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A Short History of the Bristol Exploration Club

by T.H. Stanbury.

I do not suppose there are many members that know how the B.E.C, came into being, or the hard work that has been necessary to put the club in the position that it holds today.

It is the purpose of these brief notes to acquaint those that are interested with a few facts about the earlier days of the BEC.

The first notes will, I am sorry to say, be very sketchy as all the earlier records were lost in the blitz. They were posted to me from Keynsham and never arrived, so I have only my memory to assist me.

In 1935 a group of my fellow employees approached me and asked if I would be willing to take them to Burrington and other places caving. Most of these lads had a little experience of Caves and Caving, and as my own experience was little better than theirs, I was extremely diffident about the whole arrangement; but agreed.  The following Saturday I took them to Goatchurch, and the trip turned out to be a great success.  The next four week-ends we were similarly employed and then many difficulties loomed large before us.

How could we get to the larger caves? How could we get Equipment? Would the Owners let us into the deep caves? There were two solutions.

The first and most obvious was that we join one of the recognised and established Cave Clubs of the district.  This was debated at length and it was decided that in view of the fact that we were a group of working class men and that there were a number of points in the existing societies we did not care about, that we should not associate ourselves with any body already in existence.

The second course open to us was to form an entirely new caving club, and after many misgivings the Bristol Exploration Club was duly formed with an initial membership of about a dozen.  If we could have foreseen all the difficulties and troubles that beset us, I very much doubt if the project would have been launched.  At the inaugural meeting a set of rules were drawn up, and although they have been modified and added to, to meet changing conditions, they were essentially the same as are in use today.

For a time all went smoothly; our subs enabled us to buy ladders and ropes, etc.  We familiarized ourselves with all the smaller caves and then turned to the larger ones.  Here, too, we were successful, and our first year concluded with the knowledge that we were still in existence, and if not exactly flourishing, we were holding our own.

Membership did not increase very much in the following years. We were not keen on too many members at first as we felt we did not have sufficient knowledge to hold them after they had joined. We preferred to move slowly, consolidating our position as we went, so that when the time came, as come it would, when members started to role in, we should be in a position to offer them something good.

The outbreak of war in 1939 found the BEC in a stronger position than ever before, although membership was still only 15.  We had suffered one bad loss, our Treasurer, who was also our Photographer, had been stricken with an liction of the eyes necessitating his withdrawal from all Club activities.  The last trip that he came with the Club was to Lamb Leer, where we went as guests of the UBSS.

The older members were called up, one by one, so that except for one fortunate incident, we should have had to close down, like other Mendip clubs for lack of active members.

We were fortunate to absorb in the BEC the Emplex Cave Club. The ECC was composed of employees of the Bristol Employment Exchange and had formed a club on similar lines and for similar reasons as the BEC. There men have since done, and are still doing, yeoman work for the Club, although they are only able to be present when on leave.

1940-41 saw us jogging along as before, a number of new recruits always balancing out those called to the forces, but 1942 saw the most severe crisis in the history of the B.E.C..  There was a very violent call-up, the result being that we were left with only about a half dozen active members, all of whom were actively engaged in the war effort. As those in the Forces were all made honorary members during their term of service, we were hit badly financially. For six months we struggled along, and then came salvation.

A number of persons of fair caving experience applied for membership and from that moment our worries vanished. lt is mainly through the hard work of two of these men (not forgetting the Hon. Sec. Ed) R. Wallace and D. Hasell, that the B.E.C. is where it is today.

In 1943 a forty foot duralumin and steel wire ladder was constructed, followed later by a similar one twenty feet in length. These ladders were our answer to the problem of transporting tackle to Mendip on push-bikes.

During 1943/44/45, certain ''persons unknown'', instead of following the orthodox method of obtaining the key, broke into certain Mendip Caves and we learned later that we had been blamed for this vandalism.  We were not responsible, and we managed at last to convince others of this.  During these three years our membership increased by leaps and bounds and we emerged from our obscurity to take our place among the most active clubs of Mendip.

The year 1946 was a monumental one, our membership rose to 80 and we were able, through the generosity of a certain person, to purchase a large hut as Mendip Head Quarters.  Our dig at Cross Swallet brought us into contact with the Bridgewater Cave Club, who have since been our guests at the Belfry for their 1947 Easter Meet.  We absorbed The Mendip Speleological Group, and became, individually, very active in the Cave Diving Group.  Besides this we became members of the Cave Association of Wales and also of the Cave Research Group.

We look to the future with every confidence, and we still claim, as we did in 1935, that the Bristol Exploration Club is unique in that it is a “personal" club, wherein everyone, whatever their age and standing is welcomed, and is encouraged to take an active part in the running of their Club.

Editorial Notes

I am able to report that at last, we have acquired our own duplicator, which will enable us to issue the B.B. more regularly.  Our thanks are due to the stalwarts who, often at great inconvenient to themselves, have got the job done for the first issues.  Their efforts have been greatly appreciated.

We thank the donors listed below for the Equipment they have presented for use at the Belfry:-

Wing-Commander G.W. Hodgekinson for a complete hut stove.
Miss E.A. Barrett of Bude, for an oil stove.
Mr. A. Innes for a printing Press. (For disposal).

We have just received from Dick Woodbridge a very interesting report of a walk in the Peak District, which will be included in BB as soon as possible.

Greetings to our members in the Forces all over the world!! and thanks for the bouquets which have proved to us that the effort is worthwhile.

The lads who went to South Wales had a good time in spite of the filthy weather and hope to get another chance to visit the area in the near future.

I've just been told that "Pongo'', (Mr. R. M. Wallis), has presented the Belfry with a 24 volt Petrol Generator set. Thanks very much, we'll have Swildon's floodlit yet.

A short walk in the Peak District.

By Dick Woodoridge.

Travelling from Manchester by train we left Hayfield Station at about 1:30 and walked up to Edale Cross, following the road and path, from the top a good view was had of the Kinder Downfall in the distance and the valley running down to the Kinder Reservoir. Over Edal;e Cross (1751ft.), the path dropped suddenly down Jacob’s Ladder – descent of about 1 in 1.  Starting down very cautiously, our pace slowly increased and we finished the last 50 ft. in an uncontrolled flight.  There the path crossed over a bridge about 2ft.wide and carried on comfortably past Edale Head Hotel, through some National Trust Property.

On the hills were still patches of frozen snow remaining after several weeks of thaw, and one large patch looked rather like a ;arge bird with a wing span of about half a mile. Having dropped down to about 300ft. we again started climbing, this time following the road  and crossed Rushup Edge, the road in places being 1 in 6.  Just over the summit we saw the Blue John Cavern about half a mile below and as we walked down we saw the flag being pulled down from the shop outside the entrance. Assuming that this was a sign that they were closing, we ran the rest of the way and persuaded the Guide to take us through the Cavern.

