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List of Members 1949, No.8.

John Mason                    77, Hamlins Lane, Exeter, Devon.
W.A. Montgomery           c/o W.J. Shorthose, (Can we have your home address please?)
Ron Gollen                      58, Harrowby Road, Grantham, Lincs.
F/O D.E. Chadwick          152, Earls Court Road, London, SW. 5.
C. MacKee                      70, Imperial Road, Nottingham, Notts.
Ken. Oxby                      c/o 19, Baker Street, Nottingham, Notts.
Miss Maureen Pillinger     36, Gathorne Rbad, Southville, Bristol. 3.
Mrs. Gwen Ifold               Leigh House, Nernpnett, Thrubwell, Chew Stoke, Somt.
Miss Marie Williams        63, Ashburton Road, Southmead, Bristol. 7.
Clive H. Seward               25, Beaconsfiedl Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.

Hints on the Edification of Young Cavers.

By Heddifier.

As one of the Subterranean species of cavers, I thought a few hints about their activities would be useful to future lambs led to the slaughter – the very first is, of course, to keep right away from all suggestions of such expeditions.  For their further information, I should like to state, without responsibility, that certain rumours have been circulated that a caver’s first interest is in the consumption of strong liquor, and that his supposed main preoccupation would come second third or even fourth, in order of preference.  Vile scandals have declared that they prefer Whiteways for warming up rather than the White Way, and that their ears prick up at the mention of ‘the Hunters’, rather than that of the ‘Elephant & Castle’.  Let them show whether or not this is true.

Undoubtedly, and absolute necessity, if the lambs really intend to descend to the depths, is several years in a circus.  I should advise them to first become a contortionist; expert in tying the body in knots, resting feet on the shoulders, or twisting the trunk backward.  It would be advantageous if they learnt to stand on the head, balance on the ears, and/or hang by the teeth or the whiskers.  A rubber constitution is most important, too; a body must be fat to wedge in a crack, but needs to be more drawn out in coming through a place like the Devil’s Elbow.  Most unfortunately, it has been found that there is no time for dieting between the two extremes.

We should next, advise the lambs to go into pantomime.  Here they should become flying fairies and save many a soaking because males in white ballet dresses drifting around in G.B. for instance, would give an attractive variety to the scenery.  After seeing some of the kicks which professional cavers of, although fortunately never having been at the receiving end, the writer has wondered if any of them ever played the back legs of a horse.  For the lamb’s benefit I should like to state that that also would be useful training.

For the next few years the lambs should become quite familiar with water.  Swimming and diving are convenient accomplishments, while they should not neglect the practice of washing the neck.  They need not to be afraid of loosing weight, as they will find plenty of mud in the various caverns to replace it.  Much adroitness in swimming could be gained by monkey-climbing on a greasy pole placed as a bridge over a convenient river.  This mention of climbing serves to remind me that the lambs must be expert mountaineers also.

After all these physical activities, the writer thinks it may desirable to bring to their notice that fact that some intelligence is part of a caver’s makeup.  That all B.E.C. members possess it, has not yet been proved, but it is generally supposed that they do have it in various quantities.

Most certainly have a tendency to linguist abilities, and since the introduction of female speleos tender-hearted males have been known to use only the mildest invective (although with considerable expression).  As English and French are so well known, we should like the lambs to know that T.H.M. intend to learn Arabic as having the largest vocabulary.  Any verbal contributions from visitors to Arabia will be gratefully received, carefully examined, and if strong enough, joyfully used.  When the lambs get tired of caving, those languages will get them a good job in the Civil Service, which is always glad of an Arabic speaker to send to the North Pole.  This is one – perhaps the single one – of the advantages of caving, and we can confidently inform the lambs that their ten or twelve years of training will be well and truly wasted.


Did you know that First Class Accommodation at very reasonable terms is available in Mendip?  If anyone is interested please contact: -

Mrs. Gwen Ifold,
   Leigh House,
      Nempnett Thrubwell, Chew Stoke,
         Nr Bristol.

Looking into the future.

It is proposed, if Stafford so wills, to run a trip to the south of next summer.  Although this is a very long way off, it is felt that a preliminary notice of this trip should be given now so that those who plan their holidays far ahead will be able, if they so wish, to make the necessary arrangements to go.  Although no details have yet been worked out, it is very probable that the Pyrenees will be area chosen, and that the cost will be between £20 & £25 each person.  A fortnight is the time tentatively mentioned.

If you are interested in this trip drop a line to the Hon. Sec.  The fact that you name is on the list places you under no obligation to proceed with the plan if you would rather not.  The list being for the sole purpose of gauging the popularity of such a trip.



Thanks are due to the efforts of: - Miss Marie Williams, Frank Young, Miss Daphne Weeks and Tony Preston for the communal effort that now published the BB.  Thanks also to Tony Johnson who turned out the stencil for the dance.  (Ed.’s note.  There is now a dictionary for those who need it)!!!

Although the response to the appeal for articles has been very gratifying, member’s articles are still urgently required, as it is desirable to have sufficient material for several issues in hand, and not to live from hand to mouth.

The Belfry

Although there is a small trickle of work going forward on the new hut, members are reminded that there is an urgent need for volunteers to make the place as we have planned.  It is realised that the B.E.C. is a cave club and not a society of enthusiastic amateur builders, and those members who have toiled so often and well are to be congratulated for their efforts.  Never-the-less it is felt that some of those who fold their tents and steal away when work is mentioned should at least remember that it is the effort of all the members that count, and give a little of the that which other have so unselfishly given for their enjoyment.

T.H. Stanbury

A visit to Ceiriog Caves.

By Pongo Wallis.

In his ‘Netherworld of Mendip’, E.A. Baker tells us of the first exploration of the Ceiriog Caves.  A few days ago I followed in his footsteps.

Unfortunately his description of the site is vague, but we managed to locate them without too much difficulty.  They lie in the Ceiriog Valley, which is the Shropshire- Denbighshire border.  From Chirk one follows the valley for two miles to Castle Mill, and the cave lies on the right bank of the river, about 150 yards downstream from the bridge.  The entrance is about 20 feet from the river and at first sight is most imposing, but this is merely a façade and the real beginning is quite a small hole.

I won’t attempt a detailed description of the cave.  Baker measured it as being just over 500 feet long, and a more recent survey has confirmed this.  Most of the cave is dead, as there are few formations to be found there, barring one small but beautiful grotto containing a considerable number of pendants and one or two attempts at erratics.  Like all the best grottos it is very difficult of access.  In most places the water has deserted the cave for lower levels which cannot be reached.  In any case there are presumably flooded as the level of the river in only slightly below that of the cave.  The water does appear at one point however, in the shape of a low crawl where it is closely associated with a thin mud – a most unpleasant spot.  Luckily it can be bypassed if one spots the way.  After the first 100 feet or more the cave is generally low and one cannot stand up for more than a step or so at a time.  The muddy crawls, of which most of the cave consists, are very tiring, but at least the mud makes it easy on the knees but quite a lot of the way the passages are not even high enough to let one go on all fours.  It is therefore very hard work, and the whole party was exhausted on getting out, despite the fact than after many major caves taking much longer.

It is the sort of caves that books call ‘sporting’, I didn’t hear it described while we were actually in it – most of the adjectives were a good deal more forceful.  But I can recommend to anyone in the vicinity a visit to it and a good afternoon’s caving.

