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Climbing News

Avon Gorge:

Now that the days are lengthening, climbing has restarted on Thursday evenings. Meet from about 5.30pm onwards by the tennis courts.


There has been a renewal of weekend climbs run from the Belfry. Arrangements for these are usually made on the previous Thursday evening.


Trips have been arrange for weekends away from the Bristol/Mendip area as follows: -

May 21/23.  North Wales.
June 4/7.  Whitsun at the Dewarstone, Dartmoor.
July 16/18.  North Wales.

Caving News

Changing Room:

The committee have requested that all leaders’ of parties should ensure that the Changing Room is left clean and tidy.  All articles of clothing are to be removed and, if useless for further trips, should be placed in the well known pit near the Belfry.

Cuthbert’s Leaders:

The current list is as follows (Names underlined are active or live on Mendip.) K. Abbey, R. Bennett,   M. Calvert,  J. Cornwell,   J. Eatough,   M. Baker,   B. Ellis,   C. Flashaw, K. Franklin,  P. Franklin,  P.M. Giles, N. Hart,  J. Hill,  D. Irwin, Miss P. Irwin, R. King, P. Kingston, B. Lane, Dr. O.C. Lloyd, A. MacGregor, A. Meadon, M. Palmer, N. Petty, B. Prewer,  B. Reynolds,  R. Roberts, A. Sandall,  R. Stenner,  M. Thompson, S. Tuck, P. Townsend, R. West, M. Wheadon, D, Palmer.  Prospective leaders: A., Coase, J. Dryden, C. Harvey, R. White.


We continue our ‘Bat and Ball’ epic.  Sorry – our article on Bats, written by R.E. Ball.  Part two follows: -

Continued from last month’s B.B.

The Verspertilionide family contains all other British bats.  These range from the fast flying Noctule, slightly larger than the Greater Horseshoe, down to the familiar Pipistrelle, slightly smaller than the Lesser Horseshoe.  The Noctule may be seen before dark flying high with a very powerful action.  It sometimes flies in company with swifts and swallows and lacks nothing of these birds’ skills.  The Pipistrelle is probably the most commonly seen small bat and it is a familiar sight on summer evenings, as it flies about with jerky movements up and down a regular ‘beat’.  It must not be assumed that every small bat seen is a Pipistrelle, as identification of species in flight is very difficult, especially in poor light. All bats of this family have a simple nose and are characterised by a lobe of skin called the tragus which projects upwards from the base of the ear.  The shape and size of the tragus is one of the means of identifying these bats.

The only members of this family encountered in local caves are three of the genus Mystis, these being the Whiskered Bat, Natterer’s Bat and Dauberton’s Bat.  There is also a single member of the genus Plecotus – the Long Eared Bat.  All of these use caves for hibernation and are to be found in the Mendip area.  They are difficult to find, as they creep into small cervices and a diligent search is required to discover them.  However, they can occur almost anywhere and we found a Long Eared in the entrance to Goatchurch two years ago, so it’s worth a search.  This bat is unmistakable.  It is a little larger than the Lesser Horseshoe and has enormous ears – about one and a half inches long!   

The Myotis bats are difficult to identify into actual species as it is necessary to weigh and measure the bat before identification is certain.  All these are a little bigger than the Lesser Horseshoe, but smaller than the Long Eared.

Order Vespertilionidae bats hibernate in hollow trees and buildings, so they are not likely to be met by cavers.  The remaining species of this family are Serotine, Beckstein’s, Leisler’s and Barvastelle, none of which are known to be of common occurrence locally.  In fact, the distribution in Britain of many of our bats is largely unknown. There are very few people actively engaged in bat study and the numbers of authentic records of distribution of the various species are not very high.  In an effort to improve our knowledge, the Mammal Society has just launched a scheme for reporting bat sightings.  It is hoped from this to produce a more accurate picture of the status of the various bats throughout Great Britain.

One widely used method for obtaining information about the movements of bats is that of ringing or ‘banding’ as it is known on America.  This has been carried out for many years in several countries and much valuable information has been obtained.  The ring used is an open ‘C’ shaped aluminium clip which is gently closed around the forearm near the wrist.  It is free to move up and down and, if properly applied, causes no injury to the wing. The bats seem to accept the presence of the ring without annoyance and; although one or two chew the ring, bats have lived for fifteen years with no damage to the ring or injury to the wing. The ring is stamped with a code number and letters for subsequent identification.  Each time a ringed bat is recovered, it is weighed and a note taken of its ringed number and date and place of finding.  Unlike birds, the bats form an almost static population and a very high recovery rate is obtained of ringed bats.  Whereas a bird ringer almost never catches the bird he has ringed, we can expect to find the same bat many times in its lifetime. Hence we can follow one bat throughout its life and if is done for enough bats, we can hope that we shall begin to understand something about the life of our local bat population.  A good average of all Mendip caves and mine workings is in operation at the moment, and the local ringers co-operate by working on agreed dates, thus ensuring that on each bat weekend, all the locations are investigated.  Throughout the hibernation period these ringing weekends occur about once a month and it is felt that more frequent visits, while giving more information, would cause undue disturbance and upset the validity of the findings.  The areas covered are Burrington, Cheddar, Wookey, Banwell, Harptree and several other small caves and mines.  All findings are circulated so that each ringer has access to the records for the whole area.  It is thought that we now have an almost complete coverage of the Greater Horseshoe bats and it is rare to find one that has not been ringed by the end of the winter.

To end with, I would like to repeat the pleas with which I ended the first part of this article – to take great care in all matters regarding out bats.  While there is no legal protection for wild animals – other than birds – their future lies in our hands.  Man has the power to destroy wild life and unfortunately, this power – coupled with ignorance – has led in the past to the disappearance of many species of birds and animals.  Lets us act in a more enlightened manner and realise that the protection of wild life is our responsibility.  As cavers, we should take care to protect the life in our caves with the same respect that we show for our stal. formations.  Towards this end I hope that this article has done something generate an interest and understanding towards our furry caving brethren.

R.E. Ball.

Editor’s Note:    Elsewhere in this B.B., readers will find a letter lamenting the poor standard of informative articles in the B.B. This article, and the recent one by Derek Ford on the formation of Cuthbert’s should, we feel, be excepted from such criticism. We try to provide something for all club members form time to time and, although we usually have to split a long article such as this one, such material is always most welcome.  What about other specialists having a go at educating, informing and entertaining us?

P.S.  Although the point about the care of bats and formations is well put and taken, we are afraid that if bats are treated the way some formations are, parties would have to go down at regular intervals to clean them!

A New Discovery in South Wales

by Jill Tuck.

A hill in the neighbourhood of Newport was mined extensively for lead, chiefly during the mid-nineteenth century, and many pits and shafts can still be seen there.  One of the mines consists of about a thousand feet of passage and is known to local cavers, so Norman and I accompanied by Laurie Williams and Tony Davies of B.N.S. Caving Club, set out for a few weeks ago and have a look at it.

