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Important Notice

The Club is purchasing the land on which the Belfry stands and the Hon. Treasurer will be pleased to receive donations towards the cost.  We have to raise about £50.



Anyone wishing to dispose of a leather bound copy of Balch’s Mendip Caves is asked to contact Bob Bagshaw.


Mrs. Laura J. Hampton (nee Ford) of Gesling Hill, Thorner, nr. Leeds will be interested to know of any B.E.C. types thinking of caving in that district.  She may be able to supply tackle if required.  The only caving she has done this year is a descent of Gaping Ghyll.

Tom Pink of 53, Burnthwaite Road, Fulham, London, S.W.6., wants to contact other Londoners for discussions on caving and archaeology.  He has made several recent finds of flint tools etc. in Surrey.


The Committee would like to draw attention of the Active caving members to Rule 15 so that more items of interest can be printed in the BB: -

‘Rule 15’.

‘A report of the Expedition to be written by the Leader of the Party in the Club Log Book’.

(The observance of this rule would mean that items of local interest would appear in the BB as abstracts from the Log book.  At present the almost total lack of caving news in the BB of a local nature is due to the complete lack not such news, not to any discrimination on the part of the Editorial Staff.  Ed.)

As there has been great controversy about the new Belfry Picture gallery, the Committee took it upon themselves to investigate the matter.  This being done it was decided that if better pictures, diagrams and photographs of climbing, caving and other subject could be found, the existing subjects would be replaced.

John Stafford reports that the climbing section is not so dead as most people think, and hope to publish an article in the near future.

Alfie Collins would be very grateful if those members with private caving logs from October 1953 would loan them to him in the near future.,

Tackle Notice.

From now on Club Tackle must not be left down any cave.  If special reasons obtain why tackle should remain underground for any length of time, Ian Dear, the Tackle Officer is to be consulted.

Over the Whitsun Holiday a party from the Orpheus Caving Club will be staying at the Belfry.

Club Trip.

There will be a Club Caving Trip to Lamb Leer on Whit-Saturday at 2.30.  The Blood Chit will be circulated on Club nights.  This trip has been arranged after great difficulty, so please make every effort to attend.


Over Easter about 60 persons used the room that we use at the Hunters.  Most Mendip Clubs were represented.


Editorial Note.

I am delighted in the large increase in the amount of news snippets being received.  The preceding two pages, although ‘bitty’ contain items of interest to all both active and otherwise.

There has been in the past long periods when month after month there has been literally nothing local to print, and for a club of our standing it seemed so strange that although all concerned know we are extremely active, though the eyes of our ‘Official’ organ we are stagnating in a morass of inactivity.


Change of Address.

Members were no doubt intrigued by the address of Sett in the April BB.  I have no apologies to make.  Their address was again changed after the stencils were cut and so the simplest thing was to obliterate the address given rather than print a false one.  Here is the correct one: -

Mr. & Mrs. Setterington,
39. Kingston Road,

Other changes.

Mr. K. Dobbs,
c/o Block &, Anderson Ltd,,
18. Sidwell Street,

Mr. D. Radmore,
94. Maple Road,
Horfield, Bristol.


In our recent list of Subscriptions no mention was made of the ‘Associate’ subscription.  This is of course, the same as that of ‘Junior’. i.e. 7/6.

Additions to Club Library.

Journal of Axbridge Caving Group. Vol. 1.  No.4.
Journal of Axbridge Caving Group. Vol. 2.  No.1.
Journal of Axbridge Caving Group. Vol. 2.  No.2.
Journal of Axbridge Caving Group. Vol. 2.  No.3.
Transactions of C.R.G. Vol. 3.  No.2. Dec. 1954.

Newsletters of : -

C.R.G. No. 51. Dec. 1954.
B.C.C.C. No. 2. Feb. 1955.
B.C.C.C. No. 2. Mch. 1955.
S.W.C.C. No. 11. Feb. 1955.
N.S.S. No. 11. Vol. 12.  Nov. 1954.
N.S.S. No. 2. Vol. 13.  Feb 1955.
N.S.S. No. 3. Vol. 13.  Mch. 1955.
W.S.G No. 53. April 1955.
W.C.C No. 50. April 1955.

Foreign Books.


                    Carcolo Speologico Roman No.6 Dec. 1952.


