Discworld Wiki

Treacle Mine Road is one of the main thoroughfares of Morpork, extending Widdershins from the foot of the Misbegot Bridge to Easy Street, where it becomes Cheap Street. It defines the rimward boundary of the greater Shades quarter; at its back, the city core.

Treacle Mine Road was once exactly that: the treacle mine was a major industry until it was displaced by the lower-cost wells of Quirm (see the legend of The Fifth Elephant for a possible explanation of how the treacle came to be a mineral deposit). The road lent its name to the short-lived People's Republic of Treacle Mine Road during the Glorious Revolution, when it was the front line of the rebel area.

Toward the Misbegot Bridge end is the hall of the Seamstresses' Guild on the corner of Sheer Street. Several blocks from the bridge is the newly-rebuilt Treacle Mine Road Watch House (at the junction of Cable Street and Silver Street), where Samuel Vimes worked until the building was burned down by a dragon in Guards! Guards!.

The street hosts two pubs, the Misbegotten, near to Misbegot Bridge, and the Widespread Arms, which is, possibly not coincidentally, immediately opposite the Seamstresses' Guild. This pub is therefore ideal for Immediately Before, Immediately Afterwards, or perhaps both.

Before becoming resident at the Opera House, Agnes Nitt lodged at no. 4 Treacle Mine Road.

Places located on Treacle Mine Road, starting from the bridge, according to the City of Ankh-Morpork map, the digital app:[]

  • Deadman’s Corner (where Treacle Mine Road meets Misbegot Bridge)
  • The Widespread Arms (in Deadman’s Corner lot, across from the Seamstresses' Guild)
  • Sheer Sports suppliers of ping-pong, bats, balls, shuttlecocks and trampolines
  • Lemual Boot Apothecaries
  • The Helmet and Shield pub
  • The Treacle Miner Sticky Head pub
  • The Treacle Miners hostelry pub
  • Treacle Mine Road Watch House (rebuilt in Night Watch)
  • Gimlet’s Hole Food Delicatessen (corner of Cable Street)
  • Treacle Mine Road Post Office
  • The Pink PussyCat Club
  • The Pig & Trotter diner
  • Kroll Thighbiter’s Rat Pie & Chips ethnic food
  • Miss Battye dressmakers and darning (at Easy Street / The Scours, where Treacle Mine Road becomes Cheap Street

Treacle Mine Road is mentioned in many of Pratchett's novels. In Reaper Man One-Man-Bucket was run over by a cart on Treacle Street. Hex once recorded an error message saying +++Error At Address: 14, Treacle Mine Road, Ankh-Morpork+++. Speculation has ensued as to why exactly this address. It is possible that 14 Treacle Mine Road may be the address of the cellar, rented by Dibbler and used as a storeroom, where he first found the City Eggs that later mutated into wire shopping trolleys in Reaper Man.


Treacle is often used synonymously for molasses but it is really a slightly sweeter, less bitter byproduct of sugar production. Historically, treacle was used as a medicine, often used to treat snakebites. This application gives the syrup its name, with the word treacle stemming from the ancient Greek thēriakē, which means 'antidote against venom'. Treacle mining has been a joke in British humour since the mid-19th century and a variation on the theme is used in Alice in Wonderland's Mad Hatter's Tea Party . The Dormouse tells the story of Elsie, Lacie, and Tillie, who live at the bottom of a well. This confuses Alice, who interrupts to ask what they ate for sustenance. "The Dormouse takes a minute or two to think about it, and then says, 'It was a treacle-well.'" This is an allusion to the so-called "treacle well", the curative St Margaret's Well at Binsey, Oxfordshire.

Treacle mining itself likely stems from 1853 when 8,000 British Army soldiers were camped on Chobham Common. The camp included storehouses containing barrels. When the soldiers left for the Crimean War and the site was dismantled, they buried barrels to avoid having to remove them. Some of the barrels contained thick black treacle which makes the idea of mining the coal coloured substance plausible. Chobham villagers who discovered and removed the barrels were called "treacle miners" as a joke. Local folklore about treacle mining was retroactively extended back in history to Roman Britain. The subject purports to be serious and was used to test the credulity of new boys at Ottershaw School in Surrey, who were encouraged to wait outside the Main gate for the coach that would take them on an outing to the Chobham Treacle Mines on their first Sunday off. Pratchett joked, "Treacle mining is a lost British tradition. There used to be treacle mines in Bisham (near Marlow, on the Thames) and in several northern towns, I believe. But the natural treacle was too sharp and coarse for modern tastes and the industry was finally killed off by the bulk import of cheap white sugar in the last century." "I know the Bisham treacle was very crudely melted into moulds and sold in slabs. Shops used to smash the slabs up and sell the solid treacle as sweets. It's quite a different stuff to the crude 'golden syrup' treacle still occasionally sold."

The village of Sabden in Lancashire cultivated a considerable body of folklore about local treacle mining in the 1930s. The local newspaper helped foster the myth, publishing numerous stories about the fictitious mines.

The paper mills around Maidstone in Kent were known as "The Tovil Treacle Mines" by locals, after the area where one of the mills owned by Albert E. Reed was situated. The company helped the myth with a float in the Maidstone carnival with a "treacle mine" theme. Tudeley and Frittenden in Kent are also said to have had treacle mines. A tank wagon on the Kent and East Sussex Railway was painted in sham "Frittenden Treacle Mines" livery in 2009.

Suggestions of a treacle mine in Buxted were published by the "Friends of Horwich".

Tadley treacle mines had a local hotel named after them and a Tadley Treacle Fair is held. Legend says the name derives from using treacle tins to store money because banks could not be trusted. The tins were buried around the village. Criminals mined for tins.

Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire has a legend of having a treacle mine and a local nickname since around World War I was "Treacle Bumstead". Wareside, also in Hertfordshire, has long had its own "treacle mines". When asked "where have you been?", it was often a popular answer in and around Ware, to say "down the treacle mines!"

Treacle mines have also been claimed in the twin villages Trimley St. Martin and Trimley St. Mary (Suffolk), Wem (Shropshire), Talskiddy, Bisham, Nuneaton, Sway (Hampshire), Ginge (Oxfordshire), Chobham (Surrey), Tongham, Tadley, Skidby, Ditchford, Crick (Northamptonshire), Debdale (Leicestershire), Dunchideock and many other locations across Somerset and Devon, in several northern towns including Natland and Baggrow in Cumbria and Pudsey in Yorkshire, in Croftamie, Scotland, and in the fictional village of Wymsey.

Several public houses, restaurants and hotels in Britain have borne the name to continue the joke. The Treacle Mine public house in Grays, Thurrock, Essex is an example, and the adjacent Treacle Mine Roundabout, which features on the local bus timetable, is named after the public house.

There is a restaurant/pub named Treacle Mine in Polegate, East Sussex;. The name refers to the Polegate treacle mines, a long-running tale in the area that is very popular, with locals dressing as treacle miners for the 1978 Eastbourne carnival. The origins are believed to be associated with a nearby sweet factory.

The Broomsquire Hotel in Tadley, Hampshire, was previously the Treacle Mine Hotel; and another Treacle Mine pub is in Hereford.

Since April 2009 the town of Wincanton in Somerset, twinned with Ankh-Morpork, has had a Treacle Mine Road