While searching for the entrance, however, we came across another small hole; stones dropped in fell a guesstimated distance of fifty feet plus and a strong draught was felt, so our original intention was abandoned in favour of the unknown.

After some gardening, it was possible to drop a ladder and, after feeding in about eighty feet, we climbed in cautiously to find ourselves on a steep earthen slope, sliding down the side of a rift chamber.  From all appearances then and later, it was obvious that the site had not been entered since it was abandoned.  Beautiful white, cream, coffee coloured and red stal. was abundant.  Straws, thicker stalactites, stal. flows helictites, miniature gours, pool coral and curtains at an early stage of development could be seen throughout the cave.  Many were coated with ‘snow’ type of deposition once common in Upper Swildons, and the appearance of most of the passages compared favourably with any of the ‘pretty’ caves on Mendip, except perhaps Balch’s  Hole. I did not see any stalagmites longer than about four inches.  In one place the rock wall resembled the Beehive in Lamb Leer, being streaked with stal. and mineral deposits.  There were also frequent examples of a type of stal. quite new to me and a separate description will follow if the editor can stand more screed (yes please Jill – Ed.) In general, the mine consisted of three or four parallel rifts, mostly over fifty feet high and ten feet wide, lying at an angle of about 70o.  Piles of loose boulders hade been dumped in many places by the miners and digging would reveal more workings.  The rifts were connected by short cross passages, while there were many other ways leading off the main rifts.  As a rough estimate, there is well over a thousand feet of passage so far and the total depth exceeds a hundred and fifty feet.

We examined the mine closely with a view to deciding its probable age and origin, and came to the conclusion that much of it could be natural cave and that a hole through which we entered was probably not the original entrance, but a later subsidence of part of the roof.  We could not find any shot holes, there was only one beam of wood (lying loose against the wall) and the presence of charcoal scattered about the floor suggested that the mine might have been worked by the old method of heating the rock by fire to shatter it.  On the other hand, this ‘charcoal’ may turn out to be decomposed wood.

Sketch of Comb and Teeth insertsAs we tramped through the first rift, we came across a few bones and an almost complete animal skull, but is was not until some four hours later that we made a major discovery.  At the end of one passage blocked by a pile of miners’ infill, Laurie spotted a large piece of pottery and, searching amongst the rocks, we found pieces of comb carved out of bone.  The comb was of unusual construction, the teeth being carved in sets of from four to six teeth, which were then set between two other pieces of bone which formed the  handle. Each set of teeth had a plug protruding out from each side.  This plug was carved integrally with the set of teeth and was not an insertion, and these plugs fitted into a row of matching holes in each handle piece.  A rough sketch, drawn from memory and not to scale is shown on the right.

Bones were abundant here, and I collected several of them.  These bones, with the comb were sent for expert identification and Bristol Museum Authorities have now dated them as being of the last half of the First Century A.D.  There is a possibility that our discovery is a genuine Roman lead mine.  Cardiff Museum are sending representatives to inspect the mine and, because of the possible importance of the find, I am sorry that it is not possible to publish the location of the mine until it has been expertly examined.

Editor’s Note:    Jill has promised us more information about this find as soon as it becomes available, and we are sure that the club members would like to know more, and if possible, visit the place later when all is clear from the archaeological point of view.  Jill, being an ex-Pen Park Hole type, has clearly been putting into practice the old motto ‘The B.E.C. get everywhere!’  Only one thing puzzles me.  What did the Roman miners carry combs down the pit with them for?


111a, Winner St.,
S. Devon.
23rd April, 1965.

Dear Editor,

Once upon a B.E.C. time, there used to appear in the B.B. some very good articles of general interest on archaeology, local Mendip History and a lot more details of people’s own caving exploits.

But now, with all due respect to the authors, we don’t seem to advance beyond cave photography occasionally and surveying fairly frequently.

One particular whim of mine at the moment is to learn something about the geological history of the Mendips, with some particular regard to the formation of its caves. Could it not be possible for some one (Dr. Ford excepted) to produce a series of articles on this matter?  I am sure that some of the young members might appreciate some understanding of the caves they explore.

Besides this subject, there must be others not yet touched upon that might be of general interest. I will make no suggestions of possible topics, but will appeal to other members to make use of the B.B. in a similar manner by making their own suggestions known.  Maybe we shall all benefit by the results.

                        Michael A. Palmer.

As Mike says, it is all a question of what is sent in.  Do YOU feel there is a lack of suitable reading matter?  Even if you can’t contribute, you can write in and say what you want!


Congratulations to ‘Sett’ and Jan on the birth of their son.  If my spy system is working, he was born on April 7th, weighed six and a half pounds and is to be called Julian Guy.


Caving Meets.

May 30th.

G.B. Cavern.  C.C.C. Permits required.  Meet @ cave entrance 11am.

June 5/7.

Devon.  Accommodation at D.S.S. hut, Buckfastleigh.  Further details from Dave Irwin or Keith Franklin.

June 26th.

St. Cuthbert’s practice rescue.  This will be the second full scale practice to be held in the cave and it is hoped that as many leaders as possible will attend this important event.  Meet @ Belfry 11am.

July 9th.

Agen Allwedd (Aggy Aggy).  Accommodation at C.S.S. cottage.  Also camping. Indemnity forms are available at the Belfry or from Dave Irwin or Keith Franklin.  All forms to be returned to me by JUNE 13TH.

D. Irwin.  Caving Sec.

Sleeping Bags: -

The Northern Main Order Co. sell an ex U.S. Army “Arctic” sleeping bag for 59/11 (postage 3/6).  In good condition these, with their 6lbs of down, are superior to even a Blacks Icelandic Special and are thoroughly to be recommended.  The bag should be examined closely for signs or repair, particularly for a second rate replacement zip, and if there is any doubt, send it back.  The address is, Northern Mail Order Co., Caledonian Buildings, 135/154 Leith walk, Edinburgh 6.

R.S. King.


A few people are still being given the benefit of the doubt by the stal. department.  Strictly speaking, anyone who has still not paid their 1965 sub is no longer entitled to a B.B.  If you are one of those who have not yet paid, do so NOW.

Ireby Fell Cavern

Late on Good Friday morning, several cars filled with 18 cavers left the Flying Horseshoe at Clapham for Ireby Fell a mile or so from Masongill.  A winding road led us to a track quite near the potholes of Ireby and Marble Steps.  Both were on the menu and are each 400 feet deep, their streams feeding the master cave of Lost Johns less than a mile away.

