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Hut Engineer's Report 1979

It was with extreme trepidation that I undertook the job this year of Hut Engineer - a job which is open to much criticism and sometimes valid complaint.  My own fears of being unable to attend Committee meetings due to carry return to uniform proved unfounded as duty rota changes and a very understanding Skipper permitted me to attend every meeting this year.

The onerous job has been made easier this year - not due to the AGM critics who somehow never are seen working upon the Belfry site, - but by the same group of stalwart Belfry regulars who time and time again give up their weekend petrol and cash to work upon a hut which should be the responsibility of every member of the BEC and not left to those who use the hut, and therefore excuse themselves from doing any work whatsoever upon it.

Though perhaps invidious to mention individuals I feel strongly that the continuous support given to me by the following Belfry regulars is worthy of mention: Tim Large and Fiona, John Dukes, Bob Cross, Neil Weston (incidental not a member) Stu Lindsay, Chris Batstone, Danny Bradshaw, Paul and Alisa Hodgeson, and surprisingly Walter (Farmer) Foxwell.

Hopefully as many members as possible will attend the AGM or manage in the next few weeks to visit their HQ and see for themselves the combination of many hours work upon the Belfry this year.

During the year the following work has taken place:

1.                  Partial tarmacing of the Belfry drive

2.                  Overhaul, servicing and provision of existing and new Fire Prevention equipment.

3.                  Drawing up of detailed site plans of HQ.

4.                  Provision of security locks upon Library and Tackle Store.

5.                  Excavation and construction of septic tank

6.                  Cleaning out and repair of cattle grid.

7.                  Installation of new sink in the women's room.

8.                  Running and routine repairs and maintenance to the site and buildings and general interior painting.

9.                  Re-roofing of old stone Belfry.

Three working weekends were held at the Belfry.  One in April, one in June and the final one in the first weekend of August.  However lack of publicity failed to bring one of these and the Belfry job list to the notice of the membership in time.  During late July - as advertised in the B.B. a working holiday was held at the Belfry attended by Tim Large and Fiona, Garth Dell, Steve Short, Nigel Taylor, Dave Irwin, and in the second week John Dukes.  The third week saw the departure of the first crew and the arrival of Paul and Alisa Hodgeson.  During the course of the three weeks the following work upon the hut was carried out:

1.                  The complete conversion of the tackle store in the old stone Belfry to a workshop and tackle store complete with workbenches, cupboards, tackle racks, 'Prewer' tested battery charger, and the rewiring and provision of the electricity supply 'Dukes' style.

2.                  Construction of stone stile to St. Cuthbert’s across Walt Foxwell’s track, assisted and directed by his brother Jack Foxwell (70 years).

3.                  Cleaning and sconing of shower and toilet facilities.

4.                  Cleaning and repairs to the kitchen area in the main room.

5.                  Repositioning of lockers and provision of B.B. and members Postal rack, Library book shelving 'Wig' style.

6.                  Protection and varnishing of Belfry Murals.

7.                  Cleaning out of 30 lbs of decaying matt or from the guttering and sanding and painting of weatherboards and woodwork.

8.                  Painting of tackle store and exterior of old stone Belfry and carbide store and waterproofing of roof of same.

9.                  Sanding and painting of exterior of Belfry wood and metal work.

10.              Overhauling of night storage heaters.

11.              Insulation of hot water tank and piping in the attic.

12.              Tidying of Attic.

13.              Scrubbing of bunkroom and living room walls to remove fungus caused by damp.

14.              Tidying of Belfry site and removal of rubbish.

15.              One day’s arduous tree felling at Westbury, Wiltshire to provide half of the Belfry’s winter fuel supply.

16.              Thorough inspection of exterior and interior of Belfry for faults (see below).

Though much of the work has been done upon the HQ there is no room for complacency as the fault finding inspection showed up serious problems upon the fabric of the hut; cracks are plainly visible on the end window and the door lintels in the men's bunkroom.  The roof ridge capping tiles have become dislodged from their positions - those are problems which remain to be tackled and are giving cause for concern.

Likewise the ever present damp problem within the Belfry is caused by lack of background heating which must be seriously discussed by the next committee and AGM - the solution I feel would be to have a wood burning stove supplying hot water from a solid fuel burner to radiators and taps.  Furthermore I would like to see the changing and showering area together with the toilets overhauled - preferably with the wet damp area moved from the centre of the virtually ill heated building to an outside wall to protect the heat and fabric of the building.  The toilet facilities are a disgrace and I believe that proper advice should be sought and improvements made with the utmost urgency.

I feel that the provision of a dormer type window and stairway and strengthening of the attic would not only improve the HQ but also considerably enhance it and enable more space downstairs to be allocated to caving and improved facilities,

Such improvements will obviously cost money and in some cases, lots of money - but in improving the club HQ by any such financial outlay, we will recoup the benefit in the value of an improved property - surely a wise capital investment, and after all better to be in bricks and mortar than earning a lesser % interest on deposit.

Extra monies to finance the various improvements could be raised by the setting up now of a Hut Fund as by various fund raising activities.  Therefore I urge each and every one of you to think very carefully and come to a decision with a view to the future of the club, not just now and in five years but for the next twenty years at least.

I close by thanking all who have worked or given items to the Belfry this year and if I am unsuccessful in joining next year's committee may I wish my successor much luck for the year to come.

Nigel Taylor, Hut Engineer 1978/79