Baker also mentioned another cave in the vicinity, but we were unable to find this. The locals mentioned yet a third, but this had, unfortunately been covered with a landslide a few years before.

From the Hon. Sec’s Post bag.

From Geoff Ridyard.

We has a first class week at Priddy, and Don, Tom Ratcliffe and I polished off the Stoke Lane survey down to the sump.  We had intended going through the sump on Sunday but rain stopped play.  Anyhow on the Monday, Tom, Alfie and I went down and dug out a passage which needs further digging at the end.  It is off the Pebble Crawl and looks as though it will connect with the Tributary Passage which comes down to the beginning of Browne’s passage.

We all agreed that we had a wizard week and we certainly put in a few underground.  Personally, I did a G.B. a Top of Swildons, and four Stoke Lanes.  Altogether did about 18 hours of survey in Stoke and surveyed about 1,420 feet of passages including the bit we dug out on the Monday.

From John Hull at Mackinnon Road .

Last Sunday I had my first lessons in the art of mountaineering, given to me by a rather extraordinary chap called Hanson.  We went out into the bush to reach the climb and as we bumped along the truck in a 15 cwt. truck he would, every now and again shout to the driver to stop; raise one of his two guns and fire at what appeared to be nothing, then he would jump off and disappear behind a clump of trees returning after a few minutes sometimes empty handed, or sometimes wringing the neck of some bird or other.  Then he would murmur ‘Lesser Crested Bustard’ or some such name, and off we would start again.

We travelled in this way for some two hours before we reached the Pika-Pika Hills.  The hunk of rock that we were going to climb, from the distance looked like the wall of a house, and I began to wish that I’d stuck to caving.  The party by the way consisted of the expert, a semi-expert, myself and a chap who had never climbed anything but a flight of stairs.

We pushed off through the bush towards the base of the climb to the accompaniment of such remarks from our instructor as ‘You’ll love it!’ – ‘I smell Lion!’ – ‘Ah, Rhinos been here!’ – ‘I remember the last time I was charged!’ etc.  I became quite sure that I should have stuck to caving.

The rock face was some 150 feet high and after, we had been told how to tie ropes etc., we climbed up in turn.  The expert went first, stood on a ledge about an inch wide lit a cigarette, and from this vantage point some 70 feet from the ground shouted down words of wisdom to the novice and I.  The novice went next and managed to get some nine feet from the ground when he fell off, doing little to improve his or my peace of mind by this rash action.  He tried again and this time after much advice he reached the top.  Then it was my turn, and much to my surprise I found it a lot easier than some of the graunches done in the deep dark holes of .  The only disconcerting point of the affair occurred when I went to grab hold of a leaf of rock, which turned out to be a four foot long lizard; it stuck its tongue put at me and dashed off into the grass on the summit.

We climbed up and down several other pitches including a little back and foot work; and returned to the truck for beer and sandwiches.

My verdict: - Not so dusty, but give me caving any time!!

Talking of caving; next week I have a trip lined up to a coral cave on the coast, which has never been explored.  The snag to it is that, the entrance at any rate is reputed to have more bats to the square yard than any other known cave in the world, so ask our Bertie Bat if he wants me to take any message.

Suggested new Rule.  To be applied to motorcycling cavers.

‘The Bristol Exploration Club will not be held responsible for the fines incurred by members travelling through Cardiff in Convoy, when the said members all try to overtake the leading cycle to inform its driver that he is being followed by a police car.

Also, the B.E.C. cannot undertake to supply embrocation to be applied to the necks of pillion Passenger after being hauled up for being naughty.

Mens Bona Regnum Possidet.

(Ed.’s note.  This being freely translated means, ‘the cutest guy gets the kudos’.)


There is still ample opportunities for members so inclined to indulge in a spot of digging.  There are two or three holes that will repay a few weekends hard work spent on them.  So roll up in your thousands, if we haven’t a room in a hole for you, there is plenty to do at the Belfries.


We should like to remind members that we are still interested in their caving activities, and would like to receive reports to be included in the report book.  When it is considered that we are one of the most active clubs in , it is surprising that so few can be bothered to send in reports.  A few minutes work to turn out a note as to where the trip was, how many went and what happened, is surely a small thing to do in return for the facilities provided.


List of Members 1949. No. 7.

Iain H.McFadyen,               Ravenswood, 161 Raleigh Rd Ashton Bristol.
Miss Mary Osborne,           27 Addison Grove, Taunton, Somt.
Ken C. Dobbs,                   55 Broadfield Road, Bristcl. 4.
Omar G. Taylor,                 124 Kennington Ave, Bristol. 7.
Derek Wood,                     113 Conygre Grove, Filton Bristol.
Tony Bamber,                    135 Hornby Road, Blackpool, Lancs.
Miss Margaret Pope,          47 Filton Grove, Horfield, Bristo1.7.
Mrs Elizabeth Shorthose,    26 Gateside Road, Upper, Tooting, London.SW 17, (BALham 545).
Bernard A. Walker,             76 Willoughby Road, Langley, Slough, Bucks.
Mrs. Joan, D. Collins,         58 Beaconsfield Road, Mottingham , London, SE 9.
Mrs. Betty Corpe,               Priddy Hill Farm, Priddy, Nr Wells, Somt.
Herman Tearks,                         Webbington House, Loxton, Somt.
Miss Daphne Weeks          164 Sylvia Ave., Knowle, Bristol. 4.
Jack Waddon                     7 Haydon Road, Taunton, Somt.

Mendip Rescue Organisation

We Call to The attention of members, the following extract from the M.R.O.

Procedure to adopt in the event of an accident underground.

1.                   A member of the party will go to the nearest call-box and ring WELLS 97 (Police). Give number of call box and name of cave in which the accident has occurred.  He must then wait at callbox until rung by the rescue warden.

2.                   The Police will ring Wardens in rotation to the first warden in touch; they will give the name of the cave and the number of callbox.

3.                   The warden will phone callbox and ascertain the exact location of the accident, what injuries are known, and how much in party.  He will call out other wardens and Squad Leaders as necessary.

4.                   At the scene of the accident, the senior warden will take Charge.  In the event of the senior warden not being a doctor, he will collaborate with the doctor called out and follow his instructions in so far as to the treatment and removal of the injured.

5.                   The Wells or Bristol Ambulance will called only on the instructions of the Doctor.

M.R.O. will not be responsible for any expenses incurred.

Bristol Exploration Club Dance

The Social Committee of the B.E.C. are pleased to announce that a Dance will be held in St. MATTHEW’s PARISH HALL, REDFIELD, BRISTOL, on FRIDAY, October 21st, from 7.30 to 10.30.  Tickets, price 2/6 are available from any Social Committee member or from the Hon. Sec.  We look to all members to make this dance a success, and remind YOU, gentle reader, that you must help too.  If successful other similar functions will, we hope, be undertaken from time to time.  All profits (if any), will be diverted to the Hut Fund.

The Hon. Sec. Has Received the following letter: -

23 Banner Road.
      Bristol.6.                 22.3.49.

Dear Sir,

I wish to convoy to the French contingent of the Bristol Exploration Club my thanks for the splendid gesture made to me regarding their material appreciation of my small efforts to ensure a pleasant holiday.  The gift was entirely unlooked for in as much as I got enjoyment out of it but I would like to state of my disappointment that it wasn’t perfect.  I of course refer to the car hire people and the homeward journey. I went to their establishment and made your views known to them.