Marble Steps was only a few minutes walk up the old stream valley (a small stream is still active in it and feeds the Low Douk Cave) while Ireby involves a half a mile walk over the fell.  The entrance to Ireby is located at the deepest end of a large shakehole and leads one through a short ruckle to a little ten foot climb leading to a letter box at the lower end.  It is here that one meets the water face to face, and it is amusing to watch the members of the party trying to avoid it – they can’t!  A few feet further the passage leads to a small chamber allowing one to stand comfortably, and also the first pitch – a free ladder climb of twenty five feet.  This enters a chamber with part of the stream entering just below the ladder climb and sinking again amongst the boulders on the floor.  Here one ladders for the big pitch (ninety feet of ladder) the laddering of this pitch is not clear in the guide books and a sketch (I hope!) will give a clearer picture of how it is done.  Gently lower the ladder from the top of the pitch and climb down the first thirty five feet.  Feed it to the ladder through the squeeze behind a flake and over a wooden beam. Instead of climbing the whole pitch via the squeeze, get off the ladder at the bottom of the second pitch  (Dong Pitch) climb down a spiral passage to rejoin the pitch (Bell Pitch).  This avoids a soaking in the squeeze, although one becomes very wet in the lower half of the pitch in any case.  The chamber at the bottom of the big pitch is a lofty rift.  In addition to the shower bath coming down Bell Pitch, a very heavy shower enters another corner, leaving little space where one can keep dry. A narrow rift passage, with nicely scalloped walls, meanders until the head of the fourth pitch – 25 feet (Pussy Pitch) is reached. Here a ladder was belayed from a flake on the bridge instead of dropping it through the hole in the floor which takes the full volume of water.  At the bottom one finds oneself in a small chamber with no apparent way on. A slit in the wall on the right hand side leads through a short ruckle.  Once clear of the ruckle, a fine vadose trench is entered with the occasional formations.  This trench meanders for quite a way, sometimes forcing one to stream level or to squeeze past narrow walls.  Next are the three ducks.  These are not really ducks but we crawls involving a few inches of water in a passage some eighteen inches high.  I’ve no doubt that when the water is high, these passages are places to avoid, especially when one sees the flood debris on the roof!

On leaving ducks, the rift continues to meander, although a lot easier in a similar manner to the Crab Walk of the Giants Hole in Derbyshire, until after about a thousand feet, the head of the fifth pitch is reached.  This twenty five foot pitch, a little awkward at the top, leads to the main stream passage.  Here, the passage dimensions change suddenly from a few feet wide to ten to fifteen feet wide and a series of deep pools.  Again, after a few hundred yards, one enters a series of large chambers that bypass a large section of the stream passage.  As the last chamber closed down, so the stream re-appeared, only to sink shortly into the sump.

The well known mud flaked floor was not found, although we entered the dry chambers, and can only think that successive parties have destroyed them.  Perhaps we should gate caves after all!  The ‘in’ journey took some four hours to bottom the pot and two and a half hours to get out.  Tired and wet, but well satisfied with our days caving, the party trudges through the moor land, using the last of the daylight, back to the vans and food at the campsite.  The party consisted of Dave Irwin, Don Craig, Roger Broomhead, Tom Sage (W.S.G.) and two W.S.G. guests.

P.S.  Just one final personal comment, the pot is just one mile long and deserves a higher grading than D.P.


There will be a WORKING WEEKEND at the Belfry on Saturday and Sunday the 29th and 30th of May. There are lots of things to be done to help improve the facilities.  Please turn up that weekend PREPARED TO WORK.


The editor would like to thank all those whom have sent in articles recently.  Please keep it up, as we are having a large size issue of the B.B. shortly.


111A Winner Street,
Paignton, Devon,
6th April, 1965.

Dear Editor,

I feel that I must reply to the appeal in the B.B. for members’ views on the subject of the Annual Dinner.

“Helictite” summed up the last dinner quite well with views that I would say were shared by a lot of members who were present.

But if one is really critical, and I am, a point to bear in mind is that, in the foyer of the restaurant, the displayed menu and price list quoted the identical dinner, in the same surroundings with possibly the same waitresses, as being the astronomical price of seven and sixpence.

I would rather like to have my club dinner there again thus year, as I found the atmosphere and surroundings most congenial, bit if I must pay ten shillings over the odds, I expect the service to be excellent, the wine to be on time and the meal to be hot.

Without a doubt there must be some form of amusement, particularly for the ladies, otherwise the evening can become quite dull.  It is easy for the men because they can stagger around like drunken newts, impersonating human beings and have ‘no end of a time’.  I am not going to pretend to have the solution to the entertainment problem, but I will say that the ingredients of the post prandial revelry last year seemed to satisfy most people remarkably well.

Unfortunately, there is a shadow cast over the proceedings by a few people on Mendip who won’t support our Dinner because they say it will be just like all the others.  Most of these people persist in shouting about what a wonderful time they had at the other club dinners, to which I might add, they made no contribution either.  Now if instead, they were to harness just a fraction of the effort they spent trying to reveal ‘Stalagmite’ and which, incidentally, they will be no doubt spend trying to unveil ‘Helictite’, in writing just a few lines to the committee, proffering ideas and suggestions, everyone would benefit.

These are a few of my thoughts on the matter and should arouse some club member from his stagnation to offer some form of agreement or reprisal – or will it???

                        Michael A. Palmer  (Pen Name)

Editor’s Note:    This letter sounds a bit like ‘fighting talk’. I am afraid, however, that the committee have already had to fix (and book) the place for the 1965 dinner – also the menu.  This only leaves the entertainment open for suggestions.  I have also shown this letter to a correspondent and got this (hurriedly scribbled) reply…

When I gave the editor my article, he said not to be very surprised if nobody wrote in about it. They have and I am.  I might even write again something on something else.


Practice Rescue

On June 26th, the second full scale practice rescue will be held in St. Cuthbert’s.  It was agreed at the Leader’s Meeting that this ought to be an annual event.

So far, in the thirteen years since the opening of this cave, only minor accidents have occurred (sprained ankles, minor falls etc.)  It would be foolhardy to suppose that a serious accident could not occur. I, like everyone else, hope that one will never occur, but it would be very slack on the part of the leaders to follow this attitude of mind.  We must, I’m sure you will agree, be ready for an emergency.  All leaders should be familiar with the rescue routes and techniques used to get a victim to the surface as quickly as possible.

This year it is planned not to divulge the position of the victim (Alan Thomas has volunteered to be our victim).  All people helping are asked to be at the Belfry by 11 o’clock ready to change, so that an accurate assessment of time taken for the many tasks to be carried out can be made.

The basic rescue from Upper Traverse Chamber to the entrance will be used, i.e. Upper Traverse Pitch, Traverse Pitch, Water Shute, Gour Passage Pitch, Pulpit Pitch, Arête and Entrance Pitch.  Discussions are taking place to decide on the siting of the victim and the route to be taken to Upper Traverse Chamber.  It is hoped to use one of the radio transmitters for cave to surface communication. The fixed line telephone will also be laid, with the handset that is held in the Belfry.

It is hoped that many of the leaders will be present and that any other caver who is interested in helping will be extremely useful.  If any one has nay queries or suggestions I should be grateful if they would contact Keith Franklin or myself.

Dave Irwin

St. Cuthbert’s Practice Rescue in Catgut Rift.

