The Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Editor: Dave Turner

1978 – 1988 COMMITTEE

Hon. Sec.          Bob Cork
Treasurer           Mike (Trebor) McDonald
Caving Sec.       Richard Neville-Dove
Hut Warden       Andy Sparrow
Tackle Master    Steve Milner
B.B. Editor        Dave Turner
Hut Engineer     Dany Bradshaw
Membership Sec.           John Watson
Librarian            Tony Jarratt (co-opted)
                        Phil Romford
                        Mark Lumley (co-opted)


Our club archivist - Alan Thomas for those who didn't know we had one! - would like the following if any members can oblige:-

Folio Foolscap paper

Filing Cabinet

If you can help give Alan a ring.





Daren On The Move

The dig at the end of Acupuncture Passage was finally passed on a 3 day camp from 15-18 October.  A stooping/crawling passage 25ft wide (New Boots & Panties passage) continued for about 150 metres westerly to a breakdown. However, halfway along the passage the roar of Borrowed Boots streamway was heard through a small crack in the floor. The significance of a connection here was not lost on the jubilant (and slightly drunk) diggers.  ( Pete Bolt, Henry Bennett, Matt & myself) and a return trip was planned for the near future.

The following weekend Andy Cave, Matt, Steve Milner, Angie and Richard Neville Dove, camped at Hard Rock.  Those who could fit through the approach constrictions went up to New Boots and started digging down for a connection with the streamway while RND drank rum with Liza Taylor, Pete Eckford and I who were down stocking up the camp.  'The Micron' was dug out and Andy & Steve squeezed through a very tight rift into Borrowed Boots Streamway.

Meanwhile, divers Ian Rolland and Rick Stanton, had pushed a passage from the region of 7th Hour Sump for about 1 kilometre in the fossil levels.  Our connection was very significant because it put the dry divers extensions within our reach.  A meeting was held between the Rock Steady Crew and the divers at which we agreed to give them one last push on their own before going in ourselves, establishing an advanced camp (Restaurant at the End of the Universe) and starting digging operations.

Consequently, two weeks later Rick and Ian, bivvied in 'Agua Colorada' (the dry extensions) for 5 days and were joined by Martyn Farr for 3 days.  They found over 1½ kilometres of new passage going all over the place. There are apparently loads of really good digging sites that may go back to Daren, into Aggy and up the mountain. The Rock Steady Crew didn't waste time that weekend either.  Steve Allen and I dug into a 50 metre extension of New Boots & Panties Passage, Pete B. & Andy C. started stocking the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.  Steve M, RND, Pete Hopkins and Angie dug out Miami-Vice to fat-gutted-git size and RND then joined us by the Micron!  Arthur Millet banged the top to the Micron and RND & I helped him dig it out until it collapsed on me (Adrenalin really is brown and makes your voice go up an-octave!)

A dry connection to Aggy is a Quantum Leap closer now, but maintaining the efforts this far in is becoming a problem.  Stocking Hard Rock with provisions is bad enough but this advance camp is a long way further in.  To push any digs in Agua Colorada on extended trips from the surface is really out of the question.  The trip into the dig will take 6 hours for a start and the prospect of then doing 12 hours digging, then going out is, frankly ludicrous.  The project is taking the shape of a Continental style big cave push and may well need a lot of people working long weekends to make it a success.  If anyone fancies the idea of joining us on regular monthly 3 day digging trips then get yourself a sleeping bag down to Hard Rock Cafe and you'll be most welcome.

P.S. With the survey of the Divers extension drawn up, a passage is seen to head back down the mountain to within 200 metres of Priory Road, in the Gothic extensions, Agen Allwedd!

Mark Lumley



Interesting Notes Unearthed by the Librarian

BOWERY CORNER According to Pat Cronin this (very tidy) dig is "ours if we want it".  There is a surprisingly large catchment area apparently.

(Reprinted from Severn Valley C.C. Newsletter November 1982)

Bowery n. District (orig. the Bowery, street in New York City) known as resort of drunks and down-and-outs.

(Concise Oxford English Dictionary p.16)


"The attraction might be great, if the opportunity occurred, to open up a cave close to the highway, but, unless the opening or shaft is more than 25 yards from the highway or is (to use the words of the Act) 'within some house or building or behind some wall or fence sufficient to conceal or screen the same from the highway', to do so would involve liability for as penalty of £5 per day."


(Reprinted from Axbridge C.G. & A.S. Journal Vol.2 No.2 September 1954 p36)


1st. JANUARY 1966



(Belfry Log Book 1964-1966)


Bristol Evening Post 25th November 1980

Whilst working on a Keynsham public house builders suddenly uncovered a cavern, the presence and purpose of which are not known.  The entrance is illustrated.

(from Brit. Caver Vol.80 (Spring 1981) p47)


The etymology of the word "belfry" is from the Latin via Middle English (berfrey) and Old French (berfrie) - a watch tower or beacon and hence has nothing to do with the fact that bells are hung in it.  Belfry did not appear in English until the 15th Century.


*published by Alan Thomas - £3.00 (Advert)


New additions to Library

Cavecraft  - D. Cons

Wookey Hole, The Caves and Mill - guide book

donated by A.J.


Letters Received

From the Editor's wife,

I have attended the Annual Dinner for the last twenty years, but I have noticed over the last few years that people don't wait until after the Loyal Toast before they smoke but puff away between each course. I was unlucky enough to sit surrounded by just such smokers this year.  It spoilt the meal and made me feel sick.  Perhaps one day smoking will be banned in public but until then, please smokers consider the non-smokers around you before you light up next year.  One shouldn't have to vet who you sit by to see if they smoke or not.

Barbara Turner.

 [I have heard other members and friends complaining of the same problem - next year I shall push for either the smokers to wait until the Loyal Toast or to be segregated away from those of us who find it offensive. Dave]


Operation Raleigh
Aliabad 7,500 feet above sea level
October 6th 1987

Hello Belfry Mob!

Its little me, Fiona, if any of you remember me and for those who are not too sure I was the Vampire's Bride at the last Bar-b-cue!  How did this years go?  OK, I hope - I'll be back from Sunny Downtown Pakistan in time for my 21st and Christmas so see you all then!

I've been here for a whole month now and have had the dreaded 'Pakistani Trotts' once so far!! I must admit that I'm enjoying every minute!  120 venturers from all over the world descended on Islamabad airport on 7th September, we were split into 3 groups named after mountain goats, shipped off onto one of 3 projects and promptly bitten to pieces by mossies and all manner of nasty beasties!

My first 21 day project was "trekking"!  Not recommended!  Tramping around the Himalayas with a 44lb pack on your back. The altitude messing your head up and 'RAVEN RATIONS' (THROW UP TIME!) in your belly! The views of ' Nanga Parbat' and surrounding snow capped peaks all over 4 times as GB was breath-taking!  I actually reached a height of 14,157 feet above sea level and I can tell you that the altitude does silly things to your head, legs and speech.  I felt as pissed as a fart!!  We also walked up a valley to a place called 'Fairy Meadows' which is at the base of Nanga Parbat and is paradise.  A BEC sticker has been secreted there for prosperity.  Hard work but worth every blistered sweaty moment!

We're now 2 days into our second project - Community Camp Aliabad.  We have to help the local villages build a road.  At the moment there's a footpath that snakes through the village, we have to fill holes in with rocks that we transport from walls that are demolished to make way for the road.!  Today we 'blasted' 3 big rocks - ace fun!  Digging, wheel barrowing and shovelling.  I'm going to come back like a Russian shot-putter!!

Aliabad is situated along the Karakorum Highway which traces the original silk route between China and Pakistan, our camp is in the shadow of Raka Poshi - the view is fantastic.  On 13-14 of this month I'll be taken for a trek up Raka'Poshi - I'm told not to the top!

Its ace here, the flies don't bother me anymore and I've given up counting my mossie bites.  We've all brought bright materials in the town and in Gilgit and got baggy Pakki trousers made up.  The days are very hot and there's a coke stand right outside the camp.  We’ve made a stove out of an old oil drum and last night I cooked scones for 40 people! Today its apple crumble and next week, chapatti base pizzas!

