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Editorial notes

Bristol Youth Service Register

The Club is now on the above register, and any circulars will be available at HQ as and when they arrive.  We have one which is of interest to any member under 18 who wishes to learn to swim.  Tuition is available at reduced rates to those who wish to take advantage of it.

Noise at The belfry.

The Hut Warden tells me that Mr. Beecham, our Landlord, has lodged a strong complaint about the noise at the Belfry late at night.  It is very necessary that this shall not happen again; so would all concerned please remember that the Farmhouse is very near and STOP THE RACKETT.

Cave Research Group.

CRG News Letters Nos 4 & 5, dated May, 1947, have arrived and are available at Head Quarters.

Smuggler’s Hole, Northcott Mouth, Bude, N. Cornwall.

Page 2 of this issue is a plan of the entrance passage of this cave, which was surveyed by THS on 7/4/47.  We plan a trip to carry on the dig at this site on the third week-end in August. (Aug.16-17). It will be a week-end Camp. Will all Members who are interested please let the Hon. Sec. know as soon as possible, so that Transport arrangements and Camp Site can be arranged in good time.

Badger Hole, Wookey Hole'

This Excavation is still being carried on by Mr. H.E. Balch every Saturday afternoon from 2pm to 5pm.. He is always glad to welcome anyone who is interested and willing to work.  This is a very interesting site that will well repay a visit.

Mrs Joan Fountain, (and the Trickle)

Those of you who have been regular visitors to 74 Redcatch will remember Joan, who caused a great deal of fun while she was with us.  She is now a fully fledged Farmer's wife in Texas, and her troubles have changed from Wolves after her virtue to Hawks after her chickens.  The Trickle is fit and well, and she tells us that his favourite game is hiding in 'orrid ‘oles.

Another Scweek from Herman

The Hon. Sec. has done some caving in the depths of his filing system and discovered the lost limerick. Yer tez.

Now Bozzies a nice chap to know,
Tho' his Motorbike seldom will go.
If he does pet it running,
By some feat of cunning,
It is almost always on tow.

My compliments to the President of the Anti-C.D.G.  The Limerick about THS was printed with the full approval of his spouse and she asks me to say that she made a bigger mistake than he did.

CDG Somerset Section, Redcatch Group.

At the Henleaze Lake recently certain members have been having a fine time searching the bottom for obstructions thrown in during the war, and have retrieved to date - 2 oil drums, 1 waste paper basket, 1 large length of pipe.  It is reputed that there is a bedstead on the bottom, if it is found it will be presented to Dizzie and Postle as a wedding present.


Belfry Regulations

  1. CHARGES. For use of Belfry for feeding and changing:- 3d. Members Tsleeping;- l/- per night. For non-members;- 2/- per night.  These charges to include fuel for cooking, and lighting.
  2. PAYMENT. All money to be paid to the Hut Warden, or his deputy, before the person(s) leaves the Belfry.
  3. NOISE. Unnecessary noise after 10 p.m. is PROHIBITED. The Hut Wardens decision as to what noise is unnecessary will be final, and if any member(s) does not accept it, a posse will be enrolled forthwith, and said member(s) will be dumped in Mineries Pool.
  4. GENERATOR. The petrol-Electric Generator must-not be touched by any person, other than the Hon. Engineer.
  5. CLEANNESS. Members using the Belfry are responsible for keeping the place clean, and parties will be detailed by the Hut Warden for this purpose.
  6. KEY.  The key is obtainable from the Hon. Sec. or any committee member. Keys are also available on loan, upon payment of a deposit of 1/6, to any member who, in special circumstances, may require one.

The committee reserve the right to make any alterations to these rules at any time, without notice. Any such alterations will be published in the BB.

Programme for July, August and September.

July 5-6th           Digging at Bog Hole.

July 20th            Eastwater. If sufficient nos. are available, the whole cave, down both routes will be laddered.

Aug. 2-4th          Bank Holiday meet at the Belfry. Open programme.

Aug. 16-17th       Week end camp at Smuggler’s Hole, Bude.  Leader T.Stanbury

Aug. 16-34th       Weeks caving in Derbyshire. Leader D.A.Coase

Anyone interested in these two trips apply to Hon Sec for details.

Aug. 31st           G.B. and Reads Grotto.

Sept. 14th          More Muddy Mendip Mine Shafts, including Ores Close Cave Mine.

Sept. 28th          Burrington Coombe.  As many holes as energy permits.