Whilst on the subject, it seems a good place to print the account of the last ‘do’, even this makes it an almost entirely Irwin type B.B….

The first of this year’s practice rescue was held on May 1st in the Catgut Rift.  The ‘victim’ (Roger Stenner) was strapped in the carrying sheet in the bedding plane below the rift near Crosslegs Squeeze.  Due to the size of our ‘victim’ (sorry, Roger!) he could not be taken along the floor of the rift to the widest part, where he could have been hauled up to the top and easily taken out to the ruckle.  As it was, he was brought up the normal route over the chockstone.  Up to this point, the passage was too narrow to allow side carriers and in places it was not wide enough to allow them to straddle the rift above the victim and help take his weight. To overcome this, a makeshift holding line was attached to the straps on the carrying sheet.  This seemed to solve the problem.  Two lifelines will have to be added to the list of tackle required for any rescue in the rift.  When the victim was hauled up and over the chockstone, the remainder of the rift presented no great difficulty.  It was found that, by arranging rescuers high in the rift, the victim could be carried over their knees quite easily.  The ruckle presented little problems, none of which are important.

This exercise proved that a victim can be extracted from Catgut, but the time taken was two and a quarter hours.  The question that needs answering is “Will it be quicker to take a victim through the Rabbit Warren Extension and up Everest Passage to upper Traverse Chamber?

Many thanks to all those who came down to help, particularly Roger Stenner for being our ‘victim’ and to Oliver Lloyd who constantly gave very useful advice and supplied the carrying sheet.



Words have been written in this space before now on the desirability of maintaining some sort of balance in the B.B. between the varied subjects appearing in it.  What we would like to see each month is a nice blend of serious articles on caving, climbing, archaeology and other types of scientific nature, mixed with lighter articles and humour.  As it is, we have to print whatever members and others send us and although we try to ration out the material we have, so that too much of anyone type of article does not appear in any one B.B., we cannot always do this. At the moment, we are getting rather too few of the more serious types of contribution and hence the B.B. is becoming unbalanced.  We would sooner continue to print original articles, than have to rely on reprinting from old B.B.'s or other sources, so please, blokes, send in a few learned dissertations for the general uplift of the B.B.

" Alfie. "

Caving Log

1st March

Alfies Hole.  Working party. This included three Hut Wardens (Wally, Mike Holland and Alfie).  Mike Holland uncovered a second crack in the floor of the chamber going straight down (the crack, not Mike Holland!)

7th March.

St. Cuthbert's.  Party including Mike Wheadon, Mike Holland, D. Farr, M. Bywater, Prew and one other.  Descended to Dining Room.  Phone Checked and receiver found D/S. party came out via Bypass Passage, Lower Traverse Chamber and Lower Bud Hall.  Total time 5hrs.  N.B. The telephone was found later to be completely corroded.  The receiver unit has now been repaired and moulded in Araldite.  A new microphone is being obtained.

21st March

G.B.  Club Trip.  Main party of 7 members went in via Devil's Elbow.  Alfie and Jill did a photographic trip.

22nd March.

Swildons.  Top of Swildons by Ian Dear and 2 Weymouth Rover scouts.  Pleasant trip of high educational value to the two scouts.


Eastwater.  Tony O'Flaherty and Ralph Lewis.  A pleasant trip.

26th March.

Eastwater.  Tony O' Flaherty, Ralph Lewis and 4 members of B.C.S.S.  Dolphin route to second bold step.  Introduction of 4 to ladder work.  Went a different way through Boulder Ruckle.  7 minutes from Boulder Chamber to the surface.

27th March.

Swildon's IV.  Dave Hoskyns, Barry Tiddler and Ray from Liverpool.  Water conditions very good but found high flood level in 4.

28th March.

St. Cuthbert’s.  Alan and Carol Sandall.  High Chamber, Curtain Chamber, Everest, Fingers, Cascade and out.


St. Cuthbert’s.  Roger Stenner, Tony O’Flaherty, Rowena, Mike Baker and two others.  As above without High Chamber.

29th March.

Cuckoo Cleeves.  Keith Gladman and Martin O’Neill.  Went on until it got too tight.


St. Cuthbert’s.  Bryan Ellis and Chris Falshaw.   Spent four hours surveying in Upper Traverse Chamber without any startling new discoveries being made.


St Cuthbert's.  Tourist including Catgut and September Series.  Out via Lower Traverse Chamber and Lower Mud Hall.  It seems the telephone reception is perfect in the dining room and nil in the Belfry.

1st April.

Swildons.  Tourist trip by Mike Baker - closely followed by Tony O'Flaherty.

5th April.

St. Cuthbert's.  Al Francis, Gerry Wright and Mike Wheadon.  Went to find Coral Series.  Not quite sure what we did find.


Hunter's Hole.  Leader, Ian Dear.  Party included Chris Falshaw, Prew, Vivienne Pre-Falshaw and Jill (by permission of Alfies Hole Inc.) Chris and party pressed on in Dear's Ideal until prudence decided them to let the boulders settle down for a while.  Digging then continued in the Railway Tunnel.

11th April.

Swildons.  Dave Hoskyns and party of 12 visited the sump and upper grottoes.

12th April.

St. Cuthbert’s.  Surveying Trip starting from entrance.  Alfie, Jill, Dave Hoskyns and Colin. St. Cuthbert's.  Leader Roger Stenner.  Via Cascade through to the fingers.  Back to Quarry Corner, Everest Passage and the Dining Room.  Tried to ladder Stal Pitch - ladder too short.  On way out, amazing straw noted in Pillar Chamber.  P.S. Nife Cells are a nuisance.

18th April.

St. Cuthbert's.  Leader Alan Sandall.  Tourist trip with Cathedral Caving Club to most of the main features.  N.B. Nife Cells are wonderful for use in St. Cuthbert's.

19th April.

St. Cuthbert's.  Trip to September Series led by Mike Wheadon.  Via Sentry Passage, Stream Passage to Dining Room, Rabbit Warren, Catgut, September Series and out via High Chamber.  The profusion of formations in the September Series was really staggering.


St. Cuthbert's.  Leader Norman Petty.  Party from Clifton School.

26th April.

Goatchurch.  A party led by Tiddler and consisting of Mo Marriot, Colin Smith and Ian Dear spent three hours rediscovering the intricacies of this delightful cave.


Hunter's Hole.  Leader, Ian Dear.  Further work in the Railway Tunnel and examination of Dear's Ideal which looks very promising.


Keith Gardner, our tame Archaeologist, is the Secretary of the Clevedon arid District Archaeological Society, and sends us this note, which may be of interest to readers of the B.E.C..

Cadbury Camp, Yatton

Excavation will commence on the morning of Saturday 9th May (O.S. Grid Ref. ST/440.650.)  The camp occupies the summit of a limestone hill, is defended by a double (?) line of ditch and bank, and is presumably early Iron Age in date.

