Friends are the recognised guardians of Malvern's water heritage (Malvern Gazette 1 March 2013 p.14). We are an independent voluntary group who relentlessly promote research and celebration of the Springs, Spouts, Fountains and Holy Wells of the Malvern Hills and Malverns Worldwide.
- SECRET GOLD MINING REVEALED IN THE MALVERN HILLS
Gold mining has always fascinated visitors and locals alike around Malvern. Back in May 2012 we featured newsletter editorial detailing the interesting history of gold prospecting in the Malvern Hills. In the early 18th century a substantial mine was excavated on the Colwall side of the hills. Newsletter 42 in particular details our investigations into both past and present gold exploitation in the Malverns. Our web site carries a synopsis of the results of our study with a history and whereabouts of Malvern gold mining.
It would appear that our investigation results have not gone unnoticed. We were aware that one or two people tried prospecting in the Purlieu Brook, which we identified as the outfall of the mine drainage adit. Our own panning for gold produced encouraging results. What we did not realise was that others had subsequently investigated many of the springs on the western side of the hills with startling results. Debris washed out with the springs apparently yielded encouraging amounts of alluvial gold, suggesting a major mother lode on that side of the hills. We now learn that near surface mining on private land in the region of Colwall has proven worthwhile. With a gold strike it is essential to keep a low profile because there will likely be a gold rush if the word gets out. Only now are we learning of this outcome resulting from details of springs that we incorporated in Celebrated Springs of the Malvern Hills, published in 2012. What has alerted locals is not the clandestine workings of the diggers but the security vans allegedly shipping the high grade mineral for further processing.
Could this be the start of the Malvern Gold Rush or the inappropriate pursuit of Fools Gold? We are hoping that it will lead to record sales of Celebrated Springs of the Malvern Hills and perhaps untold riches for the few lucky people who find the right place. In the meantime we are putting on our overalls and hard hats to explore these latest developments further. Go to our web site INDEX page and click on Gold Rush.
1. ore from the gold mine area of the Malvern Hills.
2. is this a mine entrance on the hills?
Fountains Elsewhere - The Wandering Fountain update - Newport Docks Isle of Wight
A recent winter trip to the Isle of Wight prompted a walk around the historic docks in the town of Newport. Imagine the pleasure when we saw a familiar granite drinking fountain that was a recent installation. Although traditional in style, the fountain was re-erected here in 2012 'In memory of Sir Barrington Simeon 1909'. He was Member of Parliament for Southampton from 1895 to 1900, and lived at the family estate Swainston Manor. What was particularly attractive was the stunning location on the dockside.
We know that the quay was destroyed by French invaders as early as 1377 and that by 1829 substantial businesses were shipping cargoes to the island. Newport lies at the head of the River Medina and is located central to the island landscape. The Medina flows out to the Solent linking it to the world's oceans. The 19th century saw the railways established and Newport became the central terminus for several of the islands quaint steam lines. Where the fountain now stands, a railway viaduct crossed the Medina and visitors to the island in the 1950s will recall the vintage trains packed with holiday makers, steaming across the viaduct into Newport Station.
By the 1970s the railways had gone and the ancient warehouses stood derelict. Fortunately Anne and Michael Lewington spotted an opportunity and the result was that a new Arts Centre was founded in the restored buildings. Today the public can wander along the docks into the Quay Arts and enjoy a cup of coffee and a look around. There are also events held in the theatre within the old warehouses. Meanwhile the town centre is but 100 yards away. And for those who seek more immediate refreshment the fountain provides a water source for humans and animals. We first featured this fountain, which was damaged and desperate for a new site in our Newsletters 48 and 50 in 2012/13. Well done Newport with not only the fountain but everything else that goes to make the locality a charming historic place to relax and enjoy.
Malverns Worldwide update
We are continuing to open communications with many of the other Malverns in the world and now have active contact with a number of locations, hitherto unvisited. We plan to be there later this year and a lot more detail will emerge in the next Newsletter. This project is continuing to stretch out the hand of friendship to the two dozen or so Malverns and the encouraging responses provide a means for further interaction between this unique league's membership. Do get involved with us if you like the idea of building friendships in this way.
Romance at the Holy Well
The sound of a woman singing drifted from the Holy Well on the cold, crisp air. It was 25th January. Upon investigation, Susie Woodcock was discovered cheerfully filling a large container with water from the unending flow. Her husband Ian soon joined her. Ian and Susie, readers may remember, won prizes last year, including the Founder's Award, for their decoration of Weaver's Well, which celebrated Malvern's twinning with the French spa town of Bagneres de Bigorre.