We have just learnt that S.J. (Alfie) Collins became engaged to Jean ?., at Whitsun. Congratulations Alfie, but make sure she doesn’t object to you caving before it is too late.

Our Belfry On The Hill

(with apologises to stinker)

At our Belfry on the Hill,
Your'll often find the fellows congregating,
At our Belfry on the Hill.
They use the place for everything but mating,
They may be talking caving, but often they do not.
A dose of Belfry Binder will be festering in the pot.
You may think its a medicine, but believe me folks, its not,
At our Belfry on the Hill.

At our Belfry on the Hill, The Warden of the Hut is really wizard,
At our Belfry on the Hill, We know a frozen tike who hates his gizzard.
He keeps the place in order, writes the log, and does the chores.
He's very glad we had to put the detail out of doors,
He really ought to clean it, but he says the job is yours,
At our Belfry on the Hill.

At our Belfry on the Hill, We welcome all additions to our party,
At our Belfry on the Hill. We guarantee the welcome will be hearty.
So come along and see us, we'll be glad to have you call,
If you want to spend the night you'll find the cost is small.
We have to watch the Warden or he doesn't pay at all,
At our Belfry on the Hill.

Another verse of this horrible doggerel was written, but thank the Lord we haven’t room to include it.

This Weekes' Cross-word Puzzle

Well, folks, yes tiz at last, the long awaited X-word by the longest Stream - beg pardon - member of the BEC.  We are running it as a competition, and the rules are very simple.

  1. All Members are eligible to enter except the Hon. Editor, and 1854093 Sergeant James W'eekes, N.E.G., the perpetrator of this outrage.
  2. The entry fee shall be 6d per entry. Members may send as many entries as they like. I.O.U.s will not be accepted.
  3. Entries must be sent, or delivered in a sealed envelope, marked "Comp", to The Hon. Editor, The Belfry Bulletin, 74.Redcatch Road, Bristol 4.
  4. All entries must be received by July 10th 1947.
  5. The prize will be:-  Either ,10 free nights doss at the Belfry, or Free Membership for 1948, as the winner desires.
  6. The winner will be the sender of the first correct, or most nearly correct, solution opened by the Hon. Editor at the Club Meeting on Thursday July 10th.
  7. Entries that have altered or mutilated or do not contain the Entry Fee will be disqualified.
  8. The Editor's decision on all Matters concerning this competition is final.



1          An Englishman’s home---The Cosiest on Mendip (6,2,7)
9          Dizzy looked neither when thrown into Minery Pond! (4,2,9)
10         Nothing to do with BEC but its a gem.
11         This way in Swildon's.
13         RAF “RSM”
14         The Better 'Ole
15         Sometimes happens to Rasputin's Gears
16         Apply
18         A starched collar at the Sump? More likely a bad ankle.
21         A lamb brings Woodbridge's favourite cuss-word to mine.
23         Looking for street in Paris? No, the trend of a fat man's thoughts in the drainpipe.
25         Keep it Iow for stability
26         You can’t take your this underground.
28         Missed? Have another throw. (5,5)
31&32   Science probably inspired by growing mushrooms in the cellar. (6&6).


1          Coy Nan, the Colorados Grand. A Child of a concentration camp?
3          Was Barnes knocked for this in Swildon's?
4          Not a polite bovine, or a new style of tie.
5          There’s one all round the Island
6          Waterproof? Then they will strike!
7          Splash! Don’t be a fool, thats not a tiddler in the Double Pot.
8 & 22   What the caver told when he has towork on Sunday (4,2,6).
12         China Seas? no, a Mendip Swallet
14         Yorkshire Ghyll.
17         Palindromic British Hole.
19         14-lbs.of rock.
20         "Purgatory” is a noted one.
21         You need one after visiting this cave?
22         See 4
24         Hard water
27         Why take lights?
29         Hoi! Its in a knot.
30         Woman's name.

The above puzzle was sent in in response to our request for contributions. We have also received a number of other articles; the total number, however is not large, and we hope that there will be more forthcoming, soon. The more that reach us the more variety you will all have in BB.  We would like criticism too, tell us what you like and we will give you more, and vice-versa.


Members will be delighted to hear that the Hon. Treasurer has told me that the debt outstanding for the Belfry has been settled, and that the Belfry fund which covers all Belfry income and expenditure is in a very healthy state at the present time, the allowance made from the General Fund for internal fittings being fully repaid.


A Short History of the Bristol Exploration 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 that 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 earlier records 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 better 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 then many difficulties loomed large before us.