I'll write again next month to keep you all in touch. Look after yourselves and save a barrel for my birthday!!

Love Fiona McFall (1068 I think!!)

P.S. The Vampire and I are now engaged!!  Bloody Hell!


My apologies to the BEC

I will not be able to attend the AGM. due to the fact the dinner is being held at my present place of work; so I have to stock the bar, test the butcombe etc.

Snablet (1052)


Definition of an optimist

"Someone who thinks Wigmore will go"

Definition of a pessimist

"Anyone who agrees with him"

From the profound thoughts of Gonzo Lumley.


Filming in Wookey Hole

Recently Wookey Hole was the scene of the re-enactment of some of Cave Diving feats of daring and courage so that armchair cavers can experience all the thrills ...... ZZZZZ

ZZZZZ watch BBC sometime next year for Sid Perou's latest epic for the electronic screen.

For those who can't wait,-here is a sample of what they can expect to see.  Dany is now charging for his autograph!



The B.E.C. Get Everywhere - More French Show Caves

This years major speleological expedition by Mr. & Mrs. Rat took in about half of the limestone areas of France, a multitude of booze emporiums, assorted eating houses of various quality and an underground village in sandstone - not to mention a selection of traditional Gallic "squatters", one of which may be the last resting place of Jane's Euro cheque card!  A short itinerary and details of the caves visited follows.

After taking the excellent Truckline ferry from Poole we drove south from Cherbourg via the Troglodyte Village near Doue­la-Fontaine.  This man-made series of sand stone caverns is well worth seeing and there is a pleasant camp site in the town of Doue.

Our first limestone area was the Causses plateau (Lozere and Gard depts.) where we camped near Nant at a secluded site recommended by the Wessex and Shepton called "Le Roc qui Parle".  From here the three famous caves of Aven Armand, Bramabiau and Dargilan were visited.

Miserable weather soon drove us from here and we headed east to the Ardeche region, camping at Barjac, midway between the two fantastic show caves of La Cocaliere and Aven d'Orgnac. This area is well supplied with sporting caves and a brief foray was made into the Goule de Sauvas swallet system until stopped by a 15ft pitch only a few yards in.  The extensive and extremely picturesque Ardeche Gorge is near here but is packed solid with canoeists and the Aven de Marzel show cave on the plateau above the gorge is notable only for its museum of speleaology.

Next stop was the famous Fountaine-de-Vaucluse, a place of pilgrimage for all cave divers.  Low water conditions, tourists, ill considered commercialisation and the ubiquitous dog shit ruined any aesthetic pleasure to be had in seeing this mighty resurgence.  To cap it all the local caving club run a dreadful museum consisting of a man-made fibreglass cave and the Norbet Casteret collection of vandalised crystal~ and helactites!   Definitely a place to visit quickly or avoid altogether.

Hurrying on from here brought us next day to the tremendous Verdon Gorge - a huge limestone canyon but with a seeming lack of obvious spelaeological features and no tourist caves.

Next stop was Vercors where we bumped into Dave and Chris Perkins of the Wessex.  This caused the show cave of La Draye Blanche to be visited under the grip of a paralysing hangover!

A day later, with brains in neutral and stomach linings beginning to heal over, a combined Wessex/B.E.C. team accompanied twenty French school kids through the Grotte de Gaulois - about 300ft of low and muddy passage high in the cliffs of the Bourne Gorge leading to a highly exposed second entrance giving marvellous views over said gorge.

On our way home through France the isolated show cave of the Grotte d'Arcy at Arcy-sur-Cur was visited. An impressive but well vandalised system.

Prospective "show cavers" should note that the production of a club membership card and a query as to whether there is a special price for "speleologues" will usually elicit a discount of around 60p.  At La Cocaliere it got us a free brochure as well because the manager was an old mate of Nick Barrington!


Les Fermes Troglodytiques de Rochemenier (Rochemenier, Doue-la-Fontaine, Anjou)

This underground hamlet consists of two farms, a church, meeting hall and (closed) Cafe - some 19 surface and sub-surface buildings in all.  They are just an example of the dwellings of Rochemenier village, much of which is situated below ground level and still permanently inhabited.  The soft sandstone is easily dug and was extensively quarried to lime the fields - the resulting caves being adapted as houses, barns, stores, ovens, wine cellars etc.  The series open to the public also acts as a museum of farm implements, furniture and old photographs of the area.  These dwellings were obviously comfortable enough but our overall impression was of their extreme dampness.

Aven Armand (Hures-la-Parade, Lozere)

Well described in caving literature this is one of the great tourist caves of France.  Situated on the barren limestone plateau of the Causse Mejean, between the Jonte and Tarn Gorges, it is a very popular cave and an early morning visit is recommended. The original entrance is a pothole dropping directly into a 40m high chamber 100m long by 50m wide and extremely well decorated.  The Virgin Forest - some 400 stalagmites up to 30m in height - is a tremendous sight.  The tourist enters via a 208m long artificial sloping tunnel with a funicular railway in situ. Discovered by Louis Armand, the principal assistant of E.A. Martel.

Grotte de Bramabiau (Camprieu, Gard)

Tourists enter this cave at the resurgence and follow a series of paths mainly along ledges above the fast flowing river.  The passages are generally high, narrow canyons reaching up to 40m in height. Little in the way of formations but the spectacular water worn galleries are well worth seeing.  There are over 15Km of passages in this system and a sporting through trip from the sink entrance is possible by arrangement with the management - except in flood conditions when the whole place is impassable (Bramabiau being the local patois for "bull roaring" the sound of the resurgence in flood!)  Explored by E.A.Martel and team in 1888.

Grotte de Dargilon (Dargilon, Meyrueis, Lozere)

Also explored by Martel and Co in 1888 this cave consists of a series of superbly decorated chambers with most of the formations being in various shades of red, ochre and yellow giving the cave its alternative name of "La Grotte Rose".  Situated at the northern limit of the Causse Noir.

Grotte de la Cocialere (Courry, Gard)

One of the best show caves in France from a caver's point of view and well known to several Mendipites, the tourist section is only part of one of the largest cave systems in France - over 47Km at the time of writing.  The system has been gradually ex­plored since 1850 with Robert de Joly and team extending the cave to 4Km in 1937.  In the fifties the Soc. de Spel. et prehistoire Gard-Ardeche became involved and are still exploring the system.

The concept and realisation of the tourist section was the brain child of Andre Morti who together with his brother and other cavers laid all the concrete pathways and installed lighting etc. to produce a masterpiece of well lit, well conserved and excellently managed show cave.  Most of this is along the middle levels of this multi-level system and there are many fine displays of most types of formations - all still very much "alive" and glistening with water flow.  The gours and shield formations are particularly fine.  Not to be missed if you are in the area and I believe most of the rest of the system is of easy access.

Aven d'Orgnac (Orgnac l'Aven, Vallon Pont d'Arc, Ardeche)

The other reason for visiting this area is this awe-inspiring cave.  Similar to Aven Armand but on a greater scale and, unbelievably, even better decorated.  Entered via a lift and artificial tunnel, the enormous main chamber is partly lit by daylight entering from the pothole in the roof - first explored by de Joly in 1935. Again, part of a lengthy system of which only the first few chambers are commercialised.  The formations are plentiful, spectacular and multi-coloured with stalagmites having the appearance of immense piles of overlapping plates reaching up 35m in height.  One of the foremost tourist caves in the world.

(Incidentally, the BEC were here before - Harry Stanbury had a particularly exciting trip led by Robert de Joly some 37 years ago.  See Belfry Bulletin, June 1950 or British Caver vol 22, 1951.)

L'Aven-Grottede Marzel (St. Remeze, Ardeche)

Situated on the plateau above the Ardeche Gorge.  A rather grotty, small scale version of Aven Armand with plentiful but old and dead formations.  Originally explored by E.A. Martel in 1892 but subsequently the entrance was lost for 50 years.  (Why doesn't this happen to Eastwater?)  In 1949 Pierre Ageron rediscovered the cave and equipped it for tourism.  The BEC, in the shape of Harry Stanbury, were on the scene almost immediately!