Yours Faithfully

George Hale.


If we run a trip next year we shall call on your good offices again.  We should like you to accompany us too.

London Section News

The London Section paid a mass visit to the Belfry during the last week in July, and a really enjoyable time was had by all, as the local newspapers would say.  The caving was not as energetic as some of the eastern brethren had planed as they often found that in the prevailing weather conditions the water to be found in the Mineries was much preferable to that of Stoke Lane.  Nevertheless, the new survey of Stoke has been virtually completed as far as the sump, and some length of new passage has been opened and plotted.  There were a couple of visits to the top series of Swildon’s, and two to G.B., where the new route proved a source of great delight to those used to the rigours of the Devil’s Elbow.  There were a number of attempts at photographic record, which gave rise to some mirth when viewed from a reasonable distance, but which led to some caustic remarks about the ability of one member to ignite flash powder.  He has promised to do better next time.

The week was somewhat enlightened, and the nerves of the local inhabitants were shattered by a couple of impromptu flying displays staged especially for our benefit by a certain R.A.F. type, who added to his achievements by occasionally forgetting that Stinkwheels and Harvards have little in common except an internal combustion.  We are happy to report the major casualties of the week were one pair of handlebars and three clutches.  We regret that the road to Wells via Rookham didn’t always prove adequate to our needs and expect the Somerset County Council to have the corners properly widened and banked before our next visit.  Which reminds the writer that all those who were present seem to think that the invasion should become an annual affair.  We must have enjoyed ourselves, or something.


Cavers in the Classics.

By Pie bono BEC.

Question.         “What should such fellows as I do crawling between heaven and earth?”

Hamlet. – Shakespeare.

Command.       “Amongst horrid shapes and shrieks, and sights unholy; find out some uncouth call.”

L’Allegro. – Milton.

Answer.           “For wine we follow Bacchus through the earth.”

Endemion.- Keats.

Stoke Lane.     “His body was bent double, feet and head coming together in life's pilgrimage.”

The Leech Gatherer. - Wordsworth.

Purgatory.        “O limed soul, that struggling to be free, art more engaged! Help, angels! make assay!”

Hamlet. - Shakespeare

Drainpipe.        “His words came feebly.  Choice word and measured phrase, above the reach of ordinary men.

The Leech Gatherer. – Wordsworth

Female Speleos  1. She was a Phantom of delight
                        When first she gleamed upon my sight,
                        A lovely Apparation, sent
                        To be a moment’s ornament.


2. Then flashed the living lightning from her eyes,
And screams of horror rent the affrighted skies.
The Rape of the Lock,


Any Suggestions?    “l (Thou) pourest thy full heart in profuse strains of unpremeditated art!”

Hamlet. - Shakespeare

Acetylene gives out.    “It smells to Heaven; it hath the primal eldest curse upon it”.

Hamlet. - Shakespeare

The “Hunters”. “Then to the spicy Nut-Brown Ale, with stories told of many a feat”.

L’Allegro. – Milton.

Ditto.                “While we sit bousing at the nappy An’ getting fou and unco happy”.

Tam O’Shanter.- Burns,

B.E.C. Members.          “And three chance human wanderers, in calm thought reflected, it appeared to me the type of a majestic intellect”.

An Ascent of Snowdon- Wordsworth.

Despoilers of caves.     “ ‘Tis nature’s Law

That none, the meanest of created things,
Of forms created the most vile and brute,
The dullest or most noxious, should exist
Divorced from good”.

The old Cumberland Beggar -Wordsworth,

Coming Back.  “The song seraphically free of taint of personality, so pure”.

The Lark Ascending-Meredith.

At the Belfry.    “Creatures that hang themselves up like an old rag to sleep”.

Bat- Lawrence.

Belfry Stew.     “Infinite numbers, delicacies, smells with hues on hues expression cannot paint”.

Spring- Thompson.

Llethrid Cave.

Coase has done it again.  The first to enter the Cave, a very short time ago, he led a party of B.E.C. on a Primary exploration there on the weekend of 24th. Sept., 1949.

This cave, which is situated about eight miles from Swansea and on the Gower peninsula, was opened by Don. Coase about a month before our trip took place.  The party for the weekend consisted of George Lucy, John Hay and Pat Ifold, Tony Setterington, Roger Cantle, Sybil Bowden-Lyle and Gwen Ifold.  The two ladies did not enter the cave.  The party met Don in Swansea and proceeded to Gower and changed at Llethrid Farm, from which the cave has taken its name.  We the approached the cave entrance which is situated in the stream bed at the top of the valley close by the far.

We entered through a pile of loose boulders and crawled in around the roots of a tree growing above.  The entrance is very similar to that of Eastwater, although one tends to crawl along rather than down.  The cave carries a large amount of loose debris which is carried down each year when the cave floods.

This boulder maze was easily negotiated and several short cuts were discovered.  We progressed for a couple of hundred feet and encountered a very tight and awkward squeeze.  This was enlarged with the aid of hammer and chisel and we then proceeded along several parallel rifts in turn connected at right angles by small creeps.  After another hundred feet or as we came into a small boulder filled chamber.  This was the farthest point reached by Don in his exploration.  Here the party split.  Don, George and Pat descended into very small passages extending from the bottom of the chamber, until halted by a constriction.   This was obviously a water filled passage.  The other three led by John Ifold explored a rising passage which led into a mud coated boulder chamber.  From here a steep slope through boulders led into the 1argest chamber of the system.  The floor of which consisted of a mud ridge rising to thirty odd feet above the floor.  This chamber is about 50 feet from the entrance and is about 60ft. long by 25ft. wide, by 40ft. high.

Climbing over the ridge and down the other side we came upon a mud pot and here the party halted, twelve foot deep six in diameter.  As there was some doubt of its climbability without a rope, John Ifold slid to the bottom and engineered a return route by kicking steps in the mud wall.

The rest of the party joined him at the bottom where they found themselves in a large stream passage.

Taking the right hand route which was down a stream, this passage varied in size from three feet to ten feet in height and six feet in width.  We proceeded for about 150 feet along it and then encountered water.  Four members of the party, continued down this water filled section.  We encountered the first duck and proceeded to the second.  Here Don led the way, followed by Roger Cantle.  On reaching dry land on the other side Don made a quick recce of the next duck and found it to be sump of unknown length and considerable depth.  The rest of the party were told not to come through and we about turned, returning along the dry passage.  We the headed back, with George leading, the whole party being wet and cold.

   Note.  This cave is similar to Stoke Lane in that there are loose rocks in abundance, much mud, and septic water.  It is also liable to severe flooding to depths of 20 feet or more throughout the whole system in time of even normal rainfall.  The total distance from entrance to the sump is in the region of 1,000 ft. without counting the side passages.  Coase is going to turn out a survey which will be printed when it arrives.

R.W.G. Cantle
G.T. Lucy


The end of the year approaches once again.  This brings to mind the thoughts of Committee Elections, and the A.G.M.  The first, preliminary is the nomination of members for the new Committee not later than 1st. November 1949.  We remind you that at the end of each year ALL officers in the club automatically cease to hold office and need nominations to take their place on the committee.  The present committee consists of: -T.H. Stanbury Hon. Sec. & Treas., R.A. Setterington, Hut Warden; D.H. Hasell, Hon. Editor B.B.; J.C. Weeks; A.M. Innes, Hon. Librarian; with D.A. Coase and Miss P. Richards as co-opted members.