How could we get to the larger caves? How could we get Equipment? 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.  This was debated at length and 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 body already in existence.

The second course open to us was to form an entirely new caving club, and after many misgivings the Bristol Exploration Club was duly formed with an initial membership of about a dozen.  If we could have foreseen all the difficulties and troubles that beset us, I very much doubt if the project would have been launched.  At the inaugural meeting a set of rules were drawn up, and although they have been modified and added to, to meet changing conditions, they were essentially the same as are in use today.

For a time all went smoothly; our subs enabled us to buy ladders and ropes, etc.  We familiarized ourselves with all the smaller caves and then turned to the larger ones.  Here, too, we were successful, and 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 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 come it would, when members started to role in, we should be in a position to offer them something good.

The outbreak of war in 1939 found the BEC 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 liction 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 went as guests of the UBSS.

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 fortunate to absorb in the BEC the Emplex Cave Club. The ECC was composed of employees of the Bristol Employment Exchange and had formed a club on similar lines and for similar reasons as the BEC. There men have since done, and are still doing, yeoman work for the Club, although they are only able to be present when on leave.

1940-41 saw us jogging along as before, a number of new recruits always balancing out those called to the forces, 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 a half dozen active members, all of whom were actively engaged in the war effort. As those in the Forces were all made honorary members during their term of service, we were hit badly 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 worries vanished. lt is mainly through the hard work of two of these men (not forgetting the Hon. Sec. Ed) R. Wallace and D. Hasell, that the B.E.C. is where it is today.

In 1943 a forty foot duralumin and steel wire ladder was constructed, followed later by a similar one twenty feet in length. These ladders were our answer to the problem of transporting tackle to Mendip on push-bikes.

During 1943/44/45, certain ''persons unknown'', instead of following the orthodox method of obtaining the key, broke into certain Mendip Caves and we learned later that we had been blamed for this vandalism.  We were not responsible, and we managed at last to convince others of this.  During these three years our membership increased by leaps and bounds and we emerged from our obscurity to take our place among the most active clubs of Mendip.

The year 1946 was a monumental one, our membership rose to 80 and we were able, through the generosity of a certain person, to purchase a large hut as Mendip Head Quarters.  Our dig at Cross Swallet brought us into contact with the Bridgewater Cave Club, who have since been our guests at the Belfry for their 1947 Easter Meet.  We absorbed The Mendip Speleological Group, and became, individually, very active in the Cave Diving Group.  Besides this we became members of the Cave Association of Wales and also of the Cave Research Group.

We look 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 and standing is welcomed, and is encouraged to take an active part in the running of their Club.

Editorial Notes

I am able to report that at last, we have acquired our own duplicator, which will enable us to issue the B.B. more regularly.  Our thanks are due to the stalwarts who, often at great inconvenient to themselves, have got the job done for the first issues.  Their efforts have been greatly appreciated.

We thank the donors listed below for the Equipment they have presented for use at the Belfry:-

Wing-Commander G.W. Hodgekinson for a complete hut stove.
Miss E.A. Barrett of Bude, for an oil stove.
Mr. A. Innes for a printing Press. (For disposal).

We have just received from Dick Woodbridge a very interesting report of a walk in the Peak District, which will be included in BB as soon as possible.

Greetings to our members in the Forces all over the world!! and thanks for the bouquets which have proved to us that the effort is worthwhile.

The lads who went to South Wales had a good time in spite of the filthy weather and hope to get another chance to visit the area in the near future.

I've just been told that "Pongo'', (Mr. R. M. Wallis), has presented the Belfry with a 24 volt Petrol Generator set. Thanks very much, we'll have Swildon's floodlit yet.

A short walk in the Peak District.

By Dick Woodoridge.

Travelling from Manchester by train we left Hayfield Station at about 1:30 and walked up to Edale Cross, following the road and path, from the top a good view was had of the Kinder Downfall in the distance and the valley running down to the Kinder Reservoir. Over Edal;e Cross (1751ft.), the path dropped suddenly down Jacob’s Ladder – descent of about 1 in 1.  Starting down very cautiously, our pace slowly increased and we finished the last 50 ft. in an uncontrolled flight.  There the path crossed over a bridge about 2ft.wide and carried on comfortably past Edale Head Hotel, through some National Trust Property.

