Number 223 September 1966 The Belfry Bulletin – Volume Twenty – Number Nine A.G.M. The Annual General Meting will be held at Redcliffe Church Hall, Guinea Street (our old club premises) at 2.30pm on Sat. 1st October. If you are in any doubt of way, you will find a number of club members in the Waggon & Horses beforehand. Long Term Planning. Members will find nearly all of this B.B. taken up with a screed on whether we should think about building a permanent Belfry or not. Sorry, but this should only happen once in a blue moon. There is a questionnaire about this with the B.B. and the committee would be pleased if as many as possible returned this to the Hon. Sec. If you find the 4d to spare, bring it to the A.G.M. (the questionnaire – not the 4d!). Photoessay Competition. Closing date for this is Thursday before the dinner (29 September). Arrangements have been made for an independent judge to judge the entries that night. Tackle. Please see that all tackle is properly booked out and signed for on all occasions – even on rescues. It is the only way that a check can be kept on tackle, to make sure it is there when YOU want it next. Dinner Tickets. 17/6 per head. Apply to Bob Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4. _______________________________________________________________________________________
NOTICES _______________________________________________________________________________________ Caving Meets.
October 8/9 (Please note the change of date) to O.F.D. and D.Y.O. Accommodation S.W.C.C. cottage (room for 10). November 13th. Lamb Leer. Meet at cave at 11am.
Permits issued to members at the start of the permit scheme are due to be renewed on the 13th of September 1966. To assist the Hon. Sec. please write now, stating ONE of the following: (a) I am under 21 (give date of birth) and am not married. (b) I am over 21 and have reached this age since completing a C.C.C. indemnity form. (c) I am over 21 and had reached this age before completing a C.C.C. indemnity writing.
It has now been agreed that the rates for hire of the club tent shall be 2/- per weekend and 5/- per week. This is for club members and is not affected by the number actually sleeping in the tent or the number of nights actually used. In the case of weekends, it is in order to have the tent on Thursday night before the weekend. If nobody is going to use the tent for the following weekend, it will be in order to return the tent on the next Thursday, but it must be returned before that if asked for, otherwise it will be charged for at the weekly rate.
Page 40 Caving Reports.
B.B. 223/2 September 1966 The following reports are available from B. M. Ellis, Knockauns, Combwich, Bridgwater, Somerset. No. 1 (Revised 1963). Surveying in Redcliffe. (3/-) No. 4 Shoring of Swallet Cave Entrances. (2/6) No. 5 (Revised 1966) Headgear & lightning. ? No. 6 Smaller Caves of Mendip. (3/-) No. 10 B.E.C. Method of Ladder Construction. (3/-) No. 11 Long Chamber/Coral area of Cuthbert’s (3/6)
DO WE WANT A NEW BELF RY ? When the stone Belfry was built, it was intended to provide changing and washing facilities for cavers – in fact Jill Tuck hoped at the time that it would become known as the Vestry. Providing some space for changing in was comparatively easy, but a number of people have looked into the washing situation (from a theoretical point of view, of course!) and the general opinion seems to be that the building is unsuitable for this purpose. Accordingly, the Belfry Engineer drew up a plan for a shower building. This plan has been passed and the Committee have allocated the money. With any luck, this problem will then be solved. One thing that bothered the committee at the time (apart form who was going to buy their beer) was that we ought to be careful about where we put this new building. It will not be very big, but, given the average bad luck, it might be erected just where it got in the way of any future plan for expansion or alteration of the Belfry Site. After some thought, it was agreed to detail a few people who were interested in the site to form a Long Term Planning Committee. This committee soon found that they agreed on a number of things (like who was going to buy them all beer). They thought it would be a good thing, for instance, if the car park was moved to the other side of the track, leaving the Belfry side free for any future building. It was when they started to examine schemes for this future building that some differences began to be seen. At first, the idea was to iron out all the differences between the scheme proposed, and to present a plan to the club at the A.G.M. However, if the club decides to take on a project of the sized involved, there will be no hope of success unless nearly every member is prepared to give it his backing. It was thus decided to publicise the problem in the B.B., so that every member could get some idea of what might be involved before anybody actually became rash enough to suggest anything (pardon the pun) concrete. Raising the Lolly. Before we see how much we might be up against, let us see what we have done in the past. The basic structure of the present Belfry cost £100 and the extension £37. In present day terms, we can say £300 and £74 respectively. Even so, this is a fleabite compared with the sort of money we might be talking about now. If we had a Belfry built (without any fancy bits) it might cost somewhere in the region of £2,000 to £2,500. We could raise this sort of money by (a) borrowing form outside sources – this would mean payment of interest, might be difficult to arrange because we are not a legally constituted body, and in any case, the money might be difficult to come by. (b) Borrowing from members, would get rid of most of the difficulties of (a) but would take about £145 from every single member. It would take nearly 25 years of paying this back by doubling Belfry dues. A combination of the two increases would still take about ten years to pay it back. A third method (c) of raising the money by somehow earning it must be thrown out at once – it would be easier to build the whole thing ourselves than to try this. There remains (d) which is to forget the whole affair. Can we reduce this costs? Estimates tend to vary, but if we assume a building of about 30’ x 50’ in which we do most of the preparation for foundations; build the walls; fit doors and windows and do the wiring and plumbing BUT
have all the plastering carried out professionally, have the entire roof constructed for us and have a professionally laid floor, we might get a cost structure like this: B.B. 223/3 September 1966 Page 41 Foundations and flooring Roof Plastering Fittings Doors, windows, etc. Cement mortar (about 10 tons) Concrete blocks
