Belfry Bulletin

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List of Members 1949 No. 3.

J.K. Bindon            19, Morse Road, Redfield, Bristol.
P. Daymond          95, Cheddon Road, Taunton, Somt.
F. Seward              38, Uxbridge Road, Slough Bucks.
S.J. Collins            58, Beaconsfield Road, Mottingham, London, S.E.9.
P. Woodroffe          192, Heythorpe St., Southfields, London, S.E.18.
J.L. Hull                 137, Filton ave., Horfield Bristol. 7.
G.S. Treasure        Stoke Lane Poultry Farm, Stoke St. Michael, Nr Bath, Somt.
J.W. Ifold               Leigh House, Nempnett, Throbwell, Nr. Chew Stoke, Somt.
A.J. Needs            62, Callington Road, Brislington, Bristol.
Miss M. Thomas    6, Hill Crest, Knowle, Bristol. 4.
R.A. Ifold               32, Coburg Road, Montpelier, Bristol. 6.
E.O. Howell           4, Compton Drive, Sea Mills Park, Bristol. 9.
M. Hannam            14, Vyvyan Terrace, Clifton, Bristol. 8.
R.E.J. Gough         Camp farm, Elberton, Olveston, Bristol.
E.J. Mason            11, Kendon Drive, Westbury,-on-Trym, Bristol.

Sales to Members

The following ‘Cavers Aids’ are available, and if something not on the list is required such as camping gear, etc., write to Hon. Sec., who will get it for you.

Cap Lamps (gas) complete,
Spares for above (everything except the main water container)
Helmets (two different types and prices)
Miners Caps with lamp bracket,
Y.H.A. Membership Application Forms,
Camping Club Application Forms,

Lamps are usually from stock, other goods except forms in about 10 to 14 days according to makers delivery.  Don’t forget to state size for helmets & caps.

Why not aspire to Fame?????

Send your literary efforts to Hon. Editor.  Tell the Club all about your thrills and spills.  Help to make the BB a NEWS magazine; it’s up to you, so send in contributions large and small.


As we have remarked before, the club is becoming a matrimonial one.  We are delighted to announce the forthcoming marriage of our two members R.T. Humpidge and Miss Freda Chapman on July 16th.  Good luck to both of them.

The Belfry.

There are quite a number of items required to complete the new Belfry.  If anyone knows anyone who could obtain cheaply for the club any of the following list, please let any Belfry Committee or General Committee Member know at once.  We realize that a certain number of these items are obtainable at a price.  We have sunk a considerable amount of our resources into the Hut, and therefore want to obtain them as cheaply as possible.  If any member would care to present some or any of them, the rest of the members would bless his name for ever more.

Most of the list can be classified as ‘fittings’, but it is fittings such as these that will make all the difference between a Slick and a comfortable Headquarters.  We want the Belfry talked about wherever cavers and suchlike bods meet.

A.C. Johnson

Ed. note. Tony means ‘praised’ when he says ‘talked about’.  The old Belfry is already nationally famous (or is it Infamous).

Lengths of 6'1ong weatherboarding.
Lengths of Skirting Boards.
Guttering and Downspouts.
Barrels and/or water butts.
A small trolley or Wheelbarrow for local hauling.
Aluminium Sheets of all shapes and sizes.
A rectangular Kitchen Sink.
Strong Compact chairs, folding or nesting type would ideal.
A strong folding table.
A number of large stew pots, saucepans, kettles, fry pans, water containers, cups, plates, and knives, forks etc.
Curtain material.
Mattresses, Blankets and other bedding,
A bell mounted on a spindle for a Belfry on the roof.
(To summon the faithless to food, Ed.)

Belfry Cooking.