On the hills were still patches of frozen snow remaining after several weeks of thaw, and one large patch looked rather like a ;arge bird with a wing span of about half a mile. Having dropped down to about 300ft. we again started climbing, this time following the road  and crossed Rushup Edge, the road in places being 1 in 6.  Just over the summit we saw the Blue John Cavern about half a mile below and as we walked down we saw the flag being pulled down from the shop outside the entrance. Assuming that this was a sign that they were closing, we ran the rest of the way and persuaded the Guide to take us through the Cavern.

The way in followed a natural rift, and whilst going along, the Guide explained how the cave had been broken into about 300 years age, by a party of miners, working in the Blue John Mine. These workings had been started by the Romans, but they had never reached the natural cavern, which had been carved from the limestone by the melting waters of the Ice Age.  Evidence of very strong water action was observed right through the cave, particularly in the first large chamber. There, the first 6 ft. in height was perfectly circular; above this the surface was rather irregular, and the upper walls and roof shoved the normal smooth surface cut by a swiftly flowing stream.  The exploration given of this phenomenon was that a secondary stream joined the main stream at floor level, through a small rift at right angles to the main rift, and caused a whirlpool at that level.  The intermediate level was cut by turbulent water between the normal rift and the whirlpool.  In the roof, small holes had been cut by pieces of hard rock being caught up and swirled around by the swiftly flowing stream.  Seven working levels were pointed out from which the Blue John stone was obtained, and it was asserted that a distinct colouration and pattern was obtained from each working.  The stone has to be blasted from the parent rock, and it is therefore difficult to get a large portion of the stone without flaws.

Very little formation was present, compared with some of the Mendip caves, but there was quite a lot of colouring in the Calcite covering of some of the faces.  The illumination is provided by an acetylene lamp carried by the guide, and candles carried by the party.  The Guide also has a large reflector with which he directs his light on the various points of interest during the trip.

From Blue John Cavern we had to walk a further 4 miles to Chapel en le Frith - where buses left every half-hour for Manchester, we arrived there at 8 O'clock having walked through grand country for about twelve miles.

The Squeeks of Herman.

(being a Member's impressions of the1943 Committee.)

The mob it is led by young Harry,
who's regarded as chief fetch and carry.
He can make people laugh,
And draw a good graph
His only mistake was to marry.

A well mannered fellow is Daniel
His hair is like that of a spaniel
His ears they are big,
and he eats like a pig,
And his work is dirty and manual.

Now next on the list we have Roy,
In whose presence the ladies find joy.
He has hair on his chest,
and goes caving With Zest,
And his bit of formation, Oh Boy!

Originally there were five limericks in this collection, but the other two have been engulfed in the Hon. Sees, efficient system, and we have given these up as lost.  (Ed. note:- I'm-, afraid we have dropped a bit of a "clanger'' over the last few lines of the proceeding page, so have repeated them above. Please excuse any odd slips like the above for a bit, until the ''duplicateers'' get the hang of things.

Belfry Progress Report

I regret to state that since the last report, very little work has been done on the Belfry. The major factor has been the better weather which has tempted every one to 'cave' again.

At Easter, the Belfry proved its worth, and was fully occupied all the time, and on the Sunday night, a record was set up by 16 people sleeping there, although we had only reckoned to sleep 12 bods.  Several more bunks have been fitted in the 'married quarters', and the stove presented by W/C Hodgkinson fitted. A start has also been made on the foundation for the P.E. generator.  The roof still requires waterproofing in one or two odd spots, material for which is now at hand. Although the majority of the lining has still to be fitted,- this is held up for the moment until the wiring of the Belfry for electric light is completed. A 'power house' for generator and batteries has also to be built at the back of the Belfry.

nas a:y member any of the following articles to spare, as good use of them can be made at the Belfry. A Soft Broom, a Scrubbing Brush, Milk Jug (quart), and a Clothes Brush.

D.A. Coase,  5/5/47.

Whitsun Meet

A meet will be held at the Belfry over Whitsun.  No set programme has been arranged, but trips will be fixed up on the spot. If anyone is energetic enough, work will proceed on Bog Hole.

Please let Hon. Sec. or Hut Warden know if you intend staying at the Belfry, so that we can provide any necessary shoe horns and/or tin openers.

Dig at ''Stewart's Hole''

A dig was commenced about 300 yds. from the ''Hunters Lodge Inn'' on the 12th April, 1947.  Good work was put in on the first day in the main swallet, and a depth of 6 ft. reached terminating in thick mud. Some bones were found, and later, tentively, identified at Bristol Museum as possible human, waterworn, and of considerable age.  Diggers were A. Withers and P. Stewart.  Work continued the following weekends, a subsidiary swallet in the wall of the depression being dug.  Work has continued on the main dig but is rather held up due to thick mud.  We would like to thank the following for giving their time:- (What 6 months or a year? Ed.)  P. Browne,H. Stanley, R. A. Setterington, M.J. Akers, J.M. Tompsett, T.White. Work is progressing - anyone invited.

