Annual Subscription. It is, we know, a tradition in the B.E.C. to be late with subs.  We are mostly familiar with the little rhyme which goes “Annual subs must all be in – ere the month of May begin – and the bloke who fails to pay – doesn’t get B.B. for May.”, which is all very well as far as it goes.  One of the big snags about this is that it is useless to put a notice in the May B.B. saying that if you haven’t it (the May B.B. that is!) it is because you haven’t paid you sub.

This year we are trying two new moves in this battle of wits and members who have not paid off their subs by the end of April will get getting a reminder note INSTEAD OF the may B.B. In addition, the names concerned will be given to the Hut Warden with instructions to charge as visitors until such time etc.  Just think, you could frustrate all these cunning schemes by simply PAYING YOUR SUB. Why not foil the Committee’s plans this way.


Monthly Notes – No 1

by Dave Irwin

To keep members abreast with news of the caving world, this page will highlight some of the events; new publications, etc., in the form of potted notes.  Those members hearing of any suitable news, please contact me immediately, so that we can keep the B.B. really up to date.

LOG BOOKS.  The B.E.C. log books for 1956-58 are missing.  Are you sitting on them?  Have a look please.

BRIDGE CAVE ( SOUTH WALES).  C.D.G. have passed long sumps and have discovered about a mile of large sized passage. A dry bypass round the sumps has been found.

EASTWATER.  W.C.C. have re-opened the Dolphin Pot Route.  Tackle required: 32’ ladder, 5’ belay and 50’ lifeline. (W.C.C. Journal, November 1966).

LONDON UNIVERSITY CAVING CLUB’S JOURNAL No. 1.  This is obtainable from Bryan Ellis.  Good transcriptions of Trou. De Glaz and Hammer Pot, Yorkshire, both with tackle list.  Also descriptions of Meregill Hole (Yorks) and Oxlow-Giants connection ( Derby) worthy buying at 1/6.

St. CUTHBERT’S.  Maypole Series being closed to all tourists from May 1st 1967 for biological research. (details later).  B.E.C. divers ( Kingston, Lane and Priddle) have now dug sump to a total length of 13-14’.  The roof is rising.  Surveyors have competed Pyrolusite, Gour Hall Area and Ledge Pitches to entrance.  Surveys and reports available later this year.  5,560 feet of cave has been resurveyed.

St. CUTHBERT’S REPORT.  B.M. Ellis is prepared to accept firm orders for all 15 parts to be issued in the next two years or so.  Part ‘O’ published Oct ’66, Part ‘A’ (History of Cave) available midsummer 1967.  Gour Hall and Sump Area Report available Sept/Oct 1967.

FAIRMAN’S FOLLY.  (DIG – MENDIP).  W.C.C. have reached old buckets left by B.E.C.

CUCKOO CLEEVES.  Entrance is unstable.  Believe passage below shaft being cemented.  If not, take care.

LOST JOHN’S ( YORKS).  Permanent rawbolt at head of Centipede Pitch.  5’ belay now required.

SWILDONS.  Mike Boon dived sump 12.  Found rift with depth of 20’ with air space at top.  Boon and support party withdrew owing to air cylinder running low.  N.W. Passage being surveyed by S.W.E.T.C.C.C. to high grade.

HISTORY of MENDIP CAVING.  Davies & Charles.  ( Newton Abbott).  Price about 35/-.  To be published later this year.


To the Editor, Belfry Bulletin.

Dear Sir,

The B.E.C. never ceases to amaze me.  The course in cave Surveying which was held recently was a splendid thing.  I should like to compliment the instructors on the clear and interesting was they were able to pack the information into the day. And what pleasanter classroom could we have than the back room of the Hunters?  The practical work which followed was equally well organised, and I should like to see many more such courses run by people in the club who have extensive technical knowledge.

I know you do not make a practice of publishing appreciations of club activities, but perhaps you could make an exception in this case.

Yours Sincerely
Alan Thomas.

The Mendip Cave Registry

Most cavers on Mendip have heard of the Mendip Cave Registry, and quite a few of them have made some very valuable contributions towards it over the past ten years.  But how many know how to avail themselves of the information which the registers provide?

In this article, I hope to shed a little light on the workings of the Registry and the Registers.

On the 25th May 1956, the Executive Committee of the Mendip Cave Registry was formed.  The Committee consisted of eight people.  Five of them were Registrars, whose job it was to get the information for the Registers.  The other three were administrative, being Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer.  In October 1962 however, the Executive Committee was increased to sixteen members, of whom twelve were Registrars.  This increase enabled the preparation of the Registers for the libraries to progress more rapidly, and by October 1963, the first two copies were ready to take their place in the Bristol Central Reference Library and in the Wells Library. A third copy was kept by the secretary, both to answer postal enquiries and to ensure that the Registers could all be kept up to date by adding to his copy and exchanging it for one of the library copies.  The copy removed from the library could then be amended and exchanged for that in the other library, and so on.  In this way, all the registers could be kept up to date without the libraries being kept short of copy.

The placing of the registers at Bristol and Wells did not mean the end of the work for the Registry, far from it.  The Executive Committee immediately began investigating various methods of reproducing the Register at an economical price that it could be offered to interested organisations.  It was eventually decided to use the Rank Xerox method of copying and the work of brining the secretary’s copy up to this standard began.  This entailed revising the existing pages, reading Club publications (we understand they even read the B.B.! – Ed) and personal caving logs and diaries – as well as the work of checking the various sites of caving and speleological interest in the field.

