Sabden

 

Many people, living in Lancashire, during the first forty years of the 20th century, knew about the Sabden treacle mines. Above Sabden village, where the road winds over the Nick of Pendle, on both sides of the road there are signs of excavations. These mounds of earth looking very much part of the moorland, are supposedly the original sites of the entrances to the SABDEN TREACLE MINES.

 

Those curious to know, what happened to the mines, were told stories about treacle eating boggarts and that the area was best avoided in the hours of darkness. Most regarded these stories as huge jokes and anyone who believed that you could dig treacle out of the ground, were just plain daft. This is exactly what the P.I.E. agents (the Treacle Miners' Secret Army) wanted the curious to believe. The stories of treacle eating boggarts have continued to this day and Bill Dewhurst in the 1980's became the Managing Directors of Sabden Treacle Mines Ltd.

 

He created a tourist centre, attracting visitors from the UK and overseas to visit the 'mine' and see the parkin cake weavers, the black pudding benders as well as great treacle eating boggarts. It was a these boggarts that first worked the mines, eating drips of treacle and keeping the floors tidy. Bill based his 'Treacle Mine' enterprise on an old legend that went back to medieval times when Pendle Hill was famous for its witches. Bill Dewhurst found that places where treacle mine traditions exist were also sites of holy wells.

 

A children's T.V. series appeared on I.T.V. in 1996, it was based on the Sabden Treacle Mine. It's signature tune included these words:- "We are the treacle people, we seek treacle high and low; we are the treacle people we all live in Giggle Row; WILLY WISWELL saved the day; Treacle Tracker found our way; for as we seek the treacle far below - down the mines we go. We are the treacle people, we seek treacle high and low".

 

There were many adventures for the 'Treacle People' of Sabden. Silas Mitton was the owner of the mine. Not only did the treacle bring fame for the village and prosperity for some of the villagers, but it brought disasters too. Experiments in the Treacle Mine Laboratory met with disasters; one of the workers, Rosie falls into a vat of treacle; the mine professor causes an explosion during one of his experiments, releasing invisible treacle vapour in the air, which settles on the village of Sabden causing a really sticky mess. Then at the ginger beer plant (a by-product of the treacle mine) the ginger beer bottling machine is put into reverse and there is a spectacular explosion, which brings more work for Police Constable Nick Pendle. However the 'Pakin' production at the village shop continues to thrive and the village life is full of excitement from one year to the next.

 

 

News Flash :-The Sabden P.I..E agents developed their own Ginger Beer Gas Balloon from which they intended to fly over Pendle Hill and pass through the Trough of Bowland in a mock raid against the Treacle Miners of Halton near Lancaster.


Unfortunately the Ginger Beer Gas was unstable and on reaching the summit of Pendle, the balloon exploded, luckily they were only a few feet above the ground and the three agents in the 'basket' were shaken but not stirred.

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