T.H. Stanbury


Redcliffe Caves

As yet no new has come through from Bristol Corporation but as soon as the OK is given you will be notified.  The survey of part of the system in the possession of Dr. Wallis has been copied, and upon examination is seen to be only a fragment of the whole system.  There are a number of entrances and passages that we already know about that are not on the map, although the area covered by it is considerable.


The party from Woking Service of Youth Council who visited us in July had a ‘wonderful’ weekend and are looking forward to their next visit as soon as they can fix one.

Somewhere in the region of 1,000 people (yes, a thousand), have spent nights at the Belfry so far this year.  This includes parties from all over and not only those organised 1ocally.  If our attendances keep on increasing at this rate, it seems as though yet another Belfry will have to be purchased, or insertions of sheet rubber put in the walls to cope with the ‘mudding crowds’.


The Stoke Lane Photos are again proving very popular.  Hurry up if you want a set.  A reminder to those who have these Photos and have not returned them or paid for them.  PLEASE return the unwanted ones with the money, for those purchased so that those who are ‘in the Queue’ can get a selection without delay.


AFRICA CALLS, to our members.  There are quite a few of BECites and club contacts in Africa now.  We have had suggestions that an ‘African Section’ be formed.  This would be mainly a ‘Correspondence’ section, but would doubtless help, to while away the exiles spare minutes.  Lists of Members in Africa will be circulated to anyone interested in such a section.

Programme August, Sept. & October 1949.

July 29th. - August 2nd. Bank Holiday meet at Belfry,
Caving in all directions with special emphasis on Stoke Lane.
August 13th. Sat, Longwood and August Hole,
August 20th. -.‘Aug. 28th. French Trip to Valence,
Aug. 28th, Swildons Hole,
Sept. 10th. Burrington.
Sept, 25th. Eastwater, both routes,
Oct,.15th, G,B,
Oct. 23rd. Muddy Mendip Mine Shafts,

We hope to hear of the handing ever of Redcliffe Caves to the Bristol Corporation soon in which case trips to Redcliffe will take place during the week.

Stoke Lane.  A Serious Warning

Members entering Stoke Lane are warned of loose boulders.  A short time ago a party had a very narrow escape from serious accident when a boulder weighing in the neighbourhood of' 24 cwt. fell from the pile on the slope from the stream to the Main Chamber.  It hit Sybil Bowden-Lyle in the back but luckily had no very serious consequences.  Hard luck Sybil it’s a good job that you're tough.

Change of address

We have received several complaints recently from members that their BB’s have not been arriving.  Invariably these complaints have come from members who have changed their address.  If members who move would notify the Hon. Sec. of this their BB’s would eventually arrive at the new address, and would do away with the myth that the committee are clairvoyant, or have a chart of each member whereby his or her movements are automatically traced by radar.

T.H. Stanbury

List of members 1949.  No.5

In response to requests Christian names or the name by which the member is usually known is now included in these lists.

Bill Mack,                       313, Watford Road, St. Albans, Herts.
Miss, Pat, Brazier,           14, Kendale Road, Bridgwater, Somt.
Mrs, Lynne Eno,              Brook Gardens, Compton Greenfield , Nr, Bristol.
Miss Violet Inseal,           315, Potherton Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.
Tom Driver, 10,                St , Pauls Road, Clifton, Bristol.
G, (Tom) Ratcliffe,            12, Mayfield Road, Dagenham, Essex.
R.H. Morgan,                   4, Brook Road, Montpelier, Bristol. 6.
Bernard Smailes,             16, Armoury Square, Stapleton Road, Bristol.
Frank le R, Perroe,          University Settlement, Barton Hill, Bristol. 5.
Mrs. Freda Humpidge,      38, Devonshire Road, Westbury Park, Bristol. 6.
R.T. Humpidge,               26, Cavendish Road, Henleaze, Bristol.
Os Rendell,                     19, The Drive, Henleaze,  Bristol.
Miss Sybil-Bowden-Lyle,  31, Highworth Road, St. Annes Park, Bristol. 4.
Tom Pink,                       53, Burnthwaite Road, Fulham, London, S.W.6.


Volunteers are needed for ladder making.  The job is extremely simple and those who are interested are asked to contact either George Lucy or Hon. Sec. who will tell them what is wanted.

Meeting of Bristol Members

Although too late for inclusion in the last BB proper, a printed slip was inserted in each copy.  In case there were any that were missed here briefly is a resume of the leaflet.

From July 21st. until Sept, 21st, we shall be meeting in rooms at the rear of St. Matthew’s Parish Hall, Redfields.  This is a 1½d bus ride on routes 8 or 9 from Old Market, getting off at the stop past Lawrence Hill Station.  Almost opposite the bus stop and on that opposite side of the road, i.e. left hand side looking towards Bristol is St. Matthew’ Church.  Besides the church is a road.  At the top of this road is the Parish Hall.

I am given to understand that the Church Scouts meet in the main hall on Thursdays, so if you see swarms of them when you enter you will know that you are in the right place.  We hope to have notices up to direct you to our entrance at the rear.

At the last meeting at Redcatch it was put to those present that a small levy would have to be made to cover the cost of rooms and all agreed that this would be the best way of doing it.  Therefore a sum of 6d. a head would be charged to all persons, both members and non-members, using this room on Thursdays.  There must be no exceptions to this or we shall run heavily into arrears.  Member bringing along visitors are asked to explain to them that it will cost them 6d, and explain the reason for the charge.

T.H. Stanbury.

The Belfry

The fine weather has helped to defeat the target set by the Belfry Committee, and in fact very little work has been done in the last few weeks.  A calor gas stove or rather cooking unit, thanks to the good offices of John Ifold and Dan Hasell has been purchased very cheaply making a saving of several pounds on the estimated cost, and thus bringing nearer the day when we can advertise The Belfry modern country residence, all mod, con., h.&c. in all beds., Gas and Electricity modern sanitation etc.


The following article has been gleaned from various old guide books and as all the caves mentioned are between Perranporth and Tintagel is called:-

Cousin Jack's Caves.

by a Cousin Jack!

The caves mentioned below are only a few of the many caves of the district and this article is not intended as a ‘Caver’s Guide’ but merely a very brief description of the most well known.  The compiler can accept no responsibility if the seeker cannot find any of the caves mentioned as he has never visited them, (shades of Snogger Hawkins.  Ed.) but the locations are all authentic if Ye Olde Cornish Guide is anything to go by.

Chief among the attractions of Perranporth is Chapel Rock, and hard by is Western Cavern.  This is very difficult of access and often contains a great deal of water in its rocky pools.  Care should be taken that the tide is on the ebb as the unwary are easily trapped if it is flowing.

Moving north to East Pentire Head, a cave can be explores by climbing down the side of the cliff through a somewhat small opening.

Again on the move north, we reach Newquay.  Here are a number of caves that can be described in greater detail.  The Tea Caverns are situated below Towan Head, where a zig-zag path leads down to the caves.  The Tea Caverns take their name from the fact that in by-gone days they were used by smugglers and more specially for the storing of contraband tea.

