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It is some time since we made any mention of further improvements or alterations to the Belfry bulletin.  It is a sobering (horrid expression, that!) thought that about one in five of the present members of the club were not around before the present Editorial Board took over the management of the club’s magazine, and these people do not remember any of the features of the B.B. of old.  One of these features which we should like to see re-instated is the occasional page of cartoons which older hands will remember as ‘Half Pint’s Page,’ conducted many moons ago by Johnny Dwyer.  We hope to persuade someone to have ago now and then.

Another idea which we are toying with has been requested by several members who are not on Mendip often, or who are temporarily in exile in furrin parts.  This is a regular short column of a ‘personal’ type, giving news of members who are away or who we don’t see very often.  This seams a reasonable idea, but we don’t know whether we should get enough ‘gen’ to keep such a column going.  If any readers feel that this, or any other scheme, is a good idea; we should like to hear from them.


Annual Subscriptions

The Hon. Treasurer would like to remind members who nave not yet paid their subs that these are due. Why not surprise him and pay now?

Changes of Address

Ian Dear is now at: - 70 Redferne, Portland, Dorset

Dave England is now at: - 28b Mendip Road, Bedminster, Bristol 3

New Members

We should like to welcome the following new members: -

392       M.J. Baker, St. Paul’s College, Cheltenham, Glos.
393       J.R. Brown, 13 Alexandra Road, Bath, Somerset
394       Miss V.A. Hudson, 71 Hill View, Henleaze, Bristol

Annual General Meeting and Dinner

A resolution was passed at the last Annual General Meeting recommending that the date of the A.G.M. be changed to some other part of the year when travel arrangements are less likely to be disorganised by weather conditions.  The early part of October has been suggested.  We should like to appeal to all members who hold strong views on this subject to write to the Hon. secretary saying: -

a.                  When they would prefer the A.G.M. to be held yearly in the future.

b.                  When they would prefer the Annual Dinner, if this is to be held separately.

Monthly Film Show.

The next show or slides to be held as part of the winter programme at Redcliffe Hall will be on the 27th of March, and will be on the subject of: -


The talk and slides will be given by Frank  Farley.

Free Beer

Members of the B.E.C. are invited to assist in the consumption of a nine gallon barrel of beer and a cake to celebrate the forthcoming wedding of Roger Stenner and Daphne Clague.  This will be in the Caver’s room at the Hunters Lodge, which has been booked for the evening as a private room for the 22nd of March.  Members should form an orderly queue outside the door at 7 pm.

Library Books

In order to assist in the preparation of an up-to-date list of books in the club library, members are requested to return all books in their possession as soon as they have finished reading them.

Club Officers for 1958.

These are as follow: -

Hon. Secretary and Treasurer

Caving Secretary

Climbing Secretary

Hut Warden and Editor, B.B.

Tackle Officer

Committee Chairman

Belfry Engineer and Assistant Hut Warden

Assistant Librarian and B.B. Board Member

Hon. Librarian

Board Member

Board Member

R.J. Bagshaw

M. Hannam

R.S. King (Kangy) (Co-opted)

A. Collins

N. Petty

R.A. Setterington

B. Prewer

D. England

J. Ifold *

R.J. Rice

Miss Rollason *

(Members with asterisk are not on the club committee)

Extract from the Axbridge Journal. Vol. 2  No. 2  September 1954.

In Henry VIII’s reign, a lead tablet was found at Wookey Hole thought to be one of two commemorating a Roman victory over some Mendippers called ‘Cangi.’  Mr Balch regards them as native Bronze Age stock.

Long years ago, the Roman cads
Did battle with the Mendip lads
And down at Wookey Hole did knock
For six, the native Bronze Age stock.
And when they thought the Cangi dead
They took a whacking lump of lead
(Or maybe two) and promptly wrote
A rather boastful sort of note.

It’s fifteen hundred years or more
Since Roman legions left our shore
The Goths soon pranged the Roman mob
And Vandals finished off the job.
But all the time, the Cangi still
Inhabited the Mendip hill
And thus the modern Kangy may
Be seen upon the hill today.

So after all is said and done
It can’t be said the Romans won!

Letters to the Editor

To the Editor of the Belfry Bulletin

Dear Sir,

In a recent issue of the Belfry Bulletin, you published a list of additions to the club library but all these were club periodicals and in my opinion, a list such as this is of little practical value.  The library is one of the assets of the club, so would it not be possible for the Librarian to prepare an up-to-date and preferably classified list of the contents of the club Library and for this to be published as a supplement to the B.B. before it is out of date?  Periodicals that are received regularly by the club could be given in the catalogue by their title, name of the issuing club, and the date of the earliest number held, e.g.; The Belfry Bulletin (Bristol Exploration Club) Monthly, from No. 123 (April 1958).  It would thus be unnecessary to publish a list of every number received, only of new books, occasional papers and of periodicals that are no longer received, with the date of the last number.  It should not be impossible for you to finds room in the B.B. to publish a shortened list such as this, every one or two months.

Yours, etc.

                        Bryan M. Ellis

Editor’s Note.    This has been taken up by the Committee and an effort will be made to provide such a list.


To the Editor of the B.B.

I should like, if I may, to be allowed a little of your valuable space to express some thanks publicly.

Recently I was required to make a fairly heavy contribution to some favourite charity of the Oswestry Magistrates, for passing through their territory too quickly.  My companions on this climbing trip to North wales; Messrs Mossman, Bonner, Chamberlain, Marriot, Iles and Jenkins voluntarily and generously shared this expense between them.

                                                            Thank you


To the Editor of the Belfry Bulletin

Dear Sir

The recent work on water temperatures by Don Coase, Paul Burt and Norman Petty provides invaluable evidence towards identifying the Plantation Stream in Cuthbert’s Cave. However, I would suggest that a lack of knowledge about the degree of variation in temperature due to changes in cave configuration and evaporation rates renders this method somewhat unreliable at present.

For anyone prepared to undertake it (not me!) a study of factors governing changes of temperature in cave water would surely be a useful and original piece of work for its own sake. Results of this study may lead to a real appraisal of the reliability of the method of stream tracing.

I am at present in a position to carry out quantitative analysis of chlorine, hardness and total alkalinity etc. on water samples and shall be pleased to undertake this job for anyone working on cave water problems.

M.J. Hannam

Editor’s Note.    I have also heard from ‘Digger’ Harris that Prof. Palmer has details of some methods of water tracing which may be of interest to those engaged in this work.

Continuing our Sordid Saga of the Cornish Tin Miness

Four Men in the Cart

From this point, the conversation went something as follows: -

Worried Little Man: “You’ll not get down.”  ( North Country Accent).

Sago: “Oh, Yes we will!”

W.L.M.: “I say you'll not get down.”

Sago: “Oh, Yes we will!  All we have to do is to see the Underground Manage, tell him the tale, and he’ll take us down like a shot.”

W.L.M.  "I still say you’ll not get down.”

Sago: "It's as good as arranged.  You don’t know what you're talking about!”

Worried Little Man drinks up beer and goes.

Friendly Type approaches and says, “You shouldn't have said that you know.”

Sago: “Why not?”

F.T.: “That was the Underground manager.”

We left.

That night, we had rain, storms, hail, sleet, thunder and for all I know snow on high ground.  We curse all weather forecasters as being an incompetent shower of morons.

Some days later, we decided to take a river trip in the mouth of the Helford River.  A craft was hired and we boarded by means of a floating jetty.  At least, it probably would have floated when unladen, but with five men and a boy on it, it was clearly not equal to the job.  Gaff and Sago had their cameras with them and I therefore include the following notes for anyone who takes a photograph on the seas. It appears that cameras which can be thrown, dropped, battered, bent, have cups of tea poured over them and be exposed to sandstorms will just not work if they think they are in a boat. It also appears that exposure meters will never work again of they so much as hear of the mention of ‘boat’. These items one therefore puts in a polythene bag, wrapped in oilskin, coiled in a towel and packed in an anorak until needed for use.

When the great moment arrives, the cameras are produced and the person steering the boat has a problem. He must not put the bow into the tide nor, of course, the stern.  If he gets broadside on, that is the death of all cameras within a thirty mile radius. The boat is held steady but the composition is not right.  From the description they give of the picture they want, the best place is about thirty feet above the rocky outcrop.  You give up.

At this stage, to complete the morning's entertainment, the propeller is fouled by some weeds.  Spike immediately diagnoses the trouble, and because ‘he knows about boats’ and because nobody else wanted to get wet, he hung over the blunt end to free the screw.  We learn that even with the gears in neutral, the screw still turns at fair speed.  Spike withdrew his battered hand to tell us of this.

The return trip was made in three stages. Cornwall – Hartland – Belfry.  (Not a word to Alfie – we ‘forgot’ to mention that we stayed the night in the Belfry). We had a lengthy trip around Bideford to find a Simonds House.  Experience has shown that the local beers are all right for shaving in, boiling telephones, cleaning cars and removing wallpaper, but they should not be drunk.

From all this you might think, serious minded types that you are, that the whole trip was a waste of time. You are probably quite right, but I know three other members who won’t agree with you.

P.M. Blogg

Adventure in Portugal

In August 1957, Nick Barrington travelled to Portugal with a research expedition to visit a little known limestone area.  He has sent us the following account….

Spinnlng in space is a weird sensation.  Here was I being lowered on a rope down a sheer drop in the great cave of Moinhos Velhos - the largest underground system so far discovered in the country.  As the chamber started spinning at an alarming rate, my thoughts flashed back to the preparations of last year.

The original idea had been to carry out exploration of some of the lesser known Czechoslovakian caves. The idea soon caught on and an advertisement in Sennet – the University of London newspaper – and in the New Scientist produced a well balanced team.

Troglodyte Nyte, an all night skiffle dance held in Chiselhurst Caves was organised to raise funds.  About seven hundred people were expected, but by midnight over sixteen hundred had paid for admission, press included!  We certainly earned our money, for only six Elsans had been ordered, so a shuttle service had to be run!

Owing, to the political situation, an alternative plan to Czechoslovakia was then sought, and after research at the Royal Geographical Society, our destination was changed to Minde, in Central Portugal.

A thirty one seater Bedford bus was bought with the earnings of of Troglodyte Nyte and immediately called Lillian – she was a beauty!  A scientific programme of work was evolved and an application for recognition by the Royal Society proved successful – the only caving expedition ever to have received such support to date.  In addition, the expedition, now formally called The University of London Speleological Expedition to Portugal, was also recognised by Portuguese scientific bodies.

July was a hectic period. Examinations played havoc, and we had the job of crating some four tons of equipment.  The last person to join the expedition did so only three weeks before our departure.

August 2nd dawned bright and clear.  On arrival at Dover, we presented our sheaf of documents, only to be told that our CD3 Bank of England Exploration Order was for racing motorists and the spare parts of their cars. Poor Lillian – she did not quite come up to this standard.

Arriving after midnight at Boulogne, we drove until 6 am when we had an offside rear tyre burst.  After seven hours delay, this was repaired and we motored south through France to Biarritz where two further tyres blew out on the hot road and we were stranded.  It was our good fortune that we should be within two miles of the British Consulate General and by the camping site of Chambre d’Amour.

A telephone call to Dunlop in Birmingham brought speedy assistance, and with four new rear tyres we reached our destination one day late.

On arrival, we were nearly arrested on the spot for bringing forty guns into the country.  This, we later found out was their misunderstanding of the word karabiner.  They thought we each had two carbines.  Another link in Anglo-Portuguese history had been forged.

At Mira d’Aire we were officially welcomed.  Instead of camping on a mountainside and carrying water long distances, we pitched our tents on the football ground.  Like lightning, village officials organised tables, electric light and a supply of water (scarce in this district) was piped form a nearby cave. Our hydrologist’s first job was testing it.  Coming direct from a cave he found no mosquito larva or sea monsters present.

Members of the Geological Service, Portuguese Speleological Group and Ministry of Interior and Mines came and camped with us helping in many ways with our basic work and exploration. Our tents were pitched within a few hundred yards of the largest Portuguese cave, in which we were destined to spend over a week of exploration and research.

A complete and accurate survey of the main gallery was produced and a close study of water and air flow in the caves gave us the key to the unusual annual flooding of the valley floor.

In addition to Moinhos Velhos, we made a detailed survey of two other large caves – Pena and Contenda. Our two geologists managed to make a comprehensive geological map of the area which helped us greatly with the geomorphology of the caves.