At the last Belfry Committee Meeting the idea was put forward that Calor Gas be installed for cooking instead of the range or primii in the summer.  The advantages are numerous:-there is less risk of fire; it is far cleaner for the hut; it is far more hygienic for the food (fancy stew not tasting of paraffin?) is less trouble.  The initial cost of such an installation has been worked out to be in the region of £12/-/-.  The General Committee when approached turned down the scheme on the grounds of expense at the present time when expenses are so high.  It was agreed however, that providing no objections were raised a levy of 3d. would be put on all Belfry charges, the money so collected being put into a fund for the purchase and installation of the equipment.  Before this levy is imposed we should like the views of members about the matter.  Would any member who does not agree with the proposed levy please inform the Hon. Sec. by 1st. July.  If no objections are received it is proposed to institute the levy from that date.  Any objection received will be considered on its merits before the ‘Tax’ is imposed.


Work on the new hut is going forward in a very fine way.  The internal fittings for the kitchen are under discussion and you are invited to submit schemes for it. The main lining is almost complete, but the ceilings and a part of the Ladies room remains to be finished.  It has been agreed that no internal decoration shall be done until the lining is finished, but the iron-work on the bunks has to be brushed and painted, the outside to be cleaned and creosoted, the site to be levelled and the vehicle park laid down, paths to be laid and surfaced with slag, the old huts to be renovated, cleaned and waterproofed, and converted into changing rooms and tackle store.

You will see from the above list that there is quite a lot left to be done so come along to the Belfries and wade in.  The more you do the less there will be to do.

Trip to Valence

The Hon. Sec. has received a list of 14 names for this trip.  Others would like to have gone but had made previous arrangements.  No details have yet (12th June) been received from M. Ageron, but each person on the list will receive full details as soon as they are available.


Work at Cross Swallet is going with a swing and a vast amount of spoil has been removed from the hole.  If enthusiasm is anything to go by, great things will be happening there shortly. Each time your roving reporter turns up at the site the place is swarming with eager members, each one doing a specific job.  The fact that there are no slackers accounts for the tons of infilling removed.  Caving trips are averaging two and three each weekend, these being undertaken not by just one or two but by considerable parties.

One of the highlights of the month was the conducting of a party of 12 Mormon Missionaries around the Upper Series of Swildons.  The sole casualty was our Hon. Sec. who fractured his left ankle.  This should teach him that Theology and Speleology are not similar sciences.


Our popular member Sam Treasure of Stoke St. Michael has written an article on Stoke Lane which has just been printed in the ‘Somerset Legion News’ the British Legion publication.  He has given us the OK to reprint it in the BB, and this we hope to do in the July issue.


A party from Woking Service of Youth Council are coming to Mendip as our guests on the weekend of July 9th – 10th.  It is hoped that the clerk of the weather will smile on them as this is their first visit to Mendip.  They intend to visit Swildons and/or Eastwater.  We should be glad if members could be available to ‘take them around’ in the usual B.E.C. manner.


From the Hon. Sec’s Post Bag.

From Terry Reed again on the Amazon: - We are steaming cautiously up the south bank of the Amazon which resembles Milk Chocolate.  I have contacted Rio re, caves in the area but am not very hopeful.

From Cerry Orren:- Tomorrow I am sailing for the British Cameroon’s, West Africa, to survey Banana Plantations, so I shan’t be able to join in activities for some two years.  The plantations are at the foot of Cameroon Mountain which is 13,000ft. high.  I don't know if it is of limestone, but any ‘dirty oles’ in the region will be explored and I hope to report t o the BB of anything found.  Best wishes to the Club!

From John Hull lately beside the Bitter Lake and now en route for : -I’ve been lapping up the BB and the new Belfry will be quite a place.  I've read somewhere an article on ‘Caving in ’, I can’t quite remember where could anyone give me any information on that point?

Lascaux-A Commentary’
by A.H. Broderick. (Lindsay Drummond, 15/-)

Reviewed by Pongo Wallis,

The most notable feature of this book is the photographs of the remarkable paintings in the caves; these take up about a third of the book.  The text is divided into three main sections.  The first deals with the discovery of the caves, the second is a brief summary of other painted caves, while the remainder is a description of the paintings and the artists techniques.

The object of the paintings is perhaps the most intriguing part of the subject.  It seems most likely that they have a magical significance.  In many primitive tribes today there is a belief that the possession of a drawing or model of a man gives the possessor power over the subject - photographs have sometimes suffered severely at their hands on this account.  What could be more reasonable, therefore, that making a drawing of an animal will make it easier to catch?  Some hunters went even further - for example, the clay statue of a bear which Casteret found at Montespan, and which was riddled with spear thrusts.

