BIDEFORD BLACK - We need your stories!
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BIDEFORD BLACK - We need your stories!

The Burton Art Gallery & Museum in Bideford is presently running a project to uncover our memories and stories about the locally unique earth pigment BIDEFORD BLACK that was mined in the town until 1969.

With your help the project, led by local artist Peter Ward, aims to bring together fresh historical, geological, artistic and personal stories and artefacts to produce a new permanent display and an online archive for the Burton before the memories fade forever.

Many locals still remember the 'Treacle Mines' and have tales to tell of using the paint or going into the now defunct mine shafts. The unique 'Mineral Black', or 'Biddiblack', was commercially produced for applications in the boat building industry, for colouring rubber products, for camouflage on tanks in WWII and was even bought by Max Factor for the production of mascara.

The project is also looking for volunteers to help us find other people in the community who might have knowledge to share and to record their stories. If you would like to help please can contact us any time or come along to the Burton on March 20th and sign up to help.

The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and will be launched at the Burton at a special SHOW & TELL DAY on the 20th March, from 11.30 – 3.30. This is an opportunity to come in and share memories and objects with us which could form part of the new display in the museum - we look forward to hearing your stories. The second part of the project is to put together a display on Bideford Black, which has been generously supported by the Friends of the Burton and will become part of the permanent exhibition.

For more information about the project and events connected to it please visit We are collecting stories, pictures and artefacts right now and are keen to hear from anyone who has a story to share. If you've already got some information about Bideford Black we'd love to hear from you. Our email address is or contact the Burton on 01237 471455.

18 February 2013