On conclusions of our time at Mira d’Aire, we went to Lisbon.  We stayed in the four roomed flat of two of our new-found friends, and it was quite a sight to on Sunday morning to see forty of us in their fifth storey flat! We returned to this country after our stay in Lisbon, having taken part in an interesting and profitable expedition.

North Wales

A party of B.E.C. types left the Centre at 7.30 one Friday, bound for North Wales.

We hired a Vanguard shooting brake and everything was going smoothly until about 11 o’clock that night, then it happened.  Fut, Fut….then silence!

We were between Shrewsbury and Llangollen, so we started pushing to the next garage, which was only half a mile down the road.  It proved impossible to wake the owner, even with the help of his Alsatian, so we started pushing again.

Eventually we arrived at another garage, also shut, and decided to wait until the morning.  Some bods slept in the brake, but it was not until 11.30 that it banged (literally) into life.  Bills were paid and thanks tendered and we were on our way again. After only two more stops, one for dinner and the other unprintable, we passed the farm and motored on down to Milestone Buttress.

The evening was spent at Mrs. Griffiths for supper and the Bryn Tyrk for liquid refreshment.  Next morning, we all left for Carneddan. After a little toil up the mountain, Totty and Maurice decided to walk around the top while the rest of us descended to the base of Craig Yr Isfa, where we ascended the Amphitheatre Buttress. The latter proved to be a pleasant hard diff.  Some of the holds of which had been polished over the ages.

We departed and arrived at Mrs. Williams just as dusk was falling.  We all packed up and piled into the brake and left at about six o’clock.  The trip home was uneventful except for the odd half hour spent in changing the near side rear tyre after a puncture.  We arrived back in Bristol about 11.30 on Sunday night after a nice weekend trip.

Russell Jenkins


We are pleased to announce that at last we have got a new duplicator for the Belfry bulletin.  This is the first number to be printed by it, and we hope that it will lead to clearer copies in the future.


Secretary:         R.J. Bagshaw, 56 Ponsford Road, Knowle, Bristol 4
Editor:              S.J. Collins, 1 Kensington Place, Clifton, Bristol 8


Don Coase

It is with extreme regret that we must announce the death of Don Coase which occurred on Friday January 31st 1958 following an operation.  To his wife Clare and his small son we offer our deepest sympathy

The passing of Don Coase represents a great loss, not only to his family and friends, but to the club as a whole and the entire caving world.

Don joined the B.E.C. in 1946, after an active career with the now disbanded Bridgwater Caving Club, and at once became one of our club’s most active members.  In June, 1947, he became the first man to dive the sump in Stoke Lane Slocker, and thus discovered the large system beyond.

An enthusiastic club member, he played a major part in the erection of the original Belfry; becoming the first club member to sleep there.  He became its first Hut Warden until his work took him to London.

In spite of the distance, his interest in caving remained as great as ever.  He organized, with John Shorthose, a B.E.C. London Section which became very active and continued the work in Stoke Lane, the survey of which was largely carried out by Don.  A draughtsman by profession, his surveying work was always of a very high order.  In addition to his work with the London Section, he took every available opportunity to visit caving areas, and many of us will remember ‘Rasputin’, his motorcycle, on which he travelled a remarkable number of miles.

About this time, he became interested in the Cave Diving Group and rapidly became one of its most skilled divers.  In 1949, he discovered, with Bill Mack, the Water Passage at the far end of Peak Cavern in Derbyshire.  He was also well known for his diving work in Wookey Hole, in connection with the Somerset Section of the Cave Diving Group.  Other cave discoveries included that of Llethrid Cave, South Wales, in 1949.

Although he preferred the practical side of caving, he could always be relied on to help out with the organization of the club and thus in 1951 and 1952, he became Editor of the Belfry Bulletin, jointly with John Shorthose.  In 1953, married and back again in Bristol, he became Caving Secretary.

It is difficult to think of any branch of caving in which he did not actively participate.  A keen photographer, he was author of the chapter on cave photography in 'British Caving', which was sponsored by the Cave Research Group, in which he also took an interest.  As Caving Secretary, he helped to construct much new tackle, including the hand climbing line or ‘Knobbly Dog’.  He took an active part in the Mendip rescue Organisation being a Warden and was elected a Registrar of the Mendip Cave Registry.

In 1953, be began his last and greatest piece of cave exploration in St. Cuthbert’s Swallet and devoted hundreds of hours leading its exploration, surveying, photographing and erecting permanent tackle in the cave.  He collaborated in writing the first report of this work, and has been working and writing on this cave ever since.  At the time of his death, he was interested in the problems of water flow in the cave system.

While in no way minimising the teamwork which has gone on into many of these projects, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the club owes a great deal of its present position to the leadership, work and enthusiasm of Don Coase.  He will be greatly missed.


The news of the death of Don Coase arrived after this B.B. had been, stencilled.  We scrapped pages one and two as a result.  We are sure that readers will forgive the appearance of the B.B. under the circumstances.  A few of the notices and other items may be able to be squeezed in somewhere.  There may be a lack of joining of this new page 2 with the original page 3.  Again we apologise and will try to straighten out matters in our next issue.


Water Temperatures

A further letter has been received on this subject:-

The testing of Thermistors involves the continuous and accurate measurement of temperatures, so if anyone wants any thermometers checked against certificated standards, we will be pleased to do it.

Secondly, I have a thermometer reading to 1OC, which I will lend on indefinite loan to a responsible person.

Back in 1950, I wrote a report on a Hermiston combined thermometer-hygrometer.  This was designed for normal atmospheric observations. With a little thought and redesign, it could probably be made to cover the ranges 7.5 to 12.5 degrees C, and 95 to 100% relative humidity.

As you will realize, this will be a piece of electrical equipment and will be rather delicate and will require a water proof container.  I can probably find a meter and all the other gear, but what I need to know before I go ahead is, would such a piece of equipment be useful, and would the ranges suggested above the best?  If not, can you tell me what you want?  To complete the picture, the meter I have in mind has 50 divisions which would enable you to read temperatures of air or water to 0.1OC and relative humidity to 0.1%.  I hope this information can be of use.


Thanks for the offer and information, Sett.  Dealing with the first two points, Mervyn Hannam has calibrated and given Norman two thermometers, so we will keep your offer open until they have been broken.

The combined thermometer-hygrometer sounds a very useful bit of apparatus and we will certainly take you up on this one, providing it can be made reasonably robust.  You know the kind of treatment it would be liable to! As to scales, I would suggest a slightly wider range for humidity; say from 90 to 100 percent.

The only snag is that the readings would not cover the range of temperatures and humidities at or near the surface.  These could be taken with ordinary instruments.  The advantage with this combined instrument would be if the detector element was separated form the meter.  One of the disadvantages of a sling physcometer is that, when you stop whirling it to take a reading, the wet bulb temperature alters quite quickly and may give rise to a false reading.  The same thing applies to a lesser extent when removing a thermometer from a stream to make a reading.

D.A. Coase


Johnny Ifold, our Librarian, got up and complained, quite rightly at the A.G.M., that we never seem to be able to get a list of new publications in the club library.  This is the latest list received from Johnny: -

Speleon.  Volume 7. Numbers 1, 2, 3 & 4.
Cave Science.  Volume 4.  Number 28.
British Caver.  Volume 29.
Speleolog.  Volume 4.  Numbers 3 and 4.
The Speleologist.
N.S.S. News.  Volume 15.  Numbers 9, 10 and 11.
Mountaineering.  Volume 3.  Number 2.
                        South Wales Caving Club.  No. 21.  November 1957.
                        Cave and Crag Club.  Volume 6.  No. 4. November 1957
                        Oread Mountaineering Club.  Vol. 5.  No. 1. November 1957.

The Dinner

The Eighth Annual Dinner of the Bristol Exploration Club was held at the Cliff hotel, Cheddar.  This year, being sober all the evening, I was actually able to observe the proceedings - a thing which has not previously been possible, and I came to the conclusion that, in the time-honoured manner, a good time was had by all.

After a preliminary canter round the hotel bars, we got down to dinner itself.  The food was adequate and promptly served.  The after dinner speeches were enlivened by a very fair mannequin display, organised by Kangy (Hartnell) King, in which Gaff Fowler came on in a boiler suit of incredible whiteness, and other costumes for the coming season on Mendip were also displayed.  The company were most impressed by the summer layabout outfit modelled by Russ, who seemed to have a natural flair for the part.  The Hunter’s drinking suit we much admired, and looks like being in great demand.  The gaunt figure who entered later demonstrated the latest bathing wear.  Dress conscious cavers will note that only one caving boot is being worn with the swimming costume this year.

The entire show was recorded for posterity by one Cecil B. de Price helped by his assistant, J Arthur Rees who took a genuine H certificate type film of the show.  Mr. Ellis, proposing the toast of ‘Absent Friends', read out a letter from Tony Rich, explaining that he was now down to ‘A moose or two’, and this was followed by a Spelaeode from Alfie, which I think was a new one.  The company then made their way to the bar next door.

Soon a skiffle school, two sing songs, and various groups of blokes conversing arose.  At one stage, Dan Hasell called for hush and made a speech of thanks to Bob Bagshaw.  We all drunk his health and gave him three cheers.

A goodly selection of old timers were present.  I can't name them all, as I can’t remember some and don't know others, but Postle and Dizzie were present, Jonah drove all the way down from Newcastle, and of course Dan Hasell was there wearing his chain and badge of office.  I noticed that no note was passed to Dan this year and that the Hasell waistcoat, although startling, was eclipsed by that worn by Roger Stenner.

A good dinner on the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

       (Name supplied)

Last month, we published an account of a trip to South Wales to vist O.F.D.  We now have an account of the same trip by another of the people who took part.  We thought it would be a good idea to print this one now, to see if their stories tally!

Caving in South Wales

While at the South Wales Caving Club’s dinner in Cardiff, I was able to meet the secretary, Mr. David Jenkins. As a result, he gave permission at very short notice, for a party of B.E.C. members, not exceeding 6, to stay at their headquarters and arranged to find a leader to take us to see some of Ogof Ffynon Ddu.

Daphne and I thus arrived at the S.W.C.C. cottage on the evening of Friday, 29th November after a pleasant ride from Cardiff. After a delay because of fog, the a delay while a few pieces which had been mysteriously knocked off the Velo, were brazed back on, Norman Petty arrived with Russell Jenkins (complete with a bag of corned beef sandwiches) and only 14 hours late.  Had not the driver been Norman (No-prang-since-1950) Petty, the appearance of the Velo may have led the observer to believe that the machine had been laid down, perhaps after cornering too fast on a bald front tyre.

After an evening at the Gwyn, during which Russell tried with no success to give away some of his corned beef sandwiches, a rather chilly night was spent in the S.W.C.C. visitors cottage.

Next day, Bill Little and a friend took Norman, Russell (with his corned beef sandwiches) and myself into the cave.  Bill gave us an extremely interesting running commentary complete with any relevant history or anecdote, while we went through the entrance series to the stream, up into the escape route, through the Rawl Series, up the Waterfall series to the Crystal pool Chamber where a maypole party was just packing up.  After helping to get the gear out of the series, we met another party that had just been doing some work in the Boulder Chamber.  A new series now leads off bypassing the collapse under Starlight Chamber, and several hundred feet of passage, with three sumps large enough for divers, have been found so far.  That day a new extension had been found to go back to with an arms length of a point where Dai Hunt and Peter Harvey had given up digging five years ago.  The trip ended with a pleasant paddle back down the stream passage.

After an autopsy by Bill Little with the help of the survey, Norman and Russell (with a battered packet of corned beef sandwiches) left for Bristol while Daphne and I went back to Cardiff after a very pleasant weekend.

Roger Stenner

A Technical Survey of Current Methods of Mining Tin in Cornwall

by P.M. Blogg

I had to call it that because I thought it stood a better chance of being printed, but a better title would be: -

Four Men in the Cart

Or possibly, “Not me…….I did the washing up yesterday.”

On Friday, 2nd August 1957 four distinguished idiots with the best of intentions and the least of money, set forth from Bristol to explore the Cornish tin mines.  On Saturday, 17th August – 15 days, 1,000 miles, 40 gallons and innumerable pints later, they returned not one scrap wiser.

Before leaving, knowing that we would be using (in the main) ex-W.D. tinned food, I asked if anyone had thought of bringing a tin opener.  Yes, we were all right.  Spike had one, Gaff had one and Sago (who tells us that he has been caught before) had several.