In this connection it is interesting to note the almost complete absence of human beings from the pictures, except occasionally in an extremely stylised form.  This could not be due to technical difficulties, as the standard of the animal drawings is very high.  But unless the Aurignacians were cannibals, and I know of no evidence that they were - there would be little point in drawing men.  Similarly, fauna which were very common and easily killed do not appear to a great extent.

Magic was not needed to hunt them, and primitive people do not use magic unnecessarily.

Although the paintings show a very close observation of the animals drawn, they are almost entirely isolated pictures of animals – there is no story to them, or composed picture.  Of the hundreds of paintings in the caves, only a very few fall into this class.  Of these, two are notable.   One is a pair of bison charging at the viewer, and the other is a wounded bison goring his attacker; whereas the animal is very faithfully portrayed, the man is extremely stylised, rather like a child's ‘match-stick’ drawing,

Whether or not this particular aspect of caves is your particular interest, I should certainly try to have a look at this book, if only at the photographs, which are really outstanding.  The text, I leave to you, but in any case, it is quite short.


Caving in Devon 

by J.V. ‘Menace’ Morris

Pridhamsleigh Cave

Editor’s Note.  John took the hint from the last BB and within a few days of publication this article arrived.

I last told you about the caves called Bakers Pit and Reeds Cavern.  I will now try and give you an idea what Pridhamsleigh is like.

The entrance is very large and is situated in a wood of that name, above the Buckfast-Ashburton road.  A small passage leads off into a real maze, with every bit well supplied with sticky, horrible mud; in fact I can safely say that it beats anything on Mendip as far as mud is concerned.

The first chamber is called the Bishops Chamber, which has many ways leading from it as we found to our cost.

There are three places worth getting to in the Cave, although one can wander for hours.

One is the lake, it is not large as lakes go, but it is very deep, somewhere in the region of 30 feet!  There are some fine formations here and the usual mud.

Another is the Deep Well.  This is really a fine rift 20 feet across, just too wide to chimney, the walls covered in mud, and 30ft. of water underneath.  It is great fun leading across this with the rope.  The best way is to traverse high up on one wall; and just as you make the final dash you slip and fall into the Well.  When this happens the air goes blue and the water boils.  Once across, a passage of good formation is followed to the Sump, either by swimming or chimneying along the roof, taking care not to damage the very fine formations.

The Sump looks quite passable, but I have not yet tried it, and I cannot get anyone to back me up.

The last place of interest is Anemolite Alley.  This is a low ascending tunnel containing some very beautiful pure white anemolites.  When first opened some pre-historic badger dung was found (very pre-historic).

The real job in the cave is to find one’s way out again.  On the last visit it took us three hours to find the way out again.

Any party wanting to visit this cave would be advised to contact Mr. Reed of D.S.S. (Hon. Sec. has address.  Ed.), as this will save a lot of time, and no doubt the D.S.S. would allow them to use their H.Q. for changing Etc.

J.V. Morris


The British Broadcasting Corporation (Television Department) have given the club a donation of £5/5/- for the part we played in making a Television News Reel last Christmas.  Thank you very much B.B.C. for your generosity.  Thanks too, to those individuals both in the club and Broadcasting house (Bristol) who took so much trouble on our behalf.  The donation has been put into the Hut Fund.

Redcliffe Caves

The B.E.C. has received, from the Bristol Corporation, permission to survey and examine the Redcliffe System.  These caves have been purchased from their original owners by the Corpn., but have not yet been handed over.  When they take possession we shall be able to start work.  It is proposed to work there on Thursday evenings as well as weekends, but the dates, there will be meeting at Redcatch will be notified, when possible in the BB.  The caves cover a large area, parts of which have been filled in and blocked off.  Older members will remember trips to Redcliffe a number of years ago when Dan Hassell crawled down an open sewer.

Dr. Wallis of the City museum is giving us all the assistance he can and has put at our disposal a survey of one part of the system.  Any antiquarian finds will of course go to the City Museum.