The way in followed a natural rift, and whilst going along, the Guide explained how the cave had been broken into about 300 years age, by a party of miners, working in the Blue John Mine. These workings had been started by the Romans, but they had never reached the natural cavern, which had been carved from the limestone by the melting waters of the Ice Age.  Evidence of very strong water action was observed right through the cave, particularly in the first large chamber. There, the first 6 ft. in height was perfectly circular; above this the surface was rather irregular, and the upper walls and roof shoved the normal smooth surface cut by a swiftly flowing stream.  The exploration given of this phenomenon was that a secondary stream joined the main stream at floor level, through a small rift at right angles to the main rift, and caused a whirlpool at that level.  The intermediate level was cut by turbulent water between the normal rift and the whirlpool.  In the roof, small holes had been cut by pieces of hard rock being caught up and swirled around by the swiftly flowing stream.  Seven working levels were pointed out from which the Blue John stone was obtained, and it was asserted that a distinct colouration and pattern was obtained from each working.  The stone has to be blasted from the parent rock, and it is therefore difficult to get a large portion of the stone without flaws.

Very little formation was present, compared with some of the Mendip caves, but there was quite a lot of colouring in the Calcite covering of some of the faces.  The illumination is provided by an acetylene lamp carried by the guide, and candles carried by the party.  The Guide also has a large reflector with which he directs his light on the various points of interest during the trip.

From Blue John Cavern we had to walk a further 4 miles to Chapel en le Frith - where buses left every half-hour for Manchester, we arrived there at 8 O'clock having walked through grand country for about twelve miles.

The Squeeks of Herman.

(being a Member's impressions of the1943 Committee.)

The mob it is led by young Harry,
who's regarded as chief fetch and carry.
He can make people laugh,
And draw a good graph
His only mistake was to marry.

A well mannered fellow is Daniel
His hair is like that of a spaniel
His ears they are big,
and he eats like a pig,
And his work is dirty and manual.

Now next on the list we have Roy,
In whose presence the ladies find joy.
He has hair on his chest,
and goes caving With Zest,
And his bit of formation, Oh Boy!

Originally there were five limericks in this collection, but the other two have been engulfed in the Hon. Sees, efficient system, and we have given these up as lost.  (Ed. note:- I'm-, afraid we have dropped a bit of a "clanger'' over the last few lines of the proceeding page, so have repeated them above. Please excuse any odd slips like the above for a bit, until the ''duplicateers'' get the hang of things.

Belfry Progress Report

I regret to state that since the last report, very little work has been done on the Belfry. The major factor has been the better weather which has tempted every one to 'cave' again.

At Easter, the Belfry proved its worth, and was fully occupied all the time, and on the Sunday night, a record was set up by 16 people sleeping there, although we had only reckoned to sleep 12 bods.  Several more bunks have been fitted in the 'married quarters', and the stove presented by W/C Hodgkinson fitted. A start has also been made on the foundation for the P.E. generator.  The roof still requires waterproofing in one or two odd spots, material for which is now at hand. Although the majority of the lining has still to be fitted,- this is held up for the moment until the wiring of the Belfry for electric light is completed. A 'power house' for generator and batteries has also to be built at the back of the Belfry.

nas a:y member any of the following articles to spare, as good use of them can be made at the Belfry. A Soft Broom, a Scrubbing Brush, Milk Jug (quart), and a Clothes Brush.

D.A. Coase,  5/5/47.

Whitsun Meet

A meet will be held at the Belfry over Whitsun.  No set programme has been arranged, but trips will be fixed up on the spot. If anyone is energetic enough, work will proceed on Bog Hole.

Please let Hon. Sec. or Hut Warden know if you intend staying at the Belfry, so that we can provide any necessary shoe horns and/or tin openers.

Dig at ''Stewart's Hole''

A dig was commenced about 300 yds. from the ''Hunters Lodge Inn'' on the 12th April, 1947.  Good work was put in on the first day in the main swallet, and a depth of 6 ft. reached terminating in thick mud. Some bones were found, and later, tentively, identified at Bristol Museum as possible human, waterworn, and of considerable age.  Diggers were A. Withers and P. Stewart.  Work continued the following weekends, a subsidiary swallet in the wall of the depression being dug.  Work has continued on the main dig but is rather held up due to thick mud.  We would like to thank the following for giving their time:- (What 6 months or a year? Ed.)  P. Browne,H. Stanley, R. A. Setterington, M.J. Akers, J.M. Tompsett, T.White. Work is progressing - anyone invited.

Bristol Speedway

A less well known activity of some of the members is to shout their heads off every Friday night at Bristol Speedway.  If any other club members would like to do the same, you'll find them in the 1/9 's on Smelly corner. If you don’t know where Smelly corner is, use your nose. That’s what it's for.

Stop Press

We also have to thank for contributions to the Belfry, D.C. McKee of the B.C.C. for a sleeping bag, end J.M. (Postle) Tompsett for two 12 volt Batteries. Not forgetting Uncle George for about a dozen sheets of corrugated iron.

List of Publications available in the BEC


Discovery of Man                                  S.Casson.
Ancient Burial Grounds.
B.C.                                          S.E. Winbolt.
Early .                                        J. Hawkes.
Prehistoric London                                E.O. Gordon.
Roman Folkestone                                S.E.Winbolt.
Report on a Human Skull found
at 's Cavern                                    Sir A. Keith, F.R.S.

Guide Books

Bath and Bristol Guide.
South Devon and Cornwall Guide.
Bude to Newquay Guide. (North Cornish Sea Caves).
Torquay Natural History Society. Guide to Museum.
A Short Guide to the National Museum of . 1945.


Coral Reefs                                          Charles Darwin.
Knotting                                               Gilcraft
A Brief History of Ancient Times             Breasted and Hugh Jones
The Scientific Study of Human Settlement.
The Adam Chasers                               B.M. Bower. (Fiction).
The Story of the Doones. (Tourist Edition).
Unbeaten Tracks of the West                 P.E. Barnes
Proceedings of the Bristol Naturalists Society. 1935.


6 inch to the Mile sheets of Mendip:-


1 inch to the Mile sheets of:

20 Kirby Lonsdale & Hawes
25 Ribblesdale.
90. Brecon & Llandovery
101. Swansea & Aberdare.
111. Bath, Bristol & District
118. Barnstaple
119. Exmoor
120. Bridgwater & Quantocks.
131. Wells & Frome
127. Bideford & Bude.
135. Bodmin.
137. Tavistock & Okehampton
138. Exeter.
143. Truro & St. Austell
145. Torquay.
145. Lands End & Lizard
Peak District. Tourist Edn.
Weston Super Mare & District. Tourist Edition.

½ inch to the Mile sheets of:-

Bristol & District
31. North Devon.
35. S.W. Cornwall & Scilly Isles.
36. South Devon.
57. Weymouth, Yeovil & Taunton.


Editorial Notes

The Weekes' Crossword Puzzle.

The response to this Competition was not very big. Only two entries being received. Only one of these was correct, so the result reads:-

First; D.A.Coase.
Also ran ; J.D.Pain.

The prize will therefore be presented to the Winner at an early date.


The perpetrator of the above outrage, No. 1853093 Sgt. Weekes will, from 2/9/47 be referred to as Mr. Weekes, and may be found wandering on Mendip at any time. If found without a glassy look, take him to Hunters' Lodge. At all other times, push him into the Mineries.

Annual General Meeting

The A.G.M, will be held early in December. The following, being the 1947 Committee, will resign.

T.H. Stanbury. Hon.Sec.& Hon.Treas.
D.H.Hasell. Hon.Editor,Belfry Bulletin.
D.A,Coase. Hon.Equip.Officer & Hut Warden.
A.M.Innes. Hon.Librarlan.

All nominations for 1948 committee, together with any items for inclusion in the Agenda, must reach me before November 1st,1947.

T.H.Stanbury, Hon.Sec..

