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Mendip Rescue Organisation

All members are reminded that the Mendip Rescue Organisation may be put into operation with the least possible delay by telephoning Wells 2197.

GB Restrictions

The Club has been informed by the U.B.S.S. that the Axbridge Urban District Council have imposed further restrictions on GB. Consequently no-one should visit this cave, take photographs there or publish information concerning it without U.B.S.S. permission. The UBSS has called a meeting of interested organisations to discuss these restrictions and future developments. For the present, however all arrangements to visit GB should be made through Mervyn Hannam.

Caving Section News

A good crowd stayed at the Belfry during Whitsun and trips to Stoke Lane, Eastwater, Swildons and GB were undertaken. There were also some digging activities.

Since the Whitsun week end a number of trips have been arranged, some of them organised by our junior members. Several small caves and shelters in the Avon Gorge were investigated but nothing of real caving interest was found, though one small rift was penetrated for about forty feet before ending in a choke.

Now that the summer has apparently arrived, there are signs of a considerable increase in underground activities. It is to be hoped that this increase will continue.


BATS by J.W Ifold.

As a part of the research into the habits of bats, a large number have been ringed in the Mendip caves. The bats are marked with a metal ring bearing letters and a number on one wing. Those most likely to be encountered on Mendip bear the letters U.B.S., having been affixed by the Bristol University. Anyone seeing a bat is asked to make a note of the following details:-

a)                   Letters and number on ring (if any)

b)                   Name of the cave and the part of the cave where found

c)                   Date and time of finding.

This information should be sent to Mervyn Hannam or John Ifold, who would also be glad to receive offers of help in this fascinating work. ON NO ACCOUNT SHOULD A. RING EVER BE REMOVED FROM A BAT. There are a number of books dealing with bats in the Club Library.

Club Library

John Ifold has asked us to publish the following note. . . There are still too many Club library books missing, so will members please have a good look in their attics and coal cellars, or in the case of lady members in their bottom drawers to see if they can find any of the missing books.

The Library needs a copy of Cave Hunting by Boyd Dawkins. Any member who knows where a copy is to be obtained should let the librarian know as soon as possible, giving details of the price asked and the book’s condition.

The library contains a number of Six-inch maps covering most of the Mendip area. These maps have been marked to show most of the known caves and possible digs. Members knowing of others, or finding new sites are asked to give full details to the librarian so that those maps can be kept up to date. The maps are of course available for inspection by members, as are a number of assorted maps of the British Isles.


Don Coase would be very glad to learn who has been digging at the top of the Bone Chamber In Stoke Lane. Any news?

Some Caves Near Bristol             by M. Hannan

Anyone wishing to spend an afternoon’s caving near Bristol can find several places of interest. There is one fairly big cave in the Avon Gorge. To get to it, follow the Postway towards Avonmouth until about one hundred yards before the tennis courts a notice board can be seen on the cliff top. By climbing the slabs for about fifty feet towards this notice a small ledge is reached. The cave starts from this lodge as a vertical ten-foot drop which leads to a very muddy squeeze. After this the passage becomes a fairly high rift blocked at one point by a large boulder which has to be passed by chimneylng up the rift. Just beyond this boulder is a small stalagmite covered chamber. The way on lies through a twelve-foot hole in the floor (a rope is advisable) from which the passage slopes steeply downwards to a boulder choke which marks the end of the cave.

The second interesting cave is one that lies in the quarry at the Sea Mills end of King’s Weston Downs. The entrance is a narrow ten foot deep hole at the very back of the quarry. The cave is not very large, and the writer is somewhat prejudiced against it since part of the roof fell down on his first visit.

We would like to apologise to members for the delay in the June issue. We are combining the July and August numbers to keep things moving. As mentioned before there is still a shortage of material for BB. Come on you scribes.... We would also apologise for the way we have had to split Pongos’ article on Festival Caving but we wont seeing that it is your own fault. We had no suitable half page article to finish the last BB.

Festival Caving continued

Having run the gauntlet safely, passing en-route four bestial sub human creatures (I refer to the Four Winds, not the attendants) we come to what must be termed the “Short Dull Way”. This is soon passed and some formations appear, together with a powerful spring, playing upwards in three jets. The lighting is most cunning. As any cave photographer knows, formations arc fluorescent, and we received a demonstration of this in the next section, by courtesy of G.E.C’s Ultra-Violet lamps. Apparently Cavernophilious fish are too, for we saw some of them as well. Similarly, visitors shirts take on new and unexpected hues.

The nature of this passage remains unchanged until the exit - in the words of the guide “Hurry along, Sir, its just the same all the way.”

The moral appears to be that “Schweppervescence lasts the whole cave through” Souvenirs are available at 3/- each.

N.B. Admission to the amusement Gardens is 2/-.

Mendip Rescue Organisation

Do you remember the Tel phone number you have to ring to contact MR0 ??? WELLS 2197 Don’t forget, you may need it in a hurry one day. Put it in your diary or address book now. 

MISSING from Belfry ono rubberised Brown fabric Ground-sheet. Would possessor return to the Hut Warden.


Most members of the club in and around Bristol will have visited the BEC stand at the “Our Way o f Life” Exhibition organised as part of Bristol’s’ Festival Celebrations. For those who were unable to attend, it can be fairly safely said that the Club stand was one of the most interesting, and attracted quite a lot of comments…….

“An elderly lady strolled in one evening, stared horrified at a case of human bones from Wookey Hole then rushed over to Mike Jones and demanded to know why they weren’t buried in consecrated ground. Mike told her that it wasn’t certain that they were Christians, but she kept on nattering away, and said that he would no doubt go to Hell.”………

“A breezy type walked in with his girl, looked at the mountaineer (a dressed up tailors dummy) then turned to the Divers (similar dummies). When his girl friend asked him what they were, he replied that it was apparatus for climbing in rarefied air“.....

“A lady came in with her husband, and told him that the people from whom the Wookey Hole bones had come, must have been Negroes as the bones were dark brown.” .....