Martel was a local shepherd and the bones of "his" dog can be seen lit by ultra violet light. Not a pretty sight.

For those wishing to avoid the cave there is a small but excellent museum of speleology containing many items of equipment belonging to the famous caving pioneers including Casteret's helmet - his other helmet being in the museum at Vaucluse and many more probably scattered throughout France.

For those wishing to avoid both there is a zoo and display of full size dinosaur models.

Scialet-Grotte de la Draye-Blanche (La Chappelle-en­Vercors, Drome)

A spiral staircase leads to a large and well decorated chamber.  Good examples of moon milk and some fine helictites.  "The highest underground cave in France open to the public".  Not recommended with a hangover.

Grottes d'Arcy-sur-Cure (Arcy-sur-Cure, Yonne)

Well off the main limestone areas of France but a convenient stop between Calais and the Vercors - and close to Chablis.

Described by M. l'Abbe Parat in 1666 the cave has been regularly visited and pillaged since then. Buffon vandalised the placed in 1740 and 1759 to decorate artificial grottos in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris.  Despite this the cave is worth visiting and is principally a large tunnel forming an abandoned oxbow cave of the River Cure.  There is an active phreatic system below the show cave.  The area is of importance site of Mourterian and Upper Palaeolithic remains.

Tony Jarratt   15/10/87


Cave Photography - A Practical Guide

I have been looking forward to the publication of this book since Chris first mentioned it's gestation to me.  My cave photographic experience is almost non-existent, other than many hours spent lying in cold water for generations of cave photographers.  This book certainly gives the potential cave photographer the information needed to get started, evaluate his (or her) results and gain an improvement on technique.

The photographs used profusely throughout the book are all of the high standard one expects of Chris' work and I thought were in some ways more useful than the text.  It would have been very helpful if more use had been made of these photographs to explain or amplify points made in the text itself. The coding system used to show the positions of the various light sources is a very good idea, but I found it annoying to constantly have to find the chart on page 4 which could have been more conveniently sited inside the front cover.  Perhaps arrows on the borders could have been easier to follow.

I learnt a great deal from reading this book and feel a lot more confident of setting out to take photographs underground.  A careful study of the illustrations has given me an idea of the type of illuminations to use and where to place it.  This was previously a total mystery.  The book was not particularly easy to read but is fulfilling an important gap in the caver’s reference library and it certainly deserves to find a slot on everyone's bookshelf.

Richard Stevenson


The 150th Anniversary of the discovery of Cox's Cave.

A short history by Dave Irwin

This year is the 150th Anniversary of the accidental discovery of Cox’s Cave at cheddar.  It was the first of the three show caves to be fully commercialised, though Gough’s Old Cave may have been open to paying visitors at this time.  Though it has been shown (Irwin; 1987 - BB No. 400) that Gough’s Old cave was known as Great Stalagmite Cavern as early as 1869 a recently located newspaper reference shows that it has been open as early as 1840. However, Cox’s Cave was the first cave at Rock End, Cheddar to be commercialised immediately after its discovery in 1837 (Irwin, 1986b, Fig. 1).  The account that follows is based on a much more detailed paper published in the UBSS Proceedings.


The cave was accidentally discovered by a workman, named Cooper, in 1837, during the building of a coach-house or outhouse for the lease-holder of the now Cliff Hotel - George Cox.  After a considerable amount of effort on the part of George Cox and his workmen, the Cave was opened to the public in 1838.  The original entrance was some 20-30 feet up the steeply sloping cliff face and today is known as Daylight Hole.  This entrance, with a few steps remaining, can be seen from the cliff or just inside the cave entrance.   The earliest recorded description of the cave was published in 1842.  The book was published by the Cheddar Vicar, Richard A'Court Beadon but the description was supplied by George Cox.  A year later, in a letter to Buckland, the Dean of Llandaff Cathedral at Cardiff, the Right Reverend W.D. Conybeare, visited the cave and gave the earliest independent view of the site (Jamieson, 1858)

Stalactite Cavern, Cheddar. 1st July, 1843

Dear Buckland,

... it is the only grateful cave fit for ladies we have; the only thing I ever saw that at all realises my idea of Antiparos.  It has one main porch and three or four lateral branches, narrow fissures, about ten or twelve feet broad, and some thirty or forty feet high, vested and draped with the most fantastic and beautiful marble stalactite one can conceive.  The floor, when discovered, was a mass of stalagmite, covering rounded gravel of the mountain limestone, filling up about ten feet of the bottom.

The owner has cut galleries through this stalagmite, and he is one of the best showmen of a cave I ever saw, lighting the whole with a group of candles on a tin plate, which he raises to the roof, or thrusts through the narrow fissures, so as to exhibit to whole to perfection.  Make this known as the prettiest thing in the island, and come and see it,"

                        W.D. Conybeare,

The present-day entrance, at road level, was cut sometime between 1838 and 1842.

In Hunt (1850) we have an intriguing note in the description of the cave passages, “….the principal of which is easy of access, extending in a zig-zag direction about 200 feet into the solid rock, and is covered by beautiful incrustations ... transparent Stalactites, thousands of quill-like tubes ... ".  This is the only note of the existence of straw stalactites. Many of the roots may still be seen but were probably destroyed during further development in the late 19th century.

The early references to the cave were full of enthusiasm but a solitary note of discord was expressed by one visitor, Thomas Woodhouse of Otterhampton, near Bridgwater, Somerset, who said "This cavern is extremely disappointing, and strikes such a chill that it is a place to be avoided." That was in 1870.  However, the press and guide-books were of one voice that this cave "has no superior in the country" (Worth, 1894).

The initial section of cave open to the public was into the 4th Chamber just beyond the Transformation

Scene in the Third Chamber. Illustrations of famous group of stalagmites were included in Cheddar guide-bocks as early as 1860; published by John Bryne of Cheddar.  There are several editions of this book and the last. two, c.1874 and c.1879 include a different  illustration. The earlier illustration shows the guide holding candles whereas the later shows the Transformation Scene lit with gas jets. Surveys at Longleat House show that the 5th - 7th chambers were in fact known by 1884 but were not accessible to the public.  It is possible that preparations were under way about this time to open this part of the cave to the public as a flight of steps leading to the 7th Chamber are shown on the surveys.  The earliest record of the 4th - 5th chambers being shown is c. 1886. The following year the 7th Chamber was opened and was christened "The Fairies Grotto".  The opening of this ‘new’ chamber was obviously planned to coincide with Queen Victoria's Jubilee and to combat the competition from Gough's activities at Gough's Old Cave that year (Irwin, 1987a)

In 1904, The Times reported the visit of the Martel's thus (E. Cox, 1914): “ ... They were greatly pleased with the kaleidoscopic beauties of Cox's Cave, which will soon be enlarged by the addition of a newly discovered chamber…”   This new chamber was illustrated on three picture postcards published by Hartmann of London in 1905.  The remaining grotto to be developed was the ‘Lady Chapel’; this was first on public show in 1913 about the time the second entrance was blasted out to the side of the cliff.  The Lady Chapel was the last 'discovery' to be made in this cave.

During the winter of 1986/1987 a connection was made from the 7th Chamber into Pavey's Cave (Fantasy Grotto) to allow the visitors to exit through the latter cave entrance.

As the cave prospered and developed an office, stores and refreshment room was built alongside the cliffs at the cave entrance.  Later, about 1884, a photographic studio was built.  The obligatory souvenir shop was also built and no doubt stocked the much sought after collectors item of today.  A handbill (Cox, C & J., c. 1886) describing the cave as far as the 5th and 6th chambers (thus pre-dating the ‘discovery’ of the 7th chamber in 1887) states ‘Photographs of the Cliffs and the Stalactite Cavern, by the Best Artists. In great Variety’.  A later handbill (Cox, E., c.1890) fully describes the cave as far as the 7th chamber, "The Fairies Grotto" which was discovered in Jubilee Year (1887) and lists 18 Frith cave interior photographs being available.  The Frances Frith photographs had a very long life and were continuously on sale in one form or another as late as the middle 1960’s.  The initial selection of prints were available at various prices according to size (Cox, E., c.1890).  By c.1894 (Cox, E.) the number available had increased to 20, and by c.1899 (Cox, E.) a total of 25 views were on sale.  Between 1902 - 1903 all 25 Frith views were progressively published as picture postcards. Edward Cox sent Queen Alexandra a selection of picture post cards in 1910 and received the following reply which was widely advertised (Weston-super-Mare Gazette, 1911, 1st. May and Various issues until 1st July)  (Cox, 1911, p1):

Buckingham Palace,
19th July, 1910

Dear Sir,

I submitted your letter to Queen Alexandra, and I am now commanded to thank you most sincerely for the interesting photographs which you have so kindly sent for Her Majesty's acceptance.