Many Roman remains have been discovered round the hill, and in 1877, a Roman burial, a coin, Samian Ware, Castor Ware, and roofing tiles were found on the North side of the hilltop. The latter particularly, were regarded as suggestive of the presence of a substantial building.

An attempt will be made to locate this building, and also to gain evidence of the Iron Age occupation, by making a series of small cuttings over a large area.

Work will continue over May and early June, and arrangements can be made for those wishing to camp. Facilities are available for those who would like to fly the site.  The cost will be 7/6 per person.

Letter to the Editor

U.S.S.R. Siberian Salt & Nut Factory,
Spelaeological Society,

Dera Sur,

With regard to the letter published in the B.B. from the Kornish Kave Klub, I would like to clear up the darkness regarding the ownership of the cave in question.  In the manner of the imperialistic clubs throughout the world, this club is guilty of enticing away of the cave from the U.S.S.R. Only three months ago, a party of cavers from the above factory went out in the usual weekend way to spend their leisure hours in this old established Russian Cave and found to their horror that it had gone.

We believe that it was coaxed and cajoled away by means of subversive propaganda regarding lighting and concrete floors and hope that it will be returned to us without delay. Will you please therefore send our cave back parcel post at your convenience, within the next week or so. We hope to receive it in good condition, that is, without damage caused by the bloated capitalist boots of your members.  If, however any damage is found on inspection, we shall claim through the Cave Insurance Co of the U.S.S.R.  The Red Flag for ever, Up Checkov.

I am, sur,
The Servant of the state,
Ivan Ivanovitch Ivanovitchsky Popolofshichechipolishzxi.

The above letter, in spite of its formidable signature, comes in fact from Anne Gardner

The K.K.K.

The letter last month from the Kornish Kave Klub seems to have provoked the young ladies of our club to reply.  Here are letters received from two of them, one on the previous page:-

The Editor, Belfry Bulletin.

Ignoring Mr. Dawe's remarks about the origin of St. Cuthbert's Swallet, which are absurd, I must protest at the slighting reference to 'faithless Englishwomen' in his recent letter.  (Incidentally, the word “English” is written with a capital E and Mr. Dawe may like to note the shape of this letter, which is obviously new to him.

Englishwomen are usually faithful to their menfolk, and Mr. Dawe should not generalise from a particular case.  Any unfortunate English maiden espoused to a Kornish Cing, and no doubt tormented by piskeys, should not be blamed if she prefers to return to her natural level of culture and elope with one who reminds her of a worthy Englishman.

The conditions in the small territory across the rivulet whose name escapes me at present, but which debouches (*) into Plymouth, may be imagined from its place-names, such as Hells Town, Lost-with-all, and Foulmouth which still survive in a modified form.

Kornwall is notorious for its wild animals, which have remained wild since they were first included in the rites of the furry dance.  If Cing Arthur refused even to be buried there, he could scarcely expect his wife to live amongst those primitive and uneducated barbarians, next door to the Untied States.

It is surely not praiseworthy to accept inferior standards when one can raise oneself to a better level and I feel that Guinevere was fully justified in her flight towards a less rude domicile.     

Yours Respectfully,
Jill Rollason.

(*) Debouch. c.f. Debauch, v.t. Debauchery n.  These words became confused by the Early English who came frequently into contact with the Trans-Tamarian aborigines.


We hear on good authority that JOHN LAMB will shortly be back amongst us for a visit.

Mervyn Hannam was recently married, Ian Dear acting as best man.  Congratulations, Merv.

SID HOBBS has offered to make a collection of limericks for the club.  If any member thinks they know one that Sid won1t have heard, he would be obliged if they would get in touch.

Committee Meeting

The April Meeting of the B.E.C. Committee gave Mo their permission to continue to buy lamps and spares from the cash already received.  This will ensure that a supply of these is always available.  An offer has been received for the making of club car and bike badges which will be taken up.  The doors are now fitted to the kitchen cupboards.  It was agreed to urge the obtaining of mains water for the Belfry.  Nigel Clarke and Rowena Lewis were elected as full members of the club.


For full a dozen years I've often sat
Beside Ben's table in the cavers bar.
Played Hunter's Bridge on it, or stood a jar
Of ale to rest upon its surface flat.
With Beer and Screech t'was impregnated deep
No wood worm could attack its innards tough
Around it we would play at Card'nal Puff
While Johnny Lamb would underneath it creep.
Alas!  Last week a dreadful thing befell.
Quite suddenly, for everyone to see
The table split across from A to B,
Upsetting glasses, bods and booze as well.
I wonder if the table's final role
Will be to act as shoring in a hole?

Odd Reminders

Lamp spares are now on sale at the Belfry.  Apply to the Hut Warden for details.

The club's offer of free colour file for taking pictures of caves for the club's use still stands. The club will also pay half the cost of a film taken on a one-for-me-and-one-¬for-the-club basis. Impecunious gentlemen will have to make their own arrangements with Mr. Bagshaw about the cost of flashbulbs.

The club tent is available for hire by the weekend or longer periods.  Norman Petty is the chap to see about this.



The Belfry Bulletin. S.J. Collins, 33 Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.
Secretary.  R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.


Climbing Meets.

Sun. 20th June.  AVON GORGE.  Meet at Tennis Courts 11am.

Weekend 17.18 July.  N. WALES.  Camping at Ogwen.

Caving Meets.

Chelsea S.S. Triglav Expedition.  Members of this expedition will be on Mendip on July 3rd and have kindly agreed to give a talk and slide show on their 1964 expedition to Yugoslavia.  This is of particular interest as the conditions will be similar to those the B.E.C. members will have to face on the trip to Austria.

June Committee Meeting.

The June meeting of the committee finalised the arrangements for the 1965 Annual Dinner.  This will be held at the Cave Man Restaurant on Saturday 2nd October following the A.G.M. as per usual custom.  For those members who still recall with distaste the last dinner we had at the Cave Man, it should be noted that the conditions are very different now.  A slap-up meal has been organised including soup, grilled trout, roast turkey, sweet with a cheeseboard as an alternative and coffee.  It is hoped to be able to include a trip round Gough’s after the meal.

It looks as if the arrangements at Redcliffe are in the melting pot at present and it may be necessary to change our Thursday meeting place in the end.  Bob is negotiating at present for an acceptable deal at the Church Hall before we consider any other arrangements.

Other business included the construction of the new toilets and the provision of dustbins for a regular collection by the council.

Slit-Sided Stalactites

by Jill Tuck

While looking over two lead mines on a hill near Machen, a few miles North of Newport, we noticed a type of stalactite formation which I do not recall seeing before, and I have therefore sketched some typical forms for the record, in the possibility that others mat recollect seeing them elsewhere.

Shape and Texture.