We drove overnight to Penhale Sands near Newquay and arrived about 2.30 to spend the night.  We chose a likely spot and were just thinking of getting out when two gentlemen in khaki suits, wearing boots and carrying loaded sten guns, ran towards us shouting.  We left.  It appears that the army runs a holiday camp there.

Before passing on next day we visited the lost church of St. Piraws.  We got lost. Whilst deciding on the way out, it was agreed to have breakfast.  The cookers were prepared and it only remained to bring out the tin openers and get cracking.  We had breakfast in a café.

That afternoon we drove to Coverack determined to relax for a day or so before starting on the serious side of our trip.  Suitable accommodation had to be found, and it was to that end that we enquired at a garage.  This garage was undoubtedly the most dirty, broken down collection of wooden huts ever thrown up at any roadside by anyone anywhere.  The owner, a middle aged chap of about ninety five, grudgingly gave us fuel and even more grudgingly, our change.  It was in such an attempt to see what held the roof of this poverty stricken service station off the ground that Gaff and Spike tripped over the two most immaculate and highly polished Rolls Royce’s that they could ever wish to see. The owner told us that he only kept the big one ‘to take his wife to market’.  He said that Roils had offered him £4,000 for her.  We said that we felt that this was a fair price for his wife.

We were recommended to a Mr. Mason.  ‘First on the right at the bottom of the hill.’  The hill descends almost vertically for about five hundred feet and ends in the sea.  There were no turnings left or right.  Mr. Mason was eventually found, and we enquired after barns, stables, outhouses, sheds, haystacks, silos, pigsties etc.  Mr. Mason was pessimistic.  He had nothing fit for human habitation.  We explained that we were hardly human and could thus dispense with this proviso and at length, and with profuse apologies, he showed us his 'Old Barn'.

We thought that we knew all about barns, but this one was admittedly unusual.  For a start it had a telephone.  It also had electric light (with switch), a radio (working) an electric kettle (serviceable) and running water (cold) (very!).

It was one evening there that we decided to go into a nearby village for a drink.  This village was about two miles cross country and about nine by road.  There was a well marked track on the map, and we agreed to use this.  The start of this track gave us no trouble (except to courting couples who didn’t see the joke) and the first half mile of moor land was simple and the track easy to follow.  It was when the M.T. disappeared into a clump of bushes, that we had our first clue that all was not well.  Sago had the map and said it showed quite clearly that we were going in such and such a direction with relation to a set of radio masts which we could see to our front.

Very slow progress was made over rough ground when Spike suddenly staggered us with one of those cool, clear headed, far seeing, all embracing yet concise statements for which he will one day be famous.  He reckoned that we were lost.  I agreed with him.  Gaff and Sago agreed to the extent that we didn't know where we were (which was something) but pinned their faith on those radio masts, so clear for all to see. However, it seems that the Air Ministry, with a complete disregard for our well-being, had erected an identical set of masts directly behind us.  We admitted defeat and retraced our tracks back to the road.

It was that evening that we were defeated at our own game.  It happened this way.  Sago was buying the beer (surely this is a mistake? - Editor) and noticed on the landlord's shoulder what at first sight appeared to be a grasshopper.  About two inches long; it was coloured dull green and seemed to move about.  It was so lifelike that it was obviously a rubber imitation.  The temptation was too great.

 “Excuse me, I hope you don't mind me asking but what's that on your shoulder?"

The answer, in a patronizing tone, “A grasshopper, sir,” caught us all on the wrong foot.  Sago quickly replied, “Oh yes.  I forgot it was Tuesday (it wasn’t) and the damage was done.

The weather was set so fine, and the forecast so sure that we should have rainstorms, hail, sleet, thunder and perhaps snow on high ground, that we decided to camp.  I use the royal 'we', actually they decided. We set the site near St. Just amongst the surface buildings of the disused Levant mine.  We were in what a camper would refer to as a sheltered spot, protected from the rough sea winds by nothing whatever.

On the door of the old engine house was a notice “The property of the Cornish Engines Preservation Society,” and a note to the effect that the key could be obtained at Truro.  The door finished about a foot clear of the ground and about a ton of boulders had been piled in to fill the gap.  Truro seemed a long way off and so in no time at all we had an entrance three feet wide, one foot high and extremely wet.

The beam engine was small by Cornish standards, though its beam was about twenty feet long.  It was of traditional Cornish design, with the valve gear operated by the beam.  The boiler was housed in a separate building which is not now standing.  The beam was pivoted in the middle, one end being connected to the proverbial wheel (about fifteen feet in diameter) which drives the winding gear and can be slowed adown and perhaps stopped by large planks of wood which bear on the rim.  This engine is in an excellent state of preservation and well worth a visit.

One bright evening, after we'd had a few pints for supper, we were returning to the camp when a car closed up behind the Rover, and doubtless presuming we were locals and hence knew the road, drove on sidelights about 3 inches away.  As it happened, we didn’t know the road and after crossing two halt signs at high speed, turned a nasty bend without slackening the pace. We never saw our companion again. This corner was later named ‘Rhubarb Bend.’  It is a galloping bend which tightened up on the way round and just where the average goon would run out of roads is a patch of Rhubarb.  Good solid local stuff about eight feet high with enormous leaves.

It was at this stage that Sago took over the moral leadership of the party.  We had, in his view, come over to see a tin mine and here we were camped next to one and doing nothing.  He was going to see about getting us down.  Usual method.  Ask at the local garage.  Yes, the tin mine was working.  All the men were on holiday and we would have no trouble getting down with the maintenance teams.  All we would have to do would be to see the Underground Manage who drinks at the North Inn and all would be well.

We find the pub, buy beer, and survey the situation.  On the mantelpiece is a lump of rock.  We examine it and Sir Mortimer Fowler tells us that it is a common sample of the tetragonal prisms of Cossilerite, with the terminal pyramids complete, in a schist of ferruginous silica.

A worried little man in the corner corrects him.

 “No, no zur.  That be a lump of tin ore what we mine down yer.”

 “Oh, yes,” say sago.  “We know. We’re going down the mine tomorrow.”

And here we must leave them for now.  Will they get down the tin mine?  Will they heck!  We will continue this next month. – Ed.


To Beryl and Pat Ifold, a daughter at last!  LORNA JANE. Weight 7lbs, 1½oz.  Height 21”.  Born Saturday, 18th January.


Do Not Miss an illustrated talk by Oliver C. Lloyd   U.B.S.S.

Thursday, 20th February ’58 at 7.30PM

St Mary Redcliffe Church Hall


Editor: S.J. Collins, 1 Kensington Place, Clifton, Bristol 8
Secretary: R.J. Bagshaw, 56 Ponsford Road, Knowle, Bristol 4
Printers and Distributors: C. Rees, 2 Burghill Road, Westbury-on-Trym
: (new address will be published shortly)
R.J. Price: 70 Somermead Road, Bedminster, Bristol 3
Miss J. Rollason: 157 Pen Park Road, Southmead, Bristol




It is a tradition of the Belfry Bulletin to produce a “Bigger and Better” version of the magazine for Christmas.  The pages following are our attempt to keep this going.  We hope that this Christmas issue will prove to be bigger – if not better – than ever, but, owing to the need to produce as many of the stencils as early as possible, we don’t know at the time of writing this, exactly what will be in this Christmas B.B.

We shall be trying this month to concentrate more on the lighter side, without excluding any articles of a more serious nature that may come along – with what success we must leave you to judge.



November Committee Meeting

The local Rural District Council has now been contacted about the plans for the new stone hut, and we are now waiting to see if they will be passed.  We are still waiting for a suitable water meter before the mains water can be installed.  The Hon. Secretary was asked to finalise arrangements for the Annual Dinner with the Cliff Hotel, Cheddar – this being the only one which will book us at this stage.  The “official” letter to be sent out in answer to enquiries by the Caving Secretary explaining the situation re-access to St. Cuthbert’s and the reasons for it was agreed to by the committee.

Other business dealt with included the provisioning of trees for the Belfry site; the disposal of the old nickel-iron accumulators; certificates for Honorary Life Members and the progress on the renovation of the club lantern and slides..

M.N.R.C.  Lectures

The notice on this subject in last month’s B.B. has been clarified by the Caving secretary of the M.N.R.C., who has kindly pointed out that any member of the B.E.C. will be very welcome at any of these lectures whether he knows an M.N.R.C. member or not.  He continues by saying ‘We believe that this is still maintaining the letter of the rules of our parent society and also the spirit, as we believe that a spirit of friendliness exists between the two clubs.”

Unfortunately, a charge of 1/6 is still necessary for two reasons.  Firstly to comply with the rules of the parent society and secondly as one of the benefits of M.N.R.C. membership.

Thanks, Pete Stewart

Annual Dinner and 1958 Committee Nomination Forms.

These will be found attached to the back of the B.B.  Please fill them in if applicable and give or send them to the Hon. Sec.

U.B.S.S.  Sessional Meetings, 1957 - 1958.

January 20th  Mr L. Railton.  “Stereoscopic Photography of Caves.”
February 3rd.  B.R. Collingridge and G. Witts.  “Ireland, 1956 and 1957.”
March 3rd.  Annual General Meeting.  Presidential Address, “The Lost Stone Circles of North Somerset.”  E.K. Tratman, O.B.E., M.D.S., F.S.A.


Climbing News

October 11th – 12th.

The Climbing Section enjoyed its weekend in North Wales.  The journey was uneventful, and the weather wonderfully fine and warm for the time of year.  The party stayed at the Oread M.C. hut, and after initial difficulties with a bad-tempered party in possession, settled in quite well.

Several climbs were made in Cwm Silyn and on Craig y Bera, and the views and general scenery of this part of Wales are greatly to be recommended.


Editor’s Note.  We have since received an apology, on behalf of the Oread Mountaineering Club for the bad behaviour of the member referred to in this report.  They hope that this odd incident will not deter B.E.C. members from visiting their hut again.

October 6th.

Chris Falshaw, Vivien Hudson, Steve Tuck and Kangy led an appreciative party from Westminster Speleological Group into St. Cuthbert’s Swallet and up Maypole Series.  The party enjoyed climbing up the succession of pots and noted the very fine set of black-edged stal. at the top of the final pulley pitch.  Time was spent examining numerous side passages, some of which showed distinct characteristics; such as Escalator Passage, where large boulders move downwards when trodden on, and Appendix Passage, which trundles on – high, wide and handsome – until it abruptly finishes.  This part of the cave system must be very near the surface.

It is suggested to leaders that the “thin string” (nylon line) which is left permanently in position and used to pull a lightweight ladder up to the top of Pulley Pitch should be cautiously examined for abrasion every time it is to be used.  Acceleration due to gravity (even in a cave) is 32.2ft/sec2.

R. King.

November 2nd.

Ian Dear and Arthur Cochrane went down Hunter’s Hole to start a survey.  As a result of this trip, Ian is able to state quite definitely that when surveying in a muddy cave, it is not advisable to use a brown pencil!  Also on this date, Alfie and Jill started to put some temporary shoring into the dig at Vole Hole.  It should now be possible to dig down and recover the club bucket!


November 3rd.

Fireworks in Caves

On a Cuthbert’s trip with a party from B.O.A.C. led by Norman, one of the party produced some 3d. “Silver Rain” fireworks.  Rather to the leader’s surprise, when the Blue Touch Paper was suitably ignited in Cascade chamber, a really outstanding blaze of light, far surpassing that of mag. ribbon, resulted.  Further experiments in Curtain Chamber and Gour hall confirmed the brilliance of this new type of cave illuminant.  It is reported that Norman, as soon as he emerged from the cave, hastily changed and made a record run back to Bristol where he bought up the entire stock of “Silver rain” from the local firework retailers.

It is hoped, however, that this experiment will not lead to the rash use of pyrotechnics in Cuthbert’s.  The writer can remember the effect of Very Light cartridges in the main chamber of Lamb Leer during the war years.  Unfortunately, there was no indication of the colour of the cartridges.  The first one was green – very depressing it looked, but the next one to be ignited was red.  Talk about Dante’s inferno!  When viewed through the smoke of the first flare from the top of the ladder pitch the effect was most realistic.  As for getting out of the cave afterwards, flash powder smoke was merely a thin mist in comparison.  The party had to link hands and stumble, coughing and choking, back to the entrance ladder.  On the surface, any passer on the road must have thought that Mendip was erupting, as there was a column of smoke just like a volcano.  But to revert to Cuthbert’s; it is hoped that no one will try the effect of a ‘thunder flash’ by Quarry Corner, or equally it would be disconcerting to be chased by a cracker all around the Rabbit Warren.