            Yours faithfully, Charlotte Knollys.

                        Mr. Edward Cox.

                                    The Caves, Cheddar.

Certainly photographs and postcards were on sale simultaneously until 1914 and by this date 60 1d postcards were available and the photographic versions were priced at 2d. each.  A special pocket of 14 postcards was available for 1/- and known as The Royal Packet (Cox, 1911, p2;1914, p.9)

Keen to encourage visitors to Cox's Stalactite Cavern and his Pleasure Gardens, George Cox arranged a regular horse drawn carriage from Weston-Super­Mare every Monday, Thursday and Friday during the summer season.  This service commenced in 1861 but probably did not survive the arrival of the railway at Cheddar in 1869.

In addition to the cave, added attractions were arranged in the Pleasure Gardens. In 1861 George Cox organised a 'Grand Balloon Ascent' on the 18th of June, but the day ended in failure as the 10,000 cubic foot balloon could not be inflated due to leaking gas pipes. The Wells Journal (1861, 22nd June) reported "This failure called forth some expressions of angry feeling, which could not excite surprise, seeing that the promised ascent of the balloon was to a majority of those present the great attraction."

Many companies took their employees to Cheddar and in 1868, for example, the annual outing of the Bristol company, E.5. and A. Robinson employees made Cheddar the venue for their Annual Outing.  Travelling in a convoy of horse drawn brakes, one including a brass band for their entertainment during the journey. They left Bristol at 7 am. and arrived at Cheddar about midday (Weston-Super­Mare Mercury, 1868, 1st. August).  They had dinner at the Cliff Hotel and then separated to enjoy themselves according as their tastes led them.  The caves were, of course, the principal attraction and were visited by most of the excursionists"

Early visitors were accompanied by Mr. George Cox or a member of his family, and after their visit were requested to sign the visitors book; though Stevens (1869, p.33) ventured the opinion that since the railway had arrived at Cheddar the visitors book in “which several autographs of persons of note ... will probably be discontinued as the numbers increase.”  Apparently this was not so as the practice continued well into the 20th century, certainly up to 1914, though it may have been produced only for selected visitors.  It is not known whether these books have survived.

The first reported visit of an international figure appeared in the Wells Journal (1852, 28th August) which states "Large parties have lately visited the cliffs, gardens, and cavern notwithstanding the heavy rains and boisterous winds.  Among other distinguished guests who have honoured this neighbourhood with their company, we find the following entry in the visitors book under date of the 12th inst.., "President Fillimore and party, U.S."  This was reprinted in the Wells Journal from the Bridgwater Times.  Millard Fillmore (incorrectly spelt in the account) was President of the United States of America 1850 – 1853.

In the late 1850’s the cave was visited by the teenage Prince of Wales (later King George VII) and his tutor.  From about 1868 George Cox, and later, Edward Cox, regularly advertised the fact that the cave had been visited by the Prince of Wales but only the published date appears in booklets entitled ‘Souvenir of Cox’s Stalactite caves (Cox, E. c.1911, p.3; 1914, p.7) which states “His Majesty, King Edward VII, was brought to see Cox’s cavern in 1857.”

The 1905 Cox’s handbills and picture postcards reminded the public that King Edward VII had visited the cave and photographs of the Cliff village of the time also show clearly painted advertisements on the gable end of one of the building making the same statement.  During the rivalry between the two principal proprietors Gough’s had published the following statement on 1st August 1904 (Cox, c.1906, p.2)

 “Eye-opener for strangers, - His Majesty King Edward never visited Cheddar or Caves. His Royal highness the Prince of Wales never visited Cheddar or Caves.  To make a long story short, visitors should not be misled..”

Cox (c.1906) published the Gough note and added that Cox’s Cave was the cave “that you are advised to be aware of, is the Most Exquisite and Charming in the United Kingdom…”

Providing that the Cox extract is a true copy this grossly incorrect statement by the Gough’s was an appalling act of indecent trading.  It is true that King Edward VII had not visited the cave as King and neither had the then Prince of Wales who was to become King George V.

This play on words was a simply a disgrace.  However, Edward Cox wrote to Buckingham Palace and received the following reply form the King’s secretary:

H.M. Yacht Victoria and Albert,
5th August, 1904


I have had the honour of submitting your letter on the 3rd instant to the King and I am commanded to inform you in reply that His Majesty remembers when quite young having visited the Stalactite Caverns at Cheddar, Somerset.  The King thinks he must have been about fifteen or sixteen years of age at the time

            I am, Sir,

                        Your obedient servant


Though Cox’s booklets state 1857 as the year of Edward’s visit, the date must remain in doubt; on the King’s evidence, bearing in mind his vague recollection, it could be 1856 or 1857.  Jamieson, however, records in April 1858 “..Mr. Cox has laudably determined that the contents of the cave shall not be broken up nor disturbed, anticipating the probability of its being honoured with a royal visit."  This is probably the year of Edward's visit though one cannot dismiss the possibility of a visit by yet another, unrecorded, royal personage.

During 1862 Nicholas Ennor, a Cornish miner operating the Priddy Minery, some 5 miles away. visited Cox's Cave and notes

."..about 26 years since a very beautiful stalactite cave was discovered at Cheddar.  The finder (being an intelligent man) took the best possible means of preserving it not allowing the stalactites (some of them from 6 to 10 feet long) to be broken off. At one point a drop had caused the extension of the uppermost stalactite downward and the lower one upward until they had approached each other so close that there was not sufficient distance between for the drop to fall consequently it trickled off onto the one below.  This circumstance led the finder to imagine that by watching carefully this peculiar phenomenon he would be enabled to measure time.  Shortly after the Bishop (I think) of Llandaff visited the cave…(and said).. "it would be necessary for him to live a thousand years to accomplish his object  Not long since I had an opportunity of seeing both the stalactites and the owner when he freely expressed himself on the wisdom of the Bishop's remark as he could not discover the least perceptible change during the 26 years.”

Ennor concluded that the 'Bishop' is a “useful, thinking man."   The 'Bishop' was the Dean of Llandaff, W. R. Conybeare

The American traveller Elihu Burritt visited the cave about 1864 and published an account of his visit to Cox's Cave comparing it with the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky (Burritt, 1865).

Edward Cox, like Gough, encouraged the public and scientific bodies to visit his cave by widely advertising the names of famous people that had signed the visitor’s book.  In 1880 the Duke of Argyll (son-in-law of Queen Victoria) paid the cave a visit:

(Weston-Super-Mare Mercury, 1880, 28th August) COX'S CAVERN – Amongst other distinguished visitors to Stalactite Cavern on Monday were His Grace the Duke of Argyll and the ladies Victoria Evelyn Mary and Constance Campbell. The Duke and his party remained for some time at Cheddar; partaking of refreshments at the Cliff Hotel, and before leaving, expressed the pleasures afforded them by their visits to the cavern.

By the turn of the century, Edward Cox was able to produce an impressive list of important visitors to the cave (Coc, c.1899). They included H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, T.R.H. the Duke and Duchess D’Aumale, H.R.H. the Prince of Siam, The Duke of Argyll, The Ladies Campbell, the Right Hon. Sir M. Grant-Duff, Lord Avebury (Sir John Lubbock) &c.  In addition to these personages he listed “The two sons of His Majesty the King of Siam and The Lord Chief Justice of England visited Cox's Cavern, 1898.”  The visitors to Gough's Cave have already been outlined in (Irwin, 1986b)

Other visitors of note were Eduard Martel and his wife who visited Mendip in 1904.  They visited both Cox's and Gough's Coves on the 15th June 1904 with 6 strong contingent of Mendip and well travelled cavers.   The host party comprised Balch, Baker, Troup, Bamforth, Botterill and Puttrell.  Of his visit to Cox's Cave Martel wrote in the visitors book (Cox, c.1905):

“Never saw anywhere such graceful and charmingly coloured stalactites in about 600 visited caves. Quite unique.”