Work progressed steadily over the next three years and in June 1966, over 200 register sheets were Xeroxed and made into six new copies of the register.  Two of these copies have been sold, complete with binders, to the Bristol Central Reference Library and the Somerset County Library.  The Cave Research Group and the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society have also purchased copies.

The registers are based on the Ordnance Survey “two and a half inch to the mile” maps.  Each sheet has been divided into quarters and each quarter sheet forms a division of the register.  The maps are filed in ascending numerical order, with the quarter sheets filed in the order SW, NW, SE and NE.  The relevant information on caves etc. typed on ledger sheets, and these are filed following the quarter sheets on which they appear.  The type of information given on the sheets is: -

(a)                Type of site (Cave, Swallet, Depression etc.)

(b)                Grid Reference to 8 figures (10 metres) if poss.

(c)                All know names.

(d)                Owner and tenant of land.

(e)                Restrictions of access.

(f)                  Brief notes of the cave.

(g)                References in books etc. of scientific or historical interest.

(h)                Details of any surveys available.

The brief notes only include a full description of the site if this is not otherwise available in a readily accessible book such as Barrington’s “Caves of Mendip”.  It is not intended that the register should be an enlarged form of this book, but that it should give information not readily obtainable elsewhere, together with references to the more readily available information and accounts.  It is hoped that, in particular, the register will be of the most use to a person wishing either to find out what has already been recorded about a site, or looking for a reference to specific information on a certain cave.

The work of the Registry will never be completed while caving is carried out on Mendip and if anyone would like to help in this work, he can contact me at the Belfry most weekends. The work, as I have said before, consists mainly of literature searching and fieldwork.  The former involves reading caving books and club publications and noting all references to Mendip Caves so that the information can be included on the relevant sheet of the register – a nice easy way to do your caving!  The latter consists of walking over the ground looking for sites, more strenuous than the former but a very pleasant way of spending an afternoon or two.

Anyone who has personal caving diaries containing description of original explorations, digs etc. is also asked to contact the Cave registry in order that the information in the diaries can be recorded in the Registers for the benefit of other cavers. People with such diaries may be interested to know that it has been arranged for any caving diaries or caving photographs of historical interest that are donated or bequeathed to the Registry to be stored in the Somerset Record Office at Taunton.  Here they will be readily available for reference by anyone interested, but, as nobody id allowed to take them away there is no danger of their ever being lost. Furthermore, they will not come under the control of any single club which could make it difficult for the average caver to consult them.

G.D. Tilly.


HAVE YOU PAID YOUR SUBS YET? A clear conscience costs only 12/6 – why not pay NOW!

Long Term Planning - 5

At the March meeting of the Long Term Planning Committee, The Chairman reminded the meeting that tome was getting on, and that there was not a great amount of time left before the Committee must put ist findings to the club.  The Secretary pointed out that this must be done before next year’s A.G.M. and accordingly the Committee decided that it would attempt the difficult job of deciding on the shape of the new building at its next meeting in April and have full plans prepared by its meeting in May.  This will enable the various planning and other permissions to be sought so that the result of these can be made known when the Long Term Plan is presented to the club as a whole.

There are, a few snags. We may be able to negotiate a new access to our site – and we may be able to enlarge it, but we shan’t know the answers to either of these questions in time to draw up the plans.  We shall thus try to draw up a plan which can be modified if the need arises.

Drawing up plans for new Belfries is an occupation which has become quite a tradition inn the B.E.C. and we feel that a number of members may feel that the have the answers to all our problems.  Unfortunately, this B.B. will be in most members’ hands rather late for them to be able to send anything into the secretary, but it may not be too late for your bright idea to get incorporated into the plans, so send it in to S.J. Collins, “Homeleigh”, Bishop Sutton, Somerset and it will be considered.  There are no prizes!  A specification for the new building has already been produced, and we have an idea what a fearsome job it is to try to get everything in.  We are aiming at a building of about 1,400 sq. ft. floor area, to sleep between 30-36 men and 6 women.

When everything has been finally settled, a report will be issued by the Long Term Planning Committee and sent to every member of the club.   This will happen about late August or early September and will give members about a month to six weeks to study it before The Annual General Meeting. Some suggestions as how best to tackle the problem of deciding whether to go ahead or not will be included. These will be no more than suggestions as the club is, of course, perfectly at liberty to discuss the scheme in any way the A.G.M. might decide.

Again, in order to save time, the main Committee have agreed to start with the introduction of certain money raising schemes.  If the Long Term Plan is turned down at next year’s A.G.M. any monies collected will be returned to those who gave or lent them.

Now that most of the decisions about the plan have been made, it is suggested that these reports on the activities of the Long Term Planning Committee should cease being written up in the B.B. as there is little but hard routine slogging in front of the committee from now on.  We expect you will be pleased to be able to read some more interesting article that this in future B.B.’s.

Meanwhile, and this is the last time we shall be mentioning this, if you have any thoughts, or queries, or want to know any of the ideas held at present, ask any member of the Long Term Planning Committee or write to the secretary of the Committee – Alfie. We don’t want to keep members in the dark over what we are doing but equally, we don’t want to keep boring them with reports which are bound to become less interesting from now on.

S.J. Collins.
Secretary, L.T.P.C.


It would refreshing to see some new names attached to articles in the B.B.  Have YOU ever written anything for the B.B.?  Why not have a go?