At the bottom of the path already mentioned an archway will be encountered, after a number of boulders have been negotiated, leading to a small beach.  To the left of this is an opening that leads into a spacious cave with a narrow passage at the end, leading in turn to another cavern, with two fine arches opening on the sea.  By wading through a shallow pool of water, ingress can obtained into yet another cavern.

To find Tea Hole, the hiding place of the smugglers booty, it is necessary to pass through the right hand arch, beyond which a pathway cut in the rock leads up the face of the cliff to the headland.  At the beginning of this pathway is the Tea Hole, a tunnel only about 5 feet high, and not so wide as that.  This tunnel bears round to the left, and comes to an abrupt end, opening into the main cavern, and led many years ago by means of a plank to a continuation of the hole on the opposite side, now alas gone and only a memory.

The cunning situation of this smuggling hole will not fail to be noticed by the visitor.  The cliff top can be regained by ascending to the path that leads up from the entrance to the Tea Hole.

The Bishop's Cave lies at the base of Cligga Point.  At the upper end of this will be found the 'Creeping Hole' a short cut through the rocks which will be found useful as a means of getting through from Cligga Beach when the tide is going out.  Between Cligga Point and the next bluff is a disused mine shaft into which the sea has access.  Further on is a small cave, the roof of which is fern clad.  Porth Estuary lies just around Glendorgal Point and on the other side of Porth is Porth Island, the extreme end of which is known as Trevelgue Head.  In Trevelgue Head is a curious Chasm in the rock known as the Blow Hole, and terminating in a large cavern, the Mermaids Cave.  This cave was much used by Smugglers and can be explored at low tide.  It is the Blowing Hole that is the main attraction of the island.  At half tide the water sweeps into the cavern and expels the air therefrom through this narrow orifice with such power that the water comes but with a rush and a roar and a huge cloud of spray is cast out.  This can easily be seen from Newquay.  There is also a blowhole in the Profile Rock at Boscastle.

At very low tide it is possible to visit a cave called Piper's Hole, that derives its name from the whistling noises made by the are expelled from the crannies at the top of the cavern as the rising tide rushes in below.

At Porth also are the Banqueting Hall and the Cathedral Caverns.  The Banqueting Hall stands to the right of the entrance gully to Porth Beach.  There are two entrances to the cave which is about 200 feet long by 60 feet high and about as broad.  The main entrance fronts the sea; the other consists of a small hole at the base of the cliff that forms one side of the cave.  Concerts used to be held in this cave, the acoustic properties of which are magnificent.  In this cave there is also an emergency exit in the roof at the furthest end from the sea.

The Cathedral Cavern nearby, is a fine example of a ‘pillared’ cave.  In the winter of 1883/4 one of the great pillars collapsed and the appearance of the cave was somewhat altered.  As the cave is of considerable extent, and is pitted with waterholes, lights should be taken.  The two passages that will be found just inside the entrance become one again at the extremity of the cave.  White marble has been quarried away from the interior of the cavern which by the way has another opening called the pulpit, to the left of the main entrance and slightly up the face of the cliff.

Further east towards Watergate is the Boulder Cavern which takes its name from the huge masses of boulders that strew its floor, and just beyond is Fern Cavern, its roof a mass of Asplenium Marinum fern fed by the moisture that filters through from above.

At Bedruthan Steps is the Great Cavern with a wonderful arched opening, and a smaller cave quite close by, which is a veritable labyrinth of tunnels.

From the Hon. Sec’s Postbag.

From Tom Pink with the postmark Lauterbrunen.  A postcard of Jungfraugruppe and the following: -

Dear Hon. Sec.  Although I have spent days wandering these mountains and valleys the caving aspects are very poor.  It is certainly no hunting ground for Speleos, the rock is mainly basalt and limestone with few faults.  Best wishes to B.E.C.

We have received from Terry Reed an account of his wanderings in a cave in Curacao, which is too long to be included under the ‘Post Bag’ but will be printed later.  His two plans of caves at Coombe Martin are still awaited from the ‘Drawing Office’.

French Trip to Valence.

It is not known at the moment whether this BB will reach members before the departure date for or not.  But at the next meeting of the persons going the final details were settled and it was very gratifying to the Hon. Sec. to find the whole party accepted his itinerary for the trip without question.  Many hours of hard work has gone into the preparation and organisation of this trip (of course the details from arrival at Valence until departure again are nothing to do with the B.E.C. but are arranged by C.N.S.), direct dealings with French railways etc, cutting the cost considerably over the whole trip.  That we have been able to have these direct dealings with ‘Furrin parts’ is due entirely to Mrs. Stanbury's father, Mr, George Hale, who is very well known in the world of Rugby, and has a phenomenal mass of information about foreign travel and its snags.  Thanks a lot Mr. Hale.


In the June BB a list of articles wanted for the Belfry was given.  Since this we have received a considerable amount of odds and ends, amongst which are;- two mattresses, the gift of Mrs. Stanbury Sen. & Mrs. Rendell, a 40 gallon steel barrel and a number of smaller containers from Les Peters; a promise of a sink; two bells, stew-eaters for the calling of, one from John Ifold the other 's owner unknown, and last but far from least, a Beer Engine (for water pumping) from John Bindon.  Thanks a lot your co-operation is very much appreciated.  Come on the rest of you, turn out your attics!!!


In Belfry Bulletin No.3, Dated April 1947, there was printed a brief account of the club's history.  Since this account was written a very great increase in club contacts, facilities, membership etc., has taken place.  Below is the original article reprinted for the benefit of the hundred odd members that have joined since it was published, and brought up to date by the inclusion of an account of the doings of the club since it was written.

A short History of the Bristol Exp1oration Club. 

By T.H. Stanbury

I do not suppose there are many members that know how the B.E.C. came into being, or the hard work that has been necessary to put the club in the position that it holds today.  It is the purpose of these brief notes to acquaint those who are interested with a few facts about the earlier days of the BEC.  The first notes will, I am sorry to say, be very sketchy as all the early years were lost in the blitz.  They were posted to me from Keynsham, and never arrived, so I have only my memory to assist me.

In 1935 a group of my fellow-employees approached me and asked if I would be willing to take them to Burrington and other places caving.  Most of these lads had a little experience of Caves and Caving, and as my own experience was little greater than theirs, I was extremely diffident about the whole arrangement, but agreed. The following Saturday I took them to Goatchurch, and the trip turned out to be a great success.  The next four week-ends we were similarly employed and the difficulties began to loom large before us.

How could we get to the ‘Deep’ caves?  How could we get ladders, ropes etc. needed for them?  Would the owners let us into the deep caves?  There were two solutions.

The first and most obvious was that we join one of the recognised and established Cave Clubs of the district.  Enquiries were made and the matter discussed at length.  It was decided that in view of the fact that we were a group of working class men and that there were a number of points in the existing societies we did not care about, that we should not associate ourselves with any existing body.

The second course open to us was to form an entirely new caving club, and after many hours of thought and with many misgivings the Bristol Exploration Club was duly formed with an initial membership of about a dozen.  I very much doubt if the project would have been undertaken if we could have foreseen all the difficulties and troubles that would beset us.

At the inaugural meeting a set of rules were drawn up, and although they have been modified and added to, to cope with changing conditions, they were essentially the same as are in use today.