Martel later published an account of his Mendip visit in La Nature, 1905.

During the 1913 season Edward Cox (1914.) published a listed of satisfied visitors, probably from the Visitors Book referred to as Cox’s Book, including a certain F. J. Moore from Tasmania. “…We liked it very much better than the other cave.”  A visitor from Cape Town thought that Cox’s Cave was finer than the Janolen Caves of Australia!

The Premier of South Australia, the Hon. A. H. Peake, on a short stay in England, visited Gough's and Cox's caves during a tour of the area including a civic reception at Wells.  The Wells Journal reports (1913, 4th April) that he "signed the book, in which he wrote that he had seen some caves in Australia which were considered to be the finest in the world, but that he was forced to own that those of Cheddar far away exceed them..”  Mr.Peake was referring to the Naracoote Caves in South Australia (Gough, 1900-1918).  On the 2nd June (Cox, E., c.1914) Puttrell, the famous Derbyshire pioneer, again visited the cave and noted in Cox's Book  “The richest and most delicately tinted Cave in Britain, and, remembering its gem-like collection of stalactites, etc, might well be called the Jewel House of Cheddar.”  He had previously visited the cave with Martel in 1904.

The popularity of the cave grew rapidly and it is perhaps not surprising that a certain amount of vandalism occurred.  Two early accounts were reported in the Weston-super-Mare newspapers in 1861 and 1862.  The second case involved a businessman named Eggar in November 1862.  Accompanied by two ladies, failed to obey the admission notice at the cave entrance and entered the cave.  After their ‘private’ tour of the cave, the party left the cave to visit the Cliffs.  Shortly after George Cox noticed that one of the more important stalagmite formations was missing.  The pieces of the four foot long stalagmite were later found to be in a hand-bag carried by Eggar and was immediately arrested by the local police and committed for trial at Taunton early in 1863.  The trial was reported in both of the Weston-super-Mare newspapers (Mercury and Gazette) on the 10th January 1863.  The best account appeared in the Gazette:

MALICIOUS DAMAGE AT THE CAVE AT CHEDDAR  -  William Joseph Eggar, a respectably dressed man, was indited for maliciously damaging a Stalactite in a cave at Cheddar, the property of George Cox, exceeding the value of five pounds, on the 3rd, November last….. enquiries proved that there was no intention on the part of Mr. Eggar to maliciously injure and destroy the stalactite and some arrangement had been come to by which some small compensation had been paid to Mr, Cox and he did not wish to proceed with the case…Mr, Eggar, pleaded not guilty…A verdict of acquittal was taken and Mr. Eggar left the court declaring that he had paid dearly for the Stalactite.  We understand that the terms were £25 and costs.”

Until 1913 the cave had just the single entrance, only one photograph has been found of this taken by F. Frith & Co. Ltd of Reigate c.1901-1910. This obviously was inconvenient to the public as was noted by Stevens (1869, p.31)

..If at all practicable leans of exit should be provided distinct from the entrance so that on special occasions visitors might pass through and much confusion be thereby avoided.

Stevens was also critical of the entrance door (1869, p.31)

At the entrance to the cavern a doorway of modern construction ought to be removed and another substituted more in accordance with correct taste.

A second entrance may well have been considered for some time as the location of "The Fairies Grotto" and its proximity to the cliff face was known as early as 1884 but the actual breakthrough via an enlarged rift from the 7th Chamber did not take place until 1913 coincidently with the opening of the "Ladye Chapel".   Advertisements in the papers (Weston-super-Mare Gazette, 1914, 2nd May) claimed "The New Exit is the greatest improvement" and on the 9th May " ... The first Grand Discovery of the 20th Century, 1913.  The Ladye Chapel.  Much as Cox's Cave has been admired the new chamber (1913) surpasses in exquisite beauty and rich colouring anything yet discovered.  It is close to the new exit, through the postcard room ... "

The second entrance was closed in 1987 and a connection to Pavey's Cave, now known as Fantasy Grotto, has been made.  Visitors may now pass through to Pavey's Cave and exit through the Pavey's Cave entrance.

Before 1870 the cave was by candles but improvements were on the way in the late 1860’s.  Green (1869, p.32) stated that "Gas will be shortly be used to light the cavern." and Stevens (1869, p.31) commented ...

… that an endeavour be made to light this exquisite cavern with gas or at any rate by some more brilliant arrangement than has been hitherto adopted.  With a powerful light increased or diminished so as to produce the best effects; the result would be truly magnificent

Stevens' wish had been answered within a few months for gas lighting was installed during 1869-1870. During the 1870 season Cox's advertisements stated (Weston-super-Mare, 1870, p.101) “ ... (Now lit by Gas) ...” An advertisement appeared in Morris directory (Somerset., 1872, facing p.l72 ) confirming that the cave was illuminated with gas and the Cheddar notes inform the reader that the that the cave “….is now lit with gas…”  All subsequent advertisements and handbills announce that the cave is "BRILLIANTLY LIGHTED WITH GAS".

The method of lighting the cave was to become the subject of the continued rivalry between Cox and Gough during the 1890’s and early years of the 20th century.  Gough had installed gas in Gough’s old Cave in 1883 (Irwin, 1985b) but when the Diamond Chamber and St. Paul’s Chamber were discovered in 1898, he installed electric lighting in these chambers in 1899.  A typical claim by Gough read “Illuminated by Electric Light. Grandest in the world.”  From the same date Cox’s handbills (Cox, E., c.1899)

Superior to electricity

The type of mantle used with gas illumination was important to obtain maximum illumination and at that time the Welsbach was considered the finest available.  Later, Edward Cox re-phrased his adverts to read “lighted with Acetylene, the most brilliant light yet discovered…”  (Cox, E., c.1906).

Electric lighting of the cave had been considered as a possibility when the cave was offered for auction in 1884.  The Conditions of Sale and press advertisements suggested that “the introduction of electric light, easily practicable, would add immensely to the present attractions and income.”  Another thirty years was to pass before electric lighting was installed: this was 1913. A Cox’s Cave advertisement (Wells Journal 1913, 4th July)  “…”The Lady Chapel,” ….now revealed by the ELECTRIC LIGHT, 1913.”  Edward Cox appears to have altered his view, electricity did have some merit!  Cox’s later advertisement read: “the Cave ….is brilliantly illuminated with electric light, …”  (Cox, E., 1914, p.3).  The cave was partially illuminated by electricity in 1913, presumably only in the Lady Chapel area, and was completely wired for electric light in 1929. A contemporary Cox’s advertisement (Guy-Bray, c.1932, facing p.9) states that

Discovered in 1837
by the Installation throughout of

The cave was widely advertised in the mid-19th century the earliest being found in the Wells Journal in 1852.  Admission charges were expensive 3/- for one or two persons and 1/- each for more than that number and continued at this rate until 1874 and possibly later. Stevens (1869, p. 33) commented that "The charge for admission has hitherto been one shilling each person; probably these terms may be revised, but no one need grudge the outlay, as there is not in England a sight so unique as the Stalactite Cavern at Cheddar." Certainly by 1886 (Cox, E., c.1886) the price had been reduced to " ... One Shilling each for a party of not less than three.  One Single Visitor, 2s.  Two visitors 1s. 6d. each.

More than that number, as stated above, viz:- 1s. each.  Children under 12 half price."  Admission charges stabilised in the early years of the century at 1/- person at both Gough's and Cox's Caves up to the outbreak of hostilities in 1914.

The cave was offered for auction in 1884 but a High Court ruling prevented this and a new lease was given to the Cox family that terminated in 1939.  Since that time the cave has been managed by the Longleat Estate. Full details of this event and that of Pavey excavating Pavey's Cave is to be found in the writer's paper published in UBSS Proceedings for 1987.