Water Temperatures

Firstly, an apology by the Editor.  Owing to a mistake at the last moment, I missed out a few words of the report on this subject with the result that a sentence read ‘both wet and dry bulb.’  This should obviously gone something like, ‘Both wet and dry bulb readings should be taken.’  Judging by this, and other queries, this report seems to have made a number of club members think.  The following letter on the subject has been received, for instance, from Paul Burt: -

 “Got the November B.B. yesterday and was interested to hear about the new work in Cuthbert’s, particularly the stream tracing.  As regards instruments, there is a psychometer at the lab. which should be suitable for humidity measurements and which I could probably borrow for a weekend.  I don’t know much about this, but isn’t identification of stream water by temperature somewhat liable to error?  For instance, assuming that the final temperature attained by a stream in a cave is the ambient cave temperature, the point at which this occurs might be affected by other factors besides the total horizontal and vertical distances from the point where the stream leaves the surface.  The volume of flow and the efficiency of mixing with the air in the cave will have considerable influence and may vary according to the nature of the steam bed.  Also, may not heat stored in, or withdrawn from, the rock in the stream bed on recent occasions have some influence, so that the temperature of the stream at any time may be the result of its recent history?  This may have all been discussed already and allowed for, but I am not conversant enough with caving literature to know if it is so.

Tess and I would like a trip to Mendip some time between now and Christmas.  If there should be anything doing in Cuthbert’s in which we could co-operate, perhaps you could let us know?  I will produce the psychometer and a thermometer or two for temperature measurements.

You mention doing analysis of water to prove connection.  I know that the usual fluorescein tests are out of order at Cuthbert’s, but wouldn’t it be O.K. to introduce some relatively innocuous contaminant, such as chlorine ions, say, as common salt.  I would have thought that, in the sort of concentration necessary for chemical tests it would have no conceivable effect on the water at Wookey Hole.  There are a number of suitable and reasonably sensitive reactions which could be used to test samples containing chloride.  In fact, as a purely qualitative test, it could be done on the spot.”

We will certainly take advantage of this offer of a sling psychometer and a trip has been arranged for Saturday, the 7th of December.  Some comment is called for on the text of Paul’s letter.  It is agreed that the tracing of water by the measurement of temperature is liable to be influenced by many factors such as those mentioned, but it still seems unlikely that Plantation water would drop only 0.5oF in such a distance.  Some further information has come from Roy Bennett and it is to be found in Caving Report No.2, page 6, where it is stated that in November 1955, Plantation water was 1o colder than the main stream.  The actual figures were – Main Stream 9oC (48.2oF) and the Plantation Junction Stream 8oC (46.4oF).  The surface water temperatures were not taken but were lower in the cave.  In this case, Cuthbert’s water had warmed up to ambient temperature but Plantation Junction Water was nearly 2oF below this figure.

The suggestion of water analysis is that if there are marked differences of physical or chemical composition in the respective streams, it might be possible to correlate this underground.  Possibly a pathological examination might be better, particularly if Plantation Stream is contaminated by the same unpleasant bugs as the Ladywell Stream, close by.

Various members have made suggestions about the introduction of a chemical or dyestuff into Plantation Stream put into the main; they seem to think that the time of travel would be in the order of half an hour.  In British Caving, page 156 are quoted times of flow for distances not greater than 400 yards which vary from 5 minutes up to 2 hours in Upper Easegill,  while in Penyghent, a distance of 400 yards took 1 hour 40m. over a vertical drop of nearly 200 feet and nearby took 3½ days for the dye to travel 90 yards, the difference of level being negligible.  Thus it would be necessary to watch the Plantation Junction Stream for at least 6 hours to be certain that the tracer was not missed.  Using a salt test, it would be necessary to make a chemical test of the water every five minutes or so – a tedious procedure.  If one used longer intervals, you could never be sure that the chemical had been missed or that the connection was absent.

However, deliberate introduction of a chemical or dyestuff into Plantation Stream, even in the small quantities required could lead to the closing of the cave, just to prove a water connection which has no real application. It is therefore best left alone.

For those interested in the subject generally, I recommend British Caving, pages 151 onwards and the bibliography on page 169.

D.A. Coase.

Whimsey In Wales

Jayne Mansfield. – Well, that’s an interesting way to start an article, and having started, I might as well tell you how Alan and I thought of another way of making money.

It started with the assumption that people are paying good money to the Central Council of Physical Recreation, North Wales Branch (the Royal) for the privilege of spending a fairly gruelling two weeks bashing around the local mountains.  They are paying good money for the privilege of being taught something which anyone with enthusiasm and practicable ability, combined with a certain amount of literacy, can teach themselves.  It seemed to us that some people are on to a good thing.  Some people have discovered how to organise mountaineering and turn it into a profit.  Is there nothing, we wondered which is untainted by commerce?  Only caving perhaps?  But even this we felt, was bound to follow the lead of the Mountaineering Association and the C.C.P.R.  Thank heavens it hasn’t yet.

It hasn’t yet!  The clue to our achieving our first million pounds lay here!  If someone is, one day, going to organise caving and access fees for training novices, then why not us?  How simple we thought; we have the caves (free); the accommodation (by arrangement with the B.E.C. committee who are always keen to earn the odd crafty bob or two – and the staff B.E.C. members, also keen on the O.C.B.O.S.).  On the other hand, ranged against our simple project would be the academic might of speleologists better qualified to deal in caving activities than ourselves, and the frosty reception it would have from other caving clubs.  We decided that opposition would only spice our plan.

The idea was born and we amused ourselves with a more detailed examination of it.  We conceived a typical fortnight’s training.  The charge we fixed at fifteen guineas for twelve days.  Guineas because they contain more shillings than the plebeian pound, and twelve days because we could call it a fortnight.  The next step was to make sure that we conserved as much of the fifteen guineas as possible, and accommodation of course would be at cut price, by arrangement with the B.E.C. committee who would receive the cut.  Food was different.  It was likely to take a fair proportion of the sum per head – at least one and a half guineas.  Then we brilliantly saw a solution – cavers need to be thin!  This fact solved our last problem – we would put them on a diet of orange juice and porridge and make sure that we were underground during the usual conventional luncheon hour and only emerge when we were sure it was opening time (ascribing this to tradition).  We imagined our fond students buying us beer (more tradition) as we counted our ten pounds per student per fortnight profit.  It was very pleasant.



Our cover, which depicts some cavers enjoying the Christmas spirit, was produced from a lino cut by Daphne Clogue, who we should like to thank.


Since the preparation of the caving news this month, we have received letters from Sett and Jack Waddon on the subject of water temperature measurement in Cuthbert’s.  These letter and comments will be published next month.

Return to Mendip

By Russ

This is just a few lines to show how glad I am to be back amongst the people who frequent “the hill”.  It would take a dozen B.B.’s to relate all the experiences one encounters in a new land.

The main contributory factor of my return is the influx of labour which has been arriving so consistently and so overwhelming as to swamp completely the ‘Situations Vacant’ columns.  Also, the comparatively recent import of refugee Hungarians has taken care of the smaller temporary jobs which would have been steady, if slight, source of income until better work could be found.  A recent change in government, with its cut in spending, has also contributed to the unemployment problem.

Therefore it was in Calgary, four weeks after our arrival at Vancouver and thirty pounds lighter in pocket, that the first inkling of a job was forthcoming.  At this stage we (Tony Rich, John Lamb and myself) were walking a mile to breakfast because there was a cheaper café than others a block or so away.

Soon the tide was to turn, and within two days we were all permanently employed.  It was at this stage that I made the second greatest mistake (the other was coming to Canada in the first place) and I turned down a steady job for one with a commission which involved selling magazine subscriptions.

Three weeks, three thousand miles, one pair of shoes and minus five dollars later, I thought it was time to try something of a different nature.  One advantage of selling magazines was that it enabled me to travel and see some of this country.  I saw most of Northern Alberta, British Columbia and some of the Yukon.  Damn those mosquitoes!

Back in Calgary, I had become friendly with a radio announcer and a newspaper reporter.  They were very decent blokes and helped me out a bit with a few dollars here and there.  It seemed, however, that there were no prospects of a job in Calgary so I thought it was better to run up a debt home than amongst my friends, and made arrangements for my return to Mendip.

During my wanderings, I came across some very nice Canadians, but on the other hand, I also met some of the other types!  I gather that on the Eastern side they are much more unfriendly.  Canada is a place where money can be made very quickly if you can acquire a reasonable job.  My advice to anyone contemplating emigration is to make sure of a guaranteed job before you leave England and not to pay a lot of attention to what the emigration authorities say.  Try to correspond with an Englishman already residing in the area you intend to visit.

Book Review

By Bryan Ellis.

One Thousand Metres Down” by J. Cadoux and others (Allen & Unwin) 21/-.

International Expedition to the Goufre Berger, 1956.  The exploits of the British members, Nick Pratchett and Bob Powell” (Cave Research Group) 3/6.

The Caves of the Great Hunters” by Hans Baumann” (Hutchinson) 10/-.

The Caving Clubs of Mendip.”  by A. Cider (Hunter’s Book Co.).

A number of books have been published for the armchair caver in the last year, and three of them are reviewed here.  Taking them in the order given above, I can sum up my impressions of the first “One Thousand Metres Down” in a few words – it is the most enjoyable book on cave exploration that I have yet read.  It is a similar book to “Subterranean Climber” by Pierre Chevalier but it is of greater interest than the older book because it has been written as a story rather than a straight forward account of expeditions. 

The story starts with the exploration of Vat of Sassonage, some well-known caves near Grenoble in which the team in its infant days as a club discovered a considerable length of new passage, then goes on to the making of a caving film by the same people.  The purpose of these fifty pages appears to be to show how the team was built into a closely knit group of friends having complete trust in each other.  After these first few chapters, we come to the beginning of the story proper – the discovery and exploration of the Gouffre Berger that was to become the deepest pothole in the world.

Jean Cadoux writes the majority of the book, some of the chapters having been contributed by other members of the team, but this does not introduce any lack of continuity as the writer’s styles are very similar.  It may be that we gain here in having a translation from another language, as the style throughout the book may well be that of the translator, R.L.G. Irving.  The story of the exploration is gripping and this was definitely one of the books which I found very difficult to put down once I had started.  I started on a Friday morning and was most annoyed when I had not finished by that evening as I was going away for the weekend and knew that I would not be able to pick it up again until the Monday evening!  The story unfolds as they make their way deeper and deeper in the cave, overcoming the difficulties as they come across them – a succession of ladder pitches, great chambers, excessively wet sections and tight winding passages.  The exploration was started in 1953 and as it proceeded they passed the depth of the then deepest pothole in France, and on down to 900 metres (2,950 feet).  It was about this time that they realised the very definite possibility of their going lower than 1.000 metres (3,280’) and so named the explorations “Operation 1,000”, the title given to the original book when it was published in France.  The book ends with the expedition of 1955 when they attained a depth of 985 metres without reaching the end of the cave, but there is a very short postscript to say that in the next year the end of the cave was finally reached at 1,130 metres (just over 3,700 feet).

In 1956, the Speleo-Group of the French Alpine club who had been exploring the Gouffre Berger, invited clubs from other countries to send members for a further expedition.  My second review is of the first of the “Occasional Publications” to be published by the Cave Research Group of Great Britain and consists of accounts by the two British members of the exploratory team.  Nick Pratchett was a member of one of the supporting parties, while Bob Powell was in the international team that went to the very bottom of the cave.  These stories, which are interesting, written, inaugurate a new series of C.R.G. publications that are designed to cover topics not coming under the heading of research topics or research aids.  This issue is priced at 3/6 but it is available from the C.R.G. librarian at 2/6 for members or members clubs (e.g. the B.E.C.).

 “The Caves of the Great Hunters” is one of several books published recently about the cave drawings that are to be found on the continent.  The exact date of publication of this book is unknown to the reviewer but it has only recently come to his notice – it tells the story of how four boys accidentally discovered an ice-age cave containing rock art.  (Anyone wanting to read about “Britain’s painted Cave” should see the article of this title by G. Grogson that appeared in the issue of “County Life” dated 27th December 1956).  It won’t tell you very much!