Bristol Speedway

A less well known activity of some of the members is to shout their heads off every Friday night at Bristol Speedway.  If any other club members would like to do the same, you'll find them in the 1/9 's on Smelly corner. If you don’t know where Smelly corner is, use your nose. That’s what it's for.

Stop Press

We also have to thank for contributions to the Belfry, D.C. McKee of the B.C.C. for a sleeping bag, end J.M. (Postle) Tompsett for two 12 volt Batteries. Not forgetting Uncle George for about a dozen sheets of corrugated iron.

List of Publications available in the BEC


Discovery of Man                                  S.Casson.
Ancient Burial Grounds.
B.C.                                          S.E. Winbolt.
Early .                                        J. Hawkes.
Prehistoric London                                E.O. Gordon.
Roman Folkestone                                S.E.Winbolt.
Report on a Human Skull found
at 's Cavern                                    Sir A. Keith, F.R.S.

Guide Books

Bath and Bristol Guide.
South Devon and Cornwall Guide.
Bude to Newquay Guide. (North Cornish Sea Caves).
Torquay Natural History Society. Guide to Museum.
A Short Guide to the National Museum of . 1945.


Coral Reefs                                          Charles Darwin.
Knotting                                               Gilcraft
A Brief History of Ancient Times             Breasted and Hugh Jones
The Scientific Study of Human Settlement.
The Adam Chasers                               B.M. Bower. (Fiction).
The Story of the Doones. (Tourist Edition).
Unbeaten Tracks of the West                 P.E. Barnes
Proceedings of the Bristol Naturalists Society. 1935.


6 inch to the Mile sheets of Mendip:-


1 inch to the Mile sheets of:

20 Kirby Lonsdale & Hawes
25 Ribblesdale.
90. Brecon & Llandovery
101. Swansea & Aberdare.
111. Bath, Bristol & District
118. Barnstaple
119. Exmoor
120. Bridgwater & Quantocks.
131. Wells & Frome
127. Bideford & Bude.
135. Bodmin.
137. Tavistock & Okehampton
138. Exeter.
143. Truro & St. Austell
145. Torquay.
145. Lands End & Lizard
Peak District. Tourist Edn.
Weston Super Mare & District. Tourist Edition.

½ inch to the Mile sheets of:-

Bristol & District
31. North Devon.
35. S.W. Cornwall & Scilly Isles.
36. South Devon.
57. Weymouth, Yeovil & Taunton.

Annual General Meeting

This was held at 74 Redcatch Rd. on Saturday the 14th December 1946 at 7:30 

D.H. Hasell was elected chairman of the meeting and then the Treasurer read the Report and Accounts for 1946. Major points of these were as follows:

Secretarty’s Report 1946

The club has run 65 official trips this year, on which there was an attendance of 520, 275 Members and 145 Visitors.  Club membership stands at 81, the highest ever. Of this number, 18 are in the Forces and 33 are new members.

We are supporting the formation of the Cave Association of Wales and hope to become a member club.

Our affiliation to The British Speleological Association has not renewed, as in the opinion of the Committee, the objects of the association have been lost, and the money is better spent improving amenities of the BEC.

Members have been present at nearly every local operation of The Cave Diving Group, and the Club is now to take part in the work of The Mendip Rescue Organisation.  Details of this scheme will be circulated later.

The Club has now purchased a large hut for Mendip Headquarters. The Library, thanks to the kindness of members has been considerably increased.

(signed) T.H. Stanbury Hon. Sec,

Financial Report 1946

Cash in Hand Jan 1st


General Expenditure to Dec. 14th


Income to Dec. 14th


Hut expenditure to Dec. 14th






The Club, however, still owes Mrs.I,M. Stanbury £8.0.0d for part purchase of the Hut. A further £l.9.8d has been received since the Accounts have been made up.

The expenditure has all come at the end of the year when funds were low, but the opportunity of purchasing the Hut was too good to miss, with the result that the cash balance is at present, negligible.

There has been a lot of slackness in leaders failing to collect the Tackle fee, amounting to a loss of several pounds, and I look to leaders to remedy this in the future.

