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Swildons Blockhouse/shed

Fishes

New member
I was talking about Swildons the other day and we were all wondering what the story is behind the "blockhouse" structure at the entrance. I haven't been there for about 30 years but it got me thinking.

Who built it, when and why? I don't remember seeing anything like it at other cave entrances.
 

Fishes

New member
The Bagshawe entrance is through mine workings but it also operated as a show cave for some time. I suspect the current shed dates from its time as a show cave.
 

Ali M

Member
RobinGriffiths said:
There's the stone hut above Bagshawe, but I guess that's because Bagshawe was also a mine.

The Blockhouse was built in 1967 by Albert Main & Bertie Weeks - See Swildon's Hole 100 Years of Exploration (p79). Thomas Ashman built a trout pond at the entance in c.1904 -  excellent photo (p5).
 

tomferry

Active member
That?s a major coincidence we sat their yesterday after are trip and was thinking this , I  assume the design of the structure is strength against the water in major flood because if it was a flat wall would be a lot weaker ,  also it seems to regulate the flow  To a certain extent instead of it just flowing in at its natural force  .
 

tony from suffolk

Well-known member
I remember going down Swildon's before the blockhouse was built. IIRC, there was going to be a lockable door at the entrance. I also vaguely remember a hinged metal grille that dropped over the entrance hole.
 

darren

Member
mikem said:
It has been in the past, to keep out undesirable elements...

Locked, they must have been mad. Its not like its 300 meters away from a primary school is it.
 

David Rose

Active member
There would be no point in a lockable gate for Swildon's, because the system would still be accessible to all via Priddy Green Sink.
 

PeteHall

Moderator
Alex said:
I am amazed it's not locked. Did Yorkshire annex it for a time?

Swildon's is a very popular cave with both regular cavers and instructed groups, in no small part because it is not locked (it is also a fantastic and varied cave for all abilities). Even if some don't pay the ?1 goodwill fee, I bet it's a pretty good earner. Locking it would be crazy.
 

mikem

Well-known member
David Rose said:
There would be no point in a lockable gate for Swildon's, because the system would still be accessible to all via Priddy Green Sink.
Not all would fit!
 

tomferry

Active member
mikem said:
David Rose said:
There would be no point in a lockable gate for Swildon's, because the system would still be accessible to all via Priddy Green Sink.
Not all would fit!


Was just about to ask about the waist size requirements for priddy green sink ?

Just to add the devils elbow at  gb was a bit snug but managed it ok
 

Ali M

Member
PeteHall said:
Alex said:
I am amazed it's not locked. Did Yorkshire annex it for a time?

Swildon's is a very popular cave with both regular cavers and instructed groups, in no small part because it is not locked (it is also a fantastic and varied cave for all abilities). Even if some don't pay the ?1 goodwill fee, I bet it's a pretty good earner. Locking it would be crazy.

"After a spate of rescues at the Forty Foot Pot in the late 1960s and the public disapproval generated by the inaccurate and lurid newspaper reportiing, the farmer, Albert Main, decided that enough was enough and the cave entrance should be locked. Following discussions with local cavers and other authorities he commissioned an architect to design a circular blockhoue considered in keeping with local styles. The intention was not to restrict access to the cave but to control entry under adverse conditions. The building was completed in 1967 but the gate itself was rarely used for the 1968 event considerably reduced the risk of flooding in the Water Rift and Forty Foot Pot area." (Swildon's Hole book p78).
 
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