For a time all went smoothly; our subscriptions enabled us to buy ladders and ropes, etc., and we launched out into; official’ notepaper.  A bat was adopted as our emblem, although he did not find his way to his place on the notepaper until much later.

We familiarised ourselves with all the smaller caves, and then began our attention to the larger ones. Here, too, we were successful, learning the hard way, with no-one to advise or otherwise help us.  Our first year concluded with the knowledge that we were still in existence, and if not exactly flourishing, we were holding our own.

Membership did not increase very much in the few following years.  We were not keen on too many members at first, as we felt we did not have sufficient knowledge to hold them after they had joined.  We preferred to move slowly, consolidating our position as we went, so that when the time came, as we confidently expected that it would, when members started to role in, we should be in a position to offer them something really good.

As our small band moved about the hills we naturally came in contact with members of other societies, and for a time we were regarded with contempt and sometimes active dislike by a number of them.  This was perhaps natural, as we were without experience and as such were a danger in their eyes, to ourselves and others.  I hasten to add, that those days are now long past and that the most cordial relationship now exists between ourselves and every other major society on Mendip or elsewhere.  The reception by other cavers rather chilled our enthusiasm, but hardened our resolve to make the B.E.C. a success, and the outbreak of war in 1939 found us in a stronger position than ever before, although membership was still only 15.  We had suffered one bad loss, our treasurer, who was also our photographer; had been stricken with an affliction of the eyes necessitating his withdrawal from all club activities.  The last trip that he came with the Club was to Lamb Leer, where we were the guests of the UBSS.  Since these notes were written we have welcomed him back into the ranks of the faith full recovered and still keen on caving.  As we were without a Treasurer, it was decided to combine the office of Hon. Sec. and Treasurer, and I have had the honour to have held the joint post ever since.

The older members were called up, one by one, so that except for one fortunate incident, we should have had to close down, like other Mendip clubs for lack of active members.  We were lucky enough to absorb into the B.E.C. the Emplex Caving Club.  The E.C.C. was composed of employees of the Bristol Employment Exchange and had formed a club on similar lines for similar reasons as the B.E.C.  These men have since done, and are still doing, yeomen work for the Club.

1940-41 saw us jogging along as before, a number of new recruits always balancing those called up, but 1942 saw the most severe crisis in the history of the B.E.C.  There was a very violent call-up, the result being that we were left with only about half a dozen active members, all of whom were actively engaged in the war effort.  As those members in the Forces (and still are) made honorary members during their term in the service, we were badly hit financially.  For six months we struggled along, and then came salvation.

A number of persons of fair caving experience applied for membership and from that moment our troubles vanished.  It is mainly through the hard work of two of these men R. Wallace and D. Hassell, that the club is where it is today.

In 1943 a forty foot duralumin and steel wire ladder that is very much lighter than the modern French ones, was constructed, followed later by a similar one of 20 feet in length.  These ladders were answer to the problem of transporting tackle to Mendip on Push bikes.

In 1943, 44, 45.  Our membership increased by leaps and bounds and we emerged from our obscurity, as we knew that we should, to take our place among the most active clubs on Mendip.

The year 1946 our membership rose to 80 and we were able, through the generosity of a Mrs. Iris Stanbury, to purchase a large hut as a Mendip Headquarters.  Our dig at Cross Swallet brought us in contact with the Bridgwater Cave Club, the majority of which are now hardworking B.E.C. men.  We absorbed the Mendip Speleological Group, and became, individually, very active in the Cave Diving Group.  We became members of the Cave Association of Wales (now defunct) and also of the Cave Research Group.

1947, with its terrible winter the club hut was erected and became a valuable asset.  The Belfry Bulletin was instituted as an experiment and has become an unqualified success; 1947 also saw the important discovery of Lower Stokc Lane, of Browne’s Hole, and the initial penetration Withybrook Swallet, a weeks sport was held in Derbyshire and several weekends in and Cornwall were enjoyed by all.

In 1948 membership stood at 98, and a considerable increase in the caving tempo was noticed.  A survey of Stoke Lane was published and was exhibited at a Caving Exhibition at the City Museum.  This Exhibition organised by the city in conjunction with the local Societies was a great success, the photographs loaned by B.E.C. being one of the highlights of a good all round show.

1948 saw the absorption of the Clifton Caving Club, and the formation of a London section of B.E.C.

Through the years the club library has been greatly enlarged and extended, every opportunity being taken to increase it.

Also in 1948 another milestone was reached.  Thanks to the co-operation of members who between them advanced the necessary cash a second hut was purchased.  This hut still is the course of being fitted internally.

Half 1949 is behind us and for this year the activities of the club have far surpassed those of any other complete year.

We can look forward to the future with every confidence and we still claim as we did in 1935, that the Bristol Exploration Club is unique in that it is a ‘personal’ club, wherein everyone whatever their age or standing is welcomed, and is encouraged to take an active part in the running of the club.

List of Members 1949.  No. 6

Assistant Inspector Coase, B.G., N.R. Police, P.O. Box 17, Lusaka, N. Rhodesia
Hal Perry                           20, Northfield Ave., Hanham, Bristol.
Pat Ifold                             ‘Fylde’, Weston Road, Long Ashton, Bristol.  LA3266.
J.E. Monson                      32, Coburg Road, Montpelier, Bristol. 6.
Francis Young                   The Barton, Stanton Drew, Nr. Bristol.
Garry Vincent                    68, Branksome drive, Filton, Bristol. 7.
Cliff Brodie                         56, Gerrish Ave., Redfield, Bristol.5.
Colin Andrew                     170, Westbury Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol.  65841.
N.L.J. Fillmore                   14, Delving Road, Southmead, Bristol.
Miss Jill Rollason               157, Pen Park Road, Southmead, Bristol.
Miss Diana J. Beaumont     1579, Bristol Road South, Rednal, Birmingham
Maurice Brain                    22, Blaise walk, Sea Mills, Bristol. 9.
Norman Petty                    12, Bankside Road, Brislington, Bristol. 4.
Miss Christine Hobbs         The Bungallow, Crown Hill Farm, Winford, Nr. Bristol.


The Belfry Bulletin is very urgently in need of articles suitable for publication.  Surely somewhere in the club there are some who do something interesting sometimes?  Except for about half a dozen there seems to be no one who ever goes anywhere, sees anything or even hears anything.  The publication of the BB depends on the efforts of ALL to keep it going, and if others will not stir themselves to help it will have to be closed down.

T.H. Stanbury


The old order changeth.  The heading for this BB was drawn by Sybil Bowden-Lyle.  Don Coase who is the official ‘Draughstman’ of the club is very busy and is able to help us for a few issues, so Sybil bless her heart, has stepped into the breach.  Thanks a lot Sybil


The wanderers have returned from the International Convention at Valence.  They all agreed that they had a wonderful time, Setterington who led the party say that it was the best week he has ever had in his life.  Those who were able to go were: -

Tony Setterington (Leader), S.G.SW. Herman, R.J. Bagshaw, K. Dobbs, G. Fenn, L. Peters, M. Brain, R. Brain, J. Ifold, R. Ifold, F. Young, C. Andrew and R Woodbridge.

Between them they are writing a report on their doings, which will, after being suitably edited and censored, be printed in the BB.

