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Editors Note

It is with the greatest pleasure that I turn over the editing of the ”BB” to T h Stanbury. Older members will remember the great amount of work he has done for the club in the past.

So I now hand you over to the new editor Harry Stanbury.

Ken Dobbs

As you will see from the above the committee has accepted my offer to take over the editorship of the BB. As the unfortunate whose brain-wave was responsible for the calling of our newsletter the “Belfry Bulletin” at its inception in January 1947, and as one who was actively concerned in its prodution and editorship from that time until Feb, 1951 I should like to say that I am indeed very pleased to get my old job back once more.

I have blown the dust off the old typewriter, and will, as in the past do my best to give you the best news magazine in the caving world. For some time I have been out of touch with affairs speleological, and have found that there is only a very small reserve of material available to us at this time. So, I appeal to all those budding authors that are, as yet, unknown to me, as well as the old stalwarts, to send in articles, news items, gossip, news from other clubs, so that the BB will be of interest to all who read it. Use this test:- Does something interest you? It does? Send in an account it’ll interest us too. If Joe Soap stops a runaway horse and J.S. is a club member let us know about it. If Sally Slapcabbage marries Sam Small the club should know. So come on, blokes, don’t let me down, you never did in the past!!

Upon looking through the files, I have noticed that there are quite a number of the really old articles that are still of very great interest to the younger member and so I propose, from time to time, to reprint such of these articles that I feel worthy of it. There must be a very large number of members that have never seen and to the others they will be of interest too. I, alas, am the only remaining “Founder Member” and I have had quite a job to bang this out rather than go on with my reading of back numbers.

I feel that I have taken up quite a lot of space in this issue, but I promise you that in future issues I will revert to being a “Lurker in the Background” and let those more qualified fill the issues.

One final word the opinions expressed in any article are those of the writer of that article and not necessarily that of the Club, and neither do my editorial comments have any official backing whatsoever s.

T.E. Stanbury.

Lost, Stolen or Strayed.

It has been reported that two new 20 ft. ropes are missing from the tackle store. We should be glad of any information about them, The price of tackle has risen enormously in recent months, and everyone suffers a curtailment of activity if tackle is mislaid, lost, or otherwise vanishes.

Recent B.B.C. Broadcast.

A party from Woking were down Swildon’s, for the recent broadcast. It appears that a good tine was had by all. A certain young lady nattering to a BBC type into the early hours of the morning (after an audition S? ) whilst I hear that the Hut Warden’s ire was raised to boiling point on at least three occasions as the hours ticked by, action being restrained by some miracle each time.


Bob Bagshaw et femme have now returned from a fortnights holiday in Paris. What about a travelogue, Bob?

We are delighted to be able to tell you that John Ifold is progressing towards recovery. Of the other invalids there is no news.

From time to time members of the caving fraternity are asked to give talks to youth clubs and similar organisations. Although we all delight in “Spinning a yarn “ the great majority of us shy clear of a formal talk, and when at infrequent intervals we are trapped into appearing before an audience we tremble in our shoes. Consequently the following article should be of interest to those, who, like myself are numbered amongst the unfortunate ones that fate sometimes contrives to drag before an audience.


On How To Talk Caving, by PONGO.

A caver will naturally talk caving even when he is in company which does not venture underground. It is important that before speaking freely he should carefully consider the attitude he should adopt.

Firstly, he should realise that any attempt to induce the lay population to participate will be greatly decrapated by his fellow initiates who fully realise that the sole aim of the true speleologist is the preservation of his exclusiveness. Anything in the nature of a recruiting campaign is therefore strictly forbidden. Nonetheless, a direct line of any nature is equally as fatal as a panegyric of the delights to be found underground as it is the perverse nature of mankind to be merely hard of attainment, far less directly forbidden.

Extreme subtlety is therefore called for, and before the caver so much as mentions his subject, his whole plan of campaign must be most carefully thought out. A delicate balance must be maintained between the pleasures and difficulties inherent in the sport. The introduction of a few colour photographs can be extremely advantageous (far more so than black and white); they will give a very good impression of the beauty to be found in caves, but no sooner has this point been assimilated by the audience than it must be pointed out that these regions of delight are only attained after many hours travail through icy water and razor-edged rocks, and that anyway the average caving lamp gives no colour sensations whatsoever.

The easy access of many caves should then be explained followed by the reminder that all caving parties should include a leavening of experienced cavers such as may be found in any Caving Club. Of course, to join such a club should be the aim of all would be cavers, and the exclusiveness of one’s own club, and the riff-raff constituting the membership of all others is noted, en passant, together with the waiting list for membership.