Speleon Vol. 1 No.1. June 1950
Speleon Vol. 1 No.2. Sept. 1950
Speleon Vol. 1 No.3/4. Dec. 1950
Speleon Vol. 2 No.1. Mch. 1951
Speleon Vol. 2 No.2. Sept. 1951
Speleon Vol. 2 No.4. Dec. 1951
Speleon Vol. 3 No.1/2. Apr. 1952
Speleon Vol. 3 No.3. Sept. 1952
Speleon Vol. 3 No.4. Dec. 1952
Speleon Vol. 4 No.1. Mch. 1953
Speleon Vol. 4 No.2. June 1953
Speleon Vol. 4 No.4. Sept. 1953

There are now 140 books and over 200 newsletters in the club library & Mike Jones has claimed to have read them all.  Who is going to be the next to do so?

As you all know our librarian is John Ifold; His address is Leigh House, Nempnett, Chew Stoke, Nr. Bristol and his phone number is Blagdon 432.

What the Well-dressed caver should wear.

By Pongo Wallis.

This article was written several years ago, but I only found it recently on looking though my cave library.  It is taken from ‘Comment on descend sous Teric’ – a manual of Speleology – by Robert de Joly.  Although many of his recommendations sound strange to us – and many would be quite unsuited to our conditions – it must be remembered that he has a very wide experience of caving and it may be assumed that under French conditions they would be suitable.


Over all should be worn a boiler-suit made of sail cloth as it is tough and ‘retains a certain suppleness even when wet.

The more protuberant parts of the body such as knees and elbows should be protected by a second layer of even tougher material as well as ½” of soft rubber.  Twelve (!) pockets should be provided as follow:

Outside.  Two on the chest for note-book and cigarette tin (if one is a smoker); a small one on the stomach for a watch.  Two on the thighs for a small pair of pliers and a scout s knife and one or two pitons,.  One placed high on each buttock for 100ft.of cord, some thin paper and a lighter; one along each thigh for a marking crayon (in a wooden tube) a whistle, a fat candle, a lighter running on butane and so on.  He doesn’t say where the kitchen sink goes.

If anyone tries to go caving on Mendip taking all this stuff with them, I’m going home so that I won’t be called out when they get stuck.  It seems to me that if the cave is big enough to get through wearing this lot one could take a small rucsac down with it all in.

Next to the skin wool should be worn as even if it gets wet there is not the very unpleasant wet sensation that cotton gives.  This I entirely agree with.


Only a good calf length boot is of any use.  The sole should be thick leather, with a rubber heal in the shape of a square-base pyramid.  This grips well on dry rock (but what about wet rock?) and absorbs a lot of jar in walking.  The nailing is most important, but mountaineering types are useless, merely serving to weight the boot (of the old adage “When you can scarcely lift the feet, the nailing mat be deemed complete”).  The ‘approved’ system is as follows:

On a piece of stainless steel an inch wide by 1/8” thick (drilled for lightness) are fixed 6 points of nickel chrome steel 1¼” long, well sharpened at the end.  These will grip in any small cracks in the rock and also grip well in mud etc.  On ladders the rungs go between the spikes, so it is impossible to slip.  (I am keeping well clear of anyone wearing these).  A metal toe-cap is also advisable and leather laces are the only reliable ones.


A steel helmet is dangerous and tiring because of its weight.  If it should fall off down a pitch it could easily hurt anyone beneath very badly.  A beret is likewise useless as it is not suitable for carrying a lamp.  Only a rubber helmet should be used.  It should be 1½” thick of soft rubber on the top and about 12 thick on the sides.  It is light (½lb.) and it can also act as a buoy in case of immersion (?).  Although it stays on the head well, two straps should be used, one under the chin and the other round the back of the head.


For visiting some caves it is very important to have the hands covered with gloves of thick soft leather.  This is to keep the hands from contact with ropes which have touched decomposing bodies or even from touching the bodies themselves.  One must avoid cutting oneself and the calcite crystals are very sharp and rocks in stream beds can become like razors.

Pocket Accessories.

We won't speak of matches underground.  Lighters are much better.  One should always have two or three.  Two are petrol ones and the third a butane one.  They should have good big reservoirs to last a long time and should be in good working condition.  One should be waterproof and one should be permanently attached to the person.

A very useful tool is a small pair of pliers.  Also a knife with several blades is essential.

A watch should also be taken; not a ‘turnip’ not a wristwatch as this is too venerable.  A small pocket watch is best, but it should be shock and water proof.

De Joly’s book is very much of a manual and give instructions on all types of caving from sea caves to cave diving.  As I observed at the beginning not every thing is applicable to British conditions but even reading about the wrong things to wear makes one realise that caving clothes are things that require thought and that last year’s cast-offs -- or all too often one’s sister’s fashions of umpteen years back really just aren’t good enough.  I have remarked before in the BB that a cold caver is a bad caver, apart from which he won’t enjoy caving.  Of course, I know no caver is opposed to caving but it is merely an obtuse way of mortifying the flesh, but at least there is no need to make it even worse than it might be.