“Another women came in with her small boy, who asked her what the breathing bags round the divers necks were for. Her answer was Water Wings”…... (Did she know G.T.Lucy cannot swim.?)

“Several people thought the model of GB (made by Stan Collins ) was the skeleton of some cave dwelling animal now extinct.“……(So did I, it certainly didn’t look like GB to me, still I haven’t been there as much as Alfie. DAC)

“After glancing at the divers and mountaineer many people said that the mountaineering rigout was a primitive diving suit”.

Congratulations to all those who helped to make the stand a success it undoubtable was, especially Tony Johnson, who did all the organisation, and to the younger members who stood guard and answered all the silly queries. And whilst on the subject….

Congratulations to

Jo and Henry Shelton, a daughter Jill Vivian.

Margaret and Pat Woodroffe, a daughter, Pamela June

Bobby Bagshawe, a wife ..... Dark Horse, what’s her name?)

Don Coase, a fiancee, Clare Ainsworth

It is also rumoured that Roy Ifold has sold or is selling his bike because of a female. Shame! Any more for the lists.


MISSING from the Belfry that well known book of songs and verse, Theo Cons. This has taken a number of years to compile, and we would be glad if the present possessor (after copying out the parts that Interest him, or her ) would return it to the H.W.   

Patrick Browne

It is with the Greatest regret that we have to announce the death of Pat Browne on Sat; Aug. 18th whilst climbing or Snowdon. He was leading over a slight overhang on a severe climb when he fell off, then the rope broke and he fell 60’. The Coroner, recording a verdict of accidental death said “The tragedy is that a man of his experience should have undertaken a difficult climb like this with such a poor rope”.

It will be for his caving activities that Pat will mainly remembered. In particular for his work, in conjunction with Don Coase in exploring Stoke Lane II. He spent a large amount of his time in the smaller caves of East Mendip, and with his parents, excavated Browne’s Hole and Withybrook Swallet. It was with sorrow that the caving section of the Club learnt that he had been bitten with the climbing bug, some two years ago, as people with his keenness and determination are few and far between.

We would like to offer his parents our deepest sympathy in their tragic loss.

Circulation List

The Club receives quite a number of newsletters etc. from CRG and other clubs. It is proposed to circulate those and other items of interest that turn up from time to time by post. Each person on the list would pay the postage to the next person, and to avoid delay, will be expected to keep the newsletters, etc. no longer than two days. Names please to Johnny Ifold.

C.R.G. Annual General Meeting

Will be held at the City Museum Bristol on Sat.17th November. The Club will be organising a trip on the Sunday, for the benefit of CRG members. If there is sufficient support, it is hoped to ladder Eastwater by both the old and now routes.

Swildon’s Hole

The CDG Somerset Section are going to have a crack at the 2nd. Trap (or Sump, if you prefer it) of Swildon’s on September 15th, (Saturday) The Club has agreed to help with this operation. We require 12 bods on Sunday 9th. September to help carry in some of the kit. Then 20 on Saturday 15th to carry in more kit, assist the divers, and probable carry out the divers and kit (lazy devils these divers). The following weekend more bods.

Note - The operation referred in the last item has now been post-until early spring,

London Section Annual Meet

The London Section held it’s annual meet during the week preceding the August Bank Holiday. The meet was centred on the head-quarters of the South Wales Caving Club, who very kindly provided facilities of a very high order. The first arrivals on Saturday, 20th July were Clare Ainsworth, Don Coase, Tom Ratcliffe and Pongo Wallis. These were the sole occupants of the cottage until the following Friday when Johnny Ifold and Mike Jones arrived. The Shorthose menage arrived around six am the following morning after invoking the aid of the local police and part of an honoured gear box. (Thanks, Ras!).

The Section as usual, got to work on, or in, the local caves without delay with Don leading the field. The first Sunday saw the three photographers in Ogof Ffynnon Ddu, confining their activities to the entrance series and thereby keeping their clothes dry for a minor LLethrid the following day. As Monday was a boiling hot day, the party required all its determination to leave the bathing on the Gower coast to go In search of the cave. While Clare stayed outside to watch the clothes, and incidentally to put in some useful target practice on the local cows, the three musketeers dug out a new entrance passed the boulder ruckle by yet another new route but then failed to find the way on. At this stage, one member of the trio sustained a cut finger, and owing to the lack of a pricker, the lighting position deteriorated still further, there seemed only one thing to do and it was done.., just in time for a pint before closing time. Then a wild dash back up the Swansea valley chased by a thunderstorm. The storm lost, fortunately.

The next day saw the start of the serious caving, with five hours spent in Ffynnon Ddu, mainly taking photographs in the RAWL series. That evening the party celebrated this achievement in true caving style at the “Gwyn”.

Wednesday was observed as a day of rest, but was followed by even greater exertions on Thursday. These were called for during a trip to Llygad Llwchwr (or words to that effect!). This trip started off as a practice run for the International Six Days Trial, apart from the unduly large amount of freight that was carried, Coase pioneered an entirely new route to the cave, which is thoroughly to be recommended, after they have got round to making the road there. It suffers from one grave disadvantage only one pub along it; and here, needless to say, a halt was made. It was noteworthy that even the beer was canned.. quite literally. National Grid ref. will be supplied in plain envelope on request, enclosing stamps to the value of 1/4½ to cover the cost of postage and a pint for D.A.C.

Again, five pleasant hours were spent in the cave chasing an elusive river. When the correct section was found, the entire party proceeded to have great fun with the rubber dinghy. More photographs were taken, some of them in glorious Technicolor.

The party retreated in good order, and having changed set off in search of refreshment and the way back to the cottage. Their enquires led them into the local hostelry at 9.56 pm, where three obliging natives explained three entirely different routes home at one and the same time. By taking the middle one the party found its way back without mishap. Friday was observed as a day of rest until Shorthose upset everything at about ten pm, by calling on the aid of Coase and Ratcliffe. Saturday, or what was left of it was observed as a day of rest except for the Bristol contingent, who had a look into OFD.