The author would like to thank Cheddar Caves management for their unstinting help; Miss Kate Harris, Librarian to the Marquess of Bath, Dr. Trevor Shaw, Dr. William Stanton, Chris Hawkes, Chris Richards and many other for additional references and archival material.

NOTE:  All references cited in this paper are to be found in Cox's Cave.  A History by D.J. Irwin, UBSS Proceedings for 1987.


Librarian's Report

Little has been achieved on the purchasing side but thanks to Jill Tuck we now have a superb set of mahogany bookshelves and the next year will be spent in overhauling the collection of books and journals.  Thanks should be expressed to Trebor, Stumpy and Co who fitted the new bookcases. Will members who have books out please return ASAP and as usual the Club would be grateful for any donations - including B.B.s.  There will be a much tighter booking out system this coming year.

Tony Jarratt.

Hut Engineer's Report

Dany Bradshaw

Dear Member

The main problem over the year was the Tackle store roof, being blown off in the high winds we had in March.  We replaced the old Asbestos roof with a traditional felt flat roof with new lead flashing etc.  We also had a small fire just after Christmas, which caused a lot of smoke damage, but it did not take long to clean up the mess and re-decorate. Having said that, some of the fire precautions which were recommend by the fire prevention officer, have now been finished e.g., emergency fire exit door in main room, fire resisting door & door closer main room, emergency signs and fire extinguishers, the rest of his recommendations will be finished as and when monies become available.

We also fitted a new window with a side hung sash to the women’s room, for am emergency exit.

The showers have caused us a lot of aggro, but it is not just the showers but the coin meters which were the source of most of the trouble, we have purchased 2 new showers which are a lot stronger than last ones, one of which has been fitted along with a new coin meter and I have not had any complaints as yet.

The tackle store has still to be finished, along with a great many other jobs.

Working weekends and members weekends don’t work, but some members have done a fair bit when they can and I must thank all those that have come and worked on the hut, because without the small few we'd be in a right state.  I am sorry I have not got the job list up to date, but it is such a long list now, I have not had the time.


AGM Minutes

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Bristol Exploration Club held at the Belfry on Saturday, 4th October 1986

The meeting was convened by the Hon. Sec. Bob Cork, there being sufficient quorum present at, 10.35 hours.


Bob Cork, Dave Turner, Pat Cronin, Chris Smart, Richard Neville-Dove, Martin Grass, Nigel Taylor, Mark Lumley, Andy Sparrow, Chris Batstone, Garry Trainer, Babs Williams, Richard Payne, Andrew Middleton, Robin Gray, Alan Kennett, Tony Jarratt, Nick Sprang, Steve Milner, Ian Caldwell, Chris Harvey, Joan Bennett, Roy Bennett, John Theed, Bob Hill, David Pike, Mairi Rands, Laurence Smith, John Watson. Mike McDonald, Mat Tuck, Dany Bradshaw, Stuart McManus, Andy Lovell, Peter Hopkins, Dave Shand, Henry Bennett, Axel Knutson, Alan Turner, John Dukes, Phil Romford and Mike Jeanmaire.

Apologies: Ted Humphries, Tim Gould, Alan Butcher, Brian Workman, Jeremy Henley, Bucket Tilbury, Graham Wilton-Jones, Lavina Watson, Chris Castle, Tom Chapman, Pete (Snablet) Macnab, Robin Brown, Dave Irwin and Andy Lolley.

Nominations were requested for chairman - Dave Turner, proposed by Nigel Taylor and seconded by Tony Jarratt, was the only nomination and was duly elected as chairman.

The chairman asked for members' resolutions.

Minutes of 1986 A.G.M.  These had previously been published in the B.B.  They were taken as read and accepted by the meeting, proposed Dany Bradshaw, seconded Nigel Taylor and accepted unanimously.

Matters Arising. The matter of the missing log was again discussed; it was decided to approach Martin Cavender once again regarding the matter.

Hon. Sec's. Report. This had been previously published in the BB and was taken as read.  The acceptance of the report was, proposed by Lawrence Smith and seconded by Richard Neville-Dove and was carried unanimously.

Hon. Treasurer's Report  This was previously published in the BB and was taken as read. Mike McDonald produced the financial accounts which were distributed at the meeting.  This gave rise to a short discussion on telephone and electricity costs from which the following resolution was forthcoming: "The new committee to be instructed to assess our present situation regarding the telephone".  Proposed Stuart McManus and seconded by Nigel Taylor and was carried unanimously.  Acceptance of the report was proposed by Chris Batstone and seconded by Gary Trainer, this was carried.

Hon. Auditor's Report.  Joan Bennett read her report to the meeting stating that the accounts were in order and that they represented a fair and reasonable 'record of the club's financial position.  The report was accepted by the meeting.

The club thanked Joan for her many years of service as the Club's Hon. Auditor and expressed their sense of loss due to her resignation.  A formal vote of thanks was proposed by Dany Bradshaw and seconded by Chris Smart and was carried unanimously.

Caving Secretary's Report.  This was previously published in the BB and was taken as read.  A discussion took place on the subject of the Cuthbert’s Leaders meeting held earlier in the year as a result of which the following resolutions were proposed. (1) "That the Cuthbert’s Leaders hold a formal meeting annually and the Caving Secretary shall be responsible for the minuting of such a meeting and report to the AGM", proposed by Dave Turner and seconded by Roy Bennett.  (2) "That the lock on St. Cuthbert’s Swallet be changed, the new lock should be of a non-copyable type and access be restricted to bone fide trips", proposed Nigel Taylor and seconded by Ian Caldwell.  Both resolutions were carried unanimously.  The acceptance of the report was proposed by Andy Sparrow and seconded by Dany Bradshaw and was carried unanimously.  A vote of thanks was given to Mike McDonald for his efforts in cleaning up Cuthbert’s.

Hut Warden's Report. This had been previously published in the BB and was taken as read.  The subject of debtors was raised and discussed at length.  It was the meetings wish that the following debts be recorded:  Tim Gould, an unknown sum not less than £8 and no greater than £50;  Edric Hobbs, the sum of £1;  James Smart who owes £5 and a £10 debt owed by Mike McDonald in respect of a carbide purchase. From the above the following motion was tabled: "that the Secretary writes to Mr. Timothy Gould requesting that he pay his outstanding debts and conducts his financial affairs with the Club in a more orderly fashion in the future".

A further proposal was made "that the Hut Warden monitors outstanding Hut fee debts and reports to the Committee any which exceed the sum of £10 per individual", proposed Nigel Taylor and seconded by Pat Cronin and was carried unanimously.

The report was proposed for acceptance by Mark Lumley and seconded by Andy Lovell and was accepted unanimously.

Tackle Master's Report.  Steve Milner's report was pre-published and was taken as read.  The following proposal was tabled after a short discussion: "that members who wish to leave tackle underground, may only do so by prior arrangement with the Tackle Master", proposed by Andy Sparrow and seconded by Stuart McManus: accepted.  It was proposed by Bob Hill and seconded by Stuart McManus that the report be accepted and it was carried unanimously.

B.B. Editor's Report. Dave Turner had previously published his report in the BB and it was proposed by Nigel Taylor and seconded by Dave Shand that the report be accepted and this was carried unanimously.  A vote of thanks was given.

Hut Engineer's Report.  Dany Bradshaw gave an oral rendition which left the meeting speechless and wet cheeked. The acceptance of the above was muted by Tony Jarratt and seconded by Nigel Taylor and applauded by the meeting unanimously.  A vote of thanks was neither proposed or given.

Librarian's Report. Tony Jarratt read his report to the meeting.  There being no matters arising the acceptance was proposed by Christopher Batstone and seconded by Bob Hill and was carried unanimously as is the norm.

Ian Dear Memorial Fund.  One application only had been received this year, this had been turned down on the grounds that the proposed trip did not relate to the Club or to caving.  It was proposed by Phil Romford and seconded by Chris Smart that the report be accepted and this was carried unanimously.

Members Resolutions. None.

