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His Late Majesty King George VI.

As we go to press with this issue, the nation mourns, the loss of a well loved monarch. It is fitting that we, too, should add our humble tribute to those that have already been paid to his memory, and express our sympathy with H,M, Queen Elizabeth II The Queen Mother, and the other members of his family in the grievous loss they have sustained. We express the hope that our young Queen will long be spared to rule over a happy and united people, free from the anxieties and fears which beset her Father's reign in such doleful measure, GOD SAVE THE QUEEN

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting was held at the Redcliffe Community Centre on 26th January 1952, under the Chairmanship of D. Hasell. Reports by the various officers showed steady, if unspectacular, progress in all of the major Club activities, though some dissatisfaction was expressed regarding the present state of Club tackle. These reports and the subsequent discussion on them are fully recorded in the Minute Book, and need not, therefore, be dealt with here. Those members who were not able to be present will however, be interested to learn of some of the decisions reached.

At the Hon. Secretary's suggestion, all Subscriptions will be payable on the same date, 1st February from now on. An adjustment will be made so that members who have already paid a sub, to cover part of the year from 1st February 1952 to 1st February 1953 will receive a proportionate adjustment.

The Club has applied for representation on the Bristol Youth Council, and the Committee will also look into the desirability of affiliating to the Bristol Naturalist's Society,

The surcharge of 3d on all belfry fees, originally imposed to cover the cost of Calor gas equipment it has been merged with the Belfry fees, are now therefore, 1/3 for members

The Committee was asked to see how far the weekly meetings at the Redcliffe Community Centre could be more efficiently organised, and in particular what could be done to secure a warmer welcome for newcomers, and whether a talk on a subject of interest to the Club could be arranged at monthly intervals.

The following members were elected to serve on the Club Committee for the ensuing year;- Miss C. Ainsworth, R. Bagshaw, R. Cantle, K. Dobbs, M. Hannam, J. Ifold, G. Lucy, and R.A. Setterington. It was left to this Committee to appoint officers as necessary.

Officers for 1952

The committee has appointed the following officers for the year;-

Hon.Secretary and Treasurer. R. Bagshaw

Assistant Hon. Secretary, responsible also for printing and despatch of "BB". K. Dobbs

Caving Secretary M. Hannam

Climbing Secretary R. Cantle

Hut Warden R.A. Setterington

Assistant Hut Warden and Engineer G. Lucy

Librarian, J. Ifold

Tackle Officer M. Jones.

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


To:- Pat Ifold and Beryl Wild; Mike Yon and Alma Searle; and Hal Perry and Pat..,,.? All on their recently announced engagements. We extend to them all our sincerest good wishes,

Talk - Thursday, March 13th, 1952,

Make a note of this date, as the first of the monthly talks has been booked for that night, at the weekly Club meeting. The talk, which will be illustrated by lantern slides, will be by Mr P. Bird. Mr. Bird's subject will be "Bats". The Committee hopes that as many members as possible will support this innovation by turning up to hear what Mr. Bird has to say.

London Section

Members of the London Section are reminded of the meeting of the Section to be held at 26, Gateside Road, S W1 7 on Sunday, 24th February. Those who wish to attend are asked to inform the L.S.Sec at that address,

Mendip Caves J. Ifold

I - August Hole Part II

At the bottom of the fault is the main stream passage, and it is advisable to explore the upstream passage first, as it .is the drier. This is part of the master cave. The floor is strewn with huge masses of limestone blocks. About 150 feet up on the right hand side a small stream enters, through a passage which opens into a larger one known as Stream Gallery. A short .way up this passage, on the left is a large deposit- of rock-milk. The stream enters this passage from, the roof, and umbrellas are therefore advised, The passage ends in a very insecure pile of boulders.

Returning to the main stream passage once more, one can go upstream until the passage forks The right fork, leads to the Wet Gallery, and the left to the Dry Gallery, which is above the cave entrance; and full of loose rocks. Very great care is needed in this part pf the cave. The downstream passage is very similar to Swildon’s Hole. In fact, the entire system seems to me to be a combination of Swildon’s, GB, and Eastwater. It is easy going in this stretch, and the walls of the passage are covered with formations. Shortly the roof becomes lower, and it is necessary to crawl in the water, while there are also several small pots to be negotiated. After the last of these there is a high rift with, the stream running along the bottom. It is better to traverse along this rift than to walk in the stream.