The Sabbath day was kept really holey by a mass attack on Dan-y -Ogof. This was a most interesting trip and a good time was had by all, including DAC, who celebrated his newly announced engagement by taking a swim in the first lake. His take-off was well assisted by staunch companions, but was not entirely voluntary. Most of the rest of the party were new to rubber dinghy caving, and were rather impressed by the size of the underground river. That evening, Pongo retired to the bath. Ifold and Ratcliffe attempted a major trip into OFD on Monday but owing to faulty staff work, found that there was an acute shortage of spare carbide, so left the cave and took up hiking instead. The party then adjourned to the “Gwyn”, there to be entertained with song and impersonation by the Hon Sec of the South Wales Cave Club. This proved a most acceptable finale to the meet.

Caving Report

There was plenty of caving activity during July and August. Johnny Ifold has led some more trips around his new Series while the Birmingham Crowd started the task of surveying Eastwater while on holiday at the Belfry.

Miss Jill Rollason and Alfie Collins have now succeeded in getting to the farthest point of “Ridyard’s Wriggle” in Stoke lane. Apart from a number of local trips to such places as Swildon’s, Eastwater, Stoke and Burrington, some members have wandered further afield. Two spent a week in Yorkshire and managed a couple of trips down Gaping Ghyll, thanks to the very helpful Craven Pothole Club. There was also the London Section visit to South Wales.

Seen in the British Medical Journal. . , “The patient suffered from breathlessness on exertion lasting more than a month”

……Can’t say were surprised.

Trip Card – October

October 6th        Burrington Caves, August Hole

                        Leader .. M. Jones, J. Ifold.

                        Meet… Burrington Café, 2:30om Lower Farm 2:30pm

October 14th.      Stoke Lane

Leader.. S. Collins, N.Petty, and M. Hannam

Meet 1pm at cave,

October 20th       Sandford Levy

Leader. R.Bennett

November 10th    Swildon’s Hole

Leader.- M. Hannam

Meet.,. Belfry, 2,3Opm.

All those intending to join any of these trips should notify the caving secretary several days before the trip is due take place.


This space has been reserved for Your contribution

Please along quickly.

Annual General Meeting

Don't forget that the AGM will be held, as announced in the last BB at the Redcliffe Community Centre at 2pm on Saturday 26th January, 1952, and will be followed at 7pm by the Annual Dinner. All members are asked to note this date, and to try to attend. A ballot form; to be used in connection with the election of the new Committee is enclosed w it h this issue. It carries full instructions on how to vote. If you can't read, then ask your Dad what it says, but VOTE

Mike Foxwell

Those members who knew Mike Foxwell will be sorry to learn that he was shot in the back at Suez a week ago, and killed. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his parents and friends in their sad bereavement.

Caving Section.

Mervyn Hannam when sending the following trip card, added the following remark... "but I'm afraid it's a **** of a job to bully anyone into leading a trip these days". We refrain from comment, and leave the matter with the consciences of the more experienced members of the Club.

Forthcoming Trips

22nd December 1951       August Hole      Leader J.Ifold;    Meet at Lower Farm 2pm.

30th December, 1951,     Burrington Caves  Leader C. Foulshaw. Meet at Mendip Cafe at 2pm.

13th January, 1952...       Eastwater.         Leader  M. Jones. Meet at Belfry, 11am

29th January, 1952...       Swildon's,..        Leader M. Hannam. Meet at Belfry, 11a m

Caving Report

Despite the excessive lubrication in most caves during the past few weeks, plenty of caving has been taking place. The ritual of Swildon’s and Eastwater has been carried out, and congrats are due to Len Findley for varying the monotony of Swildon's by suspending himself base over apex on the twenty foot ladder, This pastime is not recommended, however.

There were also a few trips to Burrington, and one party set out to plumb the "bottomless gulf" in Sandford Levy, but found it no longer bottomless, in fact it wasn't there,

The only journey to foreign parts was a trip, or rather two trips to South Devon on the night after the Election. No doubt some of the party remembered the last post-Election night in South Devon!

One of these parties, comprising Johnny Ifold, Johnny Morris, Johnny Bindon, Roger Cantle and one or two others did Pixie Hole at Chudleigh. The other party, Ian Dear and Mervyn Hannam did Read's Cave and Baker's Pit including Geoff Ridyard's new series, which is a very nice bit of caving, even if it is largely through mud guaranteed to block up any acetylene lamp in existence; (Mention of Geoff. reminds us that he is now back in London for a spell Ed.).

The Caving Secretary will be very glad to receive suggestions concerning what caves should be included in the trip cards and what, if any, special exploration and surveying activities should be undertaken by the Section.

Apart from the main cave index, the Section is trying to compile a detailed index of the small caves on Mendip and near Bristol. If any members have a sound knowledge of these little known holes, they are asked to pass it on to Mervyn Hannam.

London Section Dinner

The London Section held its Second Annual Dinner at the Atlas Hotel on Saturday, December 8th, and a good time was had by all. All fourteen members and guests arrived in good time and condition, and, in due course, left.... also in good condition.

The least important part of the Dinner - the dinner – was suitably up to standard and met with general approval. The President (D.A.C.) then proposed "The King” after which “our energetic and hard-working Secretary" sprang his usual surprise and called on R. Setterington to propose "The B.E.C.", to which Johnny Payne replied. Bill Mack then proposed "The London Section" W.J.S. took it upon himself to reply to this, thereby being at a great advantage as the only speaker who had been warned of his fate. Pongo Wallis proposed "The Caving Fraternity", taking a poor view of the serious outbreak of matrimony in the Club, and the future Mrs. Coase replied.

The serious business of the evening then began, but regrettably desire outran performance. It was concluded that this was due to the large quantity of food consumed; at all events, a considerable quantity of assorted refreshment was still unconsumed at 10.45 when we were finally flung out,

We hope that another function will be held in twelve month's time and will be equally successful


1951 Photograph Competition

The rules for the 1951 photographic competition have now been drawn up, and are set out below. Prizes will be awarded in each of the groups A) and B), at the discretion of the Committee, The actual value of the prizes will depend on the total number of entries received, but will probably be about the same in value as last year.


l),         The Competition will be in two sections:

a)  Cave Photographs

b) Club Activities

2)         The Competition is open to all members of the B.E.C., except the Judges.