Hon. Sec. has returned from the Pyrenees and will also write a short resume of his wanderings when the piles of correspondence that he has to wade through have suitably lessened.

Meeting Place for Bristol Members

Our new meeting place at St. Michael’s Parish Hall has been a great success, and we have extended our lease of that room until the end of the year.  Originally we stated that meetings would take place until Sept. 29th., but this is now amended to read until the end of December.  Bring your friends along there is plenty of room for them.


I have seen the official photograph of the B.E.C. delegation taken during one session of the Convention at Valence.  Never have I seen such rapt attention on so many faces before.


Greetings from

Hon. Sec, has received the following from the Treasures, who are on vacation in .

A card to greet you from , hoping you are well and enjoying life.  No signs of caves here, plenty of holes (mines down 5,000ft) Yours sincerely, The Treasures.

Important Notice to London Section

John Shorthose has moved from Marius Mansions.  His new address is: -

W. J. Shorthose,
26. Gateshead Road
Upper Tooting,
London S.W.17.

John’s phone number will remain BALham 7545, but there will be a delay whilst the P.O. engineers do their stuff.  During this period John can be reached at work, REGent 4126 during working hours.

To reach Gateshead Road, from Trinity Road Tube Station walk south along Balham High Road about 150 yards to Beechcroft Road, turn right.  The first left is Fishponds, and Gateshead Road is first left right along that.  This all sounds very involved, but less than five minutes walk from Trinity Road.

The Belfry

Thank you; Mr. Browne for the gift of a bell; Mrs. Miller of Redcatch Road and Messrs. R.J. Hurford for the gift of a full size bath and a sink, Mrs. Rendell for a mattress, and some carpets for the sleeping quarters.

Welcome home to Pat Ifold.  Pat, the third of the Ifold ‘Triplets’ has recently reached home after walking from Sicily.  We are hoping he will able to tell us all about his doings and undoings during his trek.


How many members know the procedure to follow in the event of an accident underground?  There has been of late a very noticeable increase in the number of accidents that are taking place underground.  The Hon. Sec. fractured his ankle, Sybil got biffed in the back by a boulder, John Morris fell of a ladder on Swildon’s 40’ (where was your lifeline John?) and sundry smaller incidents in other caving organisations.

The next issue will contain a reprint of the instructions for calling out the Mendip Rescue Organisation, as large numbers of members have joined since the original instructions were printed and there still no M.R.O. notices displayed at Mendip Cave Entrances.


Important Notice to Members in the Bristol Area.

As from Thursday July 7th. we are no longer holding our usual weekly meeting at 74, Redcatch Road.  The great increase of popularity of these meetings has increased to an impossible number those who wish to attend with the result that the accommodation has now become inadequate.  We hope to include with this BB a note stating that a room has been obtained, where we can carry on.  As this room will cost a small sum each week those attending will be charged a small levy to cover this charge.  The immense success of the club in the last few years has been in no small measure due to those Thursday meetings, and the club will always be in debt to the generosity of Mrs. Iris Stanbury who so willingly put up with hordes of cavers trampling over her carpets, dropping cigarette ash, and generally making themselves at home in her dining room.

These meetings started in 1943, and have continued without break, except during illness or holidays until the present time.  The business transacted on Thursdays with the Hon. Sec. can be arranged by phone until a new hall or room is obtained.  Members are asked to use the Belfry as a meeting place and are reminded that all those things that, for a very short time, they will miss on Thursdays will return as soon as can fix it up.  Subs, when due, can be paid either to Hon. Sec. or any committee man, and those who want helmets, lamps, or anything in that line can still get them as usual.


MORE STOKE LANE PHOTOS HAVE ARRIVED, SEND IN YOUR ORDERS. Price 6d. each these is a set of six of these really fine photographs available to each of the first 6 applicants.  If you applied when out of stock, please apply again, as your order may have been mislaid.


Belfry fees.  As no one objected to the proposed Levy of 3d. all belfry charges as from 1st. July are subject to this extra charge.

Can You Find A Better Hole? 

By S.G. Treasure

Stoke St. Michael or Stoke Lane, is a village situated on East Mendip mid-way between Wells and Frome.  A Somerset guide book has described it as ‘compact but uninteresting’ – that being true up to a point.  In this case, however, it is what cannot be seen is what matters.  A geologist, for instance, would be in his element, as he would find coal, quartzite, limestone, firestone, sandstone and basalt.  A pretty feature is the mill stream which runs through the village and enters a swallet in limestone rock about 800 yards from the village centre, reappearing at a spot known as St. Dunstans Well, some 1,000 yards away.  For many years past boys of all ages have been going in and out of the cave without discovering anything worth while, and it was not until June 1947, that some members of the Bristol Exploration Club made a grand assault and pursued the passage through a water trap, finally coming upon what have been described as the most beautiful caves in Britain.

After meeting these people and hearing their wonderful stories I felt, as Wilfred Pickles would say, that I wanted to ‘have a go’, so in July 1947, I joined a party led by Mr. Don Coase, including two doctors and a professor, and we entered the cave at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon.  We wriggled and squirmed for about 1,500 feet through narrow passages full of jagged rocks, and sometimes the crevices were so tight that we had to breathe out to squirm through.

We passed through a leech infested pool and another watercourse covered with slimy mud where we crawled sideways to squeeze our way through, and after an hour of most arduous going we reached the water barrier or ‘sump’ as it is known.  Here we lined up to receive instructions from our leader, the idea that we had to step down into the water reaching to our necks, and we had to wade through to the further end, dipping our heads in places to avoid the jagged rocks.

There we found the water disappeared under a huge rock, and our leader explained that each one must take a deep breath, dive under and come up the other side.  I duly took my place and dived under, and never was there a hand more welcome than that of Mr. Coase when he pulled my head up out of the water and shouted ‘ ok breathe in’.  When we were all through we passed on, thoroughly drenched, to a more roomy chamber where we duly congregated and re-grouped.  I took off as many clothes as I possibly could, wrung them out and shook them and put them on again, and this seemed rather more comfortable.  From then on the going was much easier and we walked through the stream, finally being able to climb into the chambers, to find that what the exploration party had told us was perfectly correct.

There are about eight chambers of immense size, with pure white banks of stalagmites cascading towards the cavern floor like a frozen waterfall.  The curtains and draperies give a metallic ring when they are struck in passing and streaks of colour add to their loveliness.  In the chamber thousands of stalactites hang from the roofs, and in some of the caverns the floor, walls and ceilings are completely covered with stalactite and stalagmite formations.  The main chambers, too, have many beautiful grottoes with stalagtitic columns joining floor to roof, and natural frescoes streaked with red arid ochre colouring,  The ‘Throne Room’ is an impressive sight, the chief feature being two huge stalagmites which have been likened in appearance to Queen Victoria confronted by a pageboy.  Making our way across the slippery floor studded with ‘candlestick’ stalagmite formations we came upon a charming grotto - a real gem of the cave system.  In the centre was a pool with tiny ‘candlestick’ formations sticking up through the water, and these gleamed and sparkled like diamonds as they caught the light from our lamps.  The whole cavern was just as a child would imagine fairyland to be, with banks of ‘Snow’ and hundreds of little ‘icicles’, and the floor covered with stalagmites of many hues, this indicating various mineral deposits.