Three books about caving – or more correctly two books and a paper, have been reviewed here, but both of the books were published originally abroad.  If translations of these books are published in this country, there must be sufficient sale for them to be economically sound for the publisher and yet there has only been one book, as far as I can remember, about caving expeditions in Great Britain.  Why do we have to rely almost entirely on books about foreign caves?  Which are we short of, caving authors or the caves for them to write about?

Dealing with the last book, such comments as the one stating that one of the Mendip caving clubs has the policy of ‘tasting as many brands of beer as possible’ while another has that of ‘seeing how many cavers it can provide with cups of tea on a Saturday evening after closing time’ makes one wonder if this book is not a light-hearted satire on the state of affairs to be found in the area.  Whether it is or not, I am not quite sure, but the book is very amusing in places and certainly seems to have an authentic ring about it.

The author states that there are only two clubs worthy of note in the area – one chapter of the book is devoted to each of these clubs while the remainder are dealt with in two further chapters one dealing with caving clubs which appear to be more interested in other subjects and one dealing with clubs whose interests are obscure, non-existent or completely inexplicable.

One can learn a great deal from the reading of this book; how to prevent the democratic functioning of a club with special references on losing unwanted motions for A.G.M.’s; how to influence members of other clubs; how to restrict access to caves and caving literature and how to obtain more material for a club magazine.

From the book we also learn how to fill in applications for club membership for the various local clubs in such a way as to ensure that (a) you become elected; (b) you are refused politely or (c) you stir up trouble and are flung out on your neck.  As an example the answer of “Wine, Women and Song” to the question of “Main interests” fill find you welcomed with open arms by one club and thrown out on your neck by another.  We are also told that no answer will fulfil condition (b) with some clubs.

Different clubs provide different amenities for members and guests staying at their Mendip Headquarters.  One club provided a scrambles track outside its hut; another caters for lovers of old buildings and yet another for budding housebreakers.

This review should have given readers an idea of the type of book that this is, and I leave it to you to decide whether it is fact or fiction.

B.M. Ellis

Xmas  Xword

By “Sett”




































































































































































































































1. and 6. method of transferring metal.
9. Compounds sometimes added to drinking water
10. Formerly the Gold Coast.
11.  Away (3,4.).
12. As leaves but not a lasso.
13.  What the Brandy connoisseur does before he drinks it (7,3,5.).
15. These rocket occur at irregular intervals in the B.B. (10,5.).
16.  Flag or Crest.
19. Camels from the Andes.
22. Flower or Stringer Instrument.
23. Depose.
24. Owned by Fishermen, done by Irishmen and a caver often does.
25. Not a thin caver, but a seamstress.


1. Pixie-like.
2. German M.T.B. (1,4.).
3. The Hunter’s at Time.
4. Rock formation underlying Limestone (3,3,9.).
5. Before Cuthbert’s was discovered, this was the nearest real cave to the Belfry. (9,6.).
6. Roman military units.
7. Not worth considering, especially to the caver. (5,4.).
8. A lesser variety of slander.
14. Hard water?
15. Butcher’s chopper or Slate splitter.
16. These made a box for Brian Baru. (3,4.).
17. Device for measuring small volumes of liquid.
20. A girl found on a reef.
21. They moved father’s grave to build this.

The Rubaiyat of Omar ‘Obbs

Awake! You cavers from the Mendip night.
I’ll tell a gruesome tale to give you fright
So listen to me, lo! And be well taught
Or Orang Utang’s grim and deadly plight.

At a tavern high upon the hill,
A voice was heard without that sounded ill
And cried, “Our Orang’s gone and all is lost!
His merry roving spirit now is still.”

This sorry news did sour all the wine
And many caving bods began to pine
Oh, Mendip! Could such awful tidings be?
I fear thou shootest us a shocking line.

A bachelor was he, who often raved,
“I’ll never be by pretty girl enslaved”
How long since he was seen upon the hill
With helm and lamp about to be encaved.

Thomas is gone – with all his caving clothes
And Fanny Barnett bike – where no one knows.
And still the fruit its deadly acid yields
And still an orchard ‘neath old Mendip blows.

There is but little time for us to stay
Until we all are likewise called away
So now, my brothers, join me ere we go
Another cup of wine to cheer the way.

Remember how he spake beneath the bough
‘This merry life is paradise enow’
While singing gleeful in the wilderness
A Fanny B., some Hunter’s rough, and thou.

While many other blokes have met their doom
Without such grim and universal gloom
Who else but Orang in such dreadful straits
Could bring to silence all the caver’s room?

Think, in this battered caravanserai,
Where many lads have drunk by night and day
How caver after caver took a cup
Before, encrumpeted, he went away.

But come with Omar ‘Ooos and leave the lot
Of Belfry and of Hunter’s be forgot
Let Alfie glare around him as he will
Or Maurice Iles roars “Binder!” heed them not.

Night comes; and all too soon the end is near
Where are the stalwart Men of yesteryear?
So raise your foaming tankards while you may
For we at least can be of goodly cheer.

Editor’s Note


We are pleased to have been able to publish some of the rubaiyat, or verses, of this old Persian poet, Omar ‘Obbs.  We hope that from time to time, it may be possible to persuade our translator, Sid Hobbs, to provide us with some further examples.

Puzzle Corner

This being the Christmas number of the B.B., we are including a few puzzles to while away the odd hour before opening time.  In addition to the crossword on page nine, we have here one of the ‘logical’ type of puzzle, and have persuaded our Hon. Sec., Mr. Bagshaw, to give us a demonstration of his mental powers by solving it for us.  There were originally two of these problems, but space has prevented us from including both.  Mr. Bagshaw’s answer – being slightly different in approach from the generally accepted solution – will not spoil the puzzle for those readers who have not met it before, and will – we feel – provide all members with a unique opportunity to peer, as it were, into the recesses of our Hon. Sec.’s mind.

The Problem.

Three men imprisoned.  The prison governor, who sets great store on intelligence, promises to free the most intelligent, and devises a test.  He has three black and two white discs made, and fixes a disc on each man’s back.  None is allowed to see the discs left over, and no man can see his own disc.  No talking or signals are allowed, and the man who can first work out the colour of his disc correctly will be freed.  In fact, all there were given black discs.  By what reasoning did the winner arrive at the correct answer?

                                                ……..over to Bagshaw……..

This problem is very difficult because, after the problem is set nobody speaks until the winner says, “I’ve got a black disc on my back” and the governor says, “Tell us how you know”.  At this point we may have found ourselves going round in circles – and not the best of circles either – if we are not careful and so the wary puzzler will therefore quickly deduce that this is a thinking type puzzle and that the only way to solve it is to put yourself into the part without reservation and to work out the sequence of thinking type thoughts amongst the people concerned.

 (Silence while puzzler mentally slips from dismal office/workshop/factory/kitchen/pothole* surroundings)  (Strike out words not required in own case) into dismal prison/jug/gaol/clink/stir/ chokey/pothole* surroundings).


*What’s the difference anyway?


No.1. Thinks: I wonder if the governor’s missed his wallet yet?

No.2. Thinks: I wonder No.1’s missed the governor’s wallet yet?

No.3. Thinks: You’d think the governor would carry a wallet on him.

Governor thinks: Fancy them having £23/19/8 on them!

No.1. Thinks: Nothing.

No.2. Thinks: I’ve got a white/black card on my back.

No.3. Thinks: I’ve got a black/white card on my back.

No.1. Says:  Nothing.

No.2. Says:  Nothing.

No.3. Says:  Nothing.  (Remember cunning silence in problem.)

No.1. Thinks: Nothing.

No.2. Thinks: No.1 has got a black card.

No.3. Thinks: No.1 and No.2 have both got black cards.

No.1. Thinks: Nothing.

No.2. Thinks: If No.3 is thinking what I think he thinks, he thinks he’s got a black/white card on his back.

No.3. Thinks: No.1 & No.2 have both got black cards on their backs, therefore I must have a white/black card

No.1. Thinks: Look at that wasp crawling up the wall!

No.2. Thinks: No.1 has said nothing so I know he is puzzled, and thinks he’s got a black/white card, whereas if he knew he would shout the answer therefore he has probably got a black/white card.

No.3. Thinks: On the other hand, I could have a black/white card.

No.1. Thinks: He’s crawling higher!

No.2. Thinks: I know that No.1 has a black card, but where does that get me? (shifts weary body onto other leg)

No.3. Thinks: Wish he would stand still.

No.1. Thinks: (all in a flash like): I see he’s started flying now I wonder why he’s circling my nose like That?  It’s almost as if he’s looking for a landing place BLINDING FLASH OF PAIN (prison Type) AND HE SAYS (reverting in moment of crisis to native Ivor Novello type ruritainian Language).


“Eyewego   Tawhai     Skar     Dommit     Achkt!”

(cor)         (stone)     (the)     (flipping)   (crows!)


Governor says: “Wonderful!  But you must tell us how you know.”  And No.1, though bewildered had sense to say “But you say cleverest man goes free and surely you would want these ignorant and stupid fellow to have something to think about for the next twenty years or so?


(In ensuing silence, claps on green-pork-pie-release-free-issue-type hat on head and goes.)


The more usual solution to this problem, also the solution to the Xmas Xword, will appear in next month’s B.B.  (Ed.)





List of Members 1957


T.O. Andrew

135, Danson Road, Bexley, Kent.


T. Attwood

4, Bridge Road, Shortwood, Nr, Mangostfield, Bristol.


R.J. Bagshaw

56, Ponsford Road, Knwole, Bristol. 4.


R.G. Balch

8, Davies Terrace, Wells, Som.


D.J. Balcombe

26, Bennett Gardens, Norbury, London, S.W.16.



35, Park Avenue, South Shields, Co. Durham


N. Barrington

7, Pickhurst Lane, Hayes, Bromley, Kent.


R. Bater

2, Upper Perry Hill, Southville, Bristol. 3.


R. Bennett

37, Queens Road, Ashley Down, Bristol. 7.


W.L. Beynon

Lower Lodge, Weston Park House, Weston Park, Bath.


P.M. Blogg

1, Ridgeway Park, Ridgeway, Gols..


A. Bonner.

45, St. Albans Road, Westbury Park, Brisol. 6.


Miss S. Bowden-Lyle

51, Coronation Road, Bristol. 3.


R. Brain

10, Weston Avenue, Cosham Road, St. George, Bristol. 5.


N. Brooks

392, Victoria Road, Ruislip, Middlesex.


R.G. Brown

91a, Oxford Road, Kensington Gardens, London W.10.


P. Burt

3, Manor House, Rothamsted, Harpendon, Herts.


Mrs. Burt

3, Manor House, Rothamsted, Harpendon, Herts.


Buxton J.

Coppington Farm, Wellesbourne, Nr. Warwick.


Buxton Mrs.

Coppington Farm, Wellesbourne, Nr. Warwick.


Carter R.

19, Churchill Road, Wells, Somerset.


Cassell L.C.

50, Elmdale Road, Bedminster, Bristol. 3.


B.R. Chamberlain

102, Egerton Road Bishopston, Bristol. 7.


Miss D.A. Clague

38, Paulton Road, Victoria Park, Bristol .3.


D.A. Coase

Batsford, Lower Failand, Nr. Bristol.


Mrs. Coase

Batsford, Lower Failand, Nr. Bristol.


S.J. Collins

1, Kensington Place, Clifton, Bristol.


D. Cooke-Yarborough

Craiglea, Fellside Road, Shietham, Newcastle.


A.J. Crawford

3, Hillside, Harefield, Nr, Uxbridge, Middlesex.


M.B. Dale

57, Kingsway Avenue, Kingswood, Bristol. 5.


T. Davies

154, Boston Manor Road, Brentford, Middlesex.


I.A. Dear

Sowter Lodge, North Quay, Weymouth, Dorset.


K.C. Dobbs

84, Fox Road, Pinhoe, Exeter.


A.J. Dunn

70, The Crescent, Henleaze, Bristol.


J.A. Etough

116, Newbridge Road, St. Annes Park, Bristol. 4.


B. Ellis

3, Marlborough Avenue, Fishponds, Bristol. 5.


D. England

114, West Street, Bedminster, Bristol. 3.


Miss D. Fairman

Cranmore View, Priddy, Nr. Wells.


