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Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
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no 1113963
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EFC Centre at Wat Tyler Country ParkWe are normally open to the public at our centre at Wat Tyler Country Park every Saturday, Sunday and bank holiday 11am-4pm, check. We are also open on Wednesdays 10am-4pm.
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Geology Site Account

Copperas Bay and Copperas Wood, RAMSEY , Tendring District, TM199312, Historical site only

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The copperas industry is commemorated in the name of Copperas Wood and Copperas Bay. Copperas Wood is an Essex Wildlife Trust reserve. Grid reference is the entrance to the reserve.


Site description

The copperas industry was an important industry in eighteenth century Essex. It involved gathering of pyrite nodules (known as ‘copperas stones’) from beaches, where they had been washed out of the London Clay, and then allowing them to oxidise for several months in open vats. This lengthy and hazardous industrial process converted the nodules to ferrous sulphate (green vitriol), which was an essential chemical for making dyes, ink, and several industrial chemicals such as sulphuric acid. Women and children were employed to gather the nodules from the beaches and were paid in ‘copperas tokens’.

A copperas works is marked as ‘Copperas House’ on the 1882 geological map (based on an 1838 original plate) and the exact site may have been where Copperas Wood Farm now is (TM 204 318).


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Reference: George 1991, Leach 1999, Allen et al. 2004, Page 1907 (p.411-412).

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