There are some very fine stalactites hanging from the roof, which can best be examined from the Ox-Bow., The entrance to this is reached by a small climb just round a bend on the left, which brings one out at the top of the rift. A little further on, the stream sinks through the floor.

Anyone energetic enough can continue by taking the low passage on the right, down a twenty foot rift. From here it takes about an hour to do the next two hundred feet, and about as long to return, At the end of this passage the roar of an inaccessible stream can be heard through a small fissure. This point is about 440 feet below the entrance.

In my view, when wet, August Hole is one of the most severe caves on Mendip, but one of the best.

NOTE BY Librarian August Hole is described in the following all of which are in the Club Library:

Cave Science, Vol. I, No. 3

U.B.S.S. Proceedings, Vol. 6, No.1.

British Caver, Vols. 15, 19, and 22

Department of obscure information

Do you know how many known caves there are on Mendip? Or how many there are in Burrington Combe? To check your memory, see below.

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

Department of Etc.

The Librarian after considerable search and research has come to the conclusion that the total of known caves on Mendip exceeds 120. In Burrington Combe there are twenty one: -

Aveline’s Hole, Bath Swallet, Bos Swallet, Drunkard's Hole, East Twin Brook Swallet, Frog's Hole, Fox's Hole, Goatchurch Cavern, Plumley's Hole; Read's Cavern, Rod's Pot, Rowberrow Cavern, Sidcot Swallet, Pigs Hole, Twin Brook, Whitcombe's Hole and Toad’s Hole, together with four other caves which do not appear to have been given names.

So now you know.

Special Appeal By The Editors

All contributions will: be thankfully received.

It is with regret that we have to announce the loss of one Editor (and typewriter). Unfortunately John Shorthose (Shorty) has been posted to the wilds of and he will not be able to continue the work he has done so well for the past year. We are sure the Club will wish him the best of luck with his work in the wilderness

The ghastly appearance of this issue only goes to prove the necessity for a new Editor as time goes on and issues roll out. It will become even more obvious that a permanent Editor is needed; working on the assumption that one volunteer is worth ten-pressed men. Will volunteers please step smartly forward.

Cave Research Group

A General Mooting will be held at Skipton, Yorkshire, on 26th April, 3rd May, or 10th May, for the presentation of a Speleological Paper. This will be followed by a Caving Expedition on the Sunday. Details will be announced later.

On Saturday 21st June, Mr. P.L.W. Harvey will present a paper on Cave Photography in the lecture room of the Wells Museum at The following day there will be an Expedition to GB arranged by the UBSS.

Mendip Rescue Organisation

We have been asked by the M R O to outline the procedure in the event of an accident.

(1 )       Person having knowledge of accident will go to the nearest call-box, or telephone, and ring the Police, (Wells Police, Tel: Wells 2197.)

(2).       The Police will require the following information:-

Name and address of caller

Number and situation of call-box or telephone

Nature of accident,

Name o  cave

Position of accident in cave (if known)

Number of poop10 in party l

Whether experienced cavers

(3)                 The informant will remain at phone for further instructions

A list of the Wardens and further details of this scheme will be posted at the Belfry. This list will also be available at Thursday Night Club Meetings or on application to the Honorary Secretary.


The first of a series of Thursday Night talks was given by Mr, Peter Bird on 13th March, to an audience of about 30 people, nearly all Club Members. His address o n Bats was s well received, and if the talks continue to be as interesting we have no doubt they will become a popular monthly feature of our Thursday Night meetings.

If you caving to      by Pongo

This £25 racket is a nuisance, of course, but the average caver can’t afford more, if as much on his holiday, so that won’t worry you. You will want your own transport…probably a motorcycle (see Setterington’s article in BB) as this is much cheaper and convenient than railways.

There are a lot of caving areas in France and in a fortnight or so you will, not be able to inspect one closely let alone the whole lot; but you will be able to have a general look round, see a lot of caves, fine country and generally have a grand time.

Dordogne District

This lies East of Bordeaux and is a lovely area of heavily wooded limestone hills. It was one of‘ the haunts of primitive man, and archaeologically the area is very rich. The famous Lascaux cave is in this region and so is the less well known but equally worth visiting Grotto Roch Merle. Padirac is extremely commercialised with a lift down the entrance shaft but is also not to be missed. Only 10 miles from Padirac is the little town of Rocamadour, built on the side of a cliff, one of the few places which is more spectacular than the photographs of it.


