The china clay deposits of Dartmoor brought wealth for some and failure for others. Despite long and hard attempts the Redlake deposits eventually fell in the latter category but should be remembered for the boldness of the attempt to introduce industry into the heart of Dartmoor. This is the tale of these attempts, not just from the business perspective, but with real contributions from the workers themselves, for their voices were often the only archive. With accounts of day to day life at the hostel deep in the moor, this is a very human story.
It was the tramway that was built to make the work possible that first attracted the author and he gives a good account of all aspects of the railway. Richard Hansford Worth engineered the six mile long, three foot gauge line which lasted the same period as the industry it served, twenty years from 1911 to 1931. An account is also given of the much earlier Zeal Tor Tramway. Both railway routes now form popular footpaths into the moor.
This book was first published by Twelveheads Press in 1983 and has been out of print and scarce for some time. We had been discussing a reprint with the author, Ted Wade, when sadly he succumbed to motor neurone disease and this edition is dedicated to his memory. The original text has been retained but additional new and previously unpublished photographs are included. All of his superb drawings and maps are reproduced again.
One of the 20th century 'classics' of Dartmoor that should be on everyone's bookshelf. Dartmoor Magazine, Autumn 2004
Reviews of the first edition of 1983:
A valuable piece of social history. Journal of the Railway & Canal Historical Society
A superb publication . . . a well researched document which paints a clear picture. Narrow Gauge News
A workmanlike manner and a professional perspective. The Devon Historian