C.P. Falshaw

50, Rockside Drive, Henleaze, Bristol.


A. Fincham

Leeds University Union, Leeds. 2.


T.E. Fletcher

The Old Mill House, Barnack, Nr. Stamford, Lincs.


G.A. Fowler

77, Kingshill Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


R. RFrancis

91a, Oxford Gardens, Kensington, London W.0.


K.S. Gardner

10a, Royal Park, Clifton, Bristol. 8.


Miss A.F. George

“Beeches”, Priddy, Nr. Wells, Somerset.


P.E. Graham.

6, Lawrence Mansions, Chelsea, London S.W.1.


G.H. Griffiths

164, St. Johns Lane, Bedminster, Bristol. 3.


N. Groves

6, Woodchester Road, Henleaze, Bristol.


D. Gwinnel

22569720, Cpl. Gwinnel, 2 Air Support Sigs Unit, ‘A’ Troop, 1 Sqdrn. 1oth Air Signals Regt., B.F.P.O.S.F.


Mrs. L. Hampton

Lulworth Cottage, Church Lane, E. Keswick, Leeds.


M. Hannam

14B, Vyvyan Terrace, Clifton, Bristol. 8.


C.W. Harris

14, Market Place, Wells, Somerset.


D. Hasell

Hill House, Moorlynch, Nr. Bridgwater, Somerset.


M.J. Healey.

24, Water Lane, Brislington, Bristol. 4.


S.M. Hobbs.

135, Doncaster Road, Southmead, Bristol.


J. Ifold

Leigh House, Nempnett, Chew Stoke, Somerset.


P. Ifold

Sunnyside, Rectory Lane, Compton Martin.


M. Isles

33, Greenleaze, Knowle Park, Bristol. 4.


J.J. Jacobs

126, Bridge Lane, Golders Green, London N.W. 11.


J. Jenkins

251, Bishopsworth Road, Bedminster Down, Bristol. 3.


R.L. Jenkins

5, North Street, Downend, Bristol.


A.C. Johnson

46, The Cesrcent, Henleaze, Bristol. 7


M. Jones

389, Filton Avenue, Horfields, Bristol. 7.


Mrs. M. Jones

389, Filton Avenue, Horfields, Bristol. 7.


U. Jones

3, Durham Street, Elswich Road, Newcastle-on-Tyne.


D. Kemp

17, Becmead Avenue, Streatham, London, S.W.16.


R.S. King

1, Lynmouth Road, Bristol. 2.


A.J. Knibbs

18, River Walk, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey.


D.J. Lacy

31, Devon Grove, Whitehall, Bristol.5.


J. Lamb

365, Filton Avenue, Bristol. 7.


A.W. Lewis

 ‘Llandaff House’, Earl Road, Penarth, Glam.


C.A. Marriott.

718, Muller Road, Eastville, Bristol. 5.


E.J. Mason.

11, Kendon Drive, Wellington Hill West, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol.


J. Miller

130, Longmead Avenue, Bishopston, Bristol. 7.


D. Mitchell

18, Brookside, Combwick, Bridgwater, Somerset.


T.G. Mossman

c/o Y.M.C.A. Colston Street, Bristol.


K. Murray

17, Harrington Gardens, South Kensington, London, S.W.7.


A. Nash

60, Marmion Crescent, Henbury, Bristol


T.W. Neil

Bradley Cross, Cheddar, Somerset.


Mrs. Neil

Bradley Cross, Cheddar, Somerset.


R. Newman

63, Sandling Avenue, Horfield, Bristol. 7.


F. Nicholson

60, Christchurch Street, East Frome, Somerset.


J. Pegram

4, Moffats Lane, Brookmans Park, Hatfield, Herts.


J.S. Pemoury

Grove View, Hambrook, Nr Bristol.


L. Peters

21, Melbury Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


N. Petty

12, Bankside Road, Brislington, Bristol. 4.


T. Pink

53, Burnthwaite Road, Fulham, London, S.W.6.



2, Hanbury Road, Clifton, Bristol, 8.


G. Platten

‘Rutherfield’, Fernhill Lane, New Milton, Hants.


A. Preston

43, West Town Lane, Brislington, Bristol. 4.


B.E. Prewer

14, Egerton Road, Bath, Somerset.


R.J. Price

70, Somermead, Bedminster, Bristol.3.


D. Radmore

22, St. Michaels Park, Bristol. 2.


T. Ratcliffe

12, Magfield Road, Dagham, Essex.


C. Rees

2, Burghill Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol.


A.L.C. Rice

20, Filton Avenue, Horfield, Bristol. 7.


A. Rich

Frontier geophysical Ltd., Acme, Alberta, Canada.


Miss J. Rollason

157, Pen Park Road, Southmead, Bristol.


J. Rowley

52, Granby Hill, Clifton, Bristol. 8.


A. Sandall

35, Beauchamp Road, Bristol. 7.


Mrs. Sandall

35, Beauchamp Road, Bristol. 7.


B. Scott

39, Colerook Avenue, Hayes, Middlesex.


R. Setterington

86, Grand Drive, Raynes Park, London, S.W. 20.


R.A. Setterington

4, Galmington Lane, Taunton, Somerset.


Mrs. Setterington

4, Galmington Lane, Taunton, Somerset.


J. Skinner

12, Hurst Walk, Filwood Park, Bristol. 4.


Stafford J.M.

2/LR, Officers mess, 3.Q.O.N.R. Enugu, E. Nigeria.


Mrs. I. Stanbury

74, Redcatch Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


T.H. Stanbury

48, Novers Park Road, Knowle. Bristol. 4.


R.D. Stenner

38, Paultow Road, Victoria Park, Bristol. 3.


P.A.E. Stewart

131, St. Peters Rise, Bishopsworth, Bristol. 3.


A. Thomas

Sandhill Park Manor School, Bishops Lydeard, Taunton, Somerset.


D. Thomas

55, New Road, Llandovery, Carns.


E. Towler

11, St. Philips Road, London, E.8.


J.M. Thompsett

51, Rothman’s Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex.


Mrs. Thompsett

51, Rothman’s Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex.


S.D.J. Tuck

‘Getley’, East Knoyle, Salisbury, Wilts.


J. Waddon

7, Haydon Road, Taunton, Somerset.


R.M. Wallis

“Swildons”, 343, Upton Lane, Widnes, Lancs.


D. Willis

‘Miner’s Cottage, Priddy, Nr.  Wells Somerset.


Mrs. Willis

‘Miner’s Cottage, Priddy, Nr.  Wells Somerset.


Belfry Bulletin Index

No 109.  January 1957.

“Just like Old Times”

A Climb on Dartmoor

Article on the Position of the B.B.

“Why I’m glad I’m this Thin”

J. Morris

R. Newman

T.H. Stanbury

R. King

Page. 1.

Page. 2.

Page. 4.

Page. 6.

No 110.  March 1957.

Report on the Annual General Meeting

Scramble Swallet

R.J. Bagshaw

R. King

Page. 1.

Page. 4.

No 111.  April 1957

The Caves of Malaya

Desilverisation of Mendip Lead

B. Prewer

G. Fowler

Page. 4.

Page. 5.

No 112.  May 1957.

Jehu’s Welsh Journey

It’s easy to Ski!

R. Newman

N. Brooks

Page. 4.

Page. 5.

No 113.  June 1957.

Letters to the Editor

Book Review

Mendip Mining. I

Waddon, Mossman

B. Ellis

M. Hannam

Page. 3.

Page. 4.

Page. 6.

No 114.  July 1957.

St. Cuthbert’s Report

Mendip Mining. II.

Book Review

Snow and Ice in Scotland

D.A. Coase

M. Hannam

B. Ellis

E. Houghton

Page. 3.

Page. 6.

Page. 8.

Page. 9.

No 115.  August 1957.

Caving News

A New Roman Road near Bristol

Letter about Swildon’s IV

Stereoscopic Photography

Coase, Falshaw

K. Gardiner

D. Kemp

R.M. Wallis

Page. 1.

Page. 4.

Page. 5.

Page. 6.

No 116.  September 1957.

St. Cuthbert’s Report

Stereoscopic Photography

Coase, Falshaw

R.M. Wallis

Page. 3.

Page. 11.

No 117.  October 1957.

Mendip Mining. III.

Caving in South Wales

M. Hannam

R. Stenner

Page. 3.

Page. 5.

No 118.  November 1957.

Caving in Malaya

St. Cuthbert’s Report

Letters to the Editor

B. Prewer

N. Petty, D. Coase

Oldtimer, Jonah, Ellis

Page. 2.

Page. 3.

Page. 6.

No 119.  December 1957.

Caving News

Whimsy in Wales

Return to Mendip

Book Review

Xmas Xword

The Rubaiyat of Omar ‘Obbs

Puzzle Corner

List of Members


R. King

R. Jenkins

B. Ellis


S. Hobbs

R. Bagshaw

Page. 4.

Page. 7.

Page. 8.

Page. 9.

Page. 12

Page. 13.

Page. 14.

Page. 16.


Will members whose names are not on the list of members on pages 12, 13 and 14 or whose addresses are not correct please get in touch with the Hon. Sec.  The address as printed is the one to which your Belfry Bulletin is sent.


That’s it blokes!  As we hoped, in our few words at the beginning of this Christmas number, we have managed to stagger through the biggest B.B. which has yet been printed.  Particularly gratifying is the fact that, even with so many pages, articles have had to be left over or ‘pruned down’ slightly due to lack of space!  It is only the price of paper and the shocking load on the printing department, who have worked dammed hard, which has limited us to sixteen pages.

This completes our first year on the Editorial Board which was set up at the last A.G.M. and whatever measure of success we may have had has been due to the many members who have kept us supplied with a steady flow of articles, letters and reports.  Thanks very much, blokes and let’s make it bigger and better in 1958.



Hon. Sec. 
            R.J. Bagshaw, 56 Ponsford Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.

            S.J. Collins, 1 Kensington Place, Clifton, Bristol 8.

Printers and Distributors.
            C. Rees, 2 Burghill Road, Westbury-on-Trym:
            D. England, 114 West St., Bedminster, Bristol 3: 
            B. Price, 70 Somerfield Road, Bedminster, Bristol 3.


A Happy New Year to all our readers and Good Caving in 1958


We must, unfortunately, start 1958 with an apology from the Editor, who has been on the sick list for the last month.  As a result of this, the B.B. will be a week late this month and some of the letters about water Temperatures in Cuthbert's again cannot be published until he can return to work, where they have been left.  He hopes that he will be ‘back to normal’ by the time the February B.B. is due to to written.

As a result of several requests for a back cover, we have had the covers printed for this year to fold over and make a complete cover for the inside pages.  This should, again, improve the appearance of the magazine. We have retained the colour and design of last year.

We should like to take this opportunity to ask our contributors to indicate on their articles etc.; whether they are agreeable to having it condensed if necessary.  This has been done on some occasions in the past, so that it will fit into a particular issue of the magazine; and on most of these occasions, the author’s agreement has been given.  We should, however, like people to know that, where they consider this to be a bad thing, their wishes will be respected.

Finally, an appeal to vote for the 1958 committee.  There are plenty of names to choose from this year!  Make sure you get the people YOU want, and turn up in your thousands to the A.G.M. at Redcliffe Hall on Saturday afternoon, 25th January.  The Annual Dinner follows at Cheddar that evening.


December Committee Meeting

Two new decisions have been made concerning grades of club membership.  Joint membership is to be free if the husband is conscripted and would thus qualify for free membership.  This was passed Nem. Con. (5 for and 2 abstaining).  In addition, a new class of membership has been agreed to. This is Joint Life Membership and will cost 7 guineas.

The trees have been planted on the Belfry site and some of the fencing necessary is in position. The arrangements for the new Belfry, mains water, accumulator disposal etc., continue.

New Members

We should like to welcome John Cundy and James Goodwin, who have recently been elected to membership of the club.

Changes of Address and New Addresses.

For those who are determined to keep their annual list of addresses up to date, see the following: -

Delete the 5 from Bristol in Bryan Ellis’s address.

Add      389.  R. Burky, 52 Sedgemoor Road, Coombe Down, Bath, Somerset

G.B. Dates

The following Dates have recently been received form the U.B.S.S.: -

18th January; 1st March; 12th April; 31st May

Water Temperatures

December 15th, 1957.

Some more temperatures were taken in Cuthbert’s on December 7th by Norman Petty, Paul and Tessie Burt, together with a party of visitors from Leicester University led by Alan Coase.