Hard cave stal. not the soft growths more usually associated with artificial excavations.  From pottery found, it is almost certain that they have formed during the last nineteen hundred years.  “Snow” formations are frequent throughout the mines on all the flows, and many of these stalactites have “snow” on them, sometimes with minute stal. nodules in small or large patches.  Some stalactites have snow built up inside and have a snow free exterior: others vice versa but, as many others are free of snow entirely, it seems there is no significance in this.  Others again, have the interior lined with a different colour stal. from that of the exterior.

It will be seen from the sketches that many of the stalactites begin with a narrow neck (About the diameter of a straw) which then widens very rapidly into a bell or boot shape, nearly always slit up one side.

An irregular line is often seen down the stalactite, representing a previous slit which has since been closed as the stalactite grew.

Other types of this stalactite formation begin immediately from the roof, as in diagram 6, with a water drop that seems about twice the diameter of the usual drip.  Often, inside the stal. deposition being built up in a roughly round shape, there is another lump or line of stal. so that, when viewed from below, the stalactite has the appearance of the underside of a slug.


1. Irregular straw with slit end.

2. Boot shape, widely open at the bottom.  N.B. Black areas represent inside of stal. in all cases.

3. Boot ended helictite (the projection at the side is made up of minute ‘snow’ nodules

4. Complex slit stal. Positions of slits can be seen in at four places.  The top ½ is crystalline straw

5. Helictite solid inside except for pinhole through

6. There other typical forms with ordinary straw for comparison.

7. Twin Helicties united and ending in Bell

All types have the heel end filled with water which has passed down through the neck via the usual small space.  The edges of the bell arte usually scalloped and are very fragile, but some, in contrast, have edges which are thick and smooth.  A few noticed were of a more crystallised type with symmetrical ribs leading outward to a regular dog-toothed edge, exactly like a small scallop shell.    Inside could sometimes be seen a small needle shaped crystal almost floating inside the water drop.  The usual length of the stalactites in from one to four inches long, but others seen were longer and there seems to be no limit to their size except that imposed by time.


The mines are lead mines in carboniferous limestone, the entrance being on top of the hill, and the galleries from 50 to 150 feet underground with about a thousand feet of passage.  The stalactites seem to be of similar type throughout, not dependant on possible temperature or ventilation effects to be expected near the entrance.


About 80% of the formations in these mines are of this unusual shape and it appears that whether the stalactite begins as a straw, helictite or anything else, it always develops this tendency to bell out.  There is no correspondence between the slit side and the air flow or general slope of the roof.  Probably much depends on the actual mineral content in solution in the water, which again may depend on the type of limestone, and the nearness of these mines to the surface and plant acids.

It seems clear that the sloping bottom edge of the stal. and the side slit are caused by the drip running to one side, but it seems strange that the form is not common in other areas.


Club members certainly seem to be going in for studies in caves nowadays.  While Jill sits and thinks about form of stal., the next article cites the case of a club member who, one presumes, just sat….

A Preliminary Psychological Experiment in St. Cuthberts Swallet

by Alan Thomas

The aims of the experiment were twofold.  To examine subjectively one’s ability to function effectively under cave conditions in total darkness, and to demonstrate the effect of such conditions on one’s ability to estimate time.

Thirty hours were spent alone in the dark.  I had with me a sleeping bag, change of clothing, food of the kind did not require cooking, and recording box.  This consisted of a revolving clockwork drum drawing a slip of paper at a constant speed past a slot.  Periodically, I drew a line across the paper and wrote an estimate of the time. Unfortunately, the device stopped some time after estimated midnight, so the record is only of the beginning of the stay.  This record, tidied up, is appended with a true time scale.

A nice dry, gravel-floored corner of Rabbit Warren Extension was chosen as the site of the experiment. I was portered into the cave by Andy MacGregor and Douglas Macfarlane on Tuesday, 8th June.  Before they left me at 1.45pm, I unrolled my sleeping bag and changed into my dry clothing.  As I had not done this sort of thing before, I had a safety line tied to my left wristband to my sleeping bag, so that I could find my way back to the “camp site”.  I also had a torch attached to my sleeping bag in case of emergency.  In fact, the torch was not used once during the experiment.

At no time did I have any difficulty finding anything, despite the fact that I have a poor visual imagery.

The senses tended to become more sensitive as time continued.  For instance, I noted for the time estimated as 5.10pm Tuesday, “Stream can be heard from the end of my string in that direction.  I have been there several times, but this is the first time I have heard it.”  Similarly, at 4.15 I noted “Kendal Mint Cake flashes when you break it!” I had broken it twice before without seeing the flash.  Later, when I ate chocolate, I could see the static discharges from the wrapper quite clearly.

As an ordeal, the experience was very tame.  I had no difficulty spending 30 hours alone in the dark.  It is a pity the recording machine stopped when it did because, although the record shows a progressive underestimation of the time, my “rescue” party arrived about when I thought they would.

I first got into my sleeping bag at an estimated 7pm on Tuesday and after that seldom left it.  I should have thought that, after thirty hours rest, the trip out would have been easy.  However, despite the fact that Roy Bennett, the Franklins and Phil Kingston carried all my gear, I found the return journey to the surface very tiring. I was indeed grateful to Joan Bennett for providing a meal and to the Searle’s for a hot bath.  It was worth 30 hours alone in St. Cuthbert’s for the excellent service afterwards.


The editor has recently received this, addressed to the club members.  In fact, article writing has improved very much of late and plans are afoot for a large B.B. next month.  Still, it’ll do no harm.

Dear Club Member,

In a recent B.B. I saw a letter complaining about the quality of articles published in our magazine. I don’t wish to criticise the writer for putting his thoughts on paper instead of just grumbling like the average club member, but the answer to such criticism is ‘Don’t complain – WRITE.’ Apathy is also a problem.  A short while ago, I wrote a series of articles taking quite arbitrary and often extreme views and yet almost no pen was flourished in opposition or agreement with these articles.  Could this be apathy?

The editor himself has even provided articles on how to write an article and whilst even I at my great age cannot remember early days in Swildons (I was only a drip then) it’s still a good title for an article and, of course, Stoke is definitely different to Swildons.

Since I only decided to write this missive about 3 minutes ago, it must be obvious that it does not take long to write things.  However, I am very loath to commence another series at the moment as my spy system is not as good as it was.

In conclusion then, remember the editor will probably publish your article and your name can be immortalised in print.  I shall recommence my series next year, all things permitting, so look for the sign of the: -

‘Stalagmite’   (CaCO3)



Although the Belfry Bulletin has appeared regularly, if perhaps a little late in the month at times, the same thing cannot be said of the rest of our club's publications.

The Caving Reports series were designed to form a record of the more serious work done by the club and the original scheme was to publish them at the rate of approximately two per year, depending, of course, on the amount of such work carried out by the club. This system is still humorously kept going; by the dates printed on their covers, which bear no relation whatsoever to the actual dates of publication.

Up until a short while ago, the reason why these reports were anything up to a year behind the announced date was merely that stencilling them took too long.  We now have an arrangement with the firm that does the covers for the B.B. to get them stencilled and both Caving Reports No 4 and 5 are now being printed.