There must be literally thousands of caves in Pyrenees, but many are very large and need well organised parties to explore them. But there are suffioient tourist caves to keep you happy for the best part of a week. Many of the proprietors are also very co-operative, and if given prior warning, will arrange a trip around the non-tourist sections….l repeat if given prior warning, and if you put up a good story.

Labouiche ( 2½  kms, under-ground in a boat…otherwise not very exciting).

Mas d‘Azil ( with a Mammoth skull and a large number of cave bears)

Gargas ( of the 200 mutilated-hand prints)

Grottos de Medous ( with good formations and a boat ride for good measure)

     …. and others are all freely open for 150 --200 Francs

La Portel and Niaux can also be visited by private arrangement and the latter is especially worth while as it contains some of the finest cave drawings known.

While in the Pyrenees region, do not miss seeing Carcassonne which is a walled town still in being.

Averyon-Lozere Region

North end east of the Pyrenees contains the famous Gorges due Tarn. These are Cheddar on a large scale…. about 30 miles long and a thousand feet high though not as narrow and vertical as Cheddar. Close to the top of the Gorges is Avon Armand, one of the famous show caves of , and not far off are Dargilan and Bramibiau. This last is (or was) only very slightly commercialised There is a guide, if he happens to be about, but there is no lighting and it is not possible to penetrate very far easily. A little further on is Grotto Demoiselles, which is entered via a funicular railway running up into the mountain from a ledge facing full south; it is hence a tropical garden. On the way from Dargilan to Demoiselles it is possible to free-wheel for 12 miles. Somewhat north again is the world famous Aven Orgnac with the most remarkable formations.

This whole region of the Causse and Cevennes is riddled with caves but again the major proportion require large parties or else are apparently not very interesting,

The Vercours

Just south of Grenoble is a paradise of caves and vertical gorges of incredible depth and steepness. If you do not like driving on the brink of a precipice keep away. To cave here you need a good party as there are few tourist caves, but it is grand country to see.

The Chartreuse

Which is the home of the remarkably potent liqueur is very steep and the caves are off the beaten track. The ‘Subterranean Climbers’ gives the low-down on the district and I offer 5/- is someone can find the Guirs Mort….I cold not and got soaked into the bargain.

By the time you have been to all these places you will be sick of caves and will be wondering why we bother with our Mendip Binders, but you will have had a grand holiday.

Judicious enquiries before you go will greatly assist in finding some of the more out-of-the-way cave, and I or anyone else who has been before will, I am sure, be only to glad to give you any help we can

Further Congratulations

We extend our heartiest congratulations and best wishes to Roger Cantle and Judy Puplett, who have recently announced their engagement.

A little bat whispered in our ear that Gordon and Joan Fenn are now the proud possessors of a Bouncing Baby Boy

Congratulations better late than never to Stan and Mo Herman, on their wedding which took place a few months ago; they are now living in a caravan, aptly named the Swallet, at Whitchurch.

The Impossible Has Happened

We have it on the best authority that the Honorary Secretary and his assistant have at last torn themselves away from their armchairs in an endeavour to conquer the depths of Swildon’s Hole. Having visited the Belfry at the unheard hour of 9 am on Sunday morning and finding most of the inmates still asleep they forged on undaunted. Fortunately they found that Mother Nature had taken a hand (God Bless Her) and the water was pouring over the entrance grating In a mighty torrent of 4”. Photographic evidence is available! However the Hero of the expedition, Ken Dobbs, fought his way to the top of the waterfall (this action was probably duo to the fact that his foot slipped in removing the grating). He returned to report that further progress was impossible and the Honorary Secretary gratefully believed him. The party then returned from their first Caving Expedition in many moons.

R.B.            K.C .D.


Memo to Johnny Ifold:

Have they given you an official report yet?

More Material Please

We are now virtually out of material for the next BB. The next issue is entirely in your hands – you write it, we print it. Until further arrangements are made, willing contributors, budding authors etc,… please send their articles efforts etc to the Honorary Secretary.


The Belfry is shortly to be kept locked. Keys are now available on loan from the Hon. Sec. or Hut Warden. The loan fee of 2/- is refundable on return of the key.


Better late than never. We have just had word that Pete Stewart was married at Christmas. We regret we can give no further information regarding the name of his unfortunate partner.

New Members

259       Ron Nelmes 48 Bishop Rd, Bishopston 7,

260       J. Lamb 366 Filton Avenue 7.

261       Jim Martin, 51. Ash Road, Horfield.

May their lights never grow dim.


