nice thing to do but then that's what teenage lads are like

05 Mar 09 - 12:52 PM (#2581866)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,treacle people

aye they the made a programme on Channnel four a few wee years ago about them

07 Apr 09 - 06:32 AM (#2606327)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Gavin Atkin

Quite a lot of people in Frittenden say they have a treacle mine in their gardens. But the grand-daddy of them all may be in a friend's garden....

During the course of the festival I learned that the lake at the back of my friend's house was dug by navvies who had just finished working on a local railway line. Because my garden in a nearby village is on the same clay I can say with certainty that it would have been hard, heavy work. This lake, I should say, extends to quite a few acres.

Any way it seems that when plastered with yellow and greay clay at the end of the day they would repair to the pub for a pint, and the locals would josh them about working in the treacle mine.

So there Gadaffi... another legend for your collection. You should ask our mutual friend about it when you get a chance.


08 Apr 09 - 02:42 AM (#2607109)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Herga Kitty

And of course there is now Treacle Mine Road in Wincanton ...


28 Apr 09 - 07:34 AM (#2620352)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Gadaffi

Whilst I was in St. Thomas's Hospital earlier this year, I shared a ward with Bill Wickham who actually was the director of the Tovil Treacle Mine Co. Ltd.! He is now 88 years old, has a couple of dodgy knees, and was there for a heart bypass operation like myself!

He told me how A.E. Reed & Co Paper Mill put out a float every year at the Maidstone Carnival and invariably won. In the late 1950s they themed it around the treacle mine stories - there is a photo in the Kent Messenger for their float in 1956.

It wasn't till I was home and googled to find more information, I found an article on Bill in the Kent Messenger from last Autumn.

Oh well. Back to work after convalescence next week. It's been great fun watching YouTube features on The Treacle People and Unlucky Fried Kitten's video. Hey ho!

21 Sep 09 - 12:12 PM (#2728092)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Blithe Spirited One

I had to look out those videos you mentioned (referring to the previous poster) They were indeed very interesting...and the mystery rolls on. There are a lot of unsupported claims, for sure, with regards to various Treacle Mines...but the Tovil Treacle Mines featured in the Unlucky Fried Kitten video on YouTube seem to hold a lot of water. (not literally) There are lots of intriguing little facts on this it takes you through the very lane where the Treacle Mine was. I'll keep an open mind...but I'll do some more digging (not literally)

21 Sep 09 - 12:19 PM (#2728095)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Blithe Spirited One

Here's the link to the Unlucky Fried Kitten at Tovil Treacle Mines

21 Sep 09 - 12:22 PM (#2728102)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines

02 Oct 09 - 03:55 PM (#2736851)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines

You may have had this information before. Near to Cullompton in Devon is a village caLLed Butterly and as children in the 1930's and 1840's we were often told about the Butterly Treacle mines.

02 Oct 09 - 04:48 PM (#2736886)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,Conan the Blackburnian

The treacle mines at Tockholes were said to supply the East Lancashire Regiment Whose staple diet was Treacle & Oatcakes.Part of Preston Old Road in Blackburn was known as Treacle But Row due to the amount of empty Treacle tins in their dustbins.

03 Oct 09 - 06:59 AM (#2737194)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Ep' Eric

Everyone around Brierfield knows that the only genuine "tracle" mine is the one at the foot of Pendle hill, Sabden, Lancashire and that is the proper pronunciation of it


28 Oct 11 - 03:02 PM (#3246228)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: GUEST,derek stanton ex Bluwater Folk

Sabden Treacle Mines Raid now on you tube

the sabden treacle mines raid_0001.WMV

On the moorland tops of Gobbinland the war drums are a beating and singing the war chant.

You can't put your muck in eawr dustbin cus' eawr dustbins full

yours gradely derek stanton

28 Oct 11 - 04:23 PM (#3246279)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Edthefolkie

There was an exhaustive discussion of the Sabden treacle mines, and their potential in miniature, in the Railway Modeller magazine around 1963.

There was a suggestion about modelling a Singin' Hinny plant in the letters column shortly afterwards.

28 Oct 11 - 04:29 PM (#3246281)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: BTNG

Treacle mining is the fictitious mining of treacle (similar to molasses) in a raw form similar to coal. The subject purports to be serious but is an attempt to test credulity. Thick black treacle makes the deception plausible. The topic has been a joke in British humour for a century.

alot, I suppose, like the jam butty mines, near Knotty Ash

28 Oct 11 - 04:46 PM (#3246291)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: Jim Dixon

From Rustic Speech and Folk-Lore By Elizabeth Mary Wright (Oxford University Press, 1913), page 176:

Evasive Replies to the Inquisitive

There are certain curious expressions used in the dialects as replies to children and inquisitive questioners when the person addressed does not mean to give the desired information.

For example, answers to the question What's that? are: rare overs for meddlers; lay-overs for meddlers, and crutches for lame ducks; shimshams for meddlers; a trinamanoose; a whim-wham for a mustard mill, or for a treacle-mill, a whim-wham to wind the sun up.

What are you making?
Ans. A snoffle [snout] for a duck.

What are you doing?
Ans. Muckin' ducks wi' an elsin.

What have you got in the cart there?
Ans. Only a load of post-holes.

What did that cost?
Ans. Money and fair words.

Where did that come from?
Ans. I got it from the Binsey treacle-mine (Oxf.).

What's the latest news?
Ans. The Dutch have taken Holland.

Where is he gone?
Ans. To Botn'y Baay and thefire he maay staay.

How old are you?
Ans. As owd as me tongue an owder than me teeth.

How old was So-and-So (lately deceased)?
Ans. Oh! I reckon he lived same's Tantarabobus—all the days of his life.

Why did you do that?
Ans. For fun and fancy, because Bob kissed Nancy.

What will you bring us from the Fair?
Ans. If you'll be good children, I'll bring you all a silver new-nothing to hang on your arm.

28 Oct 11 - 05:44 PM (#3246320)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: dick greenhaus

To say nothing of treacle-down very very slowly, especially in cold weather.

28 Oct 11 - 05:50 PM (#3246325)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Treacle mines
From: BTNG

the there is, of course The Dormouse Treacle of the sisters who had a treacle well, and they used to draw as well, when asked by Alice what they drew, the dormouse replied..."why treacle, of course!"