In addition to this, Bryan Ellis has done a fine job of editing and printing a B.B. Digest.  You will find an advert enclosed with this B.B. The price, incidentally, is 3/6 (not 3/-) and about six have already been ordered.  There are only thirty, so get your order in as soon as possible if you want one.

" Alfie. "

Caving Log

2nd May.

St. Cuthbert's.  A trip by Roger Stenner and Rowena to collect the tripod for modification.  In via Railway Tunnel entrance to Rabbit Warren to Plantation Junction and on to sump, missing a party who had gone through sump.  Back to Entrance Pitch via Everest.  The ladder had been pulled up.  While waiting, Rowena's helmet fell through the hole in the floor and went down to the floor of Arête Chamber.  Mo replaced ladder after a short while.


Swildons Hole.  Party of five down to sump, including Tony O'Flaherty and Prew.


Cuthbert's.  Party consisting of Mo, Mike Wheadon and Mike Thompson.  Down to first duck via Quarry Corner and Everest Passage.  Went through duck to final sump.  This was examined and digging prospects envisaged.  Returned via Bypass Passage and Lower Mud Hall and missed Roger Stenner and Rowena.

9th May.

Swildons.  Tony O'Flaherty and M. Ware to Sump I.


Eastwater.  Roger Burky + 2 B.C.S.S. + 2 females to the Terminal Rift.

11th May.

Swildons.  Paul and Tess, Sid Hobbs, Gordon, William and George Honey.  Spent some time in the top series examining roof for signs of a reported fall.  None fond.

18th May.

Eastwater.  George Honey, B. Windridge, Dave Knight.

30th May.

Alfie's Hole.  Digging by Alfie, Jill, Colin and Barry.  Large rock blocking way on was attacked by Alfie without success but splintered easily when Colin had a go at it (Alfie reckons he softened it up).  Remainder of stone still to be shifted.

31st May.

Emborough Swallet. (see separate article.)

June Committee Meeting

At the June meeting of the Committee, Len Dawes, Phil Davey and Jim Simonds were elected to membership of the club.  Mike Palmer was made a Cuthbert’s Leader.  It was agreed to carry on with creosoting the Belfry, obtaining mains water and arranging a slide carrier for the club projector.  Dave England has agreed to carry on as M.R.O. representative for the time being.  Arrangements for the 1959 dinner have been started.  Ian has delivered two blocks of Portland Stone for the Memorial Tablet to Don Coase.  Bob Price and Chris Falshaw have resigned form the committee.

Emborough Swallet

On Saturday, June 6th, a B.E.C. digging team entered the top of what we hope will prove to be a cave system at Emborough.

Little is known at present about the previous history of the swallet.  It has, almost certainly, been entered before but possibly not by cavers intending to penetrate further.  Certainly its presence has not been known by active cavers for some years.  It does not appear in Barrington’s book and neither the swallet nor the stream which sinks into it are marked on the Ordnance Survey maps of the area.

About five years ago, I was taken to see the swallet by Les Browne and we did a ten minute investigation of the entrance at the tine.  On several later occasions, I tried to find the swallet with no success, and in the end I had to go and see Les who gave me exact directions as to how to get there. I revisited the swallet with Jill on the 30th of May.

During a visit the next day with Frank Darbon, Colin and Jill, we pulled a few rocks away and decided that it should be possible to open up the entrance quite easily.  Permission was obtained from the farmer for the B.E.C. to dig out the cave on Sunday 31st May, and the next day, Jill and myself having the day off, we removed a very dead dog from the entrance and did a further bit of rock moving.

On Saturday, 6th June, a gang consisting of Frank Darbon, Colin, Prew, Alfie and Jill arrived and began to dig out the entrance.  A couple of hours later, we entered through a squeeze between a boulder in the roof and a large rock and found ourselves in a small, low chamber about ten feet long by five feet wide by three feet high, going to the right.  The floor becomes lower at the far end of the chamber, which is in relative solid rock and has an amount of dried mud present which does not seem to get disturbed by the stream.  This part of the cave has a rather stagnant smell.

To the left, another squeeze under a detached bed leads over a small hole between boulders.  This hole drops about six feet and has a washed gravel floor.  Crawling over the hole, another small chamber is entered.  This is part of a boulder ruckle and drops about eight feet down. Digging is at present barred at the bottom of this by a large rock which must be removed.  All the rock in this side of the cave is very clean and water worn. 

On Sunday, 8th June, a rough survey and some photos were taken, during which time Chris Falsahw, Roger Stenner, Colin and Jill dug and probed down in all the most likely places. It was noticed that daylight could be seen in the chamber to the left, so we came out and started to re-construct the cave, pulling down a whole lot of semi-detached rocks at the side of the entrance.  It is hoped to get a direct access to the chamber where we hope to continue digging.

We have left the cave to stabilise after our rock shifting efforts and we must now remove the rock at the bottom and continue digging.  In spite of the unstable appearance of the cave, the chances of further penetration look quite promising.



FREE BEER will be provided at the Hunter's Lodge, according to the usual Mendip custom on the 19th June, when Chris Falshaw will be celebrating his forthcoming marriage to Vivienne Hudson.  A further TWO BARRELS will be on tap, on the evening of July 11th.  These will be provided by Mervyn Hannam to mark the occasion of his recent marriage; and by Jill Rollason on her tenth anniversary of caving (known in then club as a ‘decadence’).  All are welcome.


Apologies to all whose April and May issues of the B.B. were rather late in coming.  A series of misfortunes too complicated to describe overtook the staff of the B.B. and resulted in some of the postal deliveries being all haywire.  We hope you all got the right B.B.’s in the end.


To the Editor.  B.B.

Dear Sir,

The Caving Report on St. Cuthbert's Swallet is now very much out of date, and rather than publish another Caving Report on this subject, I believe it may be best to publish an altogether grander affair, somewhat on the lines of the S.W.C.C. report on O.F.D.  I have in mind a thick volume mounted in loose leaf from.  This is more expensive than a Caving Report but is a more satisfactory way of providing for alterations and additions.  As a suggestion, I put forward the following structure, more or less an enlargement of caving Report Number Two: -

1.                  Introduction, including a brief description and history of cur club and a tribute to Don Coase.

2.                  The history of the cave, including a brief history of digging in the area, and the relation of the cave to the rest of Mendip.

3.                  The discovery of the cave, not whitewashing or condemning the delay in widening the entrance rift, and the chronological history of exploration.

4.                  A complete survey – small scale.

5.                  Description of the cave, series by series, each section accompanied by a large size map.

6.                  Geology of the cave.

7.                  Flora and Fauna. (Overprinted small scale survey).

The report could also include a loose folded large scale survey, and various photographs.

Although a lot of the necessary work has not yet been done, a start on some of the sections could be made at once if such a publication were to be planned for the not too distant future.

Incidentally, Don Coase wanted to see such a bock as the above published, and it would thus would make a fine tribute to his memory.