Picture left - Holy Well was one of the first places that Ian took Susie after they first met.
Susie and Ian have been collecting Holy Well water every three weeks for the past five years, and each time sing a duet at the well, The Diva Story, written and composed by Ian.
The couple collects twenty gallons a time and they use approximately a gallon a day for drinking, cooking and growing sprout seeds. They collect the water at the source in a large plastic container that Ian then pours immediately into sterile glass demi-johns. At home, five gallons a time are poured into a stainless steel container with a tap for easy use.
Picture right - Ian made the frame for storing the demi-johns and the metal handles for carrying them.
Mystery Card starts new search
Our Malverns Worldwide project has taken an interesting turn. We were recently shown this picture of The Vicarage at St Georges, Malvern but only with the help of google could we find where it is. Sent by Blanche, the text on the back invites Emma the recipient to come and visit because the climate is so good, but there are no addresses given. If you have any unknown Malvern examples or souvenirs let us know and we will add them to our knowledge of Malverns Worldwide.
25 Years and Still Going Strong
The year 2017 is the 25th anniversary of when Cora and Bruce started working together on the springs and wells of the Malvern Hills. In 1992 the University of Birmingham orchestrated a tourism study of the Malvern Hills. From this emerged a number of projects to enhance local tourism. The local authority also created a Tourism Association to coordinate the private initiatives and the Tourism Department. As a result tourism projects flourished. These varied from special train journeys to Victorian weekends. Sitting on the committee were two individuals, Cora and Bruce who took up the springs and wells theme, publishing a book in the same year. This became the first of many over the years as lost sites were recognised and their provenance researched.
Today the Malvern springs and wells are a dynamic part of local culture, unlike those early days when apart from a couple of wells there was little awareness of this natural asset. The Friends of Malvern Springs and Wells was founded about the same time as our regular newsletter and the web site came into being in 2004. Thereafter we have enjoyed the pursuit of the interest aided considerably by Friends and by funding from a variety of sources.
In the picture - a lucky find near Malverne New York, no its not gold from the Malvern Hills, its a quarter dollar featuring a US National Park.
This has not been without problems. Sites have been lost and water quality questioned. Our web site has been hacked and seriously damaged on several occasions. Also projects have taken unexpected turns. In spite of this we have pursued our mission and expanded its horizons to include everything from Mulberry Tree plantings to Malverns Worldwide. Today we are again planning the route forward. Funding is inevitably a constraint on our ambitions and the Malverns Worldwide project sees us using our personal annual holiday resources to get us to interesting Malverns elsewhere. We would very much like to continue on the mission and intend to do so, We welcome therefore the participation of all to further the cause.
Hampton Spout, Pool and Fountain GONE
Adjacent to the Ellerslie development on the south side of town, Hampton House grounds are seeing major new construction as the picture shows. Once the site of an ornamental circular pool and later an open air swimming pool fed by spring water; all appears lost as the bulldozers move in and clear the site. We did notice the old water tank remains hidden in foliage in the south west corner from where this picture was taken. Hopefully one day someone will create a new water feature where now there is mud. For further details see site 90:1 on our web site.
Malvhina - more than just a decorative fountain
Cora was in town recently and was intrigued by the continual presence of people filling bottles at the Malvhina fountain. There used to be a public pump at the south end of Belle Vue Island but, c.1910, it was removed. There was no public water facility in the town centre until September 1998, when the Malvhina fountain was unveiled. Its water comes from the north-south untreated water main that runs along the west side of Worcester Road, takes a sharp right angle under the road and into the wall behind Malvhina's disc. The water comes from springs in the Rushey Valley, Happy Valley and Ivy Scar and is filtered before it emerges from the spout. Great Malvern's public water fountain was busy on 13th February.
Route to the Hills update.
Back in 2012 we got involved in the Route to the Hills project. This was an initiative to link the town with the hills as part of a tourism development plan. Funding was being sought from the HLF and participation was sought. As a result we worked with the Mount Pleasant Hotel to create a sympathetic marketing theme "Gateway to the Hills". (see our archive newsletters 42 and 44) Friends of Malvern Springs and Wells are people who give their time and resources generously. It's all based on goodwill and an enthusiasm for what makes Malvern great. In spite of this we lost contact with the project until we read the recent commentary in the local press. One of six much criticised tourism signs erected at considerable expense was recently vandalised. It is suggested that this may have been because of their unpopularity. Whatever the motives of the vandals, let's hope that the Route to the Hills project stays on stream and perhaps reinitiates discussions about how our springs and wells are to be integrated into the thinking.
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