To begin with, the party showed odd fluctuations in numbers and we were beginning to wonder whether we could ever count bods, let alone degrees; but it settled down at six and remained more or less so for the rest of the trip.

Surface water temperatures were taken in Cuthbert‘s pool and Plantation Stream.  At this stage, it was discovered that the party had no less than three thermometers for water temperature as well as a wet and dry bulb thermometer for humidity readings.  This seemed rather a lot, but the number was adjusted on the way down the entrance pitch, at the bottom of which, one was found to be broken.  This sacrifice must have placated St. Cuthbert, as all went smoothly afterwards.

Temperatures were taken at most of the places suggested by Don Coase (see B.B.118) and he saw to it that the temperature of the Wookey Rising was also taken (at 2.30 a.m.!)

All temperatures so far taken are summarized in the table in degrees Centigrade.  The thermometers used for water temp. could not be read accurately to better than 0.25OC, so that differences of less than half a degree must be disregarded.

“ Plantation” System

October 5th

December 7th

Plantation Stream at the surface



Rabbit Warren Extension



Plantation Stream at Junction






St. Cuthbert’s System



Pool at the surface









Dining Room



St. Cuthbert’s stream at junction






Combined Systems



Just below junction






Wookey Hole rising






Other Tributaries in Cave



Pool in Rabbit Warren



Maypole System stream



Great Gour



Air temperatures were also taken in December, in the same places as the water temperatures and they were consistently 10.1 to 10.2 except in two places, and the pools in the Rabbit Warren and on the Great Gour, where they were 10.5O

In December, the air temperature outside the cave had recently risen considerably, so that it was well above the temperature of the stream entering the cave.  Under these conditions, the larger the volume of the stream and the more rapid its flow, the lower would its temperature when it entered the cave.  Thus the Plantation stream entered around 0.9 degrees cooler than the slower, smaller St. Cuthbert’s stream.  As no other stream as large as these enters the ground in the area, it seems likely that any other water entering the St. Cuthbert’s system would be seepage water entering the ground at a temperature close to that of the St. Cuthbert’s stream or even higher.

From the table, it will be seen that the Cuthbert's stream had risen about one degree between the surface and Plantation Junction.  All other cave water tested, except the Plantation stream, was at about the same temperature (9.1 to 9.5) but the Plantation stream at Plantation Junction was nearly a degree cooler than the Cuthbert’s stream at the same place – about the same difference they showed on the surface.  This seems to support the view that the Plantation stream in the cave is correctly named, for had this stream been caused by seepage water, its temperature would have been at least a degree higher.

The situation in October is much harder to sort out, since a true air temperature is lacking.  It was assumed that this was 9.2 degrees, the temperature of the Cuthbert’s stream at the Dining Room, but it seems surprising that the cave air temperature should be lower in October than December. Perhaps drier air entered the cave and the stream cooled to below air temperature by evaporation?  If it is assumed that in October, the cave air temperature was between 9 and 10 degrees, then the fact that the Plantation stream changed less in temperature between the surface and Plantation Junction than did the Cuthbert's stream in reaching the Dining Room, is not surprising, since, although both streams ended up close to cave air temperature, Cuthbert's left the surface much further from it.

More readings are needed. The situation that would throw most light on the problem would be to have both plantation and Cuthbert’s streams entering the cave at the same temperature, this temperature being at least 3O different from cave air temperature.

Fortunately, it may be possible to get more direct evidence.  Water samples were taken from the two streams on the surface, and the Cuthbert’s stream was found to contain a great deal of chloride, the plantation stream little. It is hope to take water samples from the cave during the next temperature trip.

It is interesting that pools, such as the one in the Rabbit Warren and on the Great Gour, both very large compared with the volume of water entering them, should be able to remain up to 0.8O different from cave air temperature.  In December, their supply was cooler than cave air temperature, and it would be of interest to see if they maintain their temperature differential when the water supply is warmer than cave air temperature.  This seems unlikely.

The air temperatures of the cave were remarkably constant.  The difference of 0.4OC between the air close to the stream and the situations of the roof of the cave was probably due to air cooled by the stream tending to underlie warmer, stagnant air above; the direction of the temperature gradient tending to make the conditions stable in a similar manner to ‘frost pockets’ on the surface.  Presumably when the stream is warmer than the air, convection would occur and the temperature differences would not be observed.

The temperature of the Wookey Rising agrees well with the St. Cuthbert’s air temperature, and is probably the temperature of the whole mass of Mendip at this depth.

The relative humidity of the cave was at all times above 99%, the instrument used being sufficiently accurate to distinguish humidity between 99% and 100%.  It seems that an instrument having a sensitivity of not less than 0.025OC would be necessary to record the very small differences from 100% humidity to be expected in caves.  December 7th was not a day when humidity’s of much lower than 100% could have been expected in the cave, as the surface humidity at the time was 100%.  (A typical Mendip mist, in fact! D.A.C.)

N. Petty and P. Burt


I hope that our Ed. will not think me derogative,
If I say that this space seems to be his prerogative.
So creating a precedent is now my intention
With this little rhyming of my own invention

Mervn Hannam

Answers to Problems in Christmas B.B.

Xmas Xword.  Across: - (1) and (6) Electrolysis.  (9) Fluorides.  (10) Ghana.  (11) Not Home.  (12) Whorled. (13) Inhales its smell.  (15) Climbing reports.  (18) Ensigns.  (19) Alpacas. (22) Viola.  (23) Overthrow.  (24) Reels. (25) Needler.  Down.  (1) Elfin. (2) E Boat.  (3) Turmoil.  (4) Old and Sandstone.  (14) Hailstone.  (15) Cleaver. (16) Bog Oaks.  (17) Pipette.  (20) Coral. (21) Sewer.

Puzzle Corner:  The normal argument runs as follows: - Calling the three men A, B and C; A says to himself. “My disc is either black or white.  Let me assume it to be white.  In that case, B can see a black disc on C and a white one on me.  He will know that his own cannot be white, for if it were, C would see both the white discs, and since there are only two white ones, would know his own was black and would speak up.  By this reasoning, B would thus be able, to deduce his own colour. But he has not done so.  Therefore my original assumption was incorrect, and my own disc must be black."

A much quicker solution has been received from Jill Rollason.  In this one, A argues that since the Governor sets Great store by intelligence, he is not likely to set a problem that gives any of the three men an unfair advantage.  There is thus only one way in which they can all have an equal chance.  Therefore they all have black discs.

Tankards Hole

A report on Tankard’s Hole will eventually appear in a B.E.C. Caving Report on work done in some of the smaller caves on Mendip, but as this is not due to appear for some months, here is a short article on ths wave.  It is situated ‘In a shakehole by the roadside not so far from the Hunter’s Pub’ – thank you Mr. Lawder! – and many people have heard rumours about its doubtful stability in places.  Now for some facts.  Although several boulders look unsafe, the direct route to the lowest Chamber is safe, provided reasonable care is taken and that the urge to wander off the beaten track is suppressed.  However, every exploration trip in which Tony Rich, Russell Jenkins and myself took part, has included some incident and we were all lucky many times to escape injury, even though we were not taking any rash chances.  There is every likelihood of this element of risk to exploration parties continuing, if not even increasing, for the way on from the lowest chamber is very unpleasant.

Briefly, the cave is about two hundred feet deep vertically, and most of it is contained in two vertical boulder ruckles.  It contains no large stream, but in wet weather there are many small streams and the cave shows signs of intense water action.  There is quite a bit of work to be done in this cave.   First of all, there is a way on at the present end which requires exploring.  The cave has not been surveyed, although this is hardly worth while at this stage.

In a couple of places, there are alternative routes between boulders, an obvious way and a short cut. In one such place, the short cut avoids a very awkward squeeze but the boulders are unstable to such a degree that Mr. Rich did not even think of using it,  in passing tackle through.

I know of no photography yet, but there is nothing, but the boulders to photograph.  It would have been useful to have been able to confirm with photographs that a big change did take place in a collapse triggered off, in all innocence, by Maurice Isles during an eventful trip in September 1956, and there are a couple of fossils that may be worth a photograph.

Roger Stenner.

Date For Your Diary

Thursday, 23rd January ’58 at 7.30PM St. Mary Redcliffe Church Hall.


Colour Transparencies by Ron King and Allan Bonner

A Trip to O.F.D.

Where’s my speaking trumpet? Ah!  Hello folks!  The B.E.C. go caving abroad.  I mean South Wales, in fact Ogof Ffynon Ddu.

Saturday morning dawned (at 11 0’clock) to see Norman Petty and myself bustling up the Gloucester Road.  We had made good time till we got just outside Monmouth where a bald front tyre and a slippery bend added up to two lads sliding off towards Monmouth minus one m/c.  The damaged was assessed and a motorcycle shop soon straightened things out and brazed pieces on and after an hour and a half, we were on our way.  Here I must boast to being the only B.E.C. member who has fallen off a motorbike with Norman Petty.  I believe this is his first accident since 1946, which only goes to show what a good driver he really is.  We arrived at the S.W.C.C. cottage at about 3.30pm and met Roger and Daphne.  We visited the resurgence of Dan-yr-Ogof and also the Gwyn Arms.  A pleasant warm night was passed at the spare cottage.

First thing next morning (about 11 o’clock again) we left for O.F.D., and after paying our 1/- entrance fee, disappeared into the bowels of the earth.  It is quite unlike any Mendip cave, for you can walk around for an hour without bending your back!  We visited the stream passage, the Wire Traverse, the Column Series, Crystal Pool Chamber, Rawl series and Low’s Passage all ably led by Bill Little.  We also saw some of the formations – such as the fingers – which appear as photos in ‘British Caving’.

We regained the surface at 4.15 and left for the cottage.  We were held up at the Patti Hospital where it was visiting day, and two really wet and dirty lads were surrounded by people dressed in their Sunday best.

Eventually we left, after enjoying the hospitality of the South Wales Caving Club, and after an inmensly cold journey back, arrived in Bristol some 3½ hours later.

I’ll put my speaking trumpet away for now.  That’s all folks!

Russell Jenkins

Annual General Meeting

To be held at Redcliffe Community Centre at 2.15pm on sat. 25th January 1958


1.                  ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN





6.                  HON. SECRETARY’S REPORT

7.                  HON. TREASURER’S REPORT

8.                  CAVING REPORT

9.                  CLIMBING REPORT

10.              TACKLE REPORT

11.              BELFRY REPORT

12.              LIBRARY REPORT

13.              MEBER’S RESOLUTIONS

14.              ANY OTHER BUSINESS


 (Financial Statement follows on Page 6 overleaf)

Financial Statement For The Year To The Thirty First December 1957

Annual Subscriptions



£  56-16-0



£69-  6-11



Less Expend

£67-  1-8

£    2- 5-3




£    4-10-0

Annual Dinner:


£44- 15-  0



Less Cost

£41-   3-  0

£    3-12-0

Post Office Savings Bank Interest



£    2-12-5

Redcliffe Hall:


£  15-  1-1



Less Hire

£  10-  0-0

£    5- 1-1

Goods for Resale:


£    5-  5-2



Less purchase

£    4-  7-8

£    0-15-6

Caving Reports:


£    4- 12-0


Library Expenses

Les expense

£    0- 17-0

£    3-14-10




£    82- 7-1





Belfry Bulletin:

Stencils, paper

£  10- 17-8




£    8- 19-6

£  19- 17-2



£    9- 17-8



Less Levy

£    1- 15-0

£    8-  4- 8

Public Liability Insurance



£    7-   1- 1

Printing and Stationery



£    4- 10- 2

Postages and Telephones:



£    3- 19- 6

Donations and subscription to:




Cave Research Group


£    2- 10- 0


Mendip Cave Registry


£    2-  2- 0


Mendip Rescue Organisation


£    1-  1- 0


British Mountaineering Council


£    1-  0- 0

£    1-13- 2




£    6-13- 0

Surplus For The Year



£   30- 6- 4




£  82-  7- 1









Total Club monies @ 1st January, 1957



£  74- 1- 6

Plus Surplus as above



£  30- 6- 4




£104- 7-10





Post Office Savings Bank Account



£ 97- 0-11

Cash in hand



£   7- 6-11






The Belfry Bulletin. No. 120.  January 1958.
Editor: S.J. Collins  , I Kensington Place, Clifton, Bristol 8
Secretary: R.J. Bagshaw, 56 Ponsford Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


Next month, the nominations forms for the 1958 committee will be included with the B.B., and it has been suggested that we include a few words on the subject with this month’s issue.

