Cambridge Underground 1979 pp 37-39


The following photographs are reproductions from originals in the club library. Since their location is a closely guarded secret, few people will have seen them before ! The origins of the club, including an interesting account of the first explorations of Stump Cross and White Scar Caves by Christopher Long and John Churchill, have been covered by Nick Reckert in Cambridge Underground 1972, and will not be described in detail here. These photographs complement his article.

The First Annual Dinner of the 'Troglodytes' was held in Gonville and Caius College on November 25th 1922, and Ernest Baker was the guest speaker. The menu (a) and invitations from Long, then Secretary of the Club, to John Churchill (b) and (c) are shown on the first page. This inaugural dinner celebrated the successful Stump Cross Expedition of March 1922 - a fine stalagmite discovered on that occasion is shown in (e). Whether it is still extant I do not know.

The remaining photographs are of the ill-fated 1924 dig in White Scar by Churchill and Long, who hoped to open the place up as a show cave. It is rumoured, in fact, that they went on a tour of the Ingleborough region specifically looking for such a cave ! (d) shows the excavations a short way in, where they form a short cut through Silurian slate (it is seen to be nearly vertical in the picture), cutting off a bend in the natural cave. (f) shows the entrance with the timber for the power-house, and Long's 'Royal Ruby' machine in the top right corner. (g) shows the frame of the power-house going up, and (h) is of the start of the excavations. The figures from left to right in the photograph are Churchill, Phillips (the foreman), and Ted (a labourer).

We are indebted to John Churchill who kindly donated these photographs and other of Long's documents to the club.

Mike Perryman

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