The Belfry

The following notice has been posted at the Belfry and members are asked to note that its terms will be strictly enforced by the Hut Warden and that any action taken by him has the full support of the Committee.

To all Members and/or all users of this hut (The Belfry).

As from this date .......... any person or persons are liable to suspension from use of the Belfry for the following offences:-

  1. Any undue noise after 10 pm.
  2. Any refuse, paper, etc, left about outside the hut.
  3. Any action that may cause Mr.Beecham or his family any inconvenience.

The above action to be taken by the Hut Warden as he thinks fit and as approved by the Committee. The length of time being varied to suit the offence.

All caving gear left about the hut will be disposed of if not claimed after 14 days.

All bunks must be tidied by the previous night's user(s) before he or she leaves.

The fee for sleeping must be paid to the Assistant Warden before leaving/unless this is impossible.


We have to thank Miss C.M. York, 9 Goldney Road, Clifton for the gift of a large number of Books ,many of which will be useful additions to the Library. A list will be published as soon as possible. Mrs Lucy for a saucepan for the Belfry. And several friends for other useful articles.

Our versatile Secretary has been doing a lot of talking. He has given two lectures recently, The first at the Crown & Dove to the Old Georgians’ Society. The second to the To H, Knowle Group, at Pengrove. Both talks were very successful, he didn't even .get the Curate's Egg.

Adventures of The Menace.


Episode one. Plymouth Caves.

The Caves in question run up from the sea under Plymouth Hoe in Limestone. They are not just Sea Caves, but caves of outlet. To reach them a boat is needed at high tide but they can be got at normally at low. We explored them at high tide, with a heavy swell running wrecking a boat in the attempt, and getting as wet as we would in Swildons.

The main Cave goes by the name of "Lions' Den", and is a high rift cave. The water remains deep about fifty feet into the cave, when a steep boulder pile slopes down into the water. There are plenty of jagged rocks just below the surface, and as charged for the boulder pile, one came through the bottom of the boat, tipping us both into the water.

Anyhow, having climbed the boulder pile we found a steeply ascending passage,(beautifully muddy) until we were brought up by a creep through rock which looked as though it would fall to bits at any time. After a brief discussion we decided to "have a bash at it".

Then, much to our horror, the roof fell in and we were nearly buried alive. As it continued to collapse, we didn’t wait for any more but bolted for the entrance. There was not much more of interest in the place except what had been some rather fine formation.

The next cave we visited was also a rift cave. (This time with a different boat which had been used to rescue us by some of our pals). It went for a considerable distance until the cave got too narrow, so I decided to get out and walk, but to my disgust, I stepped into about six feet of water, so once again we had to turn back.

The third cave also turned us back, as it was a problem for the CDG even at low tide. We didn’t try diving it, partly because the. water wasn’t warm enough, and partly because we didnt know how long the dive was.

We both returned to Barracks that night looking like cavers, plastered with mud and candle-grease, but as the Officer of the Watch had never heard of Cavers or any such phenomena, we were polishing the brass work at sunrise the next day.



It is with great pleasure that we announce the forthcoming Marriage of Miss M. Akers and Mr J.M. Tompsett at Taunton on Saturday September 20th. We wish them the very best of luck.

Caving above ground


Derbyshire caves had had to be abandoned earlier than I had hoped, and driving North through the appalling traffic of the Lancashire towns on a grilling hot weekend, I envied those left behind, the coolness of Bagshaw Cavern.

did not, I thought, abound in caves, and though I had "Boots, Caving" with me, they were intended more for rooks above ground than below it.

With no definite objects in view, the sight of "Caves" marked on the Ordnance Survey in the roods north of Dunkeld called for early investigation. With the usual perversity of the surveyors, no definite points were marked, and my search would have to cover half a square mile or so. Several hours unsatisfactory walking produced no results; the ground was rough and very wooded and good views were not to be had. Eventually, I had to give it up with no more reward than a "cove"— a largely artificial rock shelter ,well hidden by trees, apparently inhabited by a Lady Charlotte in 1704. No doubt she had been unable to scream louder than the girl in the story.

All this was unsatisfactory. The only other sign of a cave - the map called it the "Thief's Cave"—was again to vague, and too far distant to tempt me.

Loch Leven Castle, on an Island in Loch Leven, and the one time prison of Mary, Queen of Scots was not a likely place, but none the less it contains most of the more desirable features of a cave. The main chimney forms as good an aven as you could want - 40/50 ft. high and 2½ /3ft across with plenty of foot and hand holds in the rough masonry. For the more ambitious and slimmer type there was another, shorter but more difficult, it being fairly tight, perhaps 15”X12”. Since I was wearing " Clothes, Spiv" I did not try it. The remains of a spiral stair formed the basis of a neat traverse requiring caution and good balance. It led nowhere, the upper floor being non-existent, but who cared? - until it came to getting down, which I found a good deal harder than going up.

The dungeon proved that cavers did not .exist in those days. Two windows, neither showing any trace of where there might have been bars, both-provided a means of exit; one to the slimmer and more agile only, since it was a very tight hole, the other easy enough, its extra width giving just that much more room for the shoulders.

I do not pretend to prefer such trifles to Swildons', GB. or what have you, but when caves are absent, don’t despair. Compensations can be found in the most unexpected places if one can only spot them.

A Caving Quiz with particular reference to the Mendips.

By D.A.Coase

  1. Which cave on Mendip contains the Initials "T.W." cut in the wall, whereabouts in the cave is it, and what date were the initials carved?
  2. How many natural show caves in can you Name?
  3. Who named Avelines Hole, and why was it so named?
  4. with which caves do you associate the following:-
    1. Z Alley?
    2. Bames'Loop?
    3. Rumba Alley?
    4. Duck II?
    5. Coal Shute?
    6. Tie Press?
    7. The Grill?
    8. Harris's Passage.
    9. The Speliocord?
  5. The Waterfall with the biggest clear drop in is located in a cave in Yorkshire, what cave is it, and what is the approx. drop?
  6. What two caves on Mendip contain appreciable quantities of Arragonite?
  7. What knot would you normally use for tying yourself to a lifeline?
  8. Two geological terms, used in connection with the formation of caves are- "Rift" and 'Bedding Plane". Give a short definition of each, with two examples of each from Mendip Caves?
  9. What cave on Mendip was excavated by schoolboys, and what School was it?
  10. What cave do you associate the noise of "cymbals" with?
  11. What is the total depth of GB from the surface?
  12. Which cave has recently been sealed by a slab of concrete, and whereabouts is it?
  13. What are Stalagmites and Stalactites composed of chemically?
  14. Which Cave on Mendip bears most resemblance to a Yorkshire Pothole?
  15. What Mendip caves, do the following describe?:-
    1. A four legged herbivorous animal’s home?
    2. Lengthy plus fuel for the Belfry Stove?
    3. A cardinal point plus H20?
    4. The operation of putting the last part of b in the stove, plus a relation of a road?
    5. A corruption of a (generally very wet) Saint?
    6. Seen on the back of cars that have travelled abroad?
    7. Usually associated with South Sea Islands. A book on this subject is in the club Library?
    8. Sometimes kept for milk plus a building found near e?
  16. Which is generally recognised to be the biggest stalagmite on Mendip and where is it found?
  17. What was the first successful cave dig on Mendip, what year was it done in, and who was the person responsible? (By cave dig, an excavation to enter a new cave is meant not an archaeological dig).
  18. Various features in caves have been named. Starting at the entrance to Swildons Hole, and going via the Short Dry Way to Sump I, can you fill in the missing names in their correct order?
    Dry ways,
    Short Dry way
    20ft Pot,
    Barnes Loop,
    Sump One
  19. What Major Archaeological excavation is in progress at the present, and what society is undertaking it?
  20. Recently a new theory on the formation of caves has been publicised in this country. It divides the formation of caves into two sections (a) by means of a free running stream, as in Swildons, and (b) by means of solution of the rock under the water level, as in the submerged parts of Wookey Hole. These two divisions have been given the names "Vadose" and "Phreatic", but not necessarily in this order. Which word means the formation of a cave by a free running stream?