£ 150 £ 200 £ 100 £ 100 £ 75 £ 35 £ 130 £ 790
Which will do as an approximate estimate for the purposes of this argument? Let’s now assume that we can expect members (or some of them) to support the effort at the rate of £10 per member, and either loan the money or put in the equivalent amount of work. If we rate time at 10/- per hour (as a direct labour costing) we obtain…. Materials, professional labour etc @ £790 = 79 members @ £10 Building walls, etc. = 17 members work. Fitting, plumbing, wiring etc. = 4 members work. Could we do it (if we wanted to-)? In theory, certainly we could. In practice it would depend – as most things do – on a few key people. Here is a suggestion of how it perhaps could be made to work. 1. 79 members willing to loan, on a long term interest-free basis (and it would be long term!) the sum of £10 each would have to be found AND PAY UP. The money would, of course, be refunded if it was found impossible to put the rest of the scheme into practice. 2. 21 members would have to be found and be prepared to work. Some enforceable method of guaranteeing that they did not go back on their word would have to be found, and the volunteers would have to agree to its inclusion in their ‘terms of contract’. 3. In fact, the whole job would have to be undertaken with this degree of seriousness. A Superintendent would have to be appointed, who would be responsible for organising the work force, appointing local ‘foreman,’ arranging time keeping etc. 4. A Planner/Purchasing Officer would also have to be found, preferably a member in the building trade, who would prepare accurate estimates, act as Purchasing Officer with the responsibility of keeping the job supplied with raw materials and arrange stage inspections with the local authorities etc. At this stage, one imagines most readers thinking what a daft and impracticable scheme this is, and wondering if the editor is really all that short of things to put in the B.B. or whether he is enjoying wasting the club’s paper and time by flogging some weird hobby horse in public. Before we all condemn this – or any other scheme – out of hand, let us take a look at one or two further aspects of it. A Building rather than a Caving Club? Fears that the work should turn the club into a building club ought to be reasonably groundless. Given good organisation – and we might as well pack up this or any similar idea straight away if we cannot set up a good organisation – we should be able to do the whole job in three to four months. During this time, essential caving facilities would be kept going on site, but the use of facilities would be kept restricted to builders and keen cavers only. No sightseers, idlers or layabouts. This might actually result in an increase of caving. In case there are visions of blokes labouring away for years. With members’ sons picking up the trowels form the faltering hands of their old fathers, let us be clear that we are not proposing to build a medieval
cathedral. The Herculean effort demanded from each of the volunteer workers only amounts to two whole weekends, one day and two evenings. Let us try again, to let it sink in… TWO WEEKENDS – ONE DAY - AND TWO EVENINGS Page 42
B.B. 223/4 September 1966
…which is not impossible, or even unrealistic. The average volunteer should be able to squeeze in a little caving in during the other…. 49 WHOLE WEEKENDS – ONE DAY – AND 259 EVENINGS ….he will NOT be working on the building during 1967. Another objection might be that there seems to be no provision in the scheme as outlined for the club to provide any of the money. The club will, of course, have to finance the tools – including the purchase or hire of a cement mixer, and will also probably be put to some expense in arrangements to be made during the demolition and rebuilding phase. As for the rest, it should be possible to repay loans in five or six years if the club were prepared to put up with some of the increased charges. If possible, these could revert back after repayment as they have done in the past. A calm look at the whole business says that it is not impracticable – providing it gets the support it needs. Schemes might be introduced in addition to provide forms of incentive for those giving time or money. What sort of Belfry do we want? Assuming, for a mad moment. That a permanent building is contemplated, much thought will have to be put into the actual design and construction of the building. The size and shape must obviously be considered with costs in mind, but is must equally be realised that the actual size and shape of the building can have a great effect on those using it. Here are a few controversial points in connection with this…. 1. There may well be a danger in making the place too big – even if we could afford it. A very large building might lead to an unwieldy state of affairs, or to the need for far more discipline than we need at present. Alternatively, it may lead to the formation of splinter groups. 2. A separate room for serious caving studies is a temptation. The danger of this to a separation between the more serious and more frivolous minded would be very real here. There is a lot to be said for making people live together and put up with each other’s requirements. 3. There is much to be said for and against a separate kitchen. This point needs careful thought. 4. Do we really want/need a women’s room? Many caving and climbing clubs seem to manage well without one, as indeed we did many years ago. Again, this wants thinking about. Is it all worth it? This is the crux of the whole affair. Supposing that we found enough heroes/suckers to undertake this work, and enough people to finance it, is it really worth the candle? It is perfectly possible, one assumes, to go repairing the present Belfry for ever, until eventually there is not a single piece of original wood left in the building. For many years now, various club members have suggested a permanent club building. It would seem that now is as good a time as any to face the problem squarely, and either get on with it or forget it. I would further suggest that if we do decide to forget it then, unless something happens to change the situation overnight we should bury the idea for a goodly number of years. S.J. Collins. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Surveys. The following surveys are also available form Bryan Ellis (see page 2 of this B.B. for his address). Brownes’ Hole (2/-) Eastwater (2 sheets) (8/3) Lamb Leer (3/4) Pinetree Pot (3/-) St. Cuthbert’s (plan) (3/3) Stoke Lane (4/3) Goatchurch (2/6) Holwell Cave (2/9) Pate Hole (2/3) Quaking House
Cave (2/6) St. Cuthbert’s (section) (2/6) September series (1/-) Swildons (4/3) Caves of Cheddar Gorge (4/3) Packing and Postage…1 sheet 1/- 2 sheets 1/6 3 – 4 sheets 2/-.