(Signed)  T.H. Stanbury. Hon. Treasurer.


The next business was the election of the committee. T.H. Stanbury was unanimously re-elected Hon. Sec. and Treasurer. Nominations for the other four places, and the votes for each were as follows:

D.H. Hasell        15 votes
E. Jenkins         4 votes
D.A. Coase       15 votes
A. Innes.           9 votes
A. Withers         3 votes
G. Lucy             8 votes
P. Stewart         11 votes

The Committee for 1947 will, therefore, be:

T.H. Stanbury    Hon. Sec and Treasurer
D.H. Hasell
P. Stewart
D.A. Coase
A. Innes.

Constitution Amendments

Amendments to constitution and rules were then discussed, and a revised copy will be sent to each member as soon as they are printed. Major points raised and passed were:

I.          There to be four classes of membership.

(a)  Life Members.
(b)  Full Members
(c)  Junior Members (those under 18 years of age)
(d) Associate Members.
Subscriptions for (b) 10/- per annum, (c) and (d) 5/- per annum.

II           The Equipment fee to be reduced to 3d. per trip.

It was also agreed that the new rules shall stand without alteration for the next three years, unless a two thirds majority of members request any alteration or amendment.

D.A. Coase was appointed Hut Warden and Hon. Equipment officer, and a charge of 3d. per person using the Hut, and for those staying overnight a 1/- per member per night, or 2/- per visitor per night were agreed to. Members of other cave clubs would be welcome at the Hut (hereafter known as 'The Belfry') with the proviso that BEC members have priority for accommodation.

Mrs. I.M Stanbury, in recognition of her services to the club, was unanimously elected an Honorary Life Member.

Donations toward the cost of the 'Belfry' would be welcome, and £2.2.6d. has been received to date.

The meeting officially closed at 9.45 p.m.

Then a concerted rush was made for the 'buffet', which was presided over by Mrs. I.M. Stanbury, ably assisted by Mrs J. Fountain and Mrs. S. Hasell, and soon everyone was stuffing mightily.  The 'proceeds' from the buffet resulted in a further 15/- for the Club funds.  our thanks to 'The Caterers'.

Sidelinks from the A.G.M.

Johnnie Pain handing round a FULL packet of players. Four fags were returned. The Biter Bit !!!

The committee having 'detailed' his duties, the Hut Warden immediately attempted to resign, but was forcibly prevented from doing

The Belfry.

Is situated at The Beeches, Eastwater, which is at the entrance to the old St. Cuthbert's Lead Mine, about half a mile from the Hunter's Lodge Inn on the right hand side of the road to Priddy.

The accommodation comprises a wooden hut in three sections, each about 12’x 8’, and a small stone hut as a tackle store. A great deal of work had to be done to make it really habitable, and anyone who can help during weekends would be more than welcome, please note the fire is in going order to thaw out frozen digits. Contributions of cutlery, crockery, cooking gear, blankets, etc., will be gladly accepted.

Overheard in G.B.

Experienced caver - 'Mad things, these Helictites, aren't they?'

Novice.         - 'wouldn't you be if you had been down there as long as they have?'

Programme for January. February and March

January 19th.     Full Eastwater.  Meet at the Belfry, 10 a.m
February 16th.   Axbridge Ochre Mine, Loxton Cave, Denny's Hole.
March 9th.         Lamb Leer

All other week-ends will be devoted to work on 'The Belfry'


Belfry Bulletin

The Belfry Bulletin will be published at irregular intervals for the present. Any Suggestions or criticisms for improving it, or contributions for inclusion will be welcome.  Come on you budding authors!! Please send replies to - The Hon. Editor.  'Belfry Bulletin' c/o 74 Redcatch Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


The Bristol Exploration Club wish to thank G. Platten for the gift of a primus stove and A.M. Innes for the gift of a long climbing rope.

Round and About Bristol

For club members who are not able to get as far away from Bristol as Priddy and Burrington, there are some interesting points nearby. There are some gruff-holes terminating in small chambers near Henbury Golf Course and Blaise Castle Estate. There is an underground passage leading from the garages on Horfield Common the (now demolished) Quantocks school on Kellaway Avenue, the garage end is now cemented over, but the other end opens into the school basement.

There is a small cave entrance in the middle quarry on the west side of Avon Gorge which continues for about 15 ft and ends in choke.  A nice set of slabs presents a decent rock climb in the same quarry.  Also between quarry II and quarry III is a good ridge walk - in one place about 4 feet wide with approximately 200'- drops both sides !