A working Party to produce Ladders etc is urgently required as tackle stocks are falling. This is the second appeal of this nature lets hope it will not be as fruitless as the last. Our stock of ladders is getting painfully low and If volunteors do not come forward soon the club will find itself in the unique position of being practically tackleless. Names please to either M Jones, M Hannam or K Dobbs alias Muggins!

Note from Mr & Mrs P ifold

Pat and Beryl wish to thank all club members for their very generous wedding presents.

Easterwater Cavern

It is desired to promulgate for the information and guidance of all persons , parties expedition, excursions & cutting etc., following account of an investigation into the possibility of using Eastwater Cavern as a breading ground for White Elephants.

It is further desired to make known that :-

A research party of’ seven fully experienced men, good and true, being of sound mind, and, well versed in, and having knowledge of the breeding instincts of the white Elephant did on the above mentioned date undertake the survey reported hereinafter.

D A Coase Esq. Lond Indif.                                             )

T Ratcliffe Esq. Lond Ad Info                                           )

M Hannum Esq. Brit Spel. A l la n Arch Bt.                      )

Bertie Conv.                                                                   )

D. Read Esq. Somnambulist and meat eater                    ) commissioners of

M Jones Esq. Lib & Nat Con,                                          ) the Council.

The findings made by the above council are set out below in log form:

11:15    Undressing took place in 0.B.

11:18    Redressing took place in O.B.

11:30    Entered Eastwater Cavern,

11:35    Stated that Read was quite incapable of leading a party though the Boulder Ruckle.

11:40    My 11:35 confirmed,

11:45    Rediscovered the Boulder Chamber

11:50    Left Boulder Chamber for top of the canyon.

11:55    Reached top of the Canyon.

12:00    Jones explored a hole in the roof and reported “Wont Go cock” (Metaphoric sense intended.).

12:10    Jones explored hole in the wall and reported “Wont go cock”

12:15    Began track down canyon

12:20    Found by Coase and Ratcliffe sitting in a pool of mud.

12:25    Coase leading. Prayers offered, Right hand bend, tight crevice, Allan’s braces bust (remarks omitted as they have direct bearing on the breeding of white elephants).

12:30    Tighter.

12:33    Stuck, (Latter part of my 12:25 applicable).

12:35    It was discovered that heat evaporates (damn) moisture.

12:36    Unstuck, Rejoicing.

12:40    Climbing.

12:45    Still climbing,

12:47    On oxygen

12:55    Narrow rift , sharp rock, skin almost gone, Great pain.


13:00    We go down.

13:10    Duty P.O. requested outside E.R.A to run the ventilation as the atmosphere was becoming rather heavily charged.

13:20    Shaft found to be that mentioned in my 1200,

13:43    Back in hole in the wall

14:15    All this time spent thratching,

14:35    Out. Whaw! Raining,

The commissioners of the Council are of the unanimous opinion that Eastwater Cavern is an ideal breading ground for White Elephants and recommends that it be developed.

Signed,  Jacka.

Commissioners of the Council,

Club Trip To Derbyshire, Easter.1952.

A few weeks before Easter, it seemed likely that about 12 members would go on this trip to Derbyshire, but one by one, like the Ten Little Nigger Boys, bods had to drop out because of various accidents or changes of plan. Finally four were left and one of these did not appear. D.Gwinnel and P. Bird went up by rail on the Thursday night and reached Bakewell after a free, but quite unwanted rail tour of the Peak (because of misdirection by a porter at Derby Station). Thence by bus to Baslow and on foot to the Birmingham Cave & Crag Clubs excellent quarters below Baslow Edge. D and two Birmingham Club members climbed on one of the Edges (millstone grit) on Friday afternoon. Early on Saturday D and P moved on to Castleton, The road from Bakewell to Castleton goes through some fine limestone scenery, past the gliding centre at Hucklow. At Castleton we stayed at a hut lent to the Orpheus Caving Club. It commands a splendid view across the Winnots Pass to the steep face of Marn Tor.

Pongo Wallis appeared on his bike, disappeared in the direction of Chapel-on-le-Frith and was not seen again. On Saturday we searched old mine heaps for lead ore and Blue John. Blue John is a form of fluorspar found only at Castleton. It is banded purple yallow and white, and is used to make justly famed decorative bowls. We visited the Speedwell Cavern, a “show cave”. One goes by boat along a flooded mine level, 2250 feet long, to a natural sloping chamber which contains a lake. Total height of chamber reputedly 540 feat, but possibly much less. It is certainly imposing.