No prize is offered for a correct solution of this quiz. The answers will be published in our next issue.


Since the library lists issued with Belfry Bulletins Nos. 2 & 3, The following books have been presented to the Club Library:-


2nd Edition Mendip—The Great Cave of Wookey Hole. H.E. Balch
3rd Edition. Ditto
Fauna. CRG Publication No.1
Cave Science. No 1 BSA.


The Voyage of the Rattlesnake Huxley
Geographiocal Magazine Vol 18 Nos.9 & 11.
The Cotswolds Murray
Somerset M.Fraser.
Gloucestershire Newth.
The Happy Travellers. Tatchell.
British Ports and Harbours. Walmsley.
Rambles and walking tours in Somerset F.E.Page
Hike Tracks of the West.


Geology and Scripture. Pye Smith
Handbook of British Assoc. 1898.
Principles of Geology. Vols 1 & 2 Lyell.
History of Devonshire Scenery. Clayden.


Excavations at Sea Mills E.K.Tratman.
Handbook of British Asscc. 1898.

guide books

Dartmoor Guide
Wye Valley
The Now Forest Guide.
Ramblers Guide to Lynton and Lynmouth.


The Mechanism cf the Heavens. Olmstead
The Story of the Heavens Ball


The Story of Somersetshire. Richmond.
Marvels of Nature.
The Universe Pouchet.
Wonders of the Volcano,
Wonders of the Ice world.
The World of the Sea Tadon.
Turtons British Shells Gray.
Popular Educator. Vols 1-6.


From Earth to Moon Verne
Five weeks in a Balloon Verne
Around the world in 80 Days Verne
20,000 Leagues under the Sea Verne
Adventures of 3 Englishmen & 3 Russians Verne
Out of the silent Planet Lewis.

Besides these books a number of those presented are duplicates of those already in the library & will help to reduce the waiting time for the more popular books.

This is the first number of our Second Volume of the BB.  I think that we have fulfilled our purpose in bringing out the B.E.C. Mag., and I hope in 1948 to have a much greater number of contributions from Members.

So, to all Members of the B.E.C, Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year's Caving.


Minutes of 1947 Annual General Meeting

Minutes of 1947 Annual General Meeting held at 74.Redcatch Road, Bristol 4 on Saturday, November 29th.

Meeting opened at 6:35 p.m. there being present:-

T.H. Stanbury, Mr.& Mrs. Tompsett, A. Needs, G. Fenn, M. Hannam, W. Hucker, G.T. Lucy, J.A. Dwyer, J.V. Morris, D.A. Coase, A. Johnson, J.C. Weekes, J.Pidyard, Miss M. Thomas, P. Wallace, J.D. Pain, A.M. Innes, S.C.W. Herman, P.A.E. Stewart, Miss P. Richards, F.A. Edwards.

R.A. Setterington was representing B.E.C. at the C.R.G. Annual General Meeting and arrived at this (BEC) one at its (CRG) close.

It was proposed by J.C. Weekes that D.A.Coase be elected Chairman for the meeting. This was seconded by J.A. Dwyer and carried.

The 1947 Committee having resigned, the following were elected to represent the club in 1948:-

T.H. Stanbury,   (Hon. Sec.& Hon. Treas.)
D.H. Hasell,       (Hon. Editor, B.B.)
D.A.Coase,       (Hut Warden & Hon. Equip. Officer)
A.M. Innes,       (Hon. Librarian)
J.C. Weekes.

Hon Sec, asked if he might have an assistant Sec. appointed for such routine work as making up BBs etc.; this was agreed to and J.C. Weekes, was appointed to the job.

Hon Secretary’s Report

Hon. Sec reported that:- Owing to the colossal number of small trips taking place, no accurate records could be kept as in previous years, but 42 large scale trips have been organised, and in these, 536 persons went underground. Besides these, there were two and sometimes three smaller trips every weekend.

The year has brought the important discovery of Lower Stoke Lane, of Brownes Hole, entered a fortnight ago, and the initial penetration of Withybrook Swallet. A good week's sport was had in Derbyshire, and several weekends in , together with one in Cornwall, were greatly enjoyed by all concerned.

The Club Library, thanks to the generosity of various persons, has been greatly extended and now boasts of 195 volumes of various kinds. No opportunities have been missed to purchase books suitable for inclusion.

(These are the main and most interesting items from the Hon. Sec's Report. Space will not allow his complete report to be printed, or a complete itemised Financial Report. These may be inspected at Redcatch Road. Ed.).

Arising from Hon. Sec's. Report:-  D.A.Coase suggested that a loose leaf log book be used after January 1st next. This was agreed to by all.

Hon. Treasurer’s Report

During 1947 the Club income was;- 79/7/8
Whilst expenditure was:-                 69/16/6½,

Arising from Hon. Treas. Report:- D.A.Coase proposed that the, 1/- sleeping fee for the Belfry, should cover fuel for the fire as well as for lighting and cooking. This was seconded by S.C.W. Herman and carried.

Hut harden and Hon. Equipment Officer's Report

Hut harden and Hon. Equipment Officer's Report: The major item in this report is the Belfry, which has certainly proved its worth. The erection of the Belfry last winter was done under conditions of considerable difficulty in the midst of blizzards etc., but on February 1st it was officially opened for sleeping.  The Hut is now weather tight, although one gale threatened to remove it entirely.  A large part of the main hut is now lined inside, and the electric lighting has been installed.

The generator is at the moment fitted in the "married quarters", and although a lean-to has been constructed at the back for it, it is proposed to leave it where it is for the winter.  The lean-to being used meanwhile for storing firewood, timber, etc.

Unfortunately we have erected the Belfry rather near the farmhouse with the result that we have received one or two complaints about noise late at night and I would stress the importance to all that ALL unnecessary noise is taboo after 10p.m. and that anyone entering the lane with M/T after this time should be as quiet as possible.

The major source of difficulty has been the emptying of the detailer.  I can’t order anyone to do it, or rather enforce the order, I can only appeal to them.

Another point is cleaning up the Belfry. This is done by the game old regulars, and although they use the place more often than the others it is time that some of the other perishers did their share.

Now for some facts end figures. Since December 1st 1946, the Belfry has slept altogether a total of over 400 members, 50 visitors, and 30 members of B.C.C., a total of well over 500.  The Hon. Treas. has already given you the figures for the Belfry a/c, but I would remind you that in just a year the Belfry has paid for itself and shows a profit of 4/6/-.  To date the Belfry has cost 37/15/-.

