Author Topic: New Dales Photograph Album in the Online Archive  (Read 2135 times)

Offline langcliffe

  • Moderator
  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 2698
    • Caving Routes in the Northern Dales
New Dales Photograph Album in the Online Archive
« on: December 02, 2019, 06:22:29 pm »
We have added an album of Dales photographs dating back to about 1950 that once belonged to Albert Wilkinson.

Albert Wilkinson (1926-1989) was a keen caver in the late 1940s and early 1950s, caving in the Yorkshire Dales with an as yet unidentified group from the north Manchester area. The group included Elizabeth (Betty) Emmens whom he married in 1952. In 2019 his daughter Catherine kindly donated the album of caving photographs that originally belonged to her father. These provide an insight into the techniques and equipment in use at the time, as well showing some of the caves before they were as well trafficked as they are today. They were by no means casual cavers - one sequence of photographs shows a descent of Lost Johns' Cave to Lyle Cavern - no mean feat in the days of rope ladders, wet pitches, and bicycle lamps. The group was involved in a flooding incident in Lower Long Churn in September 1948 which appears in the CRO records.

We suspect that the photographs were taken in the period from post-war to 1952. It is not known who the photographer was, but they are of good quality. The hefty tripod used can be seen in one of the Long Churn surface shots.

The album may be found here:

Online Ian Ball

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1101
Re: New Dales Photograph Album in the Online Archive
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2019, 08:53:40 pm »
I'd be very happy to get as good a photos as those now! Cracking shots.

Offline yrammy

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 502
Re: New Dales Photograph Album in the Online Archive
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2019, 08:59:15 am »
Brilliant, thanks Langcliffe.

Offline Jenny P

  • Moderator
  • junky
  • *****
  • Posts: 873
Re: New Dales Photograph Album in the Online Archive
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2020, 03:34:37 pm »
A new item has been added to the Archive - a scan of a letter to the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, dated 22nd September 1948, thanking the "Central Cave Rescue Organisation" and signed off by "8 Potholers (East Lancs.)."   An incredible piece of detective work by John Gardner!  We now know that the rescue itself occurred on 12th. September 1948 - identified from an an original press cutting (now in the Archive) and the CRO records. 

We have, as yet, been unable to identify the club or group these cavers were with, but what is significant is that this group had the resources to construct a considerable amount of caving ladder.  This is evident in the fact that there are pictures and references to the descent of Lost John's and also of ladder construction methods used by the group. To reach the bottom of Lost John's required around 460 feet of ladder (around 140 meters) so, as ladders were always made in 25 foot lengths at that time, this means at least 20 ladders and probably well over 500 feet of rope for life-lining. To fund this expenditure, make the ladders and store them, this has to have been an organised group - we just don't know who they were.

It does make one wonder if there was an East Lancs Scout Group operating at the time because the donor mentioned that her parents had, she thought, been caving with a group of Rovers and Rangers from Middleton in north Manchester.  Or was there perhaps an East Lancs Caving or Potholing club?

It's a fascinating puzzle and important to the history of caving in Britain because of the interest in the resurgence of caving and potholing clubs in the years shortly after the end of the 2nd. World War.


Main Menu

Forum Home Help Search
SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal