Author Topic: Gunnerfleet Cave  (Read 2345 times)

Offline Ian P

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Re: Gunnerfleet Cave
« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2021, 10:47:57 am »
This still does not answer one of my original questions:

"what was he doing with the speleothems? "

Maybe he sold them to “The North Face” ?

Offline Speleofish

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Re: Gunnerfleet Cave
« Reply #26 on: May 09, 2021, 03:07:59 pm »
Or exported them to mendip for use in Waterfall Cave...

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Gunnerfleet Cave
« Reply #27 on: May 10, 2021, 08:29:11 pm »
For anybody who may be interested, Peter Binns's journals are now online, together with some interesting material relating to the BSA.

https://archives.bcra.org.uk/binns.html

More material will be added to the Binns archive over the next couple of weeks.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Gunnerfleet Cave
« Reply #28 on: May 10, 2021, 08:54:44 pm »
Well done Langcliffe!   :)

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Gunnerfleet Cave
« Reply #29 on: May 10, 2021, 09:11:35 pm »
That's the best explanation of the use of a "tail line" to help recover a ladder I think I've ever seen!

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Gunnerfleet Cave
« Reply #30 on: May 16, 2021, 08:27:10 am »
Should we bear in mind there may be a possibility (however vague) of a whiff of rodent? I realise that might be a controversial suggestion but I think all avenues should be taken into account if trying to get to the bottom of this one.

There have been a couple of well-respected cavers who have been sceptical about the story of Simpson and Gunnerfleet Cave, which I can well understand.

However, Binns was accompanied for much of the time by a schoolfriend, Peter Longbottom, who also kept a diary. This is currently in the safe-keeping of the Bristol Exploration Club, but Jenny Potts has unearthed an article written about it in 1976  by Steven Craven for the William Pengelly Trust Newsletter 76, which includes a partial extract of Longbottom's account of the same incident  (same date, same cave):

"We took a few stalactites down and packed the smaller ones in one of the boxes of saw-dust and the larger ones we wrapped in sacking between the two boards... Mr. Simpson had taken some stalactites down and had packed them in the second tin of saw-dust and had nearly cut a large stalactite".

Other reports of stal-bashing under the guidance of Simpson appear in the same diary.

According to the article, Longbottom claims that he later saw speleothems displayed in cabinets at Cragdale, the then BSA headquarters.


Offline Jenny P

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Re: Gunnerfleet Cave
« Reply #31 on: May 16, 2021, 08:35:31 pm »
I have been trying to follow up on this since BCL was made aware of the "harvesting" of stals. recorded in Peter Binns' Diaries.  This is also substantiated by notes in Longbottom's diaries for the same period and he also referred to seeing Simpson "at his house, Cragdale".  It wasn't, of course, "Simpson's house", it was the BSA HQ and Simpson was living there at the start of the War but it had to be relinquished as there wasn't sufficient money coming in to pay the rent and Simpon moved to live in smaller premises nearby in Settle.

The mystery of what happened to all the stals. Simpson was collecting remains. Mary Wilde, our Librarian, has done a search in connection with the collections in the Sheffield museums as there was a thought that they might have ended up there along with Puttrell's geological collection from the Peak District. So far she's drawn a blank but is continuing to follow this up. It's not as if they were small items either - one "mite" at least
was said to be 4 ft. long - so this would not have fitted into the small display cases shown in the photo of the BSA exhibition at Buxton (the photo is in the Binns Archive). They certainly weren't left behind in Settle after Simpson died and there seems to be no record of anyone seeing them in the later years of his reign at BSA, so I'm beginning to wonder if he sold them to defray his expenses during or immediately after the War.

Reading the two diaries it is clear that there was a very considerable quantity of stal. and some of it was in quite large chunks so it would be strange if, after all that effort, they were just dumped.  They were probably on display at Cragdale originally as it was intended to be a museum, at least in part.  Once Cragdale had been relinquished there would have been nowhere for Simpson to keep them in the smaller premises he moved into.

So we'll keep checking museums where the collection might have ended up to see if it's possible to locate the items, or at least find out what happened to them.

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Gunnerfleet Cave
« Reply #32 on: May 17, 2021, 08:27:20 am »
Could they have been passed to Tot Lord to augment the Pigyard Club collection at Settle? (Maybe Tom Lord would know?)

As a youngster I remember all this Pigyard material being on display in Settle, in a small building with a shop front on the south side of Chapel Street (between Cragdale and Chapel Square).

I still think the Craven museum is a possibility, which I believe opens today.


Offline Jenny P

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Re: Gunnerfleet Cave
« Reply #33 on: May 18, 2021, 06:38:35 pm »
Thanks for the tip.  That's another place to investigate - the Craven Museum does seem a likely home for them.

 

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