The Borough of Reigate had a very explosive moment when it was only 4 years old - July 14th 1867.
Nobel chose a stone quarry in Merstham, Redhill to demonstrate his new
discovery of dynamite - what an improvement over the only existing
methods, incendiary gunpowder or unstable explosive nitro-glycerine, by
adding a packing substance to the nitro such as diatomacious earth,
Fullers Earth or even sawdust. This proved to be much safer than
nitro-glycerine and it earned him a fortune, leading to his even more
famous, lasting legacy of Nobel prizes for good works.
would probably be turning in his grave if he knew about the scandal of
alleged bribery and corruption with the 2008 Nobel awards for medicine.
Did a multi-national pharmaceutical company exert undue influence on the
judges and so call the panel's integrity into question? Oh well, we
shall see what happens. It rather casts an ominously dark shadow over
the worldwide HPV vaccine campaign.
Meanwhile it is
lovely to know that our local Fuller's Earth, quarried just a couple of
miles further south in the Lower Greensand Ridge, is such a useful
commodity. There are very few places in the UK where it could be
extracted. This very fine type of earth is excellent for removing oils
and grease, and decontaminating all sorts of things.
Earth is sold in supermarkets as cat litter and face masks, but there's
lots more: in the woollen industry, the chemicals industry,
engineering, decontaminating army clothing from chemical poisoning,
powdering babies' bottoms - and so the list goes on. Fuller's Earth is
multi-purpose, and best of all, natural.
I gather that if you use dynamite in a Fuller's Earth quarry you make a terrific plume up in the air with the explosion.
What a great day out it must have been for Alfred Nobel and his newly patented dynamite.