One trouble with the Hut is that at times it is too small. At August Bank Holiday, we had 17 people sleeping in the Belfry and several more had to go to main’s Barn at Priddy. Although the hut will sleep 12 in comparative comfort, the room available for living in is rather cramped with more than 6 or 8.

Equipment.  The tackle has periodically been tested, and the two 35 ft. ladders we took over from the B.C.C. have been scrapped.  The rungs have been salvaged and one ladder has been made up with new ropes.  The other one has been made up but has not yet been completed.  Two ropes, a 40 and a 60 ft., have been scrapped as well.  The 40 ft. dural. ladder is reported to have frayed on one wire, but is still down Stoke Lane together with a 20ft. ladder, a 60 ft. rope and some tools.  Anyone feeling energetic can retrieve these and return them to the Belfry.

Digging implements have been in great demand this year, and the small shovels made by Les Peters proved very effective.  A few more large spades, a pick-axe, and a bucket should be useful however.

The Belfry is now fairly well stocked with equipment although with regard to sleeping gear, a few more blankets, and mattresses would be useful.  Also another Primus, half-a-dozen knives, and especially a water container, would prove their worth.


Arising from above:-  J.C. Weekes questioned the desirability of (a) running about nude in the vicinity of the Belfry, (b) Drunkenness, (c) Questionable behaviour.  After lengthy discussion it was declared, that there should be a general tightening up of behaviour generally.  R. Wallace proposed that the matter be reviewed at the end of three months by the Committee.  This was seconded by Mrs. Tompsett and carried.

J.C. Weekes proposed that a Swear Box be instituted, the fine imposed to be 1d. per word, "household language” excepted, The box to come into operation on January 1st, and the proceeds, if any, to go to Wells' Hospital.  After much hilarious discussion as to what was meant by "Household Language', the motion was seconded by G. Fenn and carried.

R.A. Setterington proposed that the following be entered in the minutes:- “That no member of B.E.C. Committee can serve on the governing body of any other Cave Club”!

An amendment by J.M. Tompsott that:- “No B.E.C. Committee member may be on the Committee of, or hold any official position in any other Caving Club at the same time, without the permission of the Committee of the B.E.C.” was seconded by J.C. Weekes and carried.

Omission from Rule Sheet. Hon. Sec. proposed, in view of the agreement at the 1946 A.G.M. not to change the Rule sheet for 3 years, that the rules omitted be left out permanently, and that the Annual Subs become due on the anniversary of the member's date of joining. This was seconded by S.C.W. Herman, and carried unanimously.

The principle of the B.E.C. having a Banking account was discussed and agreed to by the meeting, the details to be worked out by the Committee, This was proposed by J.C. Weekes, seconded by Mrs. Tompsett, and carried unanimously.

Hon. Sec. Presented to Mr. D.A. Coase, the membership card for 1940 won by him in the BB X-word competition.

J.V. Morris told the meeting that the Devon Speleo Society have given an open invitation to the Club to use their HQ etc whenever in the area.  A proviso being, that an adequate notice be given of such trips.  Hon. Sec. asked Mr. Morris to convey the thanks of B.E.C. to D.S.S. and to tell them that of course we are delighted to offer similar facilities to D.S.S. whenever they should be on Mendip.

A resume of the C.R.G. A.G.M. was then given by R. Setterington, after which the meeting broke up.

Although the shortage of fats, etc. made the usual "after A.G.M." feed impossible, cake etc, was consumed in large quantities.

The thanks of the club are due to the work done by the lady members and especially to Hon.  Secs.’s wife who had the arranging of the room and also the clearing up to see to.

At our Belfry on the Hill

The following outburst was probably caused by the remarks at the A.G.M. concerning Belfry Behaviour. (Possibly there are other causes).

Rather obviously to be sung to the tune of "Much Binding in the Marsh".

At our Belfry on the Hill,
The Purity campaign has really started.
At our Belfry on the hill,
From swearlng and bad manners we've departed,
We're fixing up a Swear Box on the table by the wall,
And Don must pay a shilling if he lets his fig-leaf fall,
In case the Bristol Brownies should decide to pay a call
At our Belfry on the Hill.

At our Belfry on the Hill,
Politeness is the order of the day there.
At our Belfry on the Hill,
In fact It's really quite a strain to stay there.
Our dear old maiden aunties couldn't blush at what is said,
And fairy tales and fables are the only stories read,
At night we say our prayers and then we toddle off to bed,
At our Belfry on the Hill.

At our Belfry on the Hill,
We used to talk of motor-bikes and caving,
At our Belfry on the Hill,
But now we're concentrating on behaving,
You can bring your little sister and your favourite blonde up too,
They wouldn't mind our language, but they mightn't like our stew,
But if they start complaining, well, they know what they can do,
At our Belfry on the Hill.

At our Belfry on the Hill,
We're sure you'll like our tablecloth and flowers.
At our Belfry on the Hill
We sit and knit to pass away the hours.
Quite early Sunday mornings we go off to church in twos,
But first we clean our teeth and comb our hair and shine our shoes,
And if we're offered pints of beer, we, graciously refuse,
At our Belfry on the Hill.


Eastern Mendip - The Discovery of Withybrook Cave.

By P.M. Browne

Withybrook Swallet, in the hamlet of Withybrook, is a walled in depression upon the North side of the main road between Stoke Lane and Oakhill, about half a mile from Stoke. The stream which is usually flowing in to the swallet is conveyed under the road in two concrete pipes.

Discovery and Exploration.

The system was opened by Messrs. P.M. &.L.M. Browne with Mr. Sam Treasure acting as Engineer.  A sloping shaf, some 8ft. in depth, was excavated through sand, gravel and boulders, until on September 10th 1947, the first open passage was struck.  Beyond, the two explorers could see their goal, made inaccessible merely by one massive rock, wedged across the way.

Many hours were spent in a vain attempt to force a way through, but finally it was decided to clear the obstruction by blasting.

On September 10th two plugs of explosive were used on the obstinate boulder, which fell with a crash into the chamber beyond - Withybrook Cave was open!  Great flakes of shattered limestone had to be cleared from the jagged opening before the cavern could be entered, but at last the discoverers crept through, and on into the unknown.

Description of the Cave.

Beyond the bottom of the entrance shaft, a sloping rift chamber about 14ft. long, 5ft. wide and 8ft. high with a very unstable, roof, goes off to the East.  Suddenly a stream course appears and the whole system begins to follow the dip of the strata, running North, at an angle of about 45 degrees for about 40ft.  Here the way becomes choked with mud and boulders.  Above the sink, a promising, but at present inaccessible, passage leads away.  Another interesting passage, running West for 20ft., terminates in to small rift chambers.  The second of these runs due South.

Geology and Water.

Geologically speaking this small system is very interesting, for inside it is possible to study the curious system of intersecting rifts and bedding planes, of which the whole district seems to consists.

Although inaccessible to man this ' fissure system' must hold many hundreds of gallons of water, (in wet seasons) at a high pressure.  The stream, which enters the swallet, I believe to unite with the waters of Stoke Lane Slocker and to reappear at St. Dunstan's Well some distance below.

P.M.B. 1947.

Caving in Palestine

Yes, believe it or not, in spite of the troubles in the Holy Land, The heat, and the apparent impossibility of finding a suitable 'orid 'ole, a BEC member stationed with the Army near Haifa has been successful in discovering a cave.  So Greetings to Terry White, and may he soon be wallowing in the cooling waters of Mendip!!  Below are extracts from his letter giving a description of his tour through the Goat shelters of Palestine.