R. Stenner.

Editor’s Note.    The compilation of a 'Cuthbert's Atlas' as a tribute to Don was suggested at the tine of his death and discussed by the committee.  It was agreed at the time to wait until an accurate survey (on which the bulk of any such book largely depends) was produced.  When this has been done, the subject will automatically come up again and I am sure your remarks will also be discussed.


To the Editor, B.B.

Dear Sir,

I feel that I should write and clarify the mystery of "Bertie Bat".  In the early pre-war days of the B.E.C., it was felt that some sort of distinctive emblem was needed for the club; after all, the Wessex had their cave exploring dragon (or Gryphon) complete with candle, so why shouldn't we have something similar?  The committee put their heads together and after an awful lot of brain fag, hit upon that which should have been obvious from the start - a bat.

Bertie - the name was coined about or just after the end of the war - as he was originally drawn, no longer exists.  He died when all the earlier club logs etc were lost during the blitz, but I made an almost exact copy, which, as Tony Johnson states in his letter, was fitted to my car.  This badge, by the way, is still on the car.

From this original, which was in the form of a hybrid bat in flight, have descended all the various versions of Bertie.  The next in line was the original block from which the club notepaper was printed, supplied to us by Gerard Platten.

Tony's bat is, I feel, somewhat different to Bertie Mk II (The car badge) and is nearer to the cloth bat cut out some 14 or 15 years ago by Ken Dobbs, who also made quite fair metal Berties of moulded wood's metal.  These last, however, varied considerably from mould to mould.

I have also a partly completed outline of "Super Bat" suitable for a car badge.  This bat when complete will be six to eight inches across the wings and is more or less a faithful copy of Mark II.

Some years ago, it was the thing for each member to paint his own bat on his hat, but these varied so much that it was anyone’s guess as to what they actually were, varying from flying foxes down to pipistrelles,  few of which resembled the unfortunate bat they were supposed to be copied from.

Incidentally, as will be apparent, the Belfry being a later addition to club assets than Bertie, the Belfry was named after him as being the congregating place of members and not vice versa.

            T.H. Stanbury.

Editor's Note.     Thank you, Harry.  The degree of authenticity of the various bats is now revealed!  The car badge bat, which we have just commissioned, is a version of Tony's loudspeaker cover bat, which is about half way between the older and newer versions of Bertie (His wingspan gets longer as the bats get progressively newer).  We hope this 'Halfway' version will please all, in the tradition of British compromise!

Note to New Members. T.H. (Harry) Stanbury is the founder of the B.E.C. and thus an authority on its early history.


To the Editor, B.B.

F.G. Drainpipe,
Dept. of Drains,
Elsan Street,


Dear Cur,

It has come to my notice that you have a large amount of movement of holes in your vicinity, and this prompts me to enquire whether you have, in searching for moving caves, come across any of my drains (particularly the ten inch variety).

Should you find any, I shall expect you to send them back to the above address as this will save us from shifting any further items to lay our ten inch drains.

Yours Hopefully,
F. G. Drainpipe

Editor's Note.     F.G. Drainpipe is, of course, our old friend F.G. Darbon.  I hope he will forgive me for altering his letter a bit to get it into this space.

Lady Chatterbox’ Cover

The second of a series of articles on the Stately Homes of the B.E.C, by Anne Gardner.

On Sunday 24th May 1959, a more or less intrepid band of idiots in steamingly clean clothes descended upon the new Thomas Residency.  This motley crew consisted of the Henrobel Hobbs, Spike, Digger Gardner and the writer.  It appears that one dark night, under cover of two old tarpaulins and assorted ex-army blankets; the Thomas’s crept into, and proceeded to squat in Clifton.  What is the world coming to when the L.M.F.O.M. is allowed (reformed as he is) to live in the part of Bristol which houses the elite of the B.E.C.?  At least twelve sane and sensible members of the club are going to be forced to search for new homes if this new should leak out!

However, as the second Lord Thomas has installed him¬self and his charming wife, I must keep to protocol and tear his home to pieces.  I have already given Mr. Collin’s palatial home and Mr. Hannam's penthouse the treatment and tradition must be adhered to.

After wending a weary way up 42 steps which went round and round and round, we arrived at a door. Not unusual, you might say, but in the case of the B.E.C., you might.  A half dressed Lord Thomas met us, and in his somewhat boisterous manner, bade us welcome.  The exact words he used cannot unfortunately, be printed.  The rather small hall opens onto all four rooms and proceeding clockwise they are as follows.  The very necessary, containing a barf, a washbasin, a bog and a gleaming highly polished water hotter upper (the Thomas's have not yet decided to have a matching floor covering or mundane lino).  Next door is the kitchen, rather large but without room, I am sad to say, for the Rolls Royce usually kept in most Clifton Kitchens.  The living room is rather larger than at their previous address and had a most pleasant black and gold leaf motif wallpaper.  Next to this is the bedroom and, by squeezing past the bed, a marvellous panorama of Bristol is laid out before your eyes - if you have any.  The upper part of the wall is glass, and any enterprising person with a soapbox could also enjoy the view by standing on it in Lord Thomas's hall.

I did not venture to enquire if, like Mr. Hannam, they have tried to enjoy the view by sleeping vertically as I feared L.M.F.O.M.'s reply.  During the visit, cheese and biscuits were produced and much appreciated.

Special points of note: - You can stand anyone you don’t like on the top step and retire into the bathroom.  By belting out of there at a rate of knots similar to that to get to the Hunter’s first, one can knock the said person flying out of the downstairs landing window. Good fun! - what?  A most interesting decoration was a bottle of milk, and in a B.E.C. household too!  The cupboards in the kitchen are absolutely magnificent affairs capable of housing 22 Poles or 58 Jamaicans (according to Mr. Hobbs, anyway) and we understand that Lord Thomas is seriously considering this.

The Thomas conveyance, carriage or diligence was parked neatly just under the mews entrance to the house and presented an awe inspiring spectacle.  In the absence of further persons to call on, we went our ways homewards. Will any other members intending to reside in this area please let the selection committee know in advance so that detailed plans for sightseers can be made and all that should be hidden, hidden.


For many years, within the Hunter's bar
You'd find him; with a pint of rough or beer
Within his mug, while outside stood his car
Which into drystone walls he'd sometimes steer.
Yes, many pots of ale he'd often sink.
No teeth had he which would impede the flow
Of rough and orange.  T'was his favourite drink,
While in his hand a Woodbine oft would glow.
Alas!  His pot is missing from the shelf
And dentists fashion teeth for him to wear.
'Tis said that he is seldom by himself.
He's neatly dressed, and tidy is his hair.
Quite soon confetti, wedding bells and rice
Will doubtless all command a fancy PRICE


Don't forget that LAMP SPARES are on sale at the Belfry. 

Apply to the Hut Warden.           Cash on the nail!


The Belfry Bulletin. S.J. Collins, 33 Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.
Secretary.  R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.