3)         Prints must be of postcard size or larger, and may be mounted or unmounted. Each print must have the Entrant's name and the title on the back, together with any technical details that are available.

4)         An entry fee of 6p (sixpence) must accompany each print. Any competitor may enter as many prints as he likes.

5)         Prints may be either the entrant’s own work, or may have been processed professionally. They must, of course, have been taken by the entrant.

6)         Each print must be accompanied by an addressed label for return to the entrant.

7)         Entries may be handed in at the Club meetings on Thursday evenings , up to and including Thursday, 10th January, 1952 or may be posted to reach W.J. Shorthose 26, Gateside Road, Upper Tooting, London, SW 17 not later than Saturday 12th January.

8)         The Judges will be D.A. Coase and W.J. Shorthose.

9)                   The result will be announced and the prints will be on view, at the Annual General Meeting and the Annual Dinner on 26th January.

Forthcoming Marriage

Hearty Congratulations to Stan Herman and M. Pillinger two more members who have decided to take the plunge

While on this subject, Bobby Bagshaw and his "Dark Horse" wife wish to thank members very sincerely for the handsome wall clock given to them as a consolation prize.

Planning A Motor-Cycling Trip In - Part 2       by R.A. Setterington

Make arrangements to pick up your companions and get to the AA or RAC port office in good time to collect your boat tickets. Drive down to the customs shed, filling up with petrol, on the way, and get the bike examined and all the necessary forms stamped and handed in. Drive down to the ship and close your eyes while they load the bike. Once on board, wait for the public address system to announce that landing tickets can be collected, do so and fill them in. If you smoke, buy some English cigarettes, though if you run out later "Balto's" make quite a smokeable substitute.

When you dock, go through the customs and get your passport stamped. Your motoring organisation will look after the customs of the bike, but you will probably have to pay a dock landing charge.

As you leave the dock you will be reminded to drive on the right. This is a bit queer at first but you soon get used to it. It is a good system to park the bike always on the right side of the road, then you don't forget as you start up. The majority of the road signs are self-explanatory, but it can cause a few hectic moments when a sign saying "Virage Dangereus" looms up, and after a quick hunt in the dictionary you find it means dangerous double bend.

The best method of eating is to have a snack at mid-day, say of bread and cheese and fruit purchased somewhere en route and a slap up dinner in the evening. Avoid Paris and the big cities and eat in a restaurant in a small village somewhere. Since the evenings are not very long, even at midsummer (it is quite dark by nine o'clock) it is best to start looking for a camping site at about six o' clock. When you find a good spot (the locals can be helpful here) pitch the tent and have a wash and brush up. Then motor into the nearest village and pick an average looking restaurant, probably the only one, and ask if you can have dinner, and at what time, They will almost certainly say "Yes, what do you want?" The best answer is “We're hungry, but we leave the details to you" Some of the motor-cycling books on the subject recommend you to enquire the price first, but this smacks of mistrust and is not necessary in

the smaller restaurants, By the way, when choosing an eating place, Hotel means hotel, Restaurant means restaurant, but a cafe supplies only drinks and snacks,

You will find that the French are all for tourists, but you won't get anything on the cheap from them. Even when you announce that you are English speleologists particularly interested in that cave’s speciality they may make the cave more interesting and show you some of the non-tourist parts, but they will still charge you the full entrance-fee.

Don't bank on the weather being good all the time although in summer it will be reasonably warm even if wet. The best wear is normal clothes and flying suit, gloves and goggles. A pair of sunglasses is a “must” when the sun is shining. For wet weather carry a lightweight anti-gas suit, or equivalent, and a pair of oilskin boots. Don't forgot to put trousers outside boots and jacket outside trousers and gloves.

Always use “Super Carburant” petrol and a heavy oil. Mobiloil “B” in is an S.A.E. 50 oil. Don't be afraid to speak French as soon as you land. You will have to sooner or later, so you may as well start then.

Never, if you can possibly avoid it, drink water, especially, from a stream. Coffee and tartins for breakfast, Citronade glace at midday, and wine with the evening is a good routine. Don't drink wine at midday if you are driving during the afternoon, and don't drink vintage wines, they can be as expensive as in .

Don't leave too many miles for the last day or part day. Get back to your port of embarkation with an hour or two to spare, have a good meal and get rid of as much coin money as possible. You should have no trouble with the French customs or with getting aboard. Once the ship has sailed you can change paper money into English money. Make out a list of all things bought abroad to give to the English customs when you land. The Customs are very

searching, but treat genuine trippers with cordiality.

Finally, don't forget to drive on the left in .

Song - In The Olden Days            by C.D.S.

1.         In the olden days

            When we lived in the Barn

            And there was no Belfry new

            Everything that everyone had

            Was slung in the cavers' stew.


2,         In the olden days

            We never washed

            And the place was never clean

            No washing up, and no-one cared

            If the door was our latrine.

3.         In the olden days

            We boozed all night

            And sang our filthy songs.

            The girls were wooed by each in turn,

            and no-one shouted his wrongs.


4.         In the olden days

            We always caved

            Come sun, come snow, come rain;

            We cycled here, we cycled back

            Determined to do them again.


5.         In the olden days

            We all were young,

            And our numbers then were small

            We brought our grub, no need for Wells.

            No-one at our beck and call.


6,         In the olden days

            We all were pals

            Content to talk together.

            We had no need of radio

            Whatever the beastly weather


7.         Gone, gone are the olden days

            And ne'er will they return.

            We’ve grown up now (or we should have done)

            But still for those days we yearn.