'We are stationed in a camp just outside of Haifa, and life at the moment is not too bad.  At the back of the Camp there is a small range of hills.  I have been over them many times, but up till November I have found nothing startling in the way of caves.  There are numerous small holes dotted here and there, but none of these call for a prolonged stay, for at some time or other they have been inhabited by goats, and that speaks for itself.

One cave did turn out to be a little interesting though.  The entrance of this one must have been too small for the goats to get in, for we found no traces of them whatever.  The first thirty yards we did crawling on our stomachs.  The roof then rose until we were able to stand upright.  Taking a left and then a right turn, we walked until we were brought up by a very narrow passage.  Through the passage we came to a small cavern, its floor littered with well gnawed bones, evidence that animals had once lived there.  The thought that the animal, or animals, might still be lurking in the rear of the cave, made us sweat a little more. I forgot to mention that the cave was very hot, the hottest cave I have ever been in.

In the left hand corner of the cavern was another small passage, bearing around to the left.  Continuing on through we came upon another cavern the same size as the last one, and much to our relief it was devoid of any living creatures, although there were plenty of bones to show they had been, none human, thank goodness.

Whilst in here we noticed a tight squeeze, through which we emerged to find ourselves by the entrance again. I was disappointed by the finish, but we were lucky to find a cave at all, especially in these regions. The formations in the cave surprised me, although very poor by our standards.  I did not expect to see any with such a dry climate.  I could not form an opinion as to the type of rock it was, but it looked to me to be of a volcanic nature".

The elephant or so it seems.

An elephant escaped from the Bristol Zoo last week unnoticed by the Keeper.  A woman in Clifton, who had never seen an elephant before, discovered the animal in her garden.  She rang up the police and said:- "Hello, There is a strange animal in my garden, and its pulling up all my flowers with its tail".  Is that so, Madam? Then what is it doing with them?" "You wouldn't believe me if I told you", she answered.

Adventures of the Menace. Episode 2.

Pridhamsleigh Cave. South Devon.

We started out for the cave at the ungodly hour of 0930 hours, in pouring rain.  I had been told that it was a very muddy cave, but when I saw the large clean entrance I began to doubt it, not for long, however, for it soon dwindled down to a filthy 'ole something like the upper ox-bow in Stoke Lane, and we quickly became plastered from head to foot.  On making some choice remarks about the cave in general, Squeek said "Oh, you haven’t seen anything yet, wait till you see the Deep Well".  The Deep Well was what we intended to cross, Imagine a high rift with 30ft. of water in the bottom. 21ft. long and just too wide to chimney, there you have the Deep Well.

Squeek said "Well, what do you think of it?" I Said, "Personally I don't, but you can only die once". No, I didn't fall in (pity Ed.) but by becoming a contortionist, I got safely across. From there we pressed on regardless, until we came to the so-called end, a sump, with deep water.  I was just making up my mind to dive it when Frank pointed out a hole up in the roof.  So up I went, and managed to get through to the other side of the sump.  I carried on chimneying till I found myself in a pot above another sump, with the passage clearly continuing about two feet under the water, which was about 20ft. deep.

Unfortunately as I was climbing down to get a closer look I slipped and fell head first into the water.  I thought I would freeze to death and even my language didn't warm the water up.  The bind was that I could not climb back and had to swim back through the sump. All the others could do when I surfaced was laugh.  From there we took a high level route which we found back to the Deep Well, re-crossed it and carried on to the lake. It was not bad as lakes go, and quite impressive, it is 60ft. deep in the middle.  Here accident No.2 happened.  We decided to take some photos, and trying to light the, flash powder I must have touched it directly with the candle. All I knew was that there was a loud bang and I was blind for the next half hour.

After that I staggered out behind the rest, and arrived at the surface after six hours underground.

We then strolled down through the village and were met by cries "SPIVS", from the local inhabitants, so we beat a hasty retreat to the hut.


Further List of Publications available in the BEC Library

Earlier list appeared in BB 3 & 6


Pennine Underground                            N. Thornber.
Cave Science No 2                                BSA


List of Ancient Monuments.                   H.M.S.O.


The Astronomical Horizon                      Sir J. Jeans.


Log of the Fortune                                 T Lindley
Life and explorations of Dr Livingstone
A scamper through mercie                     T.S. Hudson
The Great gold Lands of South Africa      S. Haver
S.W. Shetland
Beautiful Britain

Local Interest

History of Clifton Suspension Bridge
A Short history of Malmsbury                 N. Piddick.


Legends and Stories of Ireland
River Legends                                       R. Fargesson
Summer Time in the Country                  R. Willmott
Manual of Botany                                  P. Brown
Legs and Wings                                    T. Wood
The Common Objects-of the Sea Shore
The Fisheries of the World
Popular Scientific Recreations.
Pictorial Chronicle of the Mighty Deep


The Food of the Gods                            H.G. Wells

The Editor's Notes

An Apology

One of the Members has pointed out to me that in BB No 5, I promised to put in the next issue, D.A.Coase' description of the New Section of Stoke-Lane Swallet. This I failed to do; and for thus disappointing members, I most sincerely apologise. However; this article was left out because it was not sufficiently up to date, and I now await a further contribution from Don giving a full description of the cave.

Withybrook Swallet. Stoke Lane

On July 12th 1947, P.Browne and L.Browne, together with, Sam Treasure as "Engineer", succeeded in entering the upper passage of this swallet and penetrated a short distance. A sketch plan has been sent to us with the threat of dire consequences should we dare-to-publish it. As soon as Pat sends us the Pukka Gen you shall have it.

Annual General Meeting

The AGM has been moved forward, at the request of Members, to Saturday November 29th, so that Members who do not live in Bristol may use their own transport to get there. (If they have any petrol left). Any members, who have items for the Agenda send them to the Hon. Secretary by November 1st.

Notice to all who are regarded as "Forces Members"

Many of our Pre-war and wartime members who joined H.M. Forces during the war and whose Membership has therefore continued, have not been in communication with us for some time.

The Committee have therefore decided to review the position at the end of the year and eliminate all those who are no longer "Cavers" in fact or spirit. Will all those members now in the Forces please write to the Hon. Secretary before November 30th to confirm that they still wish to remain "on the Strength".

Mrs. Joan Fountain (To say nothing of the Trickle)

The following note has lately been received from Joan.

"Hi Boys! Congratulations on your new cave. I remember the place. Don’t take off that smacker. Huh! I shiver to look at it. Keep me posted, I like to hear from you all, you bet I miss the fun of Thursday evenings. Take care of Mrs. S. for me. Say hello to Stan and Jimmy Weekes. Best of luck caving. Always your friend, Joan and Trevor.

P.T. Reed

Terry Reed will not be with us for some time. He tells us that he is now at sea in a Training Ship, name unspecified, and will not be able to do any caving for quite a while.

August Hole

We have received from the Hon. Sec. of the U.B.S.S. a plan of this new discovery. This plan is available at H.Q..

Mr.& Mrs. J.H.Tompsett

Dizzie and Postle are now safely married. God bless them. I wish to put on record my admiration of their courage in leaving on the decorations so liberally supplied for "Sue" by the Fellows. WELL DONE!!