On Dundry Common the strata of the rock is horizontal and there an interesting system of small caves.  In places they have been shored up either with props or stone walls.  There are 4 at least of varying size and probably quite a few more.  If anything is known regarding these caves - information would be gratefully received. On a recent visit the names of R. Crew B.E.C. and O. Oxley and B. Warren Y.C.L. were noticed.

Nearby situated near Barrow Hill is Dial Quarry with an interesting cave running approximately west to East with about 120 ft.

Information Please

Would anyone knowing anything regarding a cave situated in Burlescombe Quarry (Burlescombe, Devon) please write to P.A.E. Stewart, c/o H. Stanbury, 74, Redcatch road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.

A party from Blundells school, Tiverton made a partial exploration but were brought up by a vertical drop of a depth exceeding the length of rope carried by the exploration.


Editorial Notes

In this our second number, we are starting an inventory of the equipment available to members, as we believe that very few of the Club members know how much property the B.E.C, possesses.  As a start, we give a list of books in the Club library.

The furniture presented by Mr. B. A. Crew for use at "The Belfry" contained items which were of no direct use to us.  They were, however, sold for a goodly sum, which helped the funds round a tight corner.  If any other member has any similar White Elephants, we should be pleased to accept them for the same purpose.  Have a look in the attic, fellows!

It has been noted by some of our members, that certain persons - who seem to have learnt to write only recently - have defaced the walls of certain caves on Mendip with their names and the letters B.E.C.  It is well-known that the B.E.C. has access to all caves, and we would point out that such advertisements are completely unnecessary.,


The S.W.C.C. have a very attractive open meet over Easter.  Visits to Dan-yr-Ogof, Ogof Ffynnon Ddu and many other South Wales caves are planned.  Any member wishing to take part in this should notify the Hon. Secretary at once.

Official Announcements

Cave Research Group

The B.E.C. has now been formally elected a member of the C.R.G, and as information from this body is received it will be passed on to members.  News Letters 1 and 2 are now available.

Mendip Rescue Organisation

We have received notification that the M.R.O. reorganisation is now complete and we print in this Bulletin a copy of the new procedure in the event of accident. Copies of the M.R.O. Constitution are available at Headquarters.

Annual Subscriptions

We would remind members that subscriptions must be paid before 31st March to ensure continuity of service.

Procedure in the event of an accident

We call to the attention of members, the following extract from the MRO Constitution, which is of the greatest importance should occasion arise for its use.

  1. A member of party will go to the nearest callbox and ring Wells 97, (police).  Give number of callbox and name of cave in which accident
  2. The Police will ring Wardens in rotation.  To the first Warden in touch they will give the name of the cave and number of callbox.
  3. The warden will phone the callbox and ascertain the exact locality of accident, what injuries are known, and how many in party. He will call up 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 patient.
  5. The Wells or Bristol ambulance to be called only on the instructions of the doctor. The MRO will not be responsible for expenses incurred.

Once again, I would stress the importance of these arrangements in the case of accidents, and ask all members to make sure they are familiar with them.

The Club Library

All books in the library are available to members free of charge for two weeks. They may be kept for a longer period, on arrangement with the Hon. Librarian. If the borrower does not return them on the due date, he becomes liable for a fine of 1d for the first week, plus 2d for the second, plus 3d for the third, etc. any member who cannot call at Redcatch Road for books, may borrow by post, provided he return the books by registered post. He would, of course, be subject to the usual fines on non-return of books.

A list of book at present in the library is appended as a supplement to this issue. As additions are made we will report them.

“The Belfry” Progress Report

The last two months of inclement weather has, surprisingly, seen some work put in on “the Belfry” by the Hon. Secretary and the Hut Warden, who risked life and limb to plough through innumerable snowdrifts. On one occasion, a shovel had to be used to dig the Hon. Secretary’s car (Ford – Ed) out of a drift to enable the party to return to Bristol.

The work has mainly been felting the walls which are now complete. The nameplate made by Tony Johnson and Johnnie Morris has been put in place, and looks very resplendent. Lining boards for the interior have been delivered, and a start made on the lining.

On Saturday, 1st February, the Hut Warden spent the whole weekend at “The Belfry”, and thus officially opened it for occupation.

At presnt, we have at “The Belfry”, 4 mattresses, 5 pillows, 5 sleeping bags and 9 blankets. For sleeping there are 6 bunks and a camp bed. (one bunk is already reserved for the Hut Warden).

