Monday, 14 November 2011
In the Realm of the Treacle Mine
In the same vein this is a real treacle mine, albeit disused, snapped on my walk in Canonteign woods yesterday. But those of you thinking of heading down with buckets to forage for the vital ingredient for your puddings and toffee would be sorely disappointed. Unfortunately the 'treacle' that was excavated here was a thick sticky sparkly black residue, micaceous hematite that looks a bit like the sweet stuff but alas isn't edible. Instead it was a component of a paint that prevented massive structures like warships and bridges at Sydney harbour and the Tamar from rusting away! It also provided the twinkle in early recipes for Hammerite paint. Mining ceased in the middle of last century as technology developed new substances to do the same job.
My photo shows a horizontal entrance, an adit, of the Great Rock complex, the largest treacle mine around here. It's not open to the public to peruse but another, Kelly Mine, at Lustleigh welcomes visitors by donation to its ground level site, though not underground. Judging by the comprehensive website produced by the enthusiastic preservation society who look after the mine, I reckon that a future trip would be an informative and enjoyable afternoon out!