In one of the chambers a human skeleton has been found, and also skulls of animals but it has not yet been possible to determine the age of the skeleton.  As mentioned earlier, however, we had with us two doctors and a professor, who examined the remains and decided that they had been there for something like 1,700 years.  An additional skull was, incidentally, discovered while we were there.  The mystery of it all is that they could not possible got through by the way that we know today, so that many centuries ago there must have been some other entrance.

Walking through these caverns was like being in another world; in fact, so far removed that one would  not have been surprised to have met fairies, or gnomes or suchlike, such a veritable fairyland it was, everything so perfectly clean and shining in contrast to the dusty atmosphere of the world high above us.

After having our fill of heavenly beauty we commenced our return journey, again having to dive under the rocky barrier at the sump, and began our crawl back to the outside world.  After going a short distance, however, we came to a rather difficult obstacle known as the ‘Chimney’, and the member of the party ahead of me must have been so intent on getting out that he did not turn and help us through this trick spot.  This left the writer in the lead, and crawling on we came to a fork.  Here we decided to fork right, but very soon found the pathway shelved away to nothing, and the only thing to do was to retrace our footsteps (backing out in reverse) and take the left fork.  By this time our supply of carbide was running low and we tried several ways before finding ourselves on the right trail.  I would like here to mention Dan Hassell, the man next to me, who went off along a passage on his own, to find himself in the hopeless position of not being able to get further forward or move back.  To make utters worse his lamp went out and for a time he was in a sorry plight.  I managed wriggle back to him, light his lamp and yank him out, during which time he swore and cursed ( and I might add that he had a very rich vocabulary) and threatened to murder the members of the vanguard party, who had by this time reached the open air.  I did my best to suppress him by reminding him that is was Sunday and that at this time most good people were just about walking home from church.  Fortune then smiled on us and we found ourselves heading in the right direction.  It was then only a matter of patient crawling and sliding through the slimy mud. At last we saw a light – Harry Stanbury, the Club Secretary, was a one-man rescue party.

We finally stepped out, into the sunshine of 9 o'clock, very weary, our legs, knees and elbows bleeding, and looking nothing on earth.  After a few minutes later I was back at home having a most welcome hot bath while supper awaited me.  And then to bed, to dream of diving the sump, skulls and fairyland caverns.

S.G. Treasure

Editor’s Note

The member of the party who left Sam in the lurch was not a member of the B.E.C. as you have probably guessed.  Had he been, the parties would never have been separated.  This reads crazily, but readers know what is meant.


In response to the request for names for Badges, 35 names were received.  In view of this it was decided to go ahead with the ordering of the badges as soon as funds permit.  Which means when we have written off some of our liabilities.  This list will be retained in the Sec’s stupendous filing system until the great day.

First Aid Kit

A new small First Aid Kit has been purchased and is at the Belfry.  This kit is for emergencies ONLY, and is not to be used for the purposes the old one was.  In addition to this watertight kit in its metal case, Les peters is drawing up a list for a more general kit for us.  The small kit is really intended to be suitable to take underground, and its contents in the form of ampoule etc., cannot easily be replaced.

Tackle Officer

In view of the fact that Setterington as Hut warden and Chairman of the Belfry sub-committee that George Lucy has been appointed Tackle Officer.

T.H Stanbury


The following has been sent by a club antiquarian to the Editor:-

This appears to be an account of an early descent into a Mendip Cave, although the beginning is missing.  The author name is lost and in any case the authenticity is doubtful as this extract clearly dates well before the earliest known exploration of Swildons Hole to which we believe the account refers.

……………..wild and ruffianly crew as I ever set eyes in and stank.  But, being desirous of seeing the abyss, I did consign my soul to God and we did set off.  They did provide me with a candle that the darkness might be somewhat relieved, and trembling I was led down a narrow passage leading from the light of day.  They obliged me to pass upon a narrow ledge by a great abyss, whereat I was fearful, but despite a great torrent falling I did pass safely, and presently did come to what they termed ‘Jacob’s Ladder’.  I said that I considered this most inaptly named as Jacob’s Ladder led to Heaven, but this surely to the very portals of Hell.  None the less I was constrained to go down it and so came to a grotto of surpassing beauty far exceeding any of those I have seen in the houses of the rich.  On this I feasted my eyes, and thinking that this fearful journey was now at an end did start to return.  But I was told that this was but the beginning, and so, wading down a stream, whereat, I became most wet, did reach the top of a great waterfall.  A ladder rope was hung over, but I did refuse to descend, whereat; they tied a rope about me, and did lower me to an unprecedented depth.  I was then dragged yet a very great way further down the stream, passing on the way much of very great beauty; yet I was so cold and fearful that I did not head it.  On reaching the bottom, there was a pole (must mean ‘pool’ Ed.) of Stygian Blackness, one did step in it and calling in a most horrible and blasphemous manner did say it was cold.  Whereat I did flee from that place for fear of eternal damnation for such swearing.  Nor could I rend my garments for they were already all but rent from me.  Nor will I ever again venture into that most God-forsaken and impious region.

From Hon. Sec’s Post Bag.

From John Hull in M.E.L.F.

The Ataka Mountains are very strange.  A couple of weeks ago I made a trip into the hills and found a couple of small caves.  They are in the queerest rock I have ever seen, the whole rock face, and it was some 300 feet high, was cast in a solid mass of dark brick red rock of sandy type, which could be made to give a shower of red sand, by rubbing it with the heel of my boot, and the cave was cut out of this rock by water action in a series of curves just like the diagrams of curves one sees in the text books.  I crawled along a narrowing tunnel for some 60 feet and never saw anything to break the even surface until the roof came to within nine inches of the floor and I could proceed no further.

In this range one feels that, given a sharp spade and a lot of time, you could make your own cave system without hanging around for a few million years waiting for nature to do the work for you.

List of members 1949   No.4

Geoff W. Ridyard        14, Harvey Road, Crawley Green, Herts.
Miss Pam Richards     The Cottage, Wellsway, Keynsham, Somt.
Reg. H. Hazell            34, Jubilee Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.
Gerry Orrah                38, Hazelbury Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.
Miss M. May              The Chantry, Old Church Road, Clevedon., Somt.
Miss Doreen Vickery   Seaton Lodge, Station Road, Staple Hill, Bristol.
Henry A. Shelton        18, Walsh Avenue, Hengrove, Bristol. 4.
Tony Preston              43, West Town Lane, Brislington, Bristol. 4.
John Swift                  3, Wellesley St. Lawrence Hill, Bristol.
Fred Shorland             P.O. Box No.1280, Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia.
Ronald H. Newman     77, Beaufort Road, St. George, Bristol. 6.
Tony Riddell               13, Randal Road, Clifton, Bristol. 8.
Alex McKoy               14, Clifton Down Road, Clifton, Bristol. 8.
Hagen D. Schoner       21, Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol. 8
John W. Adams          27, Granby Hill, Clifton, Bristol. 8.
Raymond Wade          101, Princess Victoria Street, Clifton, Bristol. 8.
Michael Farr               1, Sion lane, Clifton, Bristol. 8.
David Williams            Arch house, Victoria Square, Clifton, Bristol. 8.
G.P. Donald               Rackwood, 5, Anthony Ave., Lilliput, Parkestone, Dorset.
Tim Kendrick              Cherry Street, Bingham, Notts.