Anyone wishing to use the Belfry is advised to contact the Hon. Secretary, or the Hut Warden, at 74 Redcatch Road, so that arrangements can be made regarding the key.

D.A. Coase
Hut Warden (17.3.1947)


We wish to thank the following members for the articles listed below, which will be found very useful to those using the Belfry.

A Johnsen                     Cups, plates, knives, forks.
T.H. Stanbury                pocket compass.
J. Bridges                      hurricane lantern.
R.A. Setterington           2 blankets,
Mrs, I.M. Stanbury         blanket.
Miss M. Akers               stirrup pump, lantern.
R. Woodbridge               4 shelter bunks
B.A. Crew                     quantity of furniture and bedding.

Thanks to

With reference to the remarks about his fags in B.B.1, Johnnie Pain - was very pleased to receive a cigarette from R. Brain.  He says, considering the distance it had to travel, that it was as good a smoke as he has ever had, and that the cadging of it needed no effort on his part.


We take great pleasure in announcing the engagement of two of our Club members. Miss M. (Dizzie) Akers to Mr. J.M. (Postle) Tompsett. Good luck to you both!   (God help you. )

Bog Hole

The excavation at Bog Hole, started in August, l944, by the Bristol University Society, has excited considerable interest among our members, as it is situated so conveniently near The Belfry.  As the University seemed to have abandoned the site, we approached them with a view to taking it over as a B.E.C. project.  We have now been informed that they have no objection to our taking over, and accordingly we shall start digging at the first opportunity,  D.A. Coase will be in charge of the work.

Swancombe Hollow

This site, although it was inspected early last year and permission obtained from the U.B.S.S. a little later, has not been started yet.  As I think it will be increasingly difficult to get help on this dig during the weekends, I propose to start working on weekday evenings.  The plan is not yet a concrete one, but the work will probably be done on Tuesday evenings.  Any members who would like to help can get the Gan from the Hon. Secretary.

D.H HasselI.

Belfry Bulletin

Back numbers of "Belfry Bulletin" are obtainable from the Hon. Secretary at a cost of 3d. per copy.

List of Publications Available from the BEC Library


Mendip Caves                                                   H.E.Balch
Netherworld of Mendip                                       H.E.Balch and E.A.Baker
Wookey Hole, the Cave and Cavedwellers           H.E.Balch
(available on special request from D.A.Coase)
Wookey Hole, Official Guide
Caving                                                              E.A.Baker
Dan-yr-Ogof, Offical Guide
Kent Caverns Guide
The Falls and Caves of Ingleton                          J.L.Hamer
The art of the Cavedweller                                  Bladwin Brown
Ten Years under the Earth                                 Norbert Casteret
Proceedings of the University of Bristol Speleological Society, Vol 5 nos 2 and 5
The British Caver, Vols. 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16
Caves and Caving, Vol. 1  Nos. 1,3,4, and 6 (No.2 is available on special request from D.A.Coase)
BSA programme of the Speleological Conference, 1939.
Carlsbad Cavern, () Picture folder.

Climbing and Mountaineering

Climbing in                                              J.E.Q.Barford
Mountaineering Holiday                                     F.S.Smythe
Mountain Prospects                                          Scott Russell
Adventures on a Mountain
Climbing Mount Everest                                     Ingls Finch
Ascent of Nanda Devi                                        H.W.Tilman
Snow on the Equator                                         H.W.Tilman
of the Moon                                      P.M.Synge


Geographical Magazine,                                    June to Oct, 1941. inclusive.
National Geographical Magazine ()               Vol 63, No, 6.
                                                                       Vol. 75, No, 3. 
                                                                       Vol. 79, No 4
Voyage round the World                                    Anson
In Quest of the Sun                                           A.Gerbault
Cruise of the Cachalot                                      
Great African Mysteries                                     L.G.Green
In Dwarfland and Cannibal Country                      A.E..Lloyd
Travels on the Amazon                                      Wallace
Euphrates and the Tigris
Arctic Ocean to Yellow Sea                               Price
Wanderings in China.(in Two Volumes)               Cummings
as we saw it                                            Pickerseth
New Zealand                                                     Max Hers
Somoa                                                             G. Turner
Headhunters                                                     A.C.Haddon
Gold dust and Ashes                                         L. Idress
Lassester’s Last Ride                                        L. Idress (semi fiction)
Scotts Last Expedition (in two volumes)


Geology Excursions handbook Bristol and Mendip Area    Reynolds
A short guide to the geology of Torquay