8,         In days to come

            When our bones are-laid

            And our yarns of the past are stale

            The B EC will be flourishing still

            With the young, and hearty, and hale,



That concludes our Christmas Number, apart from conveying to all members and their families and friends, and to all cavers every-where, our very best wishes for the coming festive season, and the hope that in the year to come they will find all happiness and peace to indulge their crazy hobby to their heart's content.

Ballot Form For BEC Committee 1952

The following members have been nominated for the 1952 Committee;- Miss C. Ainsworth Miss J. Rollason, Mrs G. Ifold, Miss A. Searle, Messrs R. Bagshaw,  R, Bennett, R. Cantle D. Coase, K, Dobbs, M. Hannam, D.Hasell, J, Ifold, P, Ifold, M. Jones, G. Lucy, A. Rice, A. Setterington, and T.H. Stanbury.

Will members please note:-

1.         That the number of votes cast,(up to eight) is optional, but if eight votes are cast, at least one must be for a lady members

2.         This form must be signed and must bear the membership number which will be found on your membership card. (If not please mark the form accordingly).

3.                   This form sealed in the envelope provided must reach the Secretary not later than 25th January 1952, or be handed to him at the start of the AG M on the following day.


1 ………………………….            2 ………………………….            3 ………………………….

4 ………………………….            5 ………………………….            6 ………………………….

7 ………………………….            8 ………………………….

The above names are my choice for the 1952 Committee.


Membership No.

NOTE. The Hon. Secretary's address is as follows;

R. J. Bagshaw, 56, Ponsford Road, Knowle, BRISTOL. 4   ,

Club Committee

During the last year there has been a good deal of criticism of the way the Club has been run, not all of it entirely irresponsible. The Annual General Meeting is approaching, and it will then be time to elect a new Committee, It is obviously unfair to simply re-elect the Committee year after year and then complain bitterly that they are doing the wrong things in the worst possible way. Now is your chance to voice your opinion by filling up the Nomination Paper attached to this BB, and getting it to the Hon, Secretary before 13th December 1951.

The Committee consists of 8 members, including the Climbing Section representative, and at least one lady member. There is also a London Section representative, who is not voted for, as anyone present from London at the time attends the Committee.

The present Committee is: -

R. Bagshaw, D. Hasell, J. Ifold, R. Ifold? G. Lucy, R. Cantle. K. Dobbs,. Miss J. Rollason, M. Hannam, A. Setterington,

Members can only be nominated for election to t h e Committee with their knowledge and approval.

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting will be held at Redcliffe Community Centre at 2pm on Saturday, 26th January 1952, All members are asked to make a note of this date, and to endeavour to be present. There will be a break of about half an hour for tea, at 4pm, and the meeting will close at about SIX O'clock, so that members will be able to get to the Annual Diner

Annual Dinner

The Annual Dinner will be held at the Whiteladies (Cinema) Restaurant, Whiteladies Road, Bristol on Saturday, 26th January.1952, at 7 for 7.30 PM. after the Annual-General Meeting. A form of Application for tickets is attached to this BB.

The cost is only 7/6,and those who were at last year's dinner will remember that it was a really jolly affair.

London Section Dinner

The London Section will hold its Annual Dinner on Saturday, 8th December, 1951, at the Atlas Hotel, Earl's Court, The cost will be 10/6 per head, payable at the dinner, As Bookings must be made in advance, all those who will be coming are asked to inform D.A.Coase, 18, Headington Road, Wandsworth, London, S.W.18, as soon as possible, and in any case not later than Saturday 1st December, The dinner is not confined to London Section Members, and the support of those, who live far from civilisation will be cordially welcomed.

Hon Secretary

Bobby Bagshaw is now acting as the Clubs Hon Secretary All correspondence should be addressed to;-

Mr R.J. Bagshaw,

56, Ponsford Road,


Bristol, 4.

BATS -- b y J.W. Ifold.

As a part of the research into the habits of bats, a large number have been ringed in the Mendip caves. The bats are marked with a metal ring bearing letters and a number on one wing. Those most likely to be encountered on Mendip bear the letters UBS. Having been affixed by the Bristol University. Anyone seeing a bat is asked to make a note o f the following details -

a)         Letters and number on ring (if any)

b)         Name of the cave and the part of the cave where found, and

c)         Date and time when seen.

This information should be sent to Mervyn Hannam or John Ifold, who would also be glad to receive offers of help in this fascinating work.


There are a number of books on bats in the Club library.

Club Library

There arc still too many Club library books missing. Will all members please have a good look in their attics and coal cellars, or, in the case of lady members, in their bottom drawers, to see if they can find any of the missing books.

The library needs a copy of "Cave Hunting" by Boyd Dawkins. Any Members who knows where a copy is to be obtained should let the librarian know as soon as possible, giving details of the price asked and of the book's condition,

The library contains a number of six-inch maps covering most of the Mendip area. These maps have been marked to show most of the known caves and possible digs. Members knowing of others, or finding new sites are asked to give full details to the librarian so that these maps can be kept up to date. The maps are of course available for inspection by members, as are a number of assorted maps of the British Isles,

The library catalogue is as follows.


(In this section, recent acquisitions only are listed)

Cave Science Nos 15 and 16

C.R.G. Newsletters 1 to 11

U.B.S.S. Proc. Vol. 5 no 3, Vol. 6 no2

The Caves of Texas                                            N.S.S.

Cave Dwelling Bats in S. Devon.

Gower Caves Parts 1 and 2                                 Allen and Butler.

Subterranean Climbers                                       P. Chevalier,

Cave. Men Old and New                                     N. Casteret.

British Bats                                                       B. Vecsey-Fitzgerald.

Irish Cave Excavation                                         J.E. Coleman.

Yorkshire Caves and Pots Vol. 11                       A. Mitchell.

The Cave Book                                                  C. Hendrix.


Bristol Naturalists Society,

Wells and springs of Herefordshire


Climbing Mount Everest G.                                 Ingle French

Climbing in                                              J.E. Barford

Welsh Three Thousands                                     T. Fairbank

Snow on the Equator                                          H.W. Tilman

Epic of Mount Everest                                        Sir F. Younghusband

Rock Climbing and Mountaineering                      C. Brunning


The All-In-One Camera Book


Early                                                      Jacquetto Hawkes

Man the Toolmaker                                            K.P. Oakley .

