Author Topic: Goatchurch Cavern  (Read 953 times)

Offline chriscastle46

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Goatchurch Cavern
« on: July 08, 2018, 08:34:17 pm »
A colleague and I were discussing the date that Goatchurch became a short-lived showcave. He thought it was 1901, I thought I'd read an article saying it was later, 1913. However, I can't find the article, it's not in the UBSS Proceedings but the article giving 1901 is. Did I dream it or make it up? I'd be grateful if someone can shed some light on this matter of earth-shaking importance.

Chris

Offline mikem

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Re: Goatchurch Cavern
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2018, 08:37:09 pm »
I've seen adverts from 1906...

Mike

Offline ZombieCake

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Re: Goatchurch Cavern
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2018, 09:40:09 pm »
In the cave there is a shed load of engraved graffiti, some very faint and small. Instead of going left down the Giant's Steps go over the stal and there's loads there.  Maybe there's some dates - must admit I was looking for other things.  Not sure if the Cap'n has noticed anything?

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Goatchurch Cavern
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2018, 10:09:33 pm »
Yes, all noted, photographed etc. some years back.

Offline chriscastle46

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Re: Goatchurch Cavern
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2018, 08:27:09 am »
Thanks for that. There are written records back to 1736 and doubtless many visited it before then, but there seems to be little or nothing recorded about the showcave project. There is a photograph of a lady in her long dress sitting at the top of the Giants Stairs but I can't find that either. This article I thought I'd seen, it must have been a dream!

Offline mikem

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Re: Goatchurch Cavern
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2018, 08:45:53 am »
Pic might be in complete caves, or one of the earlier Mendip undergrounds.

Mike

Offline tony from suffolk

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Re: Goatchurch Cavern
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2018, 10:26:09 am »
I don't think you're dreaming Chris, I've seen that photo somewhere myself. Just checked "Mendip, Its Swallet Caves and Rock Shelters" but it isn't in there. I'll check some of my other stuff later.
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Offline Fulk

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Re: Goatchurch Cavern
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2018, 10:36:34 am »
According to an old copy of Mendip Underground that we have (dated 1977):

'The remains of iron railings in the main entrance passage are all that is left of an attempt, by a prvious owner around 1900, to establish Goatchurch as a show cave.'

This is reiterated in a later edition (1999), which also contains a photograph of 'Interior scene of showcave, c.1903'.

The photogrtaph depicts a group of 5 people – (as far as I can make out): a bearded bloke, 2 ladies in dresses and hats, and two girls, also in dresses and hats, with a small boy in shorts and without a hat off to one side.

The photo is credited to Harry Bamforth. Could be the photo you're thinking of. Maybe I'll scan it and try to post it here.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 10:55:30 am by Fulk »

Offline Fulk

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Re: Goatchurch Cavern
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2018, 11:03:18 am »
/Users/johnforder/Desktop/Goatchurch Cavern c. 1903_edited-1.jpg


Bugger.


Offline tony from suffolk

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Re: Goatchurch Cavern
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2018, 12:01:33 pm »
Well found Fulk!

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Offline Fulk

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Re: Goatchurch Cavern
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2018, 12:56:56 pm »
Thanks for sorting out my post, tony!

Offline tony from suffolk

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Re: Goatchurch Cavern
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2018, 02:36:12 pm »
Found it my book too Falk. Worth reading some of these early Mendip guide books, I've just been through my 1964 “Caves of Mendip”.
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Offline chriscastle46

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Re: Goatchurch Cavern
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2018, 02:59:13 pm »
Fascinating, thanks for finding that, I'd not seen it before. I've remembered where I saw the picture I'm thinking of, it was in a collection of old photographs taken in and around Cheddar but I don't have a copy. I bet someone on the forum does. It was much better quality than the Bamforth one so probably later.

It looks like the Showcave dates back to around 1901 and I was (cough, splutter) wrong.

Offline mikem

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Re: Goatchurch Cavern
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2018, 06:12:33 pm »
That is the one I was thinking from Mendip underground, but I have also seen another with a lady sat closer to giant's stairs (presumably same as Chris')

Mike

Offline Fulk

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Re: Goatchurch Cavern
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2018, 06:50:40 pm »
Peter Johnson, in The History of Mendip Caving states that 'At the end of the 19th century, James Gibson of Langford, the owner of the cave, had the idea of turning the place into a show cave'.

Offline ZombieCake

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Re: Goatchurch Cavern
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2018, 10:53:42 pm »
Quote
Peter Johnson, in The History of Mendip Caving
Same book also says the first part of the cave was well decorated with stalactites but visitors had removed them by 1867.  So I guess that Mr. Gibson wouldn't have done very well on a Victorian version of Dragon's Den.

Interestingly the print, Plate 20, on page facing p145 shows both entrances with absolutely no trees whatsoever around, just low grassy scrubland.  Book was published in 1967, so piccie must have been taken a bit before that. Anyone still alive that remembers a deforested Burrington?

Offline mikem

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Re: Goatchurch Cavern
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2018, 11:03:33 pm »
Neither burrington nor cheddar had many trees in photos from early last century.

Mike