Committee for 1987-88

There being no election required this year the following members were auto elected, committee posts were agreed unanimously by the meeting and proposer and seconder are given in ()

Hon. Sec.                Bob Cork (Chris Batstone, Robin Gray)
Treasurer                 Mike McDonald (Dany Bradshaw, Stuart McManus)
Caving Sec              Richard Neville-Dove (Tony Jarratt, Mark Lumley)
B.B. Editor               Dave Turner (Stuart McManus, Phil Romford)
Hut Warden             Andy Sparrow (Stuart McManus, Robin Gray)
Hut Engineer            Dany Bradshaw (Martin Grass, Stuart McManus)
Tacklemaster           Steve Milner (Tony Jarratt, Dany Bradshaw)
Membership Sec.     John Watson (Tony Jarratt, Martin Grass)

Ordinary committee members: Phil Romford.

The meeting instructed the Committee to co-opt Mark Lumley and Tony Jarratt.

Non committee post: Hon. Auditor Barry Wilton.

Chris Smart proposed that the Librarian be made an officer of the Club.  This would require a constitutional amendment and therefore could not be considered at this meeting.

Any Other Business

1.                  A lengthy discussion took place as to whether the CSCC constituted "a club of similar aims" as specified in section 5 (a) of the constitution. It was proposed by Stuart McManus and seconded by Bob Cork that the CSCC is of similar aims. For 24; against 12, abstentions 6. Therefore carried.

2.                  Andy Sparrow was asked to represent the Club as rescue team leader.  He accepted this position.

3.                  The car belonging to one Mark Lumley which has been parked on the Belfry site for some considerable time is to be removed by the owner as soon as possible.

4.                  The new committee were instructed to ensure that the Club’s insurance is index linked.

5.                  It was proposed that potential members of the Club attend the Committee Meeting at which their application will be considered unless there are any extenuating circumstances why they should not be present.

6.                  A lengthy discussion took place on the availability of cave keys.  From this the following proposal emerged, that the new committee investigate methods of issuing cave keys along the lines of local members holding them.  Proposed Phil Romford and seconded Alan Turner, passed with 6 against and 3 abstentions.

There being no other business the chairman closed the meeting at 14.53 hours.