Roman Folkestone                                           S.E. Winbolt

Bristol and Glos. Arch, Soc. report 1926.

B.C.                                                       S.E. Winbolt

Pyramids of                                             I.E. Edwards

Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History Brief History of Ancient Times

British association Handbook, 1898

Malmesbury Short History

Prehistoric and Roman

Excavations at Lea Mills

Bristol Museum Report, 1948 and 1950

Cardiff Museum Guide, 1945

Ancient Monuments of

Ancient Monuments of Northern England

Prehistoric London                                             E.O. Gordon


Discovery of Man                                               S. Casson

Descent of Man                                                 C. Darwin

Head Hunters.                                                   A.E. Haddon

Historical Sociology                                           V. Brelsford

Reconsideration of the Gally Hill Skeleton            K.P. Oakley

Dental Anatomy and Physiology

Touring and Walking

Somerset                                                          M. Trauser

Rambles and Walking in Somerset

Ward Lock Guides.                    Dartmoor, North Cornwall, South West Scotland,

New Forest, Wye Valley.

Blagdon on Mendip

Cotswolds                                                         Murry


Derbyshire                                                         Penguin

Bath, Bristol and Forty Miles Around                   Tourough Guides

South Devon and Cornwall                                  Tourough Guides

Somerset Highways and Byways                        Barret

Gloucestershire                                                 J.D. Meath

Hike Tracks of the West                                     H.F. Lock

West Country Hosteling                                      Y.H.A.

Land of Wales                                                   Lewis

Unbeaten Tracks A and B                                   Barnes

Mendip Rescue Organisation

All members are reminded that the Mendip Rescue Organisation may be put into operation with the least possible delay by telephoning Wells 2197.

GB Restrictions

The club has been informed by the UBSS that the Axbridge Urban District Council has imposed further restrictions on GB. Consequently no one should visit this cave, take photographs there or publish information concerning it without UBSS permission. For the present all arrangements to visit the cave should be made through Mervyn Hannam.


Don Coase would be very glad to learn who has been digging at the top of the Bone Chamber In Stoke Lane. Any news?

Planning a Motor-Cycling Trip in                      R.A. Setterington.

This article is written with the intention of helping you to plan a motor-cycle trip in . Most of the remarks will also apply to trips made anywhere on the continent and by any means of transport.

There are four necessary requirements for a successful trip, namely:

1)                   A bike which can be relied on not to break down. This, does not necessarily mean a new one, and in fact It is better to take a bike that is a year or two old (D.A.C. please note!) than one that still has its initial snags t o be ironed out. The bike should be well run-in as there are stretches of road where it is possible to travel flat out for distances of up to twenty miles while in other places it may be necessary to climb gradients of about 1 in 8 for ten miles or so.

2)                   A well-tried companion or companions. It is surprising how somebody who is normally good company for a week end can get on one's nerves w h en there is practically no-one else to talk to for a fortnight

3)                   Some money. About £25 will cover a fortnight, living on the cheap, This includes the cross-channel transport charges shared between two. Get 5000 francs and four £5 traveller's cheques from your bank, you will need your passport for this.

4)                   A plan of campaign. It is advisable to have some object in view for the trip, such as visiting a dozen or so commercial caves in various parts of the country. Arrange a tour that at a reasonable mileage speed within the limits of the bike, will take about two days longer than you have available.

If you find that you are running short of time, you can always cut the trip short and beat it northwards but I can imagine nothing more than a dead long drive to Boulogne or Calais with two or three days in hand.

It is also a great help if one has a working knowledge of the language… school certificate French is quite good enough, and it would be possible to get along with a phrase book, but this is not much fun.

Three or four months before the trip is due to start confirm the date with your companion(s) and then write to your AA or RAC office and ask for transport across the channel and back on the necessary dates. They will send you one large form to fill out which will cover everything. Fill it up, making sure that the data in your log book are the same as the actual frame and engine numbers on the bike. At the same time it is advisable to ask for a general road map of so that you can get a rough idea of the distances to be covered. Agree with your companion on the places to be visited and then ask the AA or the RAC for the "Cartes Michelins" covering them,

A week or so before you are due to sail the AA or the RAC will send you all the necessary gen, forms etc., and a bill, but not the boat tickets, which are collected at the port office when you show a receipt for the cash paid,

About three weeks before you sail start going over the bike with a fine-tooth comb. Check everything, fix on panniers and GB plates, if not already on, and finally finish up with a decoke. It is quite easy, with a little common sense, to put all one person's gear into one pannier, and to put a tent and two sleeping bags across the top of the panniers, carrying pyjamas as well in case of bad weather. One pannier will carry all the tools and spares you can't carry in the normal tool box, a towel, washing shaving and tooth-cleaning equipment swimming trunks, one set of pyjamas, three pairs of socks, two shirts, four handkerchiefs, a shoe brush and the maps, guide books, passport and other paperwork. Carry your camera at the ready, not in the pannier. Don't forget that the French roads can very rough at times and sturdy panniers are essential, especially of a solid frame model. If you are not used to travelling long distances make quite sure that both the driving and pillion positions are as comfortable a s possible.

As a final preliminary, get an insurance policy for the continent. This will cost two or three pounds but is well worth while for the added peace of mind it affords.

Annual Dinner

The Hon. Sec. has still a few tickets left for the next Annual Dinner, to be held on Saturday, January 26th, at the Whiteladies Cinema Restaurant, at 7 for 7.30pm. Tickets are,7/6 each, cash with order. Those who were there last year will no doubt already have booked tickets, and will be ready to assure others that a very good time was had by all. The backsliders will now, no doubt, rush to get the few remaining tickets from Bob Bagshaw, whose address appears, if we still remember it, at the end of this Bulletin.

