December 8, 2022
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Inside the shimmering cavern of one of Cheshire’s old salt mines

By on September 25, 2022 0

The second part of a story about a gentleman and his friend in 1850, traveling from Liverpool by train to Hartford.

They were heading for the Marston mine, which one of them had already visited. At the time, the Adelaide mine at Marston could be visited by the public.

It was also a massive underground area capable of holding dances, banquets and functions as was the case for Emperor Nicholas of Russia.

Winsford Salt Mine has a massive void, but not in the same way as Marston.

An example of this form of underground entertainment can still be seen in Poland at the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

But back to our two heroes who were handed over to a foreman for a tour of the Marston Duke/Adelaide mine.

We are in 1850 and a guided tour is offered to them. The foreman said a treat would have been prepared for them if they had given notice of their visit.

The Mid Cheshire Mine in the 1890s (Paul Hurley)

He went on to say that when a Mr Canning visited some 20 years earlier, they had lit 15,000 candles and the effect reflected in the sparkling salt walls was spectacular.

Their guide promised to take the blue lights they had purchased as far as possible.

The bucket was prepared and the previous couple waiting entered it with their blue lights.

They held on to the rope tightly as they descended into the mine. In a short time, the empty bucket returned, and our two men climbed into it.

The descent was pleasant and no inconvenience of moisture drops and the like would be found using a coal mine shaft.

The light was dim, but as they lowered the candle to the ground, they saw that it was dry and covered in some kind of dirty dust.

The pillars that had been left to support the mine and the roof shimmered as the dim light from their candles reflected off them.

Northwich Guardian: Miners prepare to be lowered into a shaft (Paul Hurley)Miners preparing to be lowered into a shaft (Paul Hurley)

He was envious as he used his dim candle to appreciate the sparkling magnificence that Mr Canning must have enjoyed with the addition of 15,000 candles.

When he made this observation to the guide, he told them to wait a minute.

He poured a few handfuls of blue light on the floor and set it on fire. The effect was instantaneous and breathtaking.

The gigantic columns of rock salt, with the floor and roof of the same mineral, glistened in the sudden light, and the patterns of their elongated shadows fell behind them at a distance of 20 or 30 meters and seemed to climb the massive columns of glistening . salt.

The effect did not last long, and soon the Stygian blackness returned, broken only by each individual with their candle. Each person seemed like a misty twilight circle wandering in total darkness.

The miners did not work that day, but a few came down to demonstrate their working method.

The most notable work environment was much better for salt workers than for coal miners, as they could walk upright while cutting rock salt.

No fear of explosion, and ventilation was good. There was no need to crawl over all of ours or lie naked in a narrow tunnel in the roof-hacking coal seam.

No, our man thought it was a much better place to work than a coal mine.

He advised anyone who had spare time to visit the Marston Salt Mine, but he suggested that they remove as many of the blue lights as possible to get the full effect (the blue lights could be described as the flash powder to the old one used in the first photographic flashes. ).

As already explained, the mine is no more, having been flooded and collapsed in 1928, killing only two pit ponies.

Water from underground streams had entered the mine, dissolving the pillars of salt that supported it.

The vacuum collapsed causing the nearby channel to rupture and the lightning to form in Ollershaw Lane.