Similar gambits must be pursued throughout any conversation and from the examples quoted it is clear that a long and arduous course of study is required before the subject can safely be mentioned in public. It is therefore clearly the duty of all cavers to keep their boots dry (preferably by remaining on the surface), keep sober (if possible), and above all to keep their mouths shut.


Do know the address?

What address? Why, the one to which all contributions for the BB are sent, of course. If you don’t here it Is;-

T.H. Stanbury, 74, Woodleigh Gardens, Bristol.4,

and the telephone number is Whitchurch 2369.

Our Belfry On The Hill.

(Reprinted from BB No.4, May 1947)

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

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

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

Dennis Hasell

Notes on a Recent Incident in GB, by “Oldtimer”

The recent incident in GB in which a person was trapped by the foot for a short while has caused the following-

I should like to give a pat on the back to those younger Club members who assisted in various ways and to the best of their ability during the incident. But, there are a number of points that, they must, as members of Bristol Exploration Club, bear in mind!

The Mendip Rescue Organisation is controlled by a number of Wardens, each of which is chosen for his ability to control and organise rescue operations, and for his deep knowledge of the caves of Mendip; The Senior Warden is in control and Gives the Orders. The job of persons under his control (ie everyone that is assisting in anyway whatsoever with the rescue), is to obey those orders and not to give any themselves, as confusion is the sole result.

Although it is very exciting to take part in a rescue operation it is not the occasion for a general “Line-shoot”. One does NOT go dashing off, telling all and sundry about it and neither does one, in the event of having to tell someone about it, embroider the story with either exaggeration or fiction. Members of the BEC should remember that the reputation of the Club is in their hands and act accordingly.



To John and Betty Shorthose, the gift of a son, on June 14th. Mother, Father and Baby all doing well (This is the first boy to be born to Club Members since its inception in 1935; What about a gift membership, Committee? Ed.)

The Marriage of Roy Ifold to Miss Joan Higginbottom took place at .St Saviour’s Church on Sat. 14th.June.

Stop Press

The following account of the BBC / Woking / BEC Swildon’s Trip has just arrived.


On Sunday 15th ,June, the BBC. were inveigled into making a broadcast in Swildon’s Hole, in company with some members of Woking Youth Club. The story of this epic event started when one Hugh (Fatso) Falkus arrived in a dilapidated Ford V8, followed by Jack (Slim) Singleton in a three ton truck with an army of teenagers, all with a pronounced (and disturbing) London accent. Some of them as Jones found out, were very nice, and all behaved well in the cave.

After much difficulty with the lock and entry was effected, (to the sound of running water), and great surprise was shown at the “narrowness” of the opening. Falkus, who was at least eighteen inches thick, succeeded in getting through a “nine-inch” hole, although his posterior was somewhat of an obstacle.

By means of Jacob’s Ladder the Old Grotto was reached, and although the party had come through a curtain of water, their spirits were in no way dampened. A recording was made here with the “Expert” doing his best to knock the roof in. One of the female visitors expressed her delight with caving, and said she was determined to come again. She then asked someone to show her the quickest way out!

Whilst Don, “Expert” Coase took a small party on to the bottom of the 40ft. Pot, the exceedingly pleasant job of carrying yards and yards of cable back to the surface was begun. The same route was followed, and a couple of stops were made for “recording purposes”. Never before has anyone become so short of breath in so short a time. One moment Falkus was quite calmly making his way towards the entrance and the glorious sunshine, and the next he was uttering short, breathless phrases into the microphone, battling all the time to overcome the noise of the stream. Meanwhile a person known as Jonah, who departed from Woking without a pair of his trousers, was making a cine film of the party as they left the cave. “Nobby” Clark, dressed in mac, shirt and shoes, then drove us, wet and cold, back to the Belfry.

The Woking party later enjoyed a stew, collected their gear and then departed for home,

 to the accompaniment of many sighs, (especially from Jones).

Mike Jones,  Merv. Hannam, Dave England

Useful addresses:-

R.J. Bagshaw                Hon. Sec,.36. Ponsford Road, Bristol.4.

M. Hannam                   Caving Sec. 14. Vyvyan Terrace, Bristol.8,

A. Setterington              Hut Warden. 21 Priorswood Road, Taunton, Somerset ,

Acting Librarian, c/o Leigh House, Nempnett, Chew Stoke,

M Jones                        Sales Dept., 12. Melton Cresc Bristol.7.

R. Cantle                       Climbing Sect. Sec. 46. Cherrington Road, Bristol.9.