Those who have already applied should receive their tickets within a week, otherwise, panic is in order, and the Hon. Sec should be, to put it mildly, informed.

Annual General Meeting

Owing to ill-health Miss Jill Rollason has asked that her name should not go forward for election to the Committee for 1952. All members should therefore amend their ballot papers accordingly. We wish Jill a very speedy and complete recovery.

Members who have items or resolutions which they wish to be discussed, at the AGM should hand these, in writing to the Hon Sec. before the start of the meeting, As time is strictly limited, these should be kept as short and as few as possible.

London Section Meeting

The next meeting of the London Section will be held on Sunday, 24th February 1952 at 26, Gateside Road, S.W.17. All the usual arrangements will apply. This is by way of being the London Section Sec's farewell party, and he hopes that as many as possible of the exiles will help him to celebrate.

Photographic Competition

As it is now after the closing date, and no entries have been received for the 1952 Photographic Competition, this has been abandoned.

Equipment Sales

Roy Ifold reports that there is still plenty of equipment particularly lamps and spares available. Helmets cannot be kept in stock but can be obtained to order in about three or four weeks. Members needing caving gear should get in touch with Roy.

For Sale

One standard cap lamp and 3-volt NIFE cell complete, in working order,... £2

Apply D. Radmore, 3, Gloucester Road, Old Patchway, near Bristol.

Christmas Greetings

The club received a message of Christmas Greetings from Pierre Ageron, Vice President of the Socete Speleologique de France. Pierre will be remembered by those who attended the conference at Valence in 1949 for the immense amount of work he put in to ensure the success of the trip.

Greetings were received also from the Westminster Speleo Group, of Ilford,

Club Library

The Club Library has recently suffered from an attack of additions, including the following:-British Caver, Vol. 22

Cave Science, Nos. 17 and 18

Teach Yourself Geology.,. E.U.P.

Climbing Section Meet - Xmas 1951 - Coniston Westmorland

The following attended the Climbing Section's Christmas meet at Coniston, Westmorland:- R.A. Setterington, A. Rice G.T. Lucy, D. Bindon, M. Yea, A. Searle, D.P. Puplett, R.W.G. Cantle, and J.R. Crabtree. The following note on the expedition has been provided by the Climbing Secretary.

Weather. Very Indifferent, rain, snow in the air.

The party assembled at Holly How Youth hostel on Saturday evening 22nd December, 1951 for dinner and a drink at the Black Bull.

Sunday 23rd December The party decided as the weather was too bad for serious rock climbing, ridge-walking would be preferable. The track up past the Old Copper Mines was taken, and the party ascended to the summit of the Old Man Of Coniston after having passed round Levens Water. On the summit, Christmas cake, Australian wine (Women! Beware! It will make you hop like kangaroos), French wine, chocolates, oranges and the other good things of Christmas were consumed with relish. After partaking of this meal a rapid descent was made down the side to the track leading to Goats Water and thence back to the Hostel, Altogether a good energetic walk, although the mist had prevented the fine views being seen. The evening was spent at the festivities at the Black Bull where Hot Lips (Crabtree) entertained the party by pulling faces

Monday 24th December. All but two of the party motored into Ambleside where shopping and general sight-setting took place, followed by drinks and lunch. It had by now come on to rain, but nevertheless the party's original intention was carried out, namely a general tour round the lakes. The road for Keswick was taken, and then on to Cockermouth, through the fine mountain scenery could only be seen at intervals as the mountaintops peeped through the mist. Prom Cockermouth round by the Honister pass, where bottom gear is useful. and cyclists are advised to walk... YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED then on to Buttermere and thence back to Keswick (Don't mention the place to Sett, unless you also tell him where to get a straight "Duggy" frame). Then on to Ambleside and back to Coniston, dinner, and a quiet sing-song round the fire.

Tuesday, Christmas Day. The day dawned clear and the party in general set off for Dow Crag and Goats Water after a lazy but very enjoyable walk, lunch was had at the foot of, Dow Crag. Here the party split up, half going up on to the ridge in the snow while the tires, lazy and crippled hobbled off back to Coniston for tea. (Sorry, no tea to be had). Christmas dinner was had, a merry evening at the Black Bull and much jollification In the Common Room till the early hours of the morning,..., a very good party.

Wednesday December 26th Dawned clear, but not for long.  At 10.00 am the party left, splitting up for their various destinations after a very happy Christmas.

Mendip Caves                     J. Ifold,

I           August Hole

August Hole is one of the five largest systems in the Mendip area, but for some reason is just about as popular as Stoke Lane. The entrance is in Longwood, close to Lower Farm Charterhouse, and admission is obtained on paying a small fee to the owner of the farm, Mr. Young. Cavers may change in the barn a t the farm. Then, proceeding down the valley, fill carbide lamps at the cattle trough, if the weather is dry. If it is wet, ample opportunity will be found at the cave entrance, which is. opposite the sewer bed.

The entrance is a tight vertical rift about forty feet deep. On reaching the bottom it is followed for a further twenty feet and into a small bedding chamber on the left.  A BEC member once broke two ribs going through this part of the cave, but since that time some patient person has chipped away the tight piece. Follow the passage until the head of the double ten-foot vertical is reached. A twenty-foot rope is needed at this point. At the foot, the left hand passage leads to Long Wood, and the Right hand one to August Hole. Following the right-hand one, we come to the Water Chamber, where there is usually a waterfall dropping from the roof and disappearing into a small passage, down which we proceed to the top of a thirty foot chimney At the bottom of this chimney is a small tunnel. If by any chance one has stayed dry to this point, and wishes to remain so, one takes the opening to the left of this tunnel and turning right almost immediately wriggles down a tight squeeze leading to the other end of the tunnel, This is known as the "By-pass".

Soon after this, one reaches a high rift passage with formations, ending in a drop of about ten feet, which requires a twenty foot rope. This is the last point at which a rope is required. One is now in the top of a fault which slopes at about 30 degrees for a hundred feet or so. It is twenty to thirty feet wide and about ten feet high, and there are two grottos a short way down on the right hand side, one I of which I consider to be the prettiest on Mendip This is a good time and place to stop for a breather.