Postle's Appreciation

The Hon. Sec. has asked me to publish the following letter:-

6 Peter Street,

Dear Harry,

Dizzie and I wish to thank you very much indeed for the marvellous present from B.E.C. It's really a very useful weapon and looks very fair on the sideboard! Also many thanks for the attention Sue received from odd bods! We should have been most disappointed if she had been left untouched, and we left all of it on for the first day - in fact much of it is still on - and received varied greetings from passers-by who noticed it.

We did a very fair tour around the coasts of Devon, and Cornwall, and although we passed through Bude, we didn't have time to visit the Smugglers' Cave. However, we visited 's Cavern at Torquay, where Dizzie got a telling off from the Guide for sneaking off down an odd passage. However, we got talking and they were a damn sight more accommodating than other show caves I know! No doubt you are familiar with the place, and have possibly decided that it is not worth a visit in view of it's "walk-aroundability" but anyhow I've paved the way for a visit in speaking to the owner, Mr. Pave, who suggested that we write to him, in, say, November, the slack season, if we wish to arrange anything,

Cheerio for now, Postle.

Answers to the "Caving Quiz" in the last issue of the BB:-

  1. Lamb Leer, Cave of Falling Waters, 1894.
  2. Wookey Hole, Cox's Cave, Gough's Cave, Ingleborough or Clapham Cave, White Scar Cavern, Stump Cross Cavern, Peak Cliff Cavern, Peak Cavern, Speedwell Cavern, Blue John Mine, Poole's Cavern. Dan-yr-Ogof, Bagshawe Cavern
    (What about 's Cavern & Michelstown Caves, Don? - H.A.Ed.)
  3. Sir Boyd Dawkins, after his old Professor
  4. a. Read's Cavern, b. Swildons Hole, c. G.B., d. Swildons, e. Goatchurch, f.Sidcot Swallet, g. Wookey Hole h. Eastwater, j. Rod's Pot.
  5. Gaping Ghyll, approx 360 ft.
  6. G.B. and, Lamb Leer
  7. Bowline
  8. Rift, high and narrow, Bedding Plane, wide and low.
  9. Wookey Hole
  10. 480 ft
  11. Sidcot Swallet, and Sidcot School.
  12. Coral Cave, Compton Bishop.
  13. Calcium Carbonate, CaCO3
  14. Cow Hole.
  15. a. Lamb Leer, b. Long Wood Swallet, c. Eastwater, d. Stoke Lane Swallet, e. Swildons Hole, f. G.B. Swallet, g. Coral Cave. h. Goatchurch.
  16. The Beehive Lamb Leer.
  17. Vadose.
  18. Swildons Hole, 1901, Mr. H.E.Balch.
  19. 1. Jacob's Ladder, 2. Old Grotto, 3. Water Chamber, 4.Water Rift, 5. 40ft. Pot, 6. The Shrine, 7.Double Pot, 8. Tratman's Temple, or November 22nd Grotto.
  20. Badger Hole, Wookey Hole, Mendip Nature Research Committee

Pennine Underground: by N. Thornber

The Dalesman Publishing Co

4/6 (4/9 post free from W.W. Waterfall, 10 Sheep Street, Skipton.)

This little book (it slips easily into the pocket), contains brief information on over 350 caves and pots in Yorkshire, and 14 maps showing their location. In such a small volume the description cannot be detailed, but sufficient is given to be of great use. For each pot we are told its altitude (which can be of great use in finding it), its length and Depth. Directions, (perhaps a little on the brief side) are given for finding the entrance and the tackle required, for each pitch is detailed.

The date of the first exploration is given, and each is graded as -Easy, Moderate, Difficult, Very Difficult, Severe or Super-severe. The method of grading is a little difficult to fathom. It seems to depend to some, extent on the length of the pitches, and a tight section also sends up the grading. The severity of a pitch, however, is not necessarily proportional to its height, and a severe crawl to one man may be easy to the next.

The maps, drawn by Arthur Gemmel contain plenty of detail and are very clear despite their small size.

A really invaluable guide to a party exploring the district and a remarkable 4/6 worth.


A copy of the above Book has been ordered for the Club Library.

The Tragedy of Thomas Todd or Laugh, Drink and be Merry, for Tomorrow we go Caving.

Another Squeek from Herman has arrived and follows below:-

This is the Tale of Thomas Todd,
Who, acting rather like a clod,
Decided one fine day he'd show
That he could be a "Spelio".

Young Thomas set out now with glee,
He took his dinner and his tea
And just in case he should feel dry,
Of Ginger Beer a good supply.

He leaped upon his trusty steed,
Alas, No warnings would he heed,
And with a load of half a ton,
Looked forward to a day of fun.

The journey to the hills was tough
The heat that day, was great enough
To melt a candle in the shade,
Or cook an egg as it was laid.

But Tom at last was in the Gorge,
And up the steep hillside he forged,
Until as shown upon the map,
He saw the frightful yawning gap.

He sat for just a while to brood,
And fester up a spot of food;
Two bottles spare of pop he found,
He'd take a couple underground.

At last with ginger beer complete,
A length of rope, say twenty feet,
And in his hand a goodly light,
He started, "Gad, this hole is tight".

For half an hour or maybe more
He struggled on, the sweat did pour
From off his greatly heated brow.
The passages were tighter now.

Young Thomas strained with every bone,
And gave at last a final groan,
As realising to his dread,
He was inextricably wedged.

The ginger beer which Thomas prized,
Had now, as you might well surmise,
Become the object of this grapple,
Like the legendary apple.

Still he struggled more and faster,
Then it came, the great disaster.
With the sound of crashing thunder
Solid rock was split asunder.

Glass and bottle stoppers flew,
As like bombs the bottles blew.
Rocky splinters hummed and whizzed
The ginger beer just lay and fizzed.

The frightful echoes died at last
And in this cavern dark and vast,
Young Thomas ended mortal life
And as a ghost took up the strife.

It has bean said, it might be true,
That when the moon is bright and new,
The ghastly voice of Thomas Todd,
Is heard front underneath the sod.

The moral of this tale is clear,
Do not take caving ginger beer
You might perchance get stuck and go
To join our late friend down below.

Programme for November, December and January.

Saturday November 1st Burrington.

Sunday November 16th Longwood.

Saturday December 6th G.B

Sunday December 21st Stoke Lane (Full).

Saturday January 10th Burrington.

Sunday January 25th Eastwater.

Will all members who intend to attend these trips please notify Hon. Sec. so that he may have some idea of who to expect.

Saturday Trips have been arranged with due regard to the transport situation.

Editorial Notes

In this our second number, we are starting an inventory of the equipment available to members, as we believe that very few of the Club members know how much property the B.E.C, possesses.  As a start, we give a list of books in the Club library.

The furniture presented by Mr. B. A. Crew for use at "The Belfry" contained items which were of no direct use to us.  They were, however, sold for a goodly sum, which helped the funds round a tight corner.  If any other member has any similar White Elephants, we should be pleased to accept them for the same purpose.  Have a look in the attic, fellows!

It has been noted by some of our members, that certain persons - who seem to have learnt to write only recently - have defaced the walls of certain caves on Mendip with their names and the letters B.E.C.  It is well-known that the B.E.C. has access to all caves, and we would point out that such advertisements are completely unnecessary.,


The S.W.C.C. have a very attractive open meet over Easter.  Visits to Dan-yr-Ogof, Ogof Ffynnon Ddu and many other South Wales caves are planned.  Any member wishing to take part in this should notify the Hon. Secretary at once.

