The Little Gentlemen in Black Velvet

When it comes to tunnelling your man the mole knows a thing or two.

The Standedge Tunnel, taking the Huddersfield Narrow Canal under the pennines, might be the highest [197 meters above sea level], the deepest [194 meters underground] and the longest [just over 3 miles] tunnel in Britain, and hewn out of solid rock by one man with a spoon. But it took 17 years to dig [understandable under the circumstances I guess].

These little fellas with the big paws can shift six kilos of soil every 20 minutes. We on the other hand would be required to shift 4 tons of soil in the same time to match them, so we cheat and use one of these:

The P&H 4100XPB can shift 115 tons in one scoop and can fill one of these:

in three goes.

Your mole can dig 18 feet in an hour, so it would take a mole 75 days to dig through the Pennines, though at about 3 inches wide you’d struggle to get even a narrow boat through their tunnel.

But perhaps the greatest claim to fame of the mole was it’s role in the Jacobite Risings. The Jacobites rose and rebelled, when James II of England & VII of Scotland was deposed by William III, because they wanted someone called Stuart on the throne. One of the main problems was that William was an Orange and therefore Protestant, whereas James was a Stuart and therefore Catholic.

Most of the Jacobite Risings were called the Jacobite Rebellions, which could lead to confusion if you’re not careful, and were mainly comprised of the Battle of the Boyne, and gave rise to an Old Pretender, James Stuart, a Young Pretender called Bonnie Prince Charlie, and the Battle of Culloden, which in turn led to an outbreak of huge oil paintings of windswept Scottish valleys by eminent Victorian painters.

In 1702, in the afternoon, William III was out horse riding when his horse planted its hoof in a mole hill. The horse fell throwing William to the ground and breaking his collar bone. Complications set in and he died of pneumonia 16 days later.

A popular Jacobite toast was: “to the little gentlemen in black velvet”.

Let us not forget: they are primarily Tunnel Men.

The Holmfirth Typographical Society would like to point out that it has no idea about the religious leanings of James Stewart

1 comment:

Daphne said...

Good to see the mole getting the credit it deserves for its role in history. The findings of the Holmfirth Typographical Society are being avidly followed from deepest Burgundy; though the French keyboqrd is not qn qsset to typogrqphy in generql qnd me in pqrticulqr.