(To be continued)

Useful addresses:-

Hon. Secretary              R.J. Bagshaw,

56, Ponsford Road,



Librarian                        J.W. Ifold,

Leigh House,

Nempnett Thrubwell

Chew Stoke,

Near Bristol

Hut Warden                   R.A. Setterington,

21, Priorswood Road,



B.B.Editors                   D.A. Coase and W.J. Shorthose,

26, Gateside Road,.

Upper Tooting,

London, SW,17

Bristol Exploration Club -- AGM

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING to be held at REDCLIFFE Community Centre at 2pm on Saturday, 26th January, 1952.


1          Election of Chairman,

2          Collection of resolutions to be raised by members.

3          Collection of voting papers.        

4          Election of three tellers for the ballot,

5          Hon. Secretary's report.

6                     Treasurer's report. (See statement on back of thls agenda)

7                     Caving report,

8                     Climbing report.

9                     Library report.

10                 Archaeological report.

11                 Tackle officer's report,

12                 Hut Warden's report.

13                 London Section report,

14                 Members’ resolutions (from item 2)

15                 Photographic competition report,

16                 Any other business,

Financial Statement for 1951


Annual subscriptions                                                                                     37     0     0

Belfry:   Income                                                                42    12                 

Less expenditure                                                  17    12              24    19     8

Calor gas: Income                                                              9     9      3

                  Less cost                                                        4    18      6             4    10     9

Goods for resale: Receipts                                                16    13      7

                             Less Cost                                           14    10      4             2     3    

Redcliffe Hall: Income                                                       25     3      6

                       Less hire                                                  12    10      0           12    13     6

Sundries P.O.S.B. Interest, etc.                                                                      2     9     7

                                                                                                                 £83    16    


Belfry Bulletin: Stencils, paper, etc,                                   10    19    11

                        Postage                                                    2    16      9           13    16     8

Hut loan repayment                                                                                       10     0     0

Insurance                                                                                                       7    10     0

Telephones                                                                                                    7    12     0

Postage                                                                                                         6     5     1

Festival expenses                                                                                           4    19     9

Library                                                                                                           4    18    10

British mountaineering council entrance

                                fee and subscription                                                        3    10     0

Stationery and printing                                                                                    3     4     3

Deposit for Annual Dinner                                                                                2     2     0

Climbing hut: Expenditure                                                   4    11      8

                      Less income                                                2    16      0             1    15     8

Rent of field                                                                                                    1     0     0

Cave research group subscription                                                                          10     8

Sundries                                                                                                        1    16     8

Surplus for year                                                                                            14    15    

                                                                                                                 £83    16    

Total club moneys 1st January, 1951                                                               29     1     7

Surplus for year                                                                                            14     5    

                                                                                                                 £43    16    

Deposit in P.0,S.B. 31st December, 1951.                                                       32    17     4

Cash in hand                   do.                                                                        10    19    

Total club moneys           do                                                                        £43    16    

There is a balance of £15 still owing in respect of the hut fund,


The BEC's series of caving reports cover a wealth of knowledge and experience.Most of these were written many years ago but still contain very pertinent information covering many aspects of the clubs activities.


Been down St Cuthberts? Buy the report and get a free survey!

Less well-known than many of Mendip's other major cave systems, St. Cuthbert's Swallet offers much to those whose interest extends beyond mere sporting activity. Not only does it contain fine pitches and streamways but it has numerous large chambers, some beautifully decorated, intricate phreatic mazes and up to seven distinct levels. It is without doubt Mendip's most complex cave system and, not generally realised, it contains perhaps the finest and greatest variety of formations in the area. Among its displays are found magnificent calcite groups such as the 'Curtains', 'Cascade', Gour Hall with its 20ft high gour, 'The Beehive', Canyon Series and the 'Balcony' formations in September Chamber, all of which are without peer in the country. There are also superb mini-formations including floating calcite crystals, over twenty nests of cave pearls, and delicate fern-like crystals less than four millimetres long; a variety that few other caves can boast.

Access is strictly controlled by the Bristol Exploration Club. Conservation was the prime reason for wishing to control access to the cave. To achieve this aim it was decided by the BEC at their 1955 Annual General Meeting to introduce a leader system. St. Cuthbert's Swallet was one of the first caves in the country to be so protected. This action has often been the centre of controversy. However, the fact remains that, after thirty years, the cave is essentially still in pristine condition and proven justification for the leader system.

The St Cuthberts report was written and compiled by D.J. “Wig”  Irwin with additional material by Dr. D.C. Ford, P.J. Romford, C.M. Smart and Dr. J.M. Wilson. Running to 82 pages and containing a vast array of photos and a wealth of information this doesn’t just deserve to be on every cavers bookshelf, you should get one for all your friends too (well maybe).

Copies can be purchased from the Belfry or Bat Products for a very reasonable sum.

Also Available as a PDF download from the downloads section from the publications menu

The monthly newsletter will remove ‘internal’ members items from the regular Belfry Bulletin and hopefully be able to update our members more frequently on news, BEC events, local caving related events, any internal stuff members may like to know, dig updates, gossip, etc. etc. It will also contain a rolling calendar which will list both BEC and member events and any other cavers related events on Mendip and the wider community where appropriate.

The newsletter is totally internal to BEC membership and will not be distributed outside of the club, unlike the BB which is exchanged with other clubs and  eventually published publicly on the website.

{loadmodule GoogleCalendar}

{module [570]}

The Belfry Bulletin is the journal of the Bristol Exploration Club.

The current editor, always welcomes articles and pictures as this journal is what the members make it by sending in contributions. As well as his postal address published in the Belfry Bulletin, he can also now receive articles by e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The entire archive of back issues is available here entirely due to Andy Mac-Gregor. Over a period of four years Andy has scanned and converted to text via OCR every single issue. When you consider that most of these were printed on a Gestetner duplicator you'll appreciate the scale of this achievement.