By means of the nomination of new candidates for the committee, the voting for them, and the proposal and voting on resolutions at the Annual General Meeting, the average members gets his say in the way the club is run and in who is elected to carry out his wishes.  Our club is a thoroughly democratic one in which every member has an equal chance to have his ideas adopted at the A.G.M. – a state of affairs which is by no means enjoyed by the members of all caving clubs..

It thus pays all of us who are interested in the way the club is run to treat the nomination forms, voting forms, and attendance at the A.G.M. reasonably seriously as they come round as they soon will.


October Committee Meeting

The plans for the new stone building have now been done as promised by Pat Ifold.  The Electricity Board have now connected us up to the mains!!  In addition, a calor light has been installed as an emergency light.  Two new gas stoves are now connected – one of these has an oven.

We are still trying to obtain a water meter before the mains water can be installed.  Arrangements for the Dinner are now in hand.  The subjects of trees for the Belfry site and Cuthbert’s leaders were also discussed.

New Members.

Owing to the nearness of the Christmas B.B. and the annual complete list of members, we are holding these over.

M.N.R.C.  Winter Session of Lectures.

These are held by the Wells Natural History and Archaeological Society in the Museum.  Friends of members are admitted at a charge of 1/6.  lectures of interest are as follows: -

November 8th  The Geology of Mendip…Dr. F.S. Wallis    7.30pm.

December 24th.  Clare Adventure…Prof. E.K. Tatman                   7.30pm.

February 14th.  Caving Films of G.B. and Axbridge Ochre Mine…Mr. E. Humphrey  7.30pm.

March 7th.  The St. Cuthbert’s System…Mr. D.A. Coase  7.30pm.

March 28th.  Pioneering Days in Mendip Cave Exploration…M.J.H.  Savory            7.30pm.

Caving in Malaya

by Brian Prewer.

A few months ago, I wrote an article for the B.B. on the caves of Malaya, in which I described a trip to the Siamese border, to Kaki Bukit where I found several caves which appeared worthwhile exploring at some later date.  At this time, lack of tackle and the proper clothing prevented us from exploring them there and then.

Over the weekend of June 8th and 9th last, four of us from the R.A.F. Station, Penang returned to Kaki Bukit and explored two large caves and one smaller one.

We left Penang on the morning of the 8th, and hired a Morris Minor car and travelled about seventy miles north to Jitra where I had found a small cave on my previous trip.  Thus time we had obtained a hundred feet of nylon rope from the R.A.F. Yatch Club so we were able to descend the fifteen foot drop from the surface into a fairly large chamber about forty feet by thirty feet.  To the left of this chamber the floor sloped steeply away and a small passage led off from the lowest point.  On entering this passage a strange rushing sound was heard – we had disturbed hundreds of bats who decided that their dark abode was no longer safe.  When the bats had all left we tried again, and after a short crawl we found ourselves in a small, well decorated chamber.  The formations were all dry, and thus lacked the beauty that most formations which British caves possess.  This chamber led to another smaller chamber from which we could find no way on.  A rather disappointing cave – the bats are quite welcome to it.

Late that afternoon we reached Kaki Bukit and went straight to the place where I had seen a really large cave resurgence on my last visit.  The local inhabitants call this cave Wang Tangga Cave.  We changed at once and went below.  The entrance is about fifteen feet high and is quite dry, the stream emerging from about ten feet lower down.  Once inside, the passage descends for about thirty feet to where it meets the stream.  The stream here is about fifteen feet wide and two feet deep.  The actual stream passage is about thirty feet in height.  We made our way up the stream passage for about a hundred feet to where the stream reached a depth for four feet.  Things were beginning to get slightly uncomfortable by then, so a little further on we decided to traverse along one wall just above the stream.  A ledge must have been put there for our use.  In some places, traversing was impossible and we were again in water up to our chests.  After more than five hundred feet of this, the passage opened up into a chamber some hundred feet long by fifty feet wide and fifty feet high.  The stream had disappeared somewhere to our right.  At the far end of this chamber was a fantastic display of gour pools some of which were over ten feet across and there were also some excellent stalactites on the roof.  Here our photographers got to work, after salvaging as much gear as possible from the soaking wet bags.  Eventually they succeeded in getting two cameras and one flashgun working.  Using some American flashbulbs and H.P.S. film, they assured us that our patience would be rewarded.  At the first attempt the flashgun failed to operate, and on the second we got the pleasing effect of being in complete darkness, for the one torch we had went out.  The flashgun was in pieces as soon as we had another torch on, and was found to be full of water.  On the third attempt we were successful and despite a few more hitches, all the photographs we took were a success.

However, ‘Onward!’ – we have spent too much time here already.  A high level passage leads us from this chamber into yet another chamber even bigger.  The stream could now be seen below us, and after a short climb we were on the floor of the chamber beside it and looking back in the direction from which we had come, a yet more fantastic display of gour pools were see.  The highest one was probably twenty feet across, and the depth of water in it about eighteen inches.  Words cannot really describe these gour pools but only the photographs we took can do them justice.  (Prew submitted photographs of these gours to be used as illustrations to this article, but unfortunately there was not enough tonal range to enable stencils to be prepared.  Ed.).

Dragging our eyes from the gours, we crossed the stream passage once more.  The passage was now higher and narrower and the water deeper.  We could find no ledges on which to traverse.  This was then the end of the cave for us.  What lies beyond only a party equipped with a boat can find out.

Cuthbert’s Report

Water Temperatures

On Saturday, October 5th, a tourist trip was run during the course of which water temperatures were taken at various points as follows: - 1. The stream near the entrance where it sinks through the mud in the pool….53oF.  This had dropped to 50oF at  2. The top of Pulpit Pitch and at 3. The Shower Bath by the Lower Ledge Pitch on the Old Route.

Lower down the cave, near the Dining Room (4), the stream was 48.5oF, the same temperature as at 5.  A pool of static water in the Rabbit Warren, and probably the normal cave temperature.

On the surface, the Plantation Stream (6) disappears at 51oF, and after travelling probably a longer distance, enter(?) St. Cuthbert’s in the Rabbit Warren Extension and joins the main stream later at Plantation Junction.  The temperature at this point (7) being 50.5oF.  More work needs to be done on this before any definite conclusions can be drawn.

N. Petty.

Comment on the above.

Although, as Norman says. More work needs doing with regard to water temperatures in the cave; some preliminary conclusions can be drawn.  To simplify the figures given, the following diagram is included.



All temperatures in oF.   x indicates where more measurements are required.

The fall in temperature of the St. Cuthbert’s stream is as one would expect.  The rapid fall of 3oF to the Pulpit Pitch and the Shower Bath being caused by the vertical fall of 80 – 100 feet to these points, and then the ambient cave temperature of 48.5o being reached at or before the Dining Room.

It seems extremely unlikely that the water rising in the Rabbit Warren Extension and again at Plantation Junction can be fed by Plantation Swallet as has always been assumed, though without any real evidence.  The only evidence being that Plantation Swallet seemed the only possible source in view of the roughly comparable volume the flow of water at the riding by Plantation Junction being greater than the total of all other sources entering the cave.  It does appear to be possible for Cuthbert’s water to drop 4.5oF whilst Plantation water only drops 0.5oF over a greater straight line distance, the vertical drop being about the same in both cases.

If this assumption is correct, it leaves two further queries.  What happens to Plantation water?  This is simply that is does not join the St. Cuthbert’s System as it is known at present.  Secondly, where does the water rising on the Rabbit Warren Ext. and Plantation Junction come from?  The writer has always felt that the Drinking Fountain and Maypole Series are seepage collection from the south of Mineries Pool but Plantation Junction seems too large for seepage collection.  A further point is why the relatively high temperature of this water?  It will be interesting to compare the temperature with that of the Maypole Series stream, being the nearest tributary in that part of the cave.

The ‘x’ points shown in the sketch are points where temperatures are required.  It will be evident that these temperatures should all be taken during the same day, plus repeating all those taken already by Norman.  Both wet and dry bulb (can anyone lend us one?).

Also, a temperature reading should be taken at Wookey Hole Cave, and the thermometers used checked against an N.P.L. calibrated thermometer.  One of our members working in a Lab. should be able to do this.

A further check which could be done, is by analysis of the water entering Plantation Swallet and comparing it with a similar test on the Plantation Junction rising.  Any offers from any of our chemists?

It would appear that the name “Plantation Junction” should have classed with that of the Priddy Green stream in Swildons in being a complete misnomer, but it would probably be difficult to change it now.

D.A. Coase

Letters to the Editor

To the Editor of the Belfry Bulletin.

Dear Sir,

While the local Mendip folk are not unused to the sight of occasional cavers littering the road between the Hunter’s and the Belfry, things can sometimes get a little too far, as on a Saturday evening recently when an extremely incapable type, who looked as if he had just returned from a trek in the bush, lurched into the bar, which was crowded with strangers, in addition to the ‘regulars’, and attempted to shove his way through the crowd at the bar, at the same time bellowing for beer.  Mine Host and his worthy wife were busily engaged in supplying the requirements of a thirsty throng already at the bar, and, since immediate attention was not forthcoming, our friend from the bush addressed the gathering company in terms which could only be described as obscene.  Judging from the shocked and embarrassed expressions on the faces several of the ladies who were present, and murmurs of displeasure from certain regulars who were present, it was a fair guess that no one was amused by this behaviour.

During the many years which he has been patronised by the members of the B.E.C., Ben has showed himself to be a more than tolerant landlord, and it is up to the club to ensure that the good relations which have previously existed are not destroyed by such incidents, whether the characters concerned are members of the B.E.C. or any other club.  I suggest that a suitable punishment would be immersed in the Mineries!

(Name Supplied).

Partly to set “Oldtimer’s “ mind at rest, I think it is worth commenting that nowadays we are often in a minority at the Hunter’s and could not hope to keep order among all the types which sometimes frequent the pub without violence!  We have, however, made quite sure that Ben distinguishes between the B.E.C. and sundry other gangs of cavers.  The locals are also capable of sorting out ‘who’s who’ and Ben realises that we cannot be responsible, and do not associate ourselves with such types. – Editor.


To the Editor of the Belfry Bulletin.

Dear Sir – I have been going to write to you ever since I saw that Gesteprint in the Bulletin.  It certainly was grim!  The picture was much too contrasty before you started to make the stencil.  One thing – you must never set such large areas of black.  It causes the stencil to break down and makes the paper cling.  I am quite willing to produce a stencil for you, providing you supply the neg. or a decent print, and that I get a minimum of three weeks to do it in.  You should produce a picture as good as a cheap newspaper.

Yours etc.

Thanks very much for the offer Jonah.  How about it blokes?  Let us have some nice illustrated articles in future B.B.’s.


To the Editor of the Belfry Bulletin.

Dear Sir – I feel it is my duty to write in the hope of correcting any false impressions that may have arisen from a sentence in your esteemed journal of may 1957.  The sentence appeared under the heading Easter on Mendip and stated, ‘Among the skiffle tunes played was one which was thought to be the S.M.C.C. theme song – it was called “There’s a crack in this old building”’  The point I wish to make is that the theme song of the Shepton Mallet Caving Club’s regular runs,

Dear friends, the next time
You find yourselves in our locality
Try a sample of our hospitality.

On thinking of the many lazy hours spent over the valley enjoying our tea, milk, sugar, cigarettes and company many of the Belfry types will have to admit that the theme song above has been lived up to.  If the theme song suggested in the B.B. was adopted we should have to repair all but one of the cracks in our wall!

I remain, Sir,
A member of the B.E.C.
Bryan Ellis  (Hut Warden, S.M.C.C.)

I had to cut the above letter short to get this reply in…

The Shepton Mallet Caving Club
Are quite a decent shower.
We often pop inside their hut
To while away an hour.
We sit around, and all enjoy
Their hospitality
While we give Bryan cigarettes

Their badge it is a round one like
The sign of I.C.I.
In letters good and high.
It symbolises perfectly
Their speciality
They spell their Shepton Mallet with
A second round of ‘T’.





13/-  each complete







13/- EACH



4/9 EACH





PHONE 3331   (3 LINES)


The Belfry Bulletin.  Editor S.J. Collins, I Kensington Place, Clifton.