On Sunday we did Oxlow Cavern with a party of Orpheus, who had previously laddered it. Oxlow is said to be really wet at times, but was mostly quite dry on this occasion. You can read all about Oxlow in “Cave Science” no. 17 for July, 1951. The Orpheus Club makes much use of carabiners and of running belays.

The next day we had a look at Treak Cavern, supposed to be the prettiest “show “ cave at Castleton. There is one fine stalactite grotto and the veins o f Blue John are worth seeing, but there are no formations to compare with Gough’s let alone the August Hole Series of Longwood. The return journey to Bristol is not worth recording so your scribe will not record it.

Pete Bird.

Caving Report.

After an absence of two months, due largely to a lack of variation in the caving programme, the report is back in circulation. During Easter large crowds converged on Mendip and it was a pleasure to see many of the familiar faces together with some new ones from Nottingham, Derbyshire and various parts of .

Trips to Eastwater, Swildon’s, Axbridge and the Burrington area were carried out and there were many reminiscences of the “old caving days” during the evenings at the Hunters. Two members of the club spent Easter in Derbyshire and joined the O.C.C. for a trip down Oxlow Pot. They also visited several other caves in the district. A number of people attended the recent Lamb Leer meet and apparently had a good time….. The only outstanding feature of this trip was the amazing amount of liquid which Sage can carry or rather can’t carry, a threatened burst from above caused half a dozen members to scatter in wild confusion across the bottom of the first chamber …. 60 odd feet below. It was also most enlightening to hear a family history traced back for some generations in such a short space of time...... Ed

However despite the above activities there is no need for complacency since plenty of’ caving and digging is still to be done. LOG SHEETS. Just a gentle reminder that there are still plenty of log sheets both at the Belfry and at club evening meetings, ready to be filled in.

More Injuries.

We regret to announce that John (Shorty) Shorthose who recently decamped for the wilds of has come unstuck from “Amber”, his vintage Motor cycle, and is now slowly recovering from a broken shoulder blade.

International Congress 1953

Literature has been received regarding the International Congress of Speleology. The first session is to be held in Paris from September 1st - 5th. Following this there will be trips arranged to French caves. The exact cost is not as yet known but if any members are interested will they get in touch with the Hon Sec. as soon as possible.

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 ,




Once again we go to press with the same two overworked Editors, cum Hon Sec, cum Asst Hon Sec, cum Treasurer, cum BB printers, cum BB circulating officers....won't someone please step forward to take over the editing and stencil cutting of the BB and so help to take some of the weight from our shoulders.


In the past there have been many complaints regarding the condition o f the tackle and storeroom. In an attempt to remove the sources of complaint the committee has, after some consideration, has decided to create a tackle Sub Committee to assist Mike Jones in his duty as Tackle Officer. This Sub Committee consists of 3 or 4 people interested either in using or making tackle; at present it includes Mike Jones, Mervyn Hannam and Ken Dobbs. If any members feel they would like to do any work in this direction, will they please get in touch with any of the above.

If any one does volunteer they will be welcomed with open arms.


Further to the above. The reorganisation of the tackle store does not leave room for personal equipment. Anything found there a fortnight after this BB is circulated (other than tackle or junk that has Mike Jones personal blessing) WILL BE BURNT OR OTHERWISE DESTROYED.

Inspection Of Minutes.

The Minutes of committee meetings are available for inspection on application to the Hon. Sec.

Final Reminders of Annual Subscriptions.

Although final reminders have now gene out for 1952 subscriptions there are a few people who have contributions paid for a part of this year. These people will still receive Club benefits until the renewal date is reached. They will however receive no future notice regarding further payment.

A “POME” In reply to “ The Olden Days”.

Dear Sir with reference (in a late edition) to “pome” entitled “In the Olden Days”. I have, if you will give your kind permission, a comment here which I should like to raise. The authoress who, in stanzas stirring the ‘olden days’ so easily recall, were not (unless my memory be erring) then members o f the B EC at all! I can’t recall that D. and I had met, Sir when cavers washed and changed on Priddy Green. And I am certain I should not forget Sir If S. had used the door as her latrine! Please do not think to carp is my intention to criticise unduly -- or to nag --- but one last point I really ought to mention In those days we were nearly always “stag”


Congratulations Column

Congratulations to Don Coase & Clare Ainsworth, Pat Ifold & Beryl Wild on their recent marriages.

Round the S Bend Or the Saga of the Sewers.

Members o f party, Alma Serle, Colin O’Toole, Mike Jones, Raymond Brain, Mervyn Hannam, Roy Bennett, hordes of rats and H.Line,Esq. One afternoon last year the above party was conducted on a tour the Bristol Sewers and Castle Moat. We went underground at a point near Broad Weir and a moment later masses of bods were pilling into two boats (rowing for the use of). We firstly circumnavigated the Moat, parts of which date back to the twelfth century. The passage is a low arched tunnel with several side openings leading to the blitzed sites in the Castle Street area. Progress was made by pushing on the roof with a pole, Mike Jones providing illumination with a filthy great tilley lamp. (his own words).

Eventually we drifted out into daylight opposite Georges Brewery, at which longing eyes were cast. Through desperate attempts to assault the brewery the boat containing Messrs. Jones and Hannam was stranded in the river. We literally up the creek without a paddle to our name. However with the help of a locker door and a bottom board a return was made to the tunnel.

An interesting point was the fact that many small stalactites were observed hanging from the roof in several places The party returned to embarkation point where we transferred to our own flat feet. Several pairs of thigh boots ware obtained from the Port of Bristol Authority by a few types who seemed to have considerable knowledge of sewers and the next part of the trip was started.

We stepped into the River Frome, the waters of which came half way up our thigh boots, and waded upstream. The passages is about fifteen feet high by twenty five feet wide with a slightly arched roof. The river bed is of concrete. Just before the Newfoundland Road point of engulfment the party forked left into a high level culvert, which our guide said was only active in times of flood. It might here be mentioned that Messrs O’Toole and Jones were seen to be wearing gas masks (which improved their appearances considerably).

A short distance along the passage an indefinable odour began to make its presence felt. Within a few yards the odour had become a solid wall of pong and certain weak stomachs were behaving in a manner reminiscent of eleven p.m. on Saturday. Piled high on either side of the bank were mounds of festering muck on which gambled large rats. The passage led us into the main culvert below the Horsefair. The waters here ward deep and swift and hopes of someone slipping in ran high.

This culvert led us back to the River Frome near the Co-op Education Centre, but in order to get into this passage a dicey and thrutch-nations traverse had to be made in water that nearly reached the tops of thigh boots. At this Junction the thigh boots loudly lamented their fate in the usual BEC manner. From then on easy progress was made back to our point of entry. It is hoped that another of these pleasant jaunts will be arranged soon.

M. Hannam

Temporary Library Service

An emergency Library Service is being put into action. Enquires for books should be sent to H. Shelton, c/o Leigh House, Nepett, Chew Stoke, Nr. Bristol or to Ken Dobbs on Thursday nights. Books will be returnable by registered post only to H. Shelton. Undoubtedly this service will not be as efficient as in the past but we hope this inconvenience will be of very short duration.

Caving Programme for May

May 3rd             Axbridge Ochre Cave

                        Meet 3pm Axbridge Church         Leader M Hannam

May 10th            Sandford Levy

                        Meet Sandford School 2.30pm    Leader R Bennett

May 17th            Lamb Leer

                        Meet Belfry                                Leader R Setterington

May 24th            Bath Stone Workings

                        For meeting place contact M Hannam or M Jones.

May 31st            Reads Cavern

                        Meet at Belfry (with transport) or 2.30pm at Mendip cafe Burrington.

            Leader R Setterington

Sales Dept

Mike Jones has now taken over this department If you wan t any spares, helmets etc chase him on Thursday nights.

John Ifold

Many members will no doubt of heard of the unfortunate accident John had when he was in collision with a cow. He is still in hospital with serious head injuries. We are sure that Club members will wish to join us in wishing him a speedy recovery.


Caving Coach Trip

It might be possible to arrange some coach trips for a days caving in such areas as South Wales, Devonshire and even Derbyshire is enough enthusiast can be mustered. Anyone interested please give their names to the caving Sec.

Useful addresses:-

Hon. Secretary              R.J. Bagshaw, 56, Ponsford Road, Knowle, Bristol,4,

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

Climbing Sec                 R. Cantle, 46 Cherrington Rd, Henleaze, Bristol 9

Sales Officer                  M Jones, 12 Melton Cres., Horfield, Bristol 7

Editor BB                      C Dobbs, 55 Broadfield Road, Knowle, Bristol 4

Acting Librarian              H. Shelton, c/o Leigh House, Nepett, Chew Stoke, Nr. Bristol

Hut Warden                   A Setterington 2 1 Priorswood Rd . Taunton Somerset


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.


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.

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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.