Official Announcements

Cave Research Group

The B.E.C. has now been formally elected a member of the C.R.G, and as information from this body is received it will be passed on to members.  News Letters 1 and 2 are now available.

Mendip Rescue Organisation

We have received notification that the M.R.O. reorganisation is now complete and we print in this Bulletin a copy of the new procedure in the event of accident. Copies of the M.R.O. Constitution are available at Headquarters.

Annual Subscriptions

We would remind members that subscriptions must be paid before 31st March to ensure continuity of service.

Procedure in the event of an accident

We call to the attention of members, the following extract from the MRO Constitution, which is of the greatest importance should occasion arise for its use.

  1. A member of party will go to the nearest callbox and ring Wells 97, (police).  Give number of callbox and name of cave in which accident
  2. The Police will ring Wardens in rotation.  To the first Warden in touch they will give the name of the cave and number of callbox.
  3. The warden will phone the callbox and ascertain the exact locality of accident, what injuries are known, and how many in party. He will call up wardens and Squad leaders as necessary.
  4. At the scene of the accident, the Senior Warden will take charge. In the event of the Senior Warden not being a doctor, he will collaborate with the doctor called out and follow his instructions in so far as to the treatment and removal of the patient.
  5. The Wells or Bristol ambulance to be called only on the instructions of the doctor. The MRO will not be responsible for expenses incurred.

Once again, I would stress the importance of these arrangements in the case of accidents, and ask all members to make sure they are familiar with them.

The Club Library

All books in the library are available to members free of charge for two weeks. They may be kept for a longer period, on arrangement with the Hon. Librarian. If the borrower does not return them on the due date, he becomes liable for a fine of 1d for the first week, plus 2d for the second, plus 3d for the third, etc. any member who cannot call at Redcatch Road for books, may borrow by post, provided he return the books by registered post. He would, of course, be subject to the usual fines on non-return of books.

A list of book at present in the library is appended as a supplement to this issue. As additions are made we will report them.

“The Belfry” Progress Report

The last two months of inclement weather has, surprisingly, seen some work put in on “the Belfry” by the Hon. Secretary and the Hut Warden, who risked life and limb to plough through innumerable snowdrifts. On one occasion, a shovel had to be used to dig the Hon. Secretary’s car (Ford – Ed) out of a drift to enable the party to return to Bristol.

The work has mainly been felting the walls which are now complete. The nameplate made by Tony Johnson and Johnnie Morris has been put in place, and looks very resplendent. Lining boards for the interior have been delivered, and a start made on the lining.

On Saturday, 1st February, the Hut Warden spent the whole weekend at “The Belfry”, and thus officially opened it for occupation.

At presnt, we have at “The Belfry”, 4 mattresses, 5 pillows, 5 sleeping bags and 9 blankets. For sleeping there are 6 bunks and a camp bed. (one bunk is already reserved for the Hut Warden).

Anyone wishing to use the Belfry is advised to contact the Hon. Secretary, or the Hut Warden, at 74 Redcatch Road, so that arrangements can be made regarding the key.

D.A. Coase
Hut Warden (17.3.1947)


We wish to thank the following members for the articles listed below, which will be found very useful to those using the Belfry.

A Johnsen                     Cups, plates, knives, forks.
T.H. Stanbury                pocket compass.
J. Bridges                      hurricane lantern.
R.A. Setterington           2 blankets,
Mrs, I.M. Stanbury         blanket.
Miss M. Akers               stirrup pump, lantern.
R. Woodbridge               4 shelter bunks
B.A. Crew                     quantity of furniture and bedding.

Thanks to

With reference to the remarks about his fags in B.B.1, Johnnie Pain - was very pleased to receive a cigarette from R. Brain.  He says, considering the distance it had to travel, that it was as good a smoke as he has ever had, and that the cadging of it needed no effort on his part.


We take great pleasure in announcing the engagement of two of our Club members. Miss M. (Dizzie) Akers to Mr. J.M. (Postle) Tompsett. Good luck to you both!   (God help you. )

Bog Hole

The excavation at Bog Hole, started in August, l944, by the Bristol University Society, has excited considerable interest among our members, as it is situated so conveniently near The Belfry.  As the University seemed to have abandoned the site, we approached them with a view to taking it over as a B.E.C. project.  We have now been informed that they have no objection to our taking over, and accordingly we shall start digging at the first opportunity,  D.A. Coase will be in charge of the work.

Swancombe Hollow

This site, although it was inspected early last year and permission obtained from the U.B.S.S. a little later, has not been started yet.  As I think it will be increasingly difficult to get help on this dig during the weekends, I propose to start working on weekday evenings.  The plan is not yet a concrete one, but the work will probably be done on Tuesday evenings.  Any members who would like to help can get the Gan from the Hon. Secretary.

D.H HasselI.

Belfry Bulletin

Back numbers of "Belfry Bulletin" are obtainable from the Hon. Secretary at a cost of 3d. per copy.

List of Publications Available from the BEC Library


Mendip Caves                                                   H.E.Balch
Netherworld of Mendip                                       H.E.Balch and E.A.Baker
Wookey Hole, the Cave and Cavedwellers           H.E.Balch
(available on special request from D.A.Coase)
Wookey Hole, Official Guide
Caving                                                              E.A.Baker
Dan-yr-Ogof, Offical Guide
Kent Caverns Guide
The Falls and Caves of Ingleton                          J.L.Hamer
The art of the Cavedweller                                  Bladwin Brown
Ten Years under the Earth                                 Norbert Casteret
Proceedings of the University of Bristol Speleological Society, Vol 5 nos 2 and 5
The British Caver, Vols. 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16
Caves and Caving, Vol. 1  Nos. 1,3,4, and 6 (No.2 is available on special request from D.A.Coase)
BSA programme of the Speleological Conference, 1939.
Carlsbad Cavern, () Picture folder.

Climbing and Mountaineering

Climbing in                                              J.E.Q.Barford
Mountaineering Holiday                                     F.S.Smythe
Mountain Prospects                                          Scott Russell
Adventures on a Mountain
Climbing Mount Everest                                     Ingls Finch
Ascent of Nanda Devi                                        H.W.Tilman
Snow on the Equator                                         H.W.Tilman
of the Moon                                      P.M.Synge


Geographical Magazine,                                    June to Oct, 1941. inclusive.
National Geographical Magazine ()               Vol 63, No, 6.
                                                                       Vol. 75, No, 3. 
                                                                       Vol. 79, No 4
Voyage round the World                                    Anson
In Quest of the Sun                                           A.Gerbault
Cruise of the Cachalot                                      
Great African Mysteries                                     L.G.Green
In Dwarfland and Cannibal Country                      A.E..Lloyd
Travels on the Amazon                                      Wallace
Euphrates and the Tigris
Arctic Ocean to Yellow Sea                               Price
Wanderings in China.(in Two Volumes)               Cummings
as we saw it                                            Pickerseth
New Zealand                                                     Max Hers
Somoa                                                             G. Turner
Headhunters                                                     A.C.Haddon
Gold dust and Ashes                                         L. Idress
Lassester’s Last Ride                                        L. Idress (semi fiction)
Scotts Last Expedition (in two volumes)


Geology Excursions handbook Bristol and Mendip Area    Reynolds
A short guide to the geology of Torquay