Draft 20211015 Mucky Mountains .
Restart of phhysical meetings after Covid-19 lock-down.
Our first physical meeting in Autumn 2021 was a visit on 2nd September to Leigh Archives followed on 9th September by a talk on the "Burglaries Register" in Warrington archives by Phillip Jeffs at our first regular meeting including our delayed AGM for 2019 to 2021 covering our 'closed period' when Covid-19 regulations did pot permit physical meetings of groups of people.
A small group attended a talk on "Who put the Muck in the Mucky Mountains" on 14th October 2021 with reference to the local Soda Ash industry.
The writer refers folk to the illustration on the internet link below, which retains the copy right on all its text and illustrations.
Link to pictures http://www.newtonheritagetrail.com/muckie-mountains
In 1832-4 James Muspratt established a chemical works besides the Sankey Canal to manufacture Vitriol (Sodium Carbonate) by means of the Leblanc Process. This process was inefficient, producing two tons of waste for every ton of Vitriol. The waste, known as Galligu, was piled high and became known locally as the “Mucky Mountains”. The process also released large amounts of Hydrogen Chloride toxic gas into the atmosphere. Lawsuits from local land owners followed and despite Muspratt erecting one of the tallest chimneys in the country (400 feet high) to try and reduce the problem, the lawsuits continued. The works were closed in 1851 and the chimney was demolished in 1925. The importance of the site nowadays for nature and the cultural heritage of the Borough is recognised by St Helens Council, which has designated Mucky Mountains as a “Site of Community Wildlife Interest”.
The idea of our speaker playing as a small boy on these local mountaiins was described with great glee as a daytime adventure,
which raised his interest inlate rlife in how they got there. Thier use and their abandonment to become a playground for the local children
Our thanks to John Shaw for illuminating a time now in history of where children played inthe open area arround them, and how t his industry was raised , prospered and died.