Bristol Exploration Club - Membership List 1/12/87

828 Nicolette Abell                      Faukland, Bath
1059 Georgina Ainsley                 Redland, Bristol
987 Dave Aubrey                         Park St, Salisbury, Wiltshire.
20 (L) Bobby Bagshaw                 Knowle, Bristol, Avon
392 (L) Mike Baker                      Midsomer Norton, Bath, Avon
818 Chris Batsone                       Tynings, Radstock, Avon
1079 Henry Bennett                     Pimlico, London.
390 (L) Joan Bennett                    Wesbury-on-Trym, Bristol
214 (L) Roy Bennett                     Wesbury-on-Trym, Bristol
769 Sue Bishop                           Tynings, Radstock.
998 Crissie Bissett                      Exeter, Devon
731 Bob Bidmead                        East Harpytree,  Bristol
364 (L) Pete Blogg                       Chaldon, Caterham, Surrey
145 (L) Sybil Bowden-Lyle            Calne, Wiltshire
868 Dany Bradshaw                     Haybridge, Wells, Somerset
751 (L) T.A. Bookes                     London, SW2
1082 Robin Brown                       Axbridge Road, Cheddar, Somerset
924 Aileen Butcher                      Holt, Trowbridge, Wiltshire
849 Alan Butcher                         Holt, Trowbridge, Wiltshire
956 Ian Caldwell                          Clifton, Bristol
1036 Nicola Slann                       Clifton, Bristol
1014 Chris Castle                        Westlynne, Cheddar, Somerset
902 (L) Martin Cavender               Westbury-sub-Mendip, Wells, Somerset.
1048 Tom Chapman                     Barrows Road, Cheddar, Somerset.
1040 John Chew                          Rodney Stoke, Wells, Somerset
1080 Tony Church                       Shepton Mallet, Bath
1030 Richard Clarke                    Normans Green, Plymtree, East Devon
1005 Jane Cowbrey                     Haworth, Keighly, North Yorkshire
211 (L) Clare Coase                     Berkeley-Vale, New South Wales, 2259, Australia
89 (L) Alfie Collins                       Litton, Somerset
862 Bob Cork                              Stoke St. Michael, Somerset
1042 Mick Corser                        Cringleford, Norwich, Norfolk
827 Mike Cowlishaw                    Micheldever Station, Winchester, Hants.
1060 Peter Crawley                     West Wickham. Kent
890 Jerry Crick                            Wing, Leighton Buzzard, Bucks
896 Pat Cronin                            Knowle, Bristol
680 Bob Cross                            Knowle, Bristol
405 (L) Frank Darbon                   Vernon, British Columbia, Canada. VIT 6M3
423 (L) Len Dawes                       Minster Matlock, Derbyshire
815 Nigel Dibden                         Holmes Chapel, Cheshire
164 (L) Ken Dobbs                       Beacon Heath, Exeter, Devon
829 Angie Dooley                        Harborne, Birmingham
710 Colin Dooley                         Harborne, Birmingham
1000 (L) Roger Dors                     Priddy, Somerset
1038 Alan Downton                      Sundon Park, Luton, Beds
830 John Dukes                          Wells, Somerset
779 Jim Durston                          Glastonbury, Somerset
996 Terry Earley                          Wyle, Warmister, Wiltshire
322 (L) Bryan Ellis                       Westonzoyland, Bridgwater, Somerset
1064 David Evans                        Didcot, Oxon
1063 Peter Evans                        Abingdon, Oxfordshire
232 Chris Falshaw                       Fulwood, Sheffield
269 (L) Tom Fletcher                    Bramcote, Nottingham.
894 Phil Ford                              Greenfield, Clwyd, North Wales
404 (L) Albert Francis                  Wells, Somerset
569 Joyce Franklin                      Stone, Staffs
469 Pete Franklin                        Stone, Staffs
835 Len Gee                               St. Edgeley, Stockport, Cheshire
1069 Angie Glanvill                      Chard, Somerset
1017 Peter Glanvill                       Chard, Somerset
648 Dave Glover                          Pamber Green, Basingstoke, Hampshire
1054 Tim Gould                           Redland, Bristol
860 Glenys Grass                       Sawbridgeworth, Herts
790 Martin Grass                         Sawbridgeworth, Herts
1009 Robin Gray                         East Horrington, Wells, Somerset
1089 Kevin Gurner                       Theydon Bois, Epping, Essex
1088 Nick Gymer                        Theydon Bois, Epping, Essex
432 Nigel Hallet                           Address not known
104 (L) Mervyn Hannam               St Annes, Lancashire
581 Chris Harvey                         Hanham Lane, Paulton, Somerset
4 (L) Dan Hassell                         Moorlynch, Bridgwater, Somerset
893 Dave Hatherley                      Cannington, Bridgwater, Somerset
1078 Mike Hearn                         Bagworth, Axbridge, Somerset
1117 Pete Hellier                         Nempnet Thrubwell, Chew Stoke, Bristol
974 Jeremy Henley                      Leg Square, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
952 Bob Hill                                Assen, Netherlands
1021 Edric Hobbs                        Priddy, Wells Somerset
373 Sid Hobbs                            Priddy, Wells Somerset
736 Sylvia Hobbs                         Priddy, Wells Somerset
905 Paul Hodgson                       Pennybatch Lane, Burcott, Wells, Somerset
898 Liz Hollis                              Batcombe, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
899 Tony Hollis                           Batcombe, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
920 Nick Holstead                       Trowbridge, Wiltshire
387 George Honey                       Address not known
971 Colin Houlden                       Bristol, London, SW2
923 Trevor Hughes                       Bleadney, Wells, Somerset
855 Ted Humphreys                     Wells, Somerset
73 Angus Innes                           Alveston, Bristol, Aven
540 (L) Dave Irwin                        Townsend, Priddy, Somerset
922 Tony Jarratt                          Pelting Drove, Priddy, Somerset
668 Mike Jeanmaire                     Peak Forest, Buxton, Derbyshire
1026 Ian Jepson                          Beechen Cliff, Bath
51 (L) A Johnson                         Station Rd., Flax Bourton, Bristol
995 Brian Johnson                       Ottery St. Mary, Devon
1001 Graeme Johnson                 Cosby, Leicester
560 (L) Frank Jones                     Priddy, Somerset
1074 Jerry Jones                         Portishead, Bristol
567 (L) Alan Kennett                    Henleaze, Brsitol
884 John King                             Wisborough Green, West Sussex
316 (L) Kangy King                      Pucklechurch, Bristol, Avon
1007 Jonathan King                     Pucklechurch, Bristol, Avon
542 (L) Phil Kingston                   St. Mansfield, Brisbane, Queensland, 4122, Australia
413 (L) R. Kitchen                       Horrabridge, Yelverton, Devon
946 Alex Ragnar Knutson             Bedminster, Bristol
667 (L) Tim Large                        Moorland Stree, Axbridge, Somerset
958 Fi Lewis                               East Horrington, Wells, Somerset
1015 Andrew Lolley                     Kingsdowm, Bristol
1043 Andy Lovell                         Keynsham, Bristol
1072 Clive Lovell                          Keynsham, Bristol
1057 Mark Lumley                       Clifton, Bristol 8
1071 Michael McDonald               Knowle, Bristol
1067 Fiona McFall                       Fishponds, Bristol
651 Pete MacNab (Sr)                 Cheddar, Somerset
1052 Pete MacNab (Jr)                Cheddar, Somerset
1090 Robert McNair                     Otley, Yorkshire
550 (L) R A MacGregor                Baughurst, Basingstoke, Hants
725 Stuart McManus                   Priddy, Somerset
106 (L) E.J. Mason                      Henleaze, Bristol
558 (L) Tony Meaden                   Bradford Abbas, Sherborne, Dorset
704 Dave Metcalf                         Whitwick, Leics
1044 Andrew Middleton                Earlsfield, London.
1053 Steve Milner                        St. George, Bristol
1086 Richard Neville-Dove            Bristol
936 Dave Nichols                         Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
852 John Noble                           Tennis Courts Rod, Paulton, Bath
624 Jock Orr                               Sturton-by-Stowe, Lincoln
396 (L) Mike Palmer                    Yarley, Wells, Somerset
1045 Richard Payne                    Sidcup , Kent
22 (L) Les Peters                         Knowle Park, Bristol Avon
499 (L) A. Philpott                       Bishopston, Bristol, Avon
1103 Mark Philpott                      Wells, Somerset
1037 Dave Pike                           Yarley, Wells, Somerset
337 Brian Prewer                         West Horrington, Wells, Somerset
1085 Duncan Price                      Edgbaston, Birmingham
1081 Philip Provis                        Barh Rd., Paulton, Bristol
481 (L) John Ransom                   Patchway, Bristol, Avon
682 John Riley                            Waramanga, ACT 2611, Australia
1033 Sue Riley                            Waramanga, ACT 2611, Australia
1070 Mary Robertson                   Stonebridge Park, London, NW10
986 Lil Romford                           Coxley, Wells, Somerset
985 Phil Romford                         Coxley, Wells, Somerset
921 Pete Rose                            Crediton, Devon
832 Roger Sabido                        Lawrence Weston, Bristol
240 (L) Alan Sandall                    Nailsea, Avon
359 (L) Carol Sandall                   Nailsea, Avon
760 Jenny Sandercroft                 Victoria Park, Bristol
237 (L) Bryan Scott                     Havestock Road, Winchester Hnts
78 (L) R Setterington                    Taunton, Somerset
213 (L) Rod Setterington              Harpendon, Herts
1046 Dave Shand                        Penarth, Cardiff
915 Chris Smart                          Nr. Bradford on Avon, Wilts
911 James Smart                        Clifton, Bristol
1041 Laurence Smith                   West Horrington, Wells, Somerset
823 Andrew Sparrow                    Priddy, Somerset
1063 Nicholas Sprang                  East Street, Worcester
1 (L) Harry Stanbury                    Bude, Cornwall
38(L) Mrs I Stanbury                    Knowle, Bristol
575 (L) Dermot Statham               Westcombe, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
365 (L) Roger Stenner                  Weston super Mare, Avon
1084 Richard Stevens                  Worcester, Worcestershire
867 Rich Stevenson                     Wookey, Wells, Somerset, Somerset
583 Derek Targett                        East Horrington, Wells Somerset
1039 Lisa Taylor                          Weston Road, Bath
772 Nigel Taylor                          Langford Lane, Langford, Avon
1035 John Theed                         The Street, Farmborough, Bath
284 (L) Alan Thomas                    Priddy, Somerset
348 (L) D Thomas                        Bartlestree, Hereford
571 (L) N Thomas                        Salhouse, Norwich, Norfolk.
699 Buckett Tilbury                      High Wycombe, Bucks
700 Anne Tilbury                         High Wycombe, Bucks
74 (L) Dizzie Thompsett-Clark       Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex
381 (L) Daphne Towler                 Bognor Regis, Sussex
157 (L) Norman Tuck                   Llanfrechfa, Cwmbran, Gwent, Wales
382 Steve Tuck                           Coxley, Wells, Somerset
1023 Matt Tuck                           Coxley, Wells, Somerset
1066 Alan Turner                         Leigh on Mendip, Bath, Avon
678 Dave Turner                          Leigh on Mendip, Bath, Avon
912 John Turner                           Tavistock, Devon.
925 Gill Turner                             Tavistock, Devon.
635 (L) Stuart Tuttlebury               Boundstone, Farnham, Surrey
887 Greg Villis                            Banwell, Weston-super-Mare, Avon
175 (L) Mrs. D. Whaddon             Taunton, Somerset
1077 Brian Wafer                         Orpington, Kent
949 John Watson                        Wells, Somerset
1019 Lavinia Watson                    Wells, Somerset
973 James Wells                         Yorktown Heights, New York, USA
1055 Oliver Wells                        Yorktown Heights, New York, USA
1032 Barry Wharton                     Yatton, Bristol
553 Bob White                            Wells, Somerset.
878 Col White                             Royal marines Police, Hamworthy, Dorset
1068 John Whiteley                     Denbury, Devon
1061 Kerry Wiggins                     Brighton Hill, Basingstoke, Hants
1031 Mike Wigglesworth              Wells, Somerset.
1087 John Williams                     Northwood, Middlesex
1075 Tony Williams                     Leigh on Mendip, Bath
1076 Roz Williams                      Leigh on Mendip, Bath
559 Barrie Wilton                         Nr. Wells, Somerset
568 Brenda Wilton                       Nr. Wells, Somerset
850 J Annie Wilton-Jones             Llanlley Hill, Abergavenny, Gwent
813 J Ian Wilton-Jones                 Llanlley Hill, Abergavenny, Gwent
721 G Wilton-Jones                     Draycott, Cheddar, Somerset
877 Steven Woolven                    West Chilington, West Sussex
914 Brian Workman                     Bridgwater, Somerset
477 Ronald Wyncoll                     Holycroft, Hinkley, Leics.


Bowery Corner Swallet

This is the latest site receiving attention from the Belfry regulars.  Originally dug by the Wessex in 1937 and then again in 1960, the dig which was all in clay was eventually filled in by the farmer and abandoned. In recent years Pat Cronin has had the site on his list of "promising digs" and earlier this year, with interest waning in Wigmore, Pat and friends turned their attention to Bowery Corner (mainly because the entrance is about 15ft from the road!).

A shaft was quickly sunk through shale and three concrete pipes inserted to stabilise the entrance. At the bottom of the shaft a gradual sloping passage three feet high led down to a junction.  The small stream which flows in the summer sank to the right but J'Rat insisted that we progress to the left.  However after a couple of hours our attentions were directed towards the stream sink.  This proved to be the right place after all, as a short dig led into a roomy (compared to the rest of the cave) rift heading due north.  This ended after 6 metres at a low pool.  This has now been passed to 8 metres of low aqueous passage which is half filled with silt and carries a stream.  Progress is continuing and hopes are high of a major find.

For those interested, the first part of the cave is in shale but from the pool onwards the cave is in good firm limestone.  During the recent wet weather two (yes 2!!) large streams flowed into the cave, it is thought that these